Looking for Australian native wildlife?
Tourists and city-dwellers generally only see Australia's native animals in zoos or wildlife parks. If you want to see a diverse range of Australian native wildlife in their natural habitat, you have to venture from the cities.
Taking photos of Australian wildlife
Spend a day or two at a farm stay, in a country motel or at the home of a friend who lives in rural Australia and you'll have a good chance of spotting native wildlife. Keep your camera at the ready.
Most Australian animals move quickly and are very difficult to photograph.
- The wombat is probably the slowest mover but I never seem to have a camera in my pocket when one passes by.
- Echidnas are also slow movers, although I have seen a couple of them scurry rather quickly. This year we had so many visits from echidnas that I managed to get quite a few photos.
- Kangaroos and wallabies roam through the bushland adjoining our property and at least a handful of them venture into our yard most evenings.
- Cockatoos, galahs and other native birds visit my gardens year-round, but most often when my orchard is fruiting.
Here's an introduction to some of the Australian native animals we see at my home. If you get out of the city and into the bush, these are the types of animals you'll hopefully get to photograph.
Kookaburras - Australia's laughing birds
My personal favourite of all Australian native wildlife is the kookaburra.
When I returned to Australia after living overseas, one of the things I was most excited about was hearing a kookaburra laugh. I cannot hear a kookaburra without smiling. Okay, grinning. Yes, to be honest, invariably I end up chuckling.
The kookaburra has such a wonderfully unique bird call. Cockatoos squawk, but kookaburras actually laugh.
One of the advantages of having kookaburras visit is the fact that they occasionally swoop down to kill and eat small snakes.
For that reason alone, they will always be welcome at our house. :)
The deadly Eastern Brown Snake
This is my least favourite visitor.
In Australia we have 20 of the top 25 most deadly snakes in the world. Yes, as you may have heard, we have all of the top 10!
The Eastern Brown rates as the second most deadly land snake.
This snake is the reason why I am extremely cautious in my vegetable garden during spring and summer. Even a baby Brown has enough venom to kill an adult and, unfortunately, the Brown lays up to 35 eggs at a time.
Unlike some snakes that are more active at night, the Eastern Brown Snake is diurnal so it is most active during daylight hours.
Of course we occasionally have other snakes around our yard as well so we watch where we step day and night. Stomping heavily while walking will send most snakes in the other direction, but the Brown is more aggressive than most and therefore more of a concern.
Some people call them Spiny Anteaters, for obvious reasons. Most Australians just call them echidnas.
How do you pronounce it? Eeee-kid-nuh. A really long eee with a short kid and nuh.
Generally by the time I notice them, they've dug into the earth for safety - leaving only their spikes above the ground. By that stage, you have to be very patient if you want a photo. It can take a very long time before they are up and moving again. :)
We have often seen blue-tongue lizards in the garden but not this year. Sadly, the friendly blue-tongue is a target for Brown snakes.
Most of the lizards I've seen this year are small, including the tiny one in the photos. During the summer it decided to bask every day on the clay we were using to build a rammed earth wall around our fire bunker.
It had an uncanny knack of running to the spot where the shovel was aimed, slowing work considerably.
When we lived further north in the tropics, our local 'lizards' were huge big goannas that regularly stole all the hens' eggs from the hen house.
I am enjoying having tiny lizards in the garden for a change.
Lots of homes have pet cockatoos. They become part of the family.
For those of us who live on farms in Australia, however, the white cockatoo causes more trouble than you could imagine.
I have had a flock of cockatoos strip an entire fruit tree before I'm even out of bed.
When the sun rises at 5am, they've only had an hour's head start on me - yet by the time I reach the kitchen window all the fruit has been dropped to the ground with at least one big bite taken from all of them.
White cockatoos are the reason why I spend so much money buying nets for my fruit trees.
There's an expression here in Australia that refers to the grey and pink galah.
"Oh, you silly galah!"
Compared to the cockatoo, the galah is nowhere near as resourceful and clever.
Galahs tend to travel in a pack. You can often spot a large group of them on the ground pecking at the grass ... with a fruit tree standing untouched a short distance away.
I like them. That's my kind of bird. lol.
Birds in the Australian bush
Diverse variety of birds
We have kookaburras and parrots and all kinds of other birds in our garden during spring and summer.
Many are tiny and they flit from one plant to another in my vegetable garden.
As I make my way through the hundreds - perhaps thousands - of photos I've taken during the last few months I'm sure to find a lot more pictures of native birds and other Australian animals that visit my yard.
I'll add some more then. :)
- Seeing Duck Billed Platypus at Yungaburra, Australia
Here's another hubber's nice article about a day trip to Yungaburra to see the duck billed platypus in the wild.
Sometimes wildlife is not so wild
The following photos are not taken in my yard, but it amazed me so much to see a kangaroo relaxing in someone's garden as I drove by that I couldn't resist adding a couple of snaps.
To appreciate my surprise at capturing these photos I should explain that I was driving past the garden when I saw movement. I actually reversed my car to see if I could spot a kangaroo hopping away.
It was only when I returned my gaze to the front of the yard instead of the bush behind that I noticed a kangaroo at the fenceline. I honestly thought it must be stuffed.
Despite the noise of my car as I reversed more to get a better shot, it was remained near the fence and watched me. In time it hopped away, proving that it wasn't injured.
This was another magical moment courtesy of our local wildlife. :)
How bold is this kangaroo?Click thumbnail to view full-size
The best places to see Australian animals in the wild
You can have your own wildlife experience in the Australian bush - and often also in the outlying suburbs of any city.
To find out where the best places are to see native animals in the wild, ask the locals. Most people know where the local kangaroo mobs are most likely to be seen.
For instance in Perth, Western Australia there's a cemetery in the northern suburbs where kangaroos graze at dusk every evening - and in Canberra, Australia's national capital, kangaroos have regular paths they travel to feed.
If you are out in rural Australia (perhaps just driving from one city to the next), stop in a small town and ask the locals where is a good place to view the local wildlife. You'll probably have to sit and be patient to get a good view - but the effort will be worth it.
Have your camera at hand. When the time comes, you'll want to capture some photos to show your friends!
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