Month: August 2014

Short-beaked Echidna monotremes Lesmurdie NP

Short-beaked Echidna

Sometimes we travel long distances in the hope of finding our favourite animals. The idea is to cover as much ground as possible to increase chances of crossing paths somewhere along the track. However, some of our most memorable wildlife encounters were right at the doorsteps from more or less permanent residences; rest camps, look-outs, campgrounds or, more recently, our own house aka Tree hut. Yes, staying put and quietly observing your immediate surroundings is often the best way to enjoy wildlife in a much more relaxed and natural way – at least in my humble opinion. Yesterday we experienced another highlight so incredibly nearby. Just when I wanted to go for a late afternoon run a rustling noise in the bush drew the attention of my wife. Careful analysing the sound we came to the conclusion it couldn’t be one of the Western Grey Kangaroos living in the reserve. Quickly grabbing the camera and climbing over the fence of the garden we tried to discover the tiniest movement in the scrubby undergrowth of the …

Koala Yanchep NP

Koala

If there is one animal that has become a beloved Australian icon it is the Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus). Widely perceived as cute and cuddly this arboreal marsupial feeds a few hours a day on Eucalyptus leaves. As this diet hardly contains any nutrients and calories koalas spend most of the time sleeping in a tree, and as nineteenth century British naturalist John Gould observed ‘it is so slothful that it is very difficult to arouse and make it quit its resting place’. Large numbers of koalas have been hunted for its fur and skins in the late 19th and 20th century. Regarding the millions of skins exported Koalas once were much more abundant than they are today. However, clearing, fragmentation and degradation of natural habitat, infections with Chlamydia, bush fires and drought are the main causes of population declines or collapses since the ban on the fur trade. The natural range of Koalas currently stretches from the north-east Queensland to the south-east corner of South Australia, a distribution thought to be similar to the one …

Common Donkey Orchid Lesmurdie Falls NP

Common Donkey Orchid – Djilba

Common Donkey Orchids (Diuris corymbosa) are some of the easiest recognisable Australian orchids due to their large ‘Donkey ear-like’ petals. These orchids flower between August and October, and with the first specimens blooming on the sandy soils of the Darling scarp the first signs of spring have finally arrived. According to the Nyungar calendar this time of the year is called¬†Djilba¬†– the growing season during which a massive explosion of wild flowers in Australia’s South West is happening. In anticipation of this botanic spectacle it would be an understatement to say we are getting a little excited!