Posts Tagged ‘native

09
Oct
13

Turtles Plus

‘Twas a public holiday on Monday and I hightailed it to Sydney Park. I haven’t been there much lately and I wanted to see how things were going, there. It was the middle of the day, so not the best light for photography, but anyhow I took my camera. And I’m glad that I did.

I hadn’t been down the little gully for some time, either; and because I’ve had wonderful bird and reptile experiences there in the past, I hoped to again. But any noticeable animal life seemed absent.

There was, however, a plant with enormous leaves which had grown very large in the time I’d not visited. It looked like some alien spawn amidst the conifers.

Big Leaves 1

Big Leaves 2

That is my hand there for comparison.

After walking around the plant for a while, I headed down to the wetlands.

Which weren’t looking all that wet, actually. It hasn’t rained much for a while and the catchments above the two ponds are being upgraded, so they are empty. The ponds have much less water than they’ve had for a while.

This has attracted unusual visitors, though. For one, a Black-winged Stilt which loves to poke around in sand and mud to look for food.

Black Winged Stilt

A Black-fronted Dotterel which feeds similarly. I have seen these before when the water was low; they are such timid creatures I could never get close enough to photograph them. Even this one was a mere dot, really, but my current camera has a longer zoom. In fact, all these birds would’ve escaped my camera without it.

Black-fronted Dotterall

And these two, which I believe to be Latham’s Snipes. It took a little bit of searching on Google images to find these. It was also hard to make them out as they blended in so well with their background.

Latham's Snipes 1

Latham's Snipes 2

But by far the best thing was the discovery that Eastern Long-necked Turtles lived in these ponds. They feed off of the small fish that also live there. I had never seen them before, but with the drop in water levels they were more exposed.

Eastern Long-necked Turtles

Eastern Long-necked Turtle 2

Eastern Long-necked Turtle 1

Two of them wanted to cross the small hill between the ponds to better water.

Eastern Long-necked Turtle 4

The first one I just guarded from dogs as it went its way. The second one (above) was more timid and I carried it across before letting it go. They headed for the viewing platform, particularly to the delight of a small girl and her baby brother.

Something of this may be seen on a video that I put together of the day.

I knew that the ponds would be drier than they have been, and I expected to see little of anything. So the day turned out rather well for me. The turtles especially were a joy, though after carrying one across…you know they’re rather smelly.

31
Mar
13

Ibis in Detail

Whilst I was fruitlessly trying to photograph flying dragonflies, this Ibis landed on the railing, quite close to me. I like that you can see such good detail in its head and beak. They always look as old as time.

Ibis in Detail

20
Mar
13

A little cheek

I was down at Sydney Park last Sunday. I had my camera with me but wasn’t expecting to actually take any photos.

Nonetheless, a young White-Faced Heron was on the scene, so the camera came out.

Heron 1

It was fishing along the margins of one of the ponds, there.

Heron 2

The plastic fencing in the background was put up to keep dogs out of the ponds, because there has been the occasional killing of bird-life there.

Heron 3

The little fellow was finding lots of little meals in the form of small fish. We must have had more rain than I realised because the water was quite a bit higher than I expected.

Heron 4

See it in action. It’s a quick little hunter – the fish didn’t stand a chance.

01
Jan
13

Back in the yard

A post on the possum in the My Backyard blog, back where it belongs, I guess.

He’s a funny little bugger.

You have food, don't you.

02
Dec
12

Wildlife Photography – Pleasure and Peril

‘Twas the first day of summer and on a hot and humid night I heard something outside, knocking about on the shed over the back fence. And lo, I saw that it was a possum, a brush-tailed possum (the commonest kind in Australia) which are common throughout urban centres here, being highly adaptable in their diet. It was the first time since we’d moved here that I had seen one.

Distant Possum

I called my wife who was delighted to see the little cutie, and she brought it a banana, threw pieces to it. I was afraid that I might scare it off with the flash of my camera but it didn’t seem perturbed at all.

Prehensile

Loves bananas

It was so unperturbed that it eventually came down onto the table by the fence and happily accepted more banana. It even allowed us to stroke it while it ate. I could see that it was a young male, probably not that long away from it’s mother’s side.

Very pattable

When I first moved to Sydney from Perth, I lived in Kings Cross. I was very surprised when I saw a possum on the balcony and it was very happy to accept offers of food. It was the local matriarch and while I was there she had two babies. The second one became very accustomed to me and while it’s mother sat on my lap to eat, the baby would sit on my shoulder. And I have had many occasions in the past to feed possums in parks at night.

 

Photographer's hand

Appetite

Being that hot and humid night, as I have said, I wasn’t wearing a t-shirt or shirt. The possum was very accepting of my presence and I brought the camera closer and closer for photos. On it’s second banana, as I squatted close to it, it took an interest in my camera and grabbed hold of it. These animals are strong tree climbers, with strong muscles and sharp, grappling claws. But I was stronger and managed to wrestle my camera back, unharmed. They also have powerful, jumping back legs and I was totally unprepared for it to leap on me (too see what I was about, I guess) and it’s claws dug deep into my arm to hold on. As I tried to shake it off, it tried to stay on. But human flesh is not as tough as a tree trunk and it’s grip loosened. He ran away, climbing over the fence and into another yard.

Wounds 3

Wounds 2

Wounds 1

So when you see people photographing lions in the Serengeti, Leopard Seals in the Antarctic or Grizzly Bears in North America, remember this: they say most accidents happen in the home. This may include maulings by cute, furry marsupials.

Actually, the scratches don’t hurt so much, but the tetanus shot I had at the hospital feels like someone punched me really hard in the arm.

The little bugger 😀

26
Sep
12

New Critters in the Menagerie

I’ve also added a couple of new photos to the animals collection on the website.

kookaburras Australian birds

Here’s looking at you.

The Kookaburra is the largest species of Kingfisher, and aside from fish it eats snakes, lizards, baby birds, and shared lunches. They’re fascinating birds.

turtles, reptiles, animals,

Riches.

This turtle was at Taronga Zoo in Sydney. Many people have cast their wishes into this pond. My wish is that we see the natural world as the greatest richness, rather than money.

Click on the photos to see them larger.

20
Aug
12

Beautiful Birds

The Swamp Hen is somewhat ungainly as it walks, with its big wading feet and a sort of Dr Seuss character type of manner. But their colours are so beautiful it is impossible not to admire them!

"swamp hen", waterbirds

This photo is now available on the Smallfox Photography website – you can view it larger there by clicking on the photo.




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