Australia’s Kimberly Region with Janet Westbrook

Don’t miss our May general meeting at the Maturango Museum at 7 PM on Thursday, May 17. It’s our annual meeting, so refreshments will be served.

Janet Westbrook came to Ridgecrest in 1966 and taught at Burroughs High School, then Biological Sciences of many sorts for 40 years at Cerro Coso College. She went to UCSB, UC Berkeley, and Chapman College and has degrees in Field Biology, Zoology, an MA, and life time CA teaching credential. She has worked with the Maturango Museum since 1966, and with the China Lake Mountain Rescue Group since 1967, among other groups and activities.

She is now a world traveler, having been to all 50 states and all the Canadian Provinces, all 8 Continents (counting Greenland), and has visited 115 Countries. One of the most intriguing places she has visited is Australia’s Kimberley Region, the NW corner of the continent, from Darwin to Broome, on the National Geographic/Lindblad Expedition ship, the Orion.

Australia is unique, and large, and this NW corner has some very unique features which may be explored on rough 4×4 roads, or by zodiac into the various river channels. During “the Big Wet” the whole inland area of the Kimberley is underwater, and during the dry season (their winter) it is very possible to go up rivers. In so doing, one sees a lot of familiar shapes of shorebirds, but they’re all a different species – like Oystercatchers, Herons, Osprey, etc. and in the Mangrove forests, big black Fruit Bats. But the most common animals are the crocodiles – the fresh-water “freshies” crocs who are sort of friendly, and the much larger salt water “salties” crocs that are truly dangerous. Of course mudskippers and crabs inhabit the muddy banks of the rivers. And there are a few tribes of Aboriginal peoples and their rock art. It’s a unique corner of the world, down under. Says Janet, having recently reviewed her photos of the trip “I have good photos of a lot more birds than I remembered, and tons of crocodiles!! Crocodile Dundee, and Steve Irwin were based out of Darwin.”

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