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Gavin Brown’s ‘Turtley’ Awesome Trip To Fraser Island

02 Nov

Gavin Brown is a mad keen turtle fan and the lucky recipient of  Fraser Island prize giveaway run by not-for-profit animal welfare agency –  Australian Freshwater Turtles (AFT) – and Kingfisher Bay Resort to celebrate Australian Freshwater Turtle Day. Gavin and his mate visited us last month and has just sent in some fab pics of his trip.  Here’s his story…

Beautifully spotted carapace of the Fraser Island short-necked turtle

Beautifully spotted carapace of the Fraser Island Short-necked Turtle

I was fortunate enough to win the lucky door prize at AFT’s Australian Freshwater Turtle Day which is celebrated on the third October every year.

A good friend of mine had never been to Fraser Island and seeing how he is a keen turtle enthusiast, I decided to take him along for the experience.

As usual, the clarity of the water in Lake McKenzie was outstanding, allowing visibility of at least 10+ metres, which is comparable with the Maldives.

The October days that we were there holidaying were perfect for finding and photographing the turtles that are endemic to Fraser Island – and nowhere else in the world.

Fraser Fact: Fraser Island is home to a diverse array of native terrestrial and water fauna. The diversity of the island’s natural habitat supports a wide range of animals, many of which are at the northern or southern limit of their distribution or are considered to be rare or vulnerable.

Each animal has a place in nature’s ecosystem, be it as a predator or pollinator, soil enricher or seed carrier. Even the smallest animal can cause an environmental imbalance if disturbed and it is for this reason that we should do our best to respect and conserve the native fauna of Fraser Island.

Fraser Island short-necked turtle (Emydura macquarii nigra)

Fraser Island Short-necked Turtle (Emydura macquarii nigra)

For anyone wanting to see freshwater turtles in their natural habitat I couldn’t recommend Lake McKenzie, Fraser Island – situated just 40 minutes drive from Kingfisher Bay Resort – enough. The skin-diving was a great experience.

Did you know that turtles are one of the oldest reptile groups dating back 200 million years ?

We managed to see and photograph one of the rare Fraser Island Broad-shelled turtles (Macrochelodina expansa) and dozens of Fraser Island Short-necked turtles (Emydura macquarii nigra) pictured above. The Fraser Island Short-necked Turtles usually have a very dark black carapace (upper shell), but we also managed to see some spectacular individuals with black spotted brown shells.

Note to our readers: The Loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta), a large marine turtle, is also present around the island and comes ashore to lay its eggs between October and May.

Other creatures that can be seen when snorkelling include various native fish including Purple-spotted gudgeons, Carp gudgeons, Rainbow fish and Jungle perch as well as Freshwater shrimp and Crayfish.

Rare Fraser Island Broad-shelled Turtle

Rare Fraser Island Broad-shelled Turtle

Overall the bird life and other wildlife are spectacular and are a must see for anyone interested in the natural environment. Kingfisher Bay Resort has fantastic facilities with Ranger-guided tours for all ages to learn about ecosystems and the native wildlife on Fraser Island.

The accommodation was superb and the food was excellent. I couldn’t recommend Fraser Island enough for anyone who is interested in, or has a passion for Australia’s unique wildlife!

Gavin Brown
Australian Freshwater Turtles

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Posted by on November 2, 2012 in Guest Bloggers

 

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