Week 9 – Three cold fronts in Esperance

I’m currently still in Esperance after having flown here on July 12th. The flight from Bremer Bay to Esperance went off without a hitch. I took off from Bremer around 10.30am and flew north to the Great Southern Highway and followed the road behind the Fitzgerald National Park. I stopped at Ravensthorpe on the way and had a break before heading on to Esperance. The whole flight took about 4 hours.

The decision to take-off was a bit last minute so I didn’t have time to send out an email notification of the flight to followers beforehand. Apologies for those who missed it. You can watch the livestream replay on YouTube. I figured out how to keep the phone charged up too so it didn’t cut out halfway through!

I’ve been hanging out at Myrup Heights just north of town for the past three weeks with friends from the Esperance Bird Observers Group who are also aviators and have a private runway and hangar space on their property.

Esperance is windy at the best of times and it has kept me on the ground for most of that time. There are currently three cold fronts passing through that have brought with them winds of up to 45 knots – definitely not trike flying weather!

Flying with Robyn over Esperance

However, there was a window in the first week I was here to take my friends, Robyn and Nigel, from Lucky Bay Brewing for a fly over Bandy Creek and Wylie Bay. The beaches here are truly magnificent to fly over!

I first met Robyn and Nigel when I was volunteering as the BirdLife Shorebirds 2020 Coordinator for Southwest WA back in 2017 and told them about my plans to follow the shorebirds in the microlight. They’ve been waiting to support me ever since and grabbed the opportunity to sponsor one of the logos on the microlight pod during the crowdfunding campaign!

They also hosted a talk at Lucky Bay Brewery last weekend and had the microlight on display out the front of the brewery. Thank you so much Robyn, Nigel and the team at Lucky Bay Brewing for all of your support! 🥰

(L to R) Robyn, me and Nigel at Lucky Bay Brewing, Esperance

As always, I’ve also been doing school visits while in town and had a ball sharing A Shorebird Flying Adventure with the students at Castletown and Esperance Primary Schools.

I am told by the Principal at Esperance PS that the kids have been talking about the visit every day since! They especially loved learning how to draw a Red-necked Stint and a Bar-tailed Godwit. I love seeing their amazing drawings at the end of the session.

I also did radio interviews for ABC Esperance and Triple M which aired yesterday.

In between events I went along to a nature journalling workshop at the Esperance Community Arts Centre. It was heaps of fun and I had a huge penny drop moment about how drawing is such an effective tool in connecting with nature.

Drawing forces you to slow down and really observe what you’re drawing. It’s a great way to learn how to ID birds as you need to look closely at their features. Here’s a couple of sketches I did afterwards!

A few drawings from my nature journal

From here it will be onto the Nullarbor and heading into South Australia. At this stage, it looks as though there will be a break in the weather around Thursday next week. Ideally, I’d like a three day window to be able to make it from Esperance to Ceduna.

I’ll be accommpanied by my friend and fellow bird nerd, Keith Lightbody who is also a hang glider pilot. Keith will be joining me until we get to Adelaide. Thanks heaps to Keith and again to everyone who put their hand up to help me out for this part of the trip!

Before taking off on this next exciting leg, I’ll be catching up for a livestream with Costa on Facebook next Tuesday 9th August @ 6pm WST/8pm AEST.

Stay tuned for the link details!

Flying north along the western edge of Fitzgerald National Park on the way to Ravensthorpe
Milly Formby
Milly Formby is a zoologist, pilot, and illustrator of the children’s book, A Shorebird Flying Adventure She is currently flying her microlight around Australia in 2022/23 to share,A Shorebird Flying Adventure with primary students.
Image credits:
Book cover for A Shorebird Flying Adventure

A Shorebird Flying Adventure

Available Now

Join Milly on her microlight and discover how amazing and awesome migratory shorebirds are!

Milly Formby is a zoologist and illustrator of the children’s book A Shorebird Flying Adventure. Available now through CSIRO Publishing.

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