All posts tagged: Emu

Emu foot Dromaius novaehollandiae Monkey Mia Shark Bay Western Australia

Yalibirri – Walking with Dinosaurs

When camping at Monkey Mia it is hard to miss the Emus wandering around the grounds looking for anything edible – or seemingly edible. Regarded by many as a nuisance, for nature lovers as us they offer the perfect opportunity to study them a bit better. What strikes me most about these big birds is their peculiar body structure that is considered by paleontologists as similar to theropods – giant three-toed dinosaurs that roamed the earth in the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. Their feet are very similar to dinosaur feet, and while looking at them walking it’s impossible not to think of their ancestors with toes curling back first and  spreading out again just before planting their foot –  no wonder Hollywood used emus when creating Tyrannosaurus Rex for Jurassic Park!

Emu Dromaius novaehollandiae Gloucester National Park Pemberton Western Australia

Emu – Giant of the Southern Forests

Since I was a young boy I have always been fascinated by the big flightless birds that roam the grass- and woodlands of our planet. I guess their long neck, inquisitive look and striding gait are just a few of the hallmarks that make those animals so completely different and unique. But as these birds only inhabit the continents of the Southern Hemisphere I had to wait a long time to see them in the wild – you might therefore understand my excitement when I spotted my first Ostrich on the plains near Satara in South Africa’s Kruger Park almost 20 years ago. The fascination for big birds never left, so when we heard a family of eight Emus (daddy with his offspring) regularly visited the dam of our friends vineyard in Pemberton, we were getting ourselves ready for some serious bird watching. The beautiful backdrop of this place – a vineyard surrounded by tall golden grass and towering Karri trees smack-bang in the middle of Gloucester National Park – would allow us to take …

Quandong Native Peach Santalum acuminatum

Bush Tucker # 2 – Quandong

Out of all plants the Quandong (Santalum acuminatum) is probably Australia’s most significant bush tucker. It was widely recognised as a source of food and medicine by Aborigines while the aromatic wood was used in their smoking ceremonies. Given the fact that it has adapted extremely well to the arid conditions of the country’s interior the Quandong has often been referred to as ‘Jewel of the Desert’ or ‘Desert Peach’ – one of the plant’s remarkable features is that it is semi-parasitic, with its roots cheekily attached to neighbouring plants for moisture and nutrition in order to survive. The ripe red fruit was a staple food for Aborigines and would be consumed raw or dried for later use – dried Quandongs can be perfectly reconstituted in water years later! The inside of the succulent fruit contains an edible oil-rich kernel with many uses such as skin moisturiser, ointment or ornamental bead. The best place to look for them is underneath the trees – but as emus are particularly fond of the sour tasting fruit the undigested …