The Brown Fur Seal is mainly a southwest African species but some colonies thrive in the Bass Strait between the Australian mainland and Tasmania. We took a safari trip to the Seal Rocks off Phillip Island and found a few thousand of these agile water acrobats.
This is how they look with some color on them, chocolate brown and creamy white with more contrasts in their faces. I suppose the mask has something to do with communication but the matt black lores will also reduce the reflections on a sunny day.
We made it to Australia two days delayed but found it to be a beautiful place. One of the highlights were these Bridled Terns that I encountered unexpectedly on Rottnest Island, also known as Wadjemup. I spent an hour watching them as they rested on the cliffs and flew around the cove. They made excellent models showing off in a lot of different positions and lightings and let me come quite close.
Our trip to Australia got an unexpected start. A Russian military aircraft with the transponders turned off nearly collided with a commercial passenger jet above southern Sweden. All the take-offs in Copenhagen were postponed, so we missed our connection in Dubai. Emirates rebooked us and invited us to stay in a five-star hotel for two nights while waiting for our new flight to Melbourne. That way I got a few hours' birding in the gardens and car parks around the Arabian Park Hotel. Morcombe's Field Guide to Australian Birds was of little help, so I was back at the virgin birding of my teens, the joys of discovery absorbing me completely.