Kangaroo family portrait

Kangaroo mob in the back paddock, Yass Valley, New South Wales, Australia

Say, “Leaves!”

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To celebrate Australia Day (January 26), my ‘One Shot Wonders’ this week will feature some good old Aussie icons.

So today’s Aussie icon is the kangaroo, ‘roo, boomer, Skippy…

There was a well-loved children’s television show in the late ’60s, ‘Skippy, the Bush Kangaroo’. Just about every kid I knew watched it.

My brother even looked like Sonny, the main (human) character from the show and best friend of Skippy.

Following the show, we all tried to whistle with a gum leaf (is that possible?) and thought that kangaroos made that tongue clicking sound. (The reality couldn’t have been more wrong! Ever heard a kangaroo? They grunt and blow air when angry.)

Like Lassie, Skippy always saved the day. Good on ya, Skip!

[http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/0/02/Skippy-dvd.jpg/200px-Skippy-dvd.jpg]

“Skippy, Skippy, Skippy the bush kangaroo.

Skippy, Skippy, Skippy our friend ever true.”  

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Aussie icons, ‘One Shot Wonders’

Photo taken Yass Valley about August 2013, with Fuji FinePix S2980

Skippy the Bush Kangaroo is an Australian television series created by John McCallum, produced from 1966–1968, telling the adventures of a young boy and his intelligent pet kangaroo, and the various visitors to the fictional Waratah National Park in Duffys Forest, near SydneyNew South Wales.

Ninety-one 30-minute episodes were made over the three seasons of production.”

[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skippy_the_Bush_Kangaroo]

January’s new joey (‘One Shot Wonders’)

A glance out the kitchen window on New Year’s Day and I was surprised to see a young female kangaroo and her little joey.

They were taking shade from the heat, resting under the row of pines and gums on our back fence. So they were only about 25 metres from our kitchen sink.

I watched them for a little while, fighting the urge to run for the camera and maybe miss them altogether.

The mum kangaroo stood to the left of her joey, with her back to the house. She sniffed the air and then started to have an arm scratch, like she was scrubbing in the shower.

The joey, facing the same direction, started doing the same thing almost in sync. From where we were standing it looked like a lesson in Japanese fan dancing – but with black claws.

This time I just had to dash to catch it on camera but by the time I got back the mum kangaroo was hopping away onto the neighbours’ shaded lawn.

Kangaroo joey at the fence

Joey. But is this a Joseph? … or a Josephine?

Confused, the joey stayed at the fence maybe trying to look for a way through? It was like it had got left behind in the supermarket.

It was so small, much less than a metre high, with tiny front legs. It had a sweet little grey face.

Finally, not happy being on its own, it hopped after it’s mum.  The call of the pouch was too strong.  ♦

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‘One Shot Wonders’ series

Birds, reflections, evening – Any tips?

This is ‘the one that got away’ – the photo, that is.

Galahs drinking on the Yass River, Joe O'Connor Park, Yass, New South Wales, Australia

Galahs’ ‘Happy hour

A late afternoon coffee, sitting down on the bank of Yass River at Joe O’Connor Park. Just magic!

While we were talking possible kayak launch spots and where you’d cast the fishing line, a flock of pink and grey galahs wheeled shrieking over the bend in the river.

The galahs come up from the river gorge at this time of evening to roost (somewhere?) for the night. We know, they usually fly over our house. You can’t miss them, they’re very noisy. It’s a wonderful spectacle.

So it seemed they’d followed us into town!

They careened over the hill to the park and settled in the old trees on the bank. They found the submerged tree, a good perch with easy access to the water for drinking.

But low light and a fast, flittering, squabbling flock of galahs was beyond my L-plate photography skills. (It was mesmerizing in real life though!)

I can’t wait to get back to the river again. Maybe I can try out the video function to capture them? If only I can herd the galahs back onto that fallen tree!

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So do you have any tips for a better photo?

Technical details: Camera Model Name Fuji FinePix S2980   Continue reading

Clothesline kookaburra (‘One Shot Wonders’)

We’ve had a riot of kookaburras visiting our ‘backyard’ for most of the year! There’s an adult pair, one really ancient and scruffy, and now a new half-grown baby.

One of our visiting Kookaburras perched on the clothesline.

“Hey, I think your clothes are dry.”

Large gum trees tower on the boundary of our block and over in the paddock at the back. One of the adults hunts from a perch on a large stump, then swoops down in the pasture for his catch.

At times the kookaburras hunt from our garden arch, watching the grass in the vacant veggie patch with a steely eye.

Mostly, when they visit the yard behind the house it’s just to rest on the arch, in the shade of the peppercorn tree.

When the ‘kookies’ start their raucous laughter it’s always a delight – whether in the garden or further away in the paddock. You always stop and listen.

Kookaburras laughing!  [ABC Science website]

I think because we don’t have dogs, the local birds use our treed block as a little oasis. We don’t feed the native birds but treat them with fresh water in a hanging bowl and another on a garden table. On hot days we might turn on the sprinkler to give them a hand. 

We have some other nesting birds – crimson rosellas, wattlebirds (the cranky poos), and owls – but we also have a lot of regular drop-ins. Our block is definitely under a flight path!

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‘One Shot Wonders’ series

‘Photo taken November 2013

[Audio source: ‘Laughing kookaburra call (Digiffects)’, ABC Science (website), http://mpegmedia.abc.net.au/science/articles/mp3/20091014Scribblykookaburra.mp3, retrieved 4 Jan 2014]

Lounge lizard (Camera challenge Day 6 – tripod)

Eastern bearded dragon lizard on pine log

Our resident lizard

Out in the backyard about a month ago, we were surprised to see a large lizard doing a dance up near the felled tree at the back fence.

It paraded across the yard with its tail and head raised, then it stopped on a dirt patch and bobbed its head up and down.

It moved on some more and did it all again. Strut, tail up, stop, bob the head.

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Kookaburra close-up (Camera challenge Day 2)

A bird in the hand is worth…

Two kookaburras, Yass Valley 2013

…two kookaburras in the bush

I wondered what to capture for Day 2 of my camera challenge. While thinking, I set about watering the new trees in the garden.

I walked from pot to rose, rose to tree, with the watering can. But I was distracted, heavy with some bad news we had received.

I was lost in my thoughts but soothed by the fresh air, eucalyptus scent and the twittering Rosellas.

Behind me, suddenly the raucous laughter of two kookaburras broke through the air. They laughed and chuckled sitting side by side on the garden arch.

I stood still, hidden from them by the trees, and listened to them falling over themselves in stitches.

It made me smile.   ♦

We have kangaroos in the top paddock!

The neighbour's cows_2011

Over the back fence

If I look out over the back, through the trees and past the post-and-wire fence, usually I see the neighbour’s cows grazing or milling around in the shade of the gums. But yesterday was different…

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