Outback wildlife

kangaroo

Time to sort the photos now – in this post will be a selection of the animals, birds and plants I came across in the first part of my recent trip through outback New South Wales, South Australia and Queensland. I don’t regard myself as a serious photographer, it is more about recording moments, sometimes for future reference for artworks, or just for a memory. One of the great pleasures of travelling is observing wildlife that you just can’t see in everyday life. Not a lot of explanation of these photos is needed, just a few captions. Above is a large male red kangaroo watching us curiously.

Wilcannia1

Pelicans, ducks and other water birds feeding in a billabong right behind our camp outside Wilcannia, NSW.

WhiteCliffs2

A small kangaroo living amongst the mullock heaps in White Cliffs. These heaps are the results from opal miners’ diggings and there are numerous mine holes amongst them, probably quite a few with the remains of kangaroos in the bottom.

zebrafinches

Zebra finches collect in their thousands in trees near water holes, their soft but insistent calls filling the air.

camel

On the way to Birdsville we met a man travelling with his camel. He had already walked several hundred kilometres and still had a long way to go to get to Birdsville, but was happy to stop and chat.

cattle

Roaming cattle were one of the road hazards we were keen to avoid.

corellasCorellas are highly social birds, collecting in groups of thousands. The sound of their calls as a a huge cloud of them circles above us in the early morning or evening epitomises camping in the bush.

emusEmus climbing over a bank near the road.

FeralcatA large, healthy feral cat. On the other side of the bush had been another feral cat – this was the winner of the stand-off. Cats are a big problem in the bush, clever hunters and great survivors they decimate populations of small native animals.

EyreCk5Pelican on Eyre Creek. We spent a night bush-camping by the creek, watching the hawks, spoonbills, egrets, budgies, water hens and many more, happily feeding, enjoying the water in the seasonal creek which is often dry.

EyreCk3This large egret looked tentatively balanced in the dead tree on the edge of Eyre Creek, but it was a perfect vantage place for it to spot fish to dive for.

Innamincka1

Innamincka2 Innamincka3We watched several varieties of birds popping in and out of nest holes in trees at Innamincka on the edge of Cooper Creek, near where Burke and Wills came to the end of their ill-fated journey, returning from the Gulf of Carpentaria.

tracksOn the sand dunes at the edge of the Simpson Desert there is no sign of life till you look down – tracks of small mammals, reptiles, birds criss cross everywhere, with the occasional cat or dingo print among them.

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16 thoughts on “Outback wildlife

  1. I love this! The first photo of the kangaroo – doesn’t he look like a human and he wants to know what the hell you’re doing on his land. Zebra finches – I know their sound so well as we used to have some in a cage when I was child…(before we thought that it was wrong to keep birds in cages). Amazing to see that feral cat. The last photo gives one food for thought: proof that the seemingly-empty landscape is well and truly inhabited after all. Fascinating to see the man with his camel – especially after watching “Tracks” earlier in the year. So people really do walk across Australia with camels – not just in books and films. What a marvelous look into a world which is completely alien to most people on earth – inland Australia.

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    1. Thank you so much Julie, I’m glad you like them! That kangaroo I think could have been quite tough to deal with if we had got any closer … The cats are a worry, I am very fond of cats, but it is their characteristics that make the feral ones so dangerous to native animals. Some of them grow to be huge, a good example of natural selection! I could spend hours wandering on the dunes, there is so much to look at and so many trails to follow. Lots of stories there!

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  2. It’s wonderful to see all the wildlife. Thank you so much for posting images. I’m getting more of an urge to travel to Australia. 🙂

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  3. This is wonderment for me! So different than what we see in North America. Thank you for posting these images! Feral cats, I just didn’t think how difficult and imposing they could be for the wild life. So much to ponder.

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    1. Thank you – yes, the cats are a huge issue, they thrive in the most surprising places. Goats are more feral animals that have become very at home in dry arid areas. Then there are the camels, donkeys … always a surprise to see.

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    1. I find those tracks a delight, imagining all those busy little creatures on their way somewhere. I just love being on sand dunes, it is very hard to explain the atmosphere there, an arcane sense of time moving slowly and inexorably. Thanks Karen!

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  4. What a dream expedition! I take photos with much the same attitude you have, being interested in capturing the memory and the “notes” for further exploration later rather than worrying that I’ve made a fabulous photographic image. The good ones are pure luck in my production. But yours here have resonance as images themselves, especially that fantastic (second) pelican portrait! Your incredible eye shows through whether you fuss over photographic technique or not! 🙂
    xo
    K

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    1. Thank you so much Kathryn – I do enjoy composing photos when I have time, although many of these were from fleeting moments. I have an excellent little compact camera, with a very good zoom, so I can often get shots that my husband can’t with his much more sophisticated SLR. The way I see it is I can take many, many shots, and luck out with a few good ones, and he can get the occasional brilliant shot with his much better hardware!

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