Last week I was helping a friend of a friend with
her Phd looking at Dibblers on the islands in Jurien Bay (about 4 hours north of
Perth). We were working on Boulanger and Whitlock Islands (both only a few
kms off shore). The only access to the islands (which are nature
reserves) is by private boat and so they are a bit off the beaten
track. ALthough I didn't see anything
really interesting there bird-wise (Dibblers however are a great mammal) I
thought people might be interested in hearing what was around.
Although Boulanger and Whitlock are almost joined
(you can wade between them at low tide without getting your knees wet) the two
islands are very different. Whitlock, the smaller island, is home to several
thousand wedge-tailed shearwaters at the moment, whereas only white faced storm
petrels dig burrows on Boulanger. The nutrients from shearwater guano
means the soil and therefore the veg is very different on Whitlock.
On Boulanger the more interesting birds were White
Faced Storm Petrels, Rock Parrots, a few Sanderlings, a Grey Plover and 50
or so Fairy Terns nesting on the beach. On Whitlock, Bridled Terns
had just arrived, and Ospreys were nesting (in a nest you could walk right up
to). Radio tracking dibblers in the dark while dodging (or at least trying to
dodge) the shearwaters was an experience!
A Bottlenose Dolphin entertained us one morning
rolling around in the seaweed only 5 metres off shore (and in only a metre of
water). Saw plenty of Dibblers too, and several hundred house mice.