Sunday, 30 June 2019

on the trail of the kangaroo

It was on the hill of Amongao/ the Summer of ’93
When some old caballero/ came a-whispering to me,
Saying, "How do you young fellow/ how would you like to go,
And spend the summer pleasantly/ on the trail of the kangaroo?"

I’ve been on the trail of the kangaroo ever since, hopping along in their footsteps. In my travels I encountered other creatures going along their way.
Outfoxed. Joyners Ridge trail in Mt Glorious. This medium-sized fox was laid low next to a drain.In the 1860s the European red fox was introduced to Australia from England as a sport animal. It quickly became a pest species.
Skinking away near Rum Jungle in Mt Barney.. The land mullet is the largest of Australia’s skinks, and frequently seen in rainforests.

An Australian Bustard or plains turkey in the dry plains of central queensland. Australian Bustards are also found on grasslands and in open woodland. 'Say ol' mate turkey, have you seen Skippy?'

What did you just call me?

Who's that? Me or you? Emu: 'there is none of those kangaroos here'.
The emu appears in many Dreaming stories told by Indigenous communities of Australia.

A pair of brolgas dance their way away when my clumsy footsteps they heard.
The dancing Brolga is a most elegant Australian Outback bird.

The largest carnivore remaining in the Australian mainland, the dingo is related to wolves but not part of the ancestral fauna, only arriving recently around 3,500-4,000 years ago. It preys on small native animals such as koalas and the smaller wallaby and kangaroo species.
The dingo hunts far and wide. From the bush in Central Queensland: Annandale Road in Valkyrie near Moranbah. They also range high and low, they are right out on the coastal islands such as below in Kingfisher Bay in Fraser Island.

The short-beaked echidna can be found anywhere in Australia from the outback to the woods out back, and from near the waterfront to the backyard. 
This ambling adventurer hunts up and down the ridges and the gullies wherever there are enough ants or termites. My friend here was roaming the edges of Light Line Road in the open forest bushland between Lake Manchester and Mt Nebo.
Echidnas burrow quickly or curl up in ball when under threat. Echidnas choose refuges that offer good camouflage and where they can remain perfectly still without being detected like this little Camp Mountain local.

Goannas have strong limbs and a powerful tail walk with a swaggering gait.
Kangaroo? They skip away from me.
Most of the 19 species of Goannas in Queensland look fairly similar, though some are more equipped for life in the trees and have prehensile tails. 
All goannas are carnivorous, consuming anything they can overpower; the smaller mammals frogs, birds and reptiles.  Other species will even tackle venomous snakes or a larger koala.

Humpback whales

I looked far and wide, and high and low, but could not spot the white humpback, name of Migaloo.
The whales flipped their tails and set sail.

I did spot a white furry animal in the bush.
I think it's the white wabbit.

I'm certain this is a koala below.
Off Bryden Road in Lake Wivenhoe.
Koalas rest or sleep up to 22hours a day. 
An adult nocturne consumes ½ to 1 kg of mainly gum leaves each day.

The brush-tailed phascogale below, is a carnivorous marsupial, silver-grey with a bushy black tail and pointed nose. It lives in open forest and woodland habitats spending much of its time in the trees.
We found this roadkill victim, probably struck whilst crossing a road up in the Green Mountains of Lamington National Park.

Hey Skip. This tiny red pademelon, snuck away when it saw my melon.

The house of slitherin'.

Freshwater turtles are commonly seen in most Queensland waterways. The Common Snake-necked Turtle is often seen crossing roads during or after rain.
This turtle is highly mobile and moves away from permanent water bodies to find food.
Turtles are a little slow, but this tortoise was not moving anytime soon.

Pigs were brought from Europe to Australia by the First Fleet in 1788. Imported as livestock, pigs soon escaped and established wild populations that have expanded over time. Today, it is estimated that Australia has up to 24 million feral pigs, the same number as people.

Every day on Australian roads, there are killers or killing machines to be exact - exacting heavy toll on wildlife (foxes, snakes, wild pigs, turtles or a phascogale as above), but especially the kangaroo.

One creature that vehicles never seem to hit is that most elusive crow, one of the smartest of animals. So there’s this murder I witnessed one time. The crows were gathered around the carcass of a kangaroo roadkill when a car came speeding towards them from around the bend. Their feathers were hardly ruffled, as to the side they leisurely ambled, evading hardly troubled, the car on the road most travelled.

And there are killers on the trails too. A long chain of Processionary hairy Killer caterpillars in their head-to-tail formation crawl along the high ridges of Gold Creek Trail. These Itchy grubs are the caterpillars of the Bag-shelter Moth.

Plainly, there are millions of birds out there, and on occasion I would spot a rare one or two. Most of the time I would just simply gaze in awe and admiration at their magnificence and majesty and beauty. 
I followed this peacock one day foraging in its old haunts at an old zoo site. I was hoping to see more of them. It would keep its distance not letting me get any closer than a few metres. I soon gave up when I realised it was on its own, no ostentation to be seen there.

"Will you fall into my parlour" said the spider to the plodder, as it weaves its web at Simpson Falls in Mt Coot-tha.
"No he won't, no way" said the birds in unison.

Then there are those four-legged animals: goats, donkey, alpaca, llama