Tag Archives: Australia

Wildlife images from remote southern Australia, November 2015

I don’t see myself as a photographer, but as a follow up to my Warru experience I have decided to post photos of species I observed and recorded to the Atlas of Living Australia  http://www.ala.org.au/dragon fly mating

Mating dragonflies, Hattah

Great crested crebes Hattah 15

Great crested grebes

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Hattah lake November 2015 with its water allocation

Hattah fish

Not a Murray cod but very large…..you guess

Hattah pink-eared

Pink-eared ducks

regent parrots Hattah Nov 15

Regent parrots, currently listed as endangered

Sulphur crested Hattah

Suphur-crested

White butterfly Hattah oct 15

maybe just a cabbage moth.

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Little corella, thousands of these on the return trip following the wheat harvest

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Mayfly, adult

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Weebill, not sure which one

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Eastern rosella at hollow.

Hattah lakes is a favourite over night stop heading north, its amazing what can be seen in an hour or two. Next camp is in South Australia, back soon with another batch of photos.

 

 

Sniffing out Warru (black flanked rock wallaby) poo, Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands

I’m on my way home from Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara or ‘APY’ Lands in northern South Australia after spending a week working with Dr John Read counting warru cuna (scats). John’s ongoing research is the fine thread securing isolated populations of this threatened South Australian species. 

I first had to learn how to identify warru from euro scat, then learn to climb the rocky summits with a heavy lensed camera in one hand. EJohn and Delek

Dr John Read records scats with Delek. 

The Musgrave Range appears as a series of rock outcrops studded into an enormous plain, the sense of timelessness is overwhelming. We were climbing the ancient bones of an even more ancient mountain range.

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I was glad I wasn’t there by myself. Climb one peak and there’s another the same behind and another in the distance. Get lost here and whiteboy is cactus.

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But to the people who live here it’s their backyard. Climb into the Toyota they’ll take you around any of the Musgrave features. Our last scat count took us to the West Australian border and spitting distance to the Northern Territory.

Ehard lands

Try gowing your veges in this….

 

 

Ewurra habitat

Prime Warru habitat

Warru live in rock crevices away from plains predators such as cats. Try climbing this on a cool 36 degree day!  Understanding and documenting Petrogale lateralis is not for the faint hearted.

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Me with daypack & enthusiasm, but not much breath

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John and Matthew exchanging notes…I’ve no idea what about

 

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Jacob takes a picture with West Australia as a background.

Thanks to the people of APY who kindly allowed me to see their country first hand, also to John Read my host. Helen, Jacob and Matthew at Kalka I will definitely not forget, and a special thanks.

 

 

Partytime, quinces and poo.

Who after watching this could  feel grumpy about a few apples or quinces? How lucky we are to have this beautiful animal adapting its former forest behaviour to live with us. Here I am in the middle of a city of 3 million people and ringtails arrive on the dot of 11pm ready to party.  They sleep by day in nests they’ve made around the neighbourhood, eat their own poo (special daytime poo which they need to digest their food) lick their paws, yuk!(two digits forward, two digits behind). Then shove the kids in the pouch if tiny or sling the whole family on the back and told to hang on tight.

‘Departure Lounge’ to be shown at Ecological Society Conference Adelaide Nov 2015

I was recently requested to submit some images from ‘Departure Lounge” 3D artwork (see Sculpture page on this site)  for screening at the Ecological Society of Australia Annual Conference, which begins Nov 29th. worpressl Phascogale

Here’s the blurb I wrote for the event:

“The sculpture project “Departure lounge” attempts to spotlight marsupial species threatened with extinction due to introduced predator impact and habitat loss, but also references the inherent threat human ‘requirements’ pose to their continued existence. Cardboard packaging used for consumables is employed as my medium, a material sourced from living trees, the home of many species and lungs of our planet”

It’s all still in the planning stage, but if all goes well this will be the first time I have participated in a science event….an artist in a room full of scientists, scary.

 

A well-smoked Tawny Frogmouth

Wivenhoe dam in Queensland has a shoreline of many hundreds of kilometers, but it’s clear some birds prefered to remain close to the small camping area. The following shots were taken within and close to designated camping sites. The frogmouths were actually roosting within the smoke zone of camp fires! wordp Frogmouth 3

Campers were totally unaware of the two birds above their heads

Wpress Frogmouth 2

WordpBrahminy kite adj

The Brahminy kite was possibly a chick hatched in  a  nest in clear site of human camping visitors.

Wpress Darter

A Darter chose a poly pipe within 30 meters of the camp to dry out and..

Wpress red-backed wren male

a red-backed wren family used nearby reeds and bushes as their chosen home base.

In addition to the above, a flock of many hundreds of black cormorants choose to roost in the trees directly ajacent to the camp-ground. The question is, why do these species choose the camping area given the enormous space available to them at Wivenhoe?

 

Of trucks and Bowerbirds

Continuing the question that some unlikely species are finding refuge and food in areas close to human habitation, this post includes photos of a species “choosing?” an unusual site to reside and display. The following photos were taken over the last week in Queensland.

wordp Satin bowerbird male

Male satin bowerbird, photographed within 2 meters of a bitumen road. Truck road use started at 7am. The evolutionary process continues….

wodpress Satin bowerbird female5

Female of the species enticed by a bower made in a roadside culvert.

wordp Satin bowerbird bower

View of the bower which contains mainly blue clothes pegs, I guess the locals learn to use alternative peg colours to hang out washing.

If you know of a researcher who is looking at how some species are choosing living space ajacent to urbanization, please advise by replying in comments or email.

 

 

 

Bee trapeze artist

WATCH A BEE SWING BY ITS TEETH

Honeybee numbers have crashed in Europe and America and we do not really know why. Australia’s bees are still ok, probably because we still have a broad range of wild nectar producing plants. Farmers the world over are using herbicides to kill “weeds” which means there are less roadside/cropside meadow-lands. If bees are stressed they die young which stimulate younger bees to forage before they are ready, seehttp://www.smh.com.au/technology/sci-tech/australian-scientists-may-have-solved-the-mystery-of-bee-colony-collapse-20150209-13a6ss   Bees are a main human food crop fertilizing species , and below is a list which rely on bee pollination. If bees go, these go.

Apples
Mangos
Rambutan
Kiwi Fruit
Plums
Peaches
Nectarines
Guava
Rose Hips
Pomegranates
Pears
Black and Red Currants
Alfalfa
Okra
Strawberries
Onions
Cashews
Cactus
Prickly Pear
Apricots
Allspice
Avocados
Passion Fruit
Lima Beans
Kidney Beans
Adzuki Beans
Green Beans
Orchid Plants Custard Apples
Cherries
Celery
Coffee
Walnut
Cotton
Lychee
Flax
Acerola – used in Vitamin C supplements
Macadamia Nuts
Sunflower Oil
Goa beans
Lemons
Buckwheat
Figs
Fennel
Limes
Quince
Carrots
Persimmons
Palm Oil
Loquat
Durian
Cucumber
Hazelnut
Cantaloupe
Tangelos
Coriander
Caraway
Chestnut
Watermelon
Star Apples
Coconut
Tangerines
Boysenberries
Starfruit
Brazil Nuts
Beets
Mustard Seed
Rapeseed
Broccoli
Cauliflower
Cabbage
Brussels Sprouts
Bok Choy (Chinese Cabbage)
Turnips
Congo Beans
Sword beans
Chili peppers,red peppers, bell peppers, green peppers
Papaya
Safflower
Sesame
Eggplant
Raspberries
Elderberries
Blackberries
Clover
Tamarind
Cocoa
Black Eyed Peas
Vanilla
Cranberries
Tomatoes
Grapes

 

 

Yorta Yorta country – Rakali

Hydromys chrysogaster, also known as rakali and in times past, water-rat. It’s Australia’s beautiful large aquatic rodent with webbed feet,  water-proof fur, white-tipped tail and carnivorous appetite. Studies in Sydney hint that this species is able to defend its territory from introduced vermin i.e. they keep rats and mice at bay and probably predate upon them. Rakali may also live in symbiosis with platypus sharing burrows see:  http://www.platypus.asn.au/the_australian_water_rat.html

As a burrowing mammal rakali are considered pests by some irrigators, but paradoxically they may be a major predator of crayfish and yabbies,  known abundant dam and dyke burrowers.

I recently managed to shoot this video clip with help from friend Ian with boat on the Murray River in Yorta Yorta country. Rakali is very active so I have slowed the speed 50% start and end of clip for ease of viewing.

For more species from Yorta Yorta country, keep posted.

 

Resilience, or the new (not pristine) ecosystem?

This winter I have been busily shooting this video…which is really a question I cannot answer. Why do these birds persist occupying this fragment of polluted creek estuary, only 10km from Melbournes’s CBD? Are they attracted in some way to urban space? Is winter warmer in the city? How do they withstand the relentless noise and noxious odours eminating from the refinery, the continual train passage, car traffic and heavy metals in the water, the dogs? Or is this a last refuge for them, a place where they can find food and shelter of sorts? Is there no place else to  go?

I spent a couple of hours today with my camera in the hope of shooting something extra, but the gagging fumes dove me away and I can still taste acrid refinery fumes.

Why is it some native species move to cities with people, rats and sparrows (possums, bats, parakeets and now even powerful owls)? Are our rural landscapes now so unfriendly to wild species? Is”biodiversity” moving to the world of people, or is this just an abboration?

 

 

Pink ears

Pink-eared duck Malacorhynchus membranaceus an endemic bird, can be found in anyplace in Australia especially after rain, but they are over-wintering in  Melbourne. Question is why? The small wetland was fenced-off from dogs/humans etc but was full of pacific black ducks and hard-heads. Guesstimate; 1000

How can so many birds find enough forage in such a small an area, is it because things are even more difficult inland? Is this species over-abundant outside the city. Or are city environments attractive in some way?

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