Readers’ wildlife photos

January 10, 2022 • 8:30 am

Today’s photos, a mixed bag of taxa, come from reader Chris Taylor in Australia (that almost rhymes!).  His notes and IDs are indented, and you can enlarge his photos by clicking on them.

Another set of photos:  all were taken at home on my property outside Canberra.

Black Fronted DotterelElseyornis melanops, at the edge of the dam next to the house.  These are quite common visitors, and have even tried to breed here. Unfortunately, their nest attempts have not met with success.

An Eastern Grey KangarooMacropus giganteus, on the dam above the house just before dawn.  Very common here; there are mobs of up to 50 that move between the forest reserves up above our house and the paddocks in the valley.

An Echidna, Tachyglossus aculeatus, ambling across one of the paddocks.

Eastern Long-necked TurtleChelodina longicollis. These are quite common in the farm dams and waterways around here.  Unfortunately, many fall victim to cars as they try to cross the roads – they just stop walking and retreat into their shell as a car approaches, with the inevitable result.

We quite often see snakes here.  The most venomous are the Brown snake, and the Red-bellied Black Snake, Pseudechis porphyriacus, pictured here. The Brown is reputed to have the third or fourth most potent venom of any snake, while the Red-belly comes in rather further down.  It is said that the red-belly will eat brown snakes, and so when they are around, brown snakes will not be a problem.  Just how truthful that is I can’t say, but the years when the red-belly was here we didn’t see a single brown.

A Jewel Beetle, Scutiphora pedicellata:

Welcome Swallows, Hirundo neoxena. The first photo is of a swallow nest and fledgeling in the roof of one of the sheds above where we parked our vehicles. So during the time when the young birds were still in the nest, we had to clean the car windows every time we wanted to drive out!

The second photo is of the swallows bathing in the dam below the house.  They would fly around, then almost hover for a moment, before dipping their breasts into the water.

Two photos of Willie Wagtails (Rhipidura leucophrys). A very common bird, and here all year.  First we see a bird coming in to land on a fence post.  The second is one of a nest.  This is constructed from spider web, and this nest was particularly cozy as it was luxuriously lined with Alpaca fleece that the birds had been able to gather from bits left in the paddock after we had shorn our animals!

14 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. “So during the time when the young birds were still in the nest, we had to clean the car windows every time we wanted to drive out!”

    My kind of human being :~D

  2. Beautiful photos! I think this may be the first time I’ve ever seen a photo of an echidna just puttering around on someone’s property, and it’s very cool.

    It sometimes feels a bit unfair (which makes no sense, of course) that so many of the really venomous snakes in Australia are so innocuous to the eye. How about little warning, huh?

  3. … Chris Taylor in Australia (that almost rhymes!)

    It would rhyme in Boston, were “Australia” followed by a word beginning with a vowel.

  4. Enjoyed these so much. I googled Echidna, a new creature for me. How amazing to have this unusual animal puttering about on your property. They are cute, but not cuddly.

  5. These were a delight. Thanks! What’s “common” down under is still considerably uncommon to an American like me. 🙂

  6. Really great photos. I was particularly interested by the one of the willie wagtail. I’m very fond of the NZ fantail (Rhipidura fuliginosa) – https://nzbirdsonline.org.nz/species/new-zealand-fantail and we currently see a lot in the garden, splashing in the bird bath or fluttering around under the eaves outside the window while I work. They move so quickly all over the place that I wouldn’t know how to even begin to take a decent photograph of one. Would be interested to hear more detail on how Chris gets such good shots.

  7. According to my wife, it’s down to my experience with a camera, good equipment, and sometimes just sheer luck! I’ve been taking photographs for more than fifty years, black and white film, then colour slides, finally digital, so know pretty well what settings I need. I have fairly old Canon bodies (EOS60D and EOS400), with Tamron 18-270mm f3.5 and Canon 80-300mm lenses. These have served me well for many years. Lastly I don’t mind taking a number of exposures to capture the best result. Mostly I get some reasonable shots, often good ones and then just occasionally something exceptional.
    Take plenty. The perfect composition might be out there, but if you don’t press the shutter, it can never happen!
    For instance for the willie wagtail photo I used a fast shutter speed, and took a bracket of three frames, so this one was preceded by two that did not work.
    That said, I can sympathise with you about the Fantail. On a trip across the Tasman a few years ago, (Turangi, Rotorua and Whitianga) I tried many times for a photo. I never did get a satisfactory one.

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