Australia’s Other Wildlife and Fauna

I’ve seen a lot of weird, wonderful and beautiful things since living here in Australia. Some I caught on camera, others were too fast or unexpected, so I missed them.

It’s pretty easy to tell just by reading the following article which were which, even easier because those that were too fast or unexpected don’t have an accompanying picture. One of them, which was too fast and too unexpected, DOES have a picture.

Maybe that’s why I chose it as my number one.

It’s not a great picture, but the fact that it exists is good enough for me.

ANZ augAnyway, I was reminiscing over these strange but beautiful sights because that’s what I chose to write about for my Australia and New Zealand magazine article which appeared in their August edition last month. And here it is again, just for you. The magazine didn’t have room for the pictures, I do…

Strange but beautiful sights.

As you know, Australia is a crawling mass of wildlife. Some people can’t get the scary stuff out of their heads, mainly the snakes and spiders. Others associate Australia with our more cuddly wildlife, like koalas and kangaroos.

Australia’s wildlife is very much like the proverbial double edged sword; scary on the one side, and cuddly on the other. But if there was such a thing as a triple edged sword, the third edge in Australia would be strange but beautiful.

I have had quite a few strange but beautiful sightings since living in Australia, here’s my top five, in reverse order of course! First, I should explain that my wife and I run a local pet care business here, and as such we are often making visits to other people’s houses while they are away. These visits account for three of my sightings, here is the first of those.

This one is not a living, moving creature; it’s nothing more than a mushroom. But it is the biggest mushroom I’ve ever seen in my life. So big, in fact, that it made me say, Crocodile Dundee style, “Call that a mushroom? This is a mushroom!” But nobody was there to hear me. The span of this mushroom was as wide as my foot.

mushroomImagine turning up at somebody’s house and driving down their long driveway at dusk. You park the car, get out and immediately hear very loud rustling from the trees to your right. You swivel your head to see what’s up, and find yourself just about 4 metres or so from a fully grown deer, complete with a large head of antlers. He looked at me, I grabbed my camera, he went. Obviously camera shy.

Sorry, no picture from this event, I wasn’t fast enough, but I swear he looked something like this…

deerVaguely anyway. I don’t think you would have mistook them for twins.

For my third strange but beautiful sight, I had to travel a lot further than a nearby garden. I saw this grub somewhere near Alice Springs in Australia’s Red Centre. Its true name, I have been told, is “Ntyarlke” in Arrernte, a dialect spoken by the Aboriginal people in and around Alice Springs. We English would call it an Elephant Grub. It’s a caterpillar, a very big one, and it’s a cutie!

Elephant GrubAt number two is the strangest and weirdest of my beautiful sights. I was feeding a couple of outdoor dogs at a house very close to where I live. One of the dogs’ food bowls was on the lawn, upside down. Of course, I strolled over to pick it up.

A lorikeet flew out from underneath! He’d been trapped under the dog bowl, who knows how? Lorikeets are small parrots and they are everywhere in the wild around here. No need to buy a pet budgie in Australia, they come free.

I obviously wasn’t fast enough to take a picture of that one, but this is what lorikeets looks like…

lorikeetsBut in top spot, and fully deserved, is my most amazing sighting since living here in Australia. We went whale watching, in a boat, on the Gold Coast. Did we see a whale? No, not unless you count the back end of a bit of blubber from about 300 metres as a sighting. What we did see though, was much better.

Anyone can spot a whale, but we saw a flying fish! Yep, a fish, flying, for about 10 metres! And I caught it all on camera. Life in Australia; sometimes strange, but often beautiful.

Can you see the flying fish? You can click on the picture to enlarge it…

Flying FishNo, not much of a picture, but I suspect you can just about pick out the fish. The magazine can’t show videos either, I can. And the only reason I managed to capture this is by video and you can see the film on my post imaginatively entitled A Flying Fish Film by BobinOz.

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{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Tine September 13, 2012, 6:33 am | Link

    If you want to see whales, go to Point Lookout on North Stradbroke Island or the lighthouse at Byron Bay. I’ve seen the most beautiful whale shows from there, and it’s much cheaper and agreeable than being on a choppy boat!
    http://inhetlandvanoz.blogspot.com.au/2012/09/byron-bay.html

    • BobinOz September 13, 2012, 2:21 pm | Link

      I’ve been to both Straddie and Byron Bay, never saw a single whale. I stared at an empty sea at Point Lookout, and saw a wild snake at Byrons’ lighthouse.

      I’m not really cut out for whale watching.

      Cheers

      Bob

      • Tine September 13, 2012, 9:07 pm | Link

        Honestly Bob, you should try again. I’ve been a few times to Point Lookout since the whale season started (it’s an easy daytrip from Cleveland), and every time I see whales, lots of whales, sometimes only in the distance, sometimes very close. There’s around 15.000 of them passing by, only on the East Coast of Australia!

        Here are some tips:
        1. Pick a clear day with not too much wind. Wind makes the sea choppy and then it’s harder to see the whales.
        2. Take a good pair of binoculars, then you can have a closer look at the whale activity. Only bother to take your camera out when they’re really close, just enjoy the sight with your eyes otherwise
        2. Don’t stay on the grassy bit opposite the cafes, that’s not the best viewpoint. The best views are from the rocks on the North Gorge walk, just a 5 min walk from the cafes.
        3. Do as the locals do, catch the watertaxi and the connecting bus to Point Lookout, that works out a lot cheaper than the vehicle ferry
        4. From the end of Sept until Oct, it will be the best time to see them. Then the whales will be on their trip back South, and are usually a lot more playful. More chance to see breaching whales!

        Byron Bay is also a very good place to try your luck again.
        Two weeks ago we were in Byron Bay and we saw one of the first groups heading South. Two whales put up a real show, they jumped around 20 times out of the water in a row, just in front of the lighthouse! The local guide even had a theory about it. She believes that the whales recognise Cape Byron as a landmark and jump in the air from excitement. It’s not a scientific theory of course, but a nice one I think 🙂

        • BobinOz September 17, 2012, 1:27 pm | Link

          Some good tips there Tine, but nothing would have helped us to see whales when we went, there just weren’t any about and we were standing in the exact spot you mentioned. We went in mid-July, apparently one of the best times of the year to go, and Point Lookout is apparently one of the best land-based locations in Australia to see them from.

          Nothing!

          Maybe I’ll try Byron Bay one day.

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