Archive Page 2

19
Dec
18

Monotreme extraordinaire

There are two types of egg laying mammals in the world; Platypuses and Echidnas. There are four species of Echidna but it is the Short beaked Echidna that lives over much of Australia. It is without doubt an extraordinary animal. It has a pouch but is not a marsupial. It feeds its young on milk but has no nipples and of course it lays eggs and is covered in course hair and spines.

We saw this one along with several others on Raymond Island in Gippsland during our trip there in November.

I envisaged them being nocturnal for some reason but they in fact only became active when the sun warmed the ground and their prey became active. Although they were very approachable they were as difficult as hell to photograph; their snouts were invariably under the ground licking up ants and termites. Their small eyes were nearly always hidden. However this individual put his head in the air to catch a scent and his eye caught the sun for a moment enabling me to get his best side.

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15
Dec
18

Extraordinary Birds

Woodswallows are just what you would expect in appearance; ‘chunky ‘ swallows. We saw this Dusky Woodswallow and another bird presumably its mate swinging down on a couple of Ravens close to Cranbourne in Victoria a few weeks ago.

11
Dec
18

Big Gob

‘Big Gob’ is not a very endearing nickname for these extraordinary birds. I saw Tawny Frogmouths in January but it was a delight to see them again on my first evening in Australia last month. There were four together including this adult with two young and its mate. Normally you just get to see the birds sitting motionless in trees but we were lucky enough to see the adult birds flying around and catching insects to feed the young. In addition we also found a nest which was surprisingly unimpressive.

07
Dec
18

Iconic

If you look up Kookaburra in a bird book it’s filed away under Kingfishers and allies. It is indeed very kingfisher like. Outside there were about 6 or 7 birds that came to feed each evening on the insects that gathered on the newly mown lawns. Such an iconic Australian bird with an iconic Australian call. They don’t call it the laughing Kookaburra for nothing.

03
Dec
18

Bandicoot

In Oz during January I managed to get a glimpse of one of the rarer terrestrial mammals; but it was only a glimpse. Once prolific over the whole of Australia ‘Southern Brown Bandicoots’ have had a bit of a short straw of late. Introduction of foxes and loss of habitat have decimated populations. However, Victoria still has some good pockets of these cute long nosed marsupials. This month I wanted a better look. We waited and searched a likely area and given they are hard to find, so wick when you do find them and for half the time have their snouts buried in the leaf litter I was lucky to get any sort of shot.

29
Nov
18

Koalas for Breakfast

When I went to Australia in January I was disappointed to only find a single Koala and that was a-ways-away. Venturing down under this month I thought about generating a bit more luck that we had on the Great Ocean Road and in the You Yangs. I thought a visit to Gippsland would be more profitable.. I couldn’t have wished for more Koalas. No sooner we arrived one was grunting in trees close by. More followed; at the tops of trees, at the bottom of trees, running on the ground, eating, sleeping … they were everywhere. All in all the first day’s tally was well over 30 animals … and a lot of other things besides Koalas too.

 

25
Nov
18

Raptor

As we walked down the dunes in East Norfolk the other week a large raptor was hovering in front of us. Although Common Buzzards will frequently hover in a headwind the only buzzard to habitually hover kestrel style is a Rough legged Buzzards. A quick check with the bins and sure enough it was a Rough leg showing a nice black belly and a white proximal area on the tail. This winter visitor is a big bird but still warranted some mobbing by a Marsh Harrier as well as one of the local Crows.




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