Animal Farm

Once upon a time, yellow box and red gum grassy woodlands stretched from Toowoomba to Victoria (Australia), providing a continuous wildlife corridor 100-150 kilometres in width and 1,500 km in length.  Since colonisation, vast swathes of grassy woodland have been cleared for agriculture.  Now there may be as little as 1-5 percent remaining. most of which has been modified in some way by grazing.  Many birds and animals have become trapped in isolated communities, reducing valuable genetic diversity and leaving them vulnerable to threats of local habitat loss.  It is not surprising then, that yellow box and red gum grassy woodlands have been declared a critically endangered ecological community. Read more

Not So Creepy Crawly

I would like to thank Frank at Dutch Goes the Photo for his Tuesday word prompt, crawl.  It allows me to post about something near and dear to my heart.  Yes, I know.  Everything is near and dear to my heart, but that can’t be a bad thing surely?  You have probably all seen the news this week about a recent insect study review.  The review found that insect numbers have plummeted, experiencing a 2.5% loss per year.  Now one can argue about the rate of decline, whether it can be applied uniformly across the globe and to all insects, but one thing is clear, our insect population is in trouble. Read more

Strange Aquatic Creatures

Today’s post will introduce two very strange aquatic creatures found at one of Canberra’s nature reserves — the first, one very odd looking duck, and the second, quite duck-like.

Australia’s musk duck looks half-fish, half duck.  It must be the oddest looking duck I’ve ever come across.  It is so named because it is very smelly, emitting a musky smell from scent glands on its rump.  Musk ducks spend most of their time in the water.  They even sleep on the water.  They can fly, but launching from the water or ground is hard work, so they do so infrequently.  When fleeing predators, they choose a watery escape rather than take to the wing.   Read more

It Is Okay To Stick Your Beak In

In my previous post, I mentioned that my love and I had gone out to the river for a sticky beak.  It soon became apparent that not everyone understood this strange Aussie/Kiwi colloquialism, with a number of readers requiring a translation.  In response, I thought I should provide a general explanation for those too polite to ask for a translation.  Which is completely fitting as the explanation links in so perfectly with today’s post (unintended) about one of our most weird and wonderful mammals, the short-beaked echidna — a real sticky beak. Read more

Aussie Bigfoot – Macropods

Bigfoot dwells in Australia, but we call it macropod.  The term macropod is derived from the Greek words makros (meaning large) and poús or pod (meaning foot).

Macropods cover a group of marsupials that have large hind feet and which move by bounding.  They cannot move their legs independently and often propel themselves forward with the help of their tails.  They also raise their babies in pouches.  There are several species of macropod including kangaroos, wallabies, tree-kangaroos, pademelons, bettongs and potoroos, among others.  Today I thought I would share some photos of two species of macropod, the Swamp Wallaby and the Long-Nosed Potoroo, found at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, just outside of Canberra (Australia). Read more