18 November 2011

An Australian Icon...AUSTRALIA (3 Nov)



Australia is often under-appreciated as a mammal venue. Perhaps because the bunch of Antipodean mammals there are so bizarre - and we'd seen some of those earlier on the tour, like Platypus in Queensland. When most people think of Australia they think of the iconic images of Koalas quietly munching Eucalyptus leaves. And so it was for much of my group. Indeed the day before we had tried for Koalas near Brisbane but left empty-handed. And so when we arrived at the luxurious and legendary O' Reilly's Rainforest Retreat, I was quick to "grill" one of their naturalist guides as to whether any of these strange Aussie mammals were around. Luckily there was a female with a large youngster in tow around. However, first we concentrated on the birds, and what birds we had. From Wonga Pigeons walking casually along the road, to Green Catbirds meowing in the trees, the Rose Robins bringing a splash of color to the rainforest canopy there was never a dull moment. And I almost forgot the glistening green, scarlet, and blue Noisy Pitta which was, well, pretty noisy that morning and thankfully conspicuous as it sang from an open log.

That was all in the rainforest. So later in the morning we dropped into the wet sclerophyl forest just below the rainforested plateau for one special target. Not long later Susan (my sharp-eyed, Aussie, co-guide) picked up a
Red-browed Treecreeper creeping along a dead branch, and a stunning Spotted Pardalote perched at eye level. Nice one.

Then we headed off with a map in hand to a private area of O Reilly's where the map indicated the exact tree where the Koalas had been the day before. And there they were, proving how slow moving they can be, by being in exactly the same tree, making finding them a synch! Thanks again Matt! A very fortunate Spotted Quail-Thrush at the same bluff was a shock find, as they appear to be rapidly declining in the area, with no apparent cause.


More from O Reilly's to come that NIGHT...

2 comments:

Stephen Baird said...

sam,
love your photography! great work.
nikonsniper steve

Mary Howell Cromer said...

Amazing shots as always, Love that little bird, what a little charmer with the look you are getting~