Australia’s ‘Other’ Wildlife: Cute Creatures.

Time for another reprint of one of my recent articles for Australia and New Zealand magazine. With impeccable timing, given the cockroach and snake posts of last week, today I’m going to be talking about Australia’s ‘other’ wildlife; the nice stuff.

With articles like this, I have an advantage over the magazine, even if I do say so myself. There is only room for one picture on the page in the magazine, here I can include more.

And add videos.

And link to all the other relevant posts.

So that’s what I’ve done. Every link in this article goes to another blog post with more pictures and even more information about the wonderful wildlife that I see so often in and around Brisbane.

We’ve got a lot to cover, so let’s get going! The magazine titled this one…..

Cute Creatures

Let’s face it; Australia’s wildlife gets a pretty bad press. All the talk is of spiders, snakes, sharks and crocs. But there’s far more to Australian wildlife than that!

When I lived in England, I didn’t really pay too much attention to the other animals who shared my space. To be fair, I didn’t really see too much of them, despite always opting to take the countryside route whenever travelling from one town to the next.

Now I live in Australia, just 20 odd kilometres from the city centre of Brisbane. So I’m not exactly living in the outback, although it is true to say that the Western Suburbs where I reside are very green indeed.

Maybe that is why I am regularly treated to close encounters with some of Brisbane’s finest wildlife.

I’ve driven past water dragons basking on the side of the road; seen a possum pop its head up and look through my front room window whilst I was watching late-night television; been enthralled as flying foxes take temporary residence in a tree in my back garden………………..

…and laughed like a drain along with the kookaburra’s who visit regularly….

It’s really hard not to be happy when those fellows are around.

Brisbane is a birdwatchers paradise with over 370 different species in the area. The kookaburra is my favourite, but close on his heels is the Rainbow Lorikeet, a species of Australian parrot…….

Rainbow LorikeetThese little multi-coloured beauties are always around. No need to buy a budgie at the pet shop here in Australia, just get a bird table and put some pet seed out and lorikeets will come.

Locally, we also have deer, praying Mantis, green tree frogs, goannas and not yet spotted by me (but I’m still looking) platypus and echidna; you don’t get either of those two anywhere else. And when I went to the real outback, the centre of Australia, I saw dingoes and camels, wild camels……


But never mind all that, what about kangaroos? Yes, they are alive and well and still living in the wild, even in Brisbane suburbs. I’ve seen about half a dozen in people’s back gardens within a few kilometres of where I live.

And just the other day, one showed up on the field at my daughter’s school. The kids loved that! Nationally I imagine I’ve seen about 20 or 30. They like to skip, in case you didn’t know.

But for the very best local sightings of Brisbane’s natural wildlife, we like to take the short ferry trip to North Stradbroke Island. Straddie, as it is known, is like a trip back in a time machine.

It has no traffic lights and plenty of wildlife. Kangaroos can be spotted grazing at the side of the road. Whales, dolphins and giant turtles can be seen in the sea. But my favourite sighting from the island was a koala high up in the tree. He was dozing; it’s what they do best….

I wasn’t big on nature back in the UK and I didn’t expect to be after I made the move. But now I’ve lived here a few years, I can say that the native wildlife of Australia is one of the countries biggest attractions. I love it and I haven’t seen the half of it yet.

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{ 7 comments… add one }
  • Natasha December 29, 2011, 6:45 pm | Link

    Thank you for a great article on Australian Wildlife, I enjoyed reading it. I live in the UK and recently got back from a trip to Adelaide. I love the wildlife in Australia especially the koalas, wallabies, the bird life and the Australian Sea Lions on Seal Bay!! I thoroughly enjoyed photographing the wildlife in Australia and was in my element!!

    • BobinOz December 31, 2011, 12:18 am | Link

      Thanks Natasha, yes the wildlife here is a real bonus. I never took much notice in the UK, but here, I just love it.

  • Melinda November 19, 2011, 7:08 pm | Link

    It has taken me a while to be able to recognise all of them, I bought my mother a pair of binoculars and a book about Australian Birds, because we’ve found it so lovely to just sit and watch the birds when we have the time to spare. I also use the Birds in Backyards website to help if I can’t find them in the book. Which is why I don’t know what all the small birds near the creek are, I haven’t looked them all up yet, but I think there are a couple of kinds of Robins and Superb Fairy-wrens, I think.

    I will to be living in Dorking, Surrey. I am going there to live with my boyfriend, who came over here on a working holiday visa and was one of the unlucky ones who just could not find anyone willing to hire him. So, he went back to his job and his family/friends, now my son and I are going to see if we can make it work over there.

    • BobinOz November 22, 2011, 3:12 pm | Link

      Well, I hope you enjoy the UK, it will be a good experience. Make sure you visit as many European countries as you possibly can, flights can be extraordinarily cheap.

      Then, when you are fed up with it and homesick, I suppose you will have to marry your boyfriend and bring him back here with you 🙂

      Good luck Melinda!

  • Melinda November 17, 2011, 10:57 am | Link

    Thank you for the lovely post. The wildlife is one of the main things I know I will miss when I move to England in 3 weeks. In my backyard I get to see: Rainbow Lorikeets; Sulphur-Crested Cockatoos, Australian King-Parrots; Kookaburras; Eastern Rosellas; Little Corellas; Crested Pigeons; Galahs; Satin Bowerbirds; Regent Bowerbirds; Grey Butcherbirds; Pied Butcherbirds; Magpie-larks; Bush Turkeys; Tawny Frogmouths (they like to sit on our clothes line at night); Blue-tongue lizards; Possums (well, I hear them more than I see them and they never get into the roof thankfully); and Flying Foxes. I’ve even seen some Magpie Geese, which was a surprise. Also, even though I hate them swooping, I will miss the Magpies, but that is only because of their warble.

    I also get to hear Bellbirds, Eastern Whipbirds and Superb Lyrebirds, and a 5 minute walk down the road means I get to see Eastern Waterdragons, as well as a variety of small insect eating birds, and Yellow-tailed and South-eastern Red-tailed Cockatoos.

    Looking at this list makes me realise how unimaginative some of our names for birds are, haha. Even though I am excited to hopefully see some of the different types of wildlife in England, I know I will really miss some of the wildlife I have been lucky enough to see and hear in the area I’ve grown up in.
    So, thank you for this post, as I sit here listening to the birds, it has reminded me how lucky I’ve been to have so many beautiful animals in my own backyard. There are even more that I have seen while at University or at my sons school, such as the Purple Swamphen, Masked Lapwing and the Australian White Ibis.

    I’m sorry this comment is so long and rambling! 🙂

    • BobinOz November 19, 2011, 1:30 pm | Link

      No need to apologise, it’s an excellent comment and shows what a birdwatchers paradise this country is.

      Melinda, your back yard is like a dictionary of Australian birdlife! I am impressed with your identification skills, I reckon I would only recognise four or five of those birds.

      So you are off to England, where? Why? I’m sure you’ll agree, the wildlife there isn’t anywhere near as much fun as the wildlife here. But look on the bright side, England has sparrows!

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