Australian Mammals, Australian Wildlife, Wildlife
Comments 11

Common Wallaroo – Bigurda

Common Wallaroo Euro Bigurda Marsupial Kalbarri National Park Western Australia

“The estuary appeared this morning even more lovely than yesterday, and as the heavy morning mists arose, unfolding its beauties to our view, all those feelings came thrilling through my mind which explorers alone can know; flowering shrubs and trees, drooping foliage, a wide and placid expanse of water met the view; trickling springs and fertile flats were passed over by us; there was much barren land visible in the distance, though many a sign and token might lead the practical explorer to hope that he was about to enter upon a tract of an extent and fertility yet unknown in south-west Australia” – George Grey, Journals of two expeditions of discovery

When Sir George Grey and his exploring party stranded in Kalbarri in 1839, they were the first Europeans to see the mouth of the Murchison river, with 820 kilometres the second longest river in Western Australia. It rises north of Meekatharra in central Western Australia, from where it flows southwest to the Indian Ocean. For about 80 kilometres, when the river enters Kalbarri National Park, it meanders through a narrow and steep gorge carved out of the 400 million years old red and white bended Tumblagooda sandstone. The outstanding beauty of the gorge make this pristine wilderness a major drawcard, however, further exploration of the Park’s pretty estuary and rugged coastline is highly recommended.

Australian Pelicans Murchison Kalbarri Western Australia

The coastal section of Kalbarri National Park consists of steep sandstone cliffs, where the relentless force of the Indian Ocean has created remarkable features such as Mushroom Rock, Island Rock and Natural Bridge out of the layered sandstone. These landmarks are all connected by the eight kilometres long Bigurdu trail, named after the Nanda word for the Common Wallaroo or Euro (Macropus robustus), a marsupial that can be encountered grazing on the coastal heath at dusk and dawn.

Although it can be tricky to distinguish the Common Wallaroo from the Western Grey Kangaroo (Macropus filiginosus), a closer look learns they  are markedly different: Wallaroos not only have shorter limbs, they also have a shorter fur that ranges in colour from reddish brown to ironstone red. As opposed to Western Grey Kangaroos, Wallaroos exhibit embryonic diapause, and although a female can become pregnant soon after giving birth, the new embryo remains underdeveloped until the pouch is free.

Wallerroo Euro Kalbarri National Park Western Australia

Wallaroos can be found feeding in the open expanse relatively easy, however, some individuals prefer steep and rocky areas, earning them the nickname ‘Hill Kangaroo’. In this habitat overhanging rocks, ledges and even caves are used for shelter against the often extreme heat. And for those who dare to look beyond the edge another world unfolds. Call it a lucky day!

Dolphin Pod Kalbarri National Park Western Australia





      • I was recently in the Badlands of South Dakota and I thought the same thing. What must it have been like to see it for the first time? Of course in those days, there was no technology to instantly share what a place or people looked like, so each person would feel as if s/he had seen somewhere for a first time.

      • Ha, the vice and beauty of social media… The beauty (and vice) of places like the Badlands (and so many others) luckily remain the same if we bother to look after them as well as their traditional custodians. Although things are always improving, we unfortunately don’t have a great record with both in Australia…

    • Hi Dries,

      So happy to welcome you back here again! We have been well, thanks, and hope you have been well too. As mentioned, the past 9 months or so felt like a self-imposed exile from photography and blogging, very busy with little room and energy for creativity. Maybe even a lack of inspiration? who knows, even nature couldn’t provide the medicine. When I received an email the other day asking for permission to use one of my images for James Cook University’s Indigenous Education and Research centre, I kind of felt like all the previous dedication to this project would be in vein if I didn’t continue it. So hopefully I turned that corner and find a way to give it the time it deserves.

      • A sabbatical may just have been what you needed, Maurice. I know we are looking forward to whatever you have to share as much as before!

  1. Pingback: Western Grey Kangaroo | i AM Safari

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