On safari-- wildlife and nature photos

Major Mitchell cockatoo
Major Mitchell cockatoo Click to enlarge
Euro in the mallee
Euro in the Mallee
Nankeen kestrel
Nankeen kestrel
Sand goanna
Sand goanna

Shield shrimpsWildlife of the Outback
Water, or the lack of it, features largely in the lives of outback animals...especially tiny shield shrimp, prehistoric Triops. Their brief lives begin when drought-resistant eggs hatch in pools after rain

Galahs on a useful drinking perch  Galahs on a useful drinking perch  Drinking deeply  Galah drinking

Many of my outback photographs are taken at or near man-made dams because of the lack of natural permanent water. These galahs are drinking from a dam built for sheep in the mallee country near Danggali Conservation Park. Their perch is a wire-mesh frame which fell into the dam-- handily for the galahs, which don't appear to like getting muddy feet at the water's edge

Mulga parrot  Crested pigeons  Diamond dove

Other birds are not quite as fussy about drinking perches. This Mulga parrot compromises by settling on a submerged plastic pipe, while Crested pigeons and Diamond doves happily go to the water's edge

Mating dragonflies  Damsel flies mating  Damselflies

Dragonflies and damselflies: When there's little other activity, the water can still be busy with insect and other invertebrate life. Dragonflies glow as they mate in the late afternoon light; and the much smaller damselflies are busy mating and laying eggs too-- though they can go fully underwater to do both, with the female pulling the male under with her

King brown snake  Euro drinking  Roo leaving a dam  Little corellas  Galahs welcoming the rain  Pelican on Lake Wetherell

Here we see a Mulga (aka King brown) snake drinking from a dam, a Euro enjoying a fairly rare rain-pool on a roadside in the Flinders Ranges, and a kangaroo negotiating a fence after drinking at another dam. Many kangaroos die after becoming entangled in wire fences. Part of a huge flock of Little corellas perches over the Darling River in far western New South Wales, a party of galahs on power lines appear to perform a dance of welcome to a refreshing rain-shower near Broken Hill, and a pelican cruises serenely on Lake Wetherell at Menindee

Emu family drinking  Emu  Suspicious emu  Large family

A family of emus drink from a dam. The adult is the male, as the female plays no part in raising the young after laying her eggs. Her mate hatches the young and looks after them until they're about 18 months old. The males are attentive escorts-- this one watched carefully as the young drank, and its sharp eyes detected the photographer from a considerable distance as the birds were leaving the dam. After a good season, the emu population booms, with large families not uncommon

Cautious feral goat  Feral goats

Feral animals such as goats are a problem because of the damage they do to the delicate environment with their sharp hooves and voracious appetites. Governments and private landholders cull them or muster them for foreign meat markets

Little mastiff-bat in a tangle ©Mark Newton  Bat rescued ©Mark Newton

At times, the outback sky after dusk is alive with bats hunting insects. This is a male Little mastiff-bat Mormopterus planiceps, distinguished by his long tail. On a low pass, he got caught in a black plastic rubbish bag in our camp. Mark and I rescued him, and he flew off. Bats make up 20 percent of the world's mammal species-- second only to rodents

Bearded dragon  Bearded dragon  Bearded dragon on typical vantage point  Tree skink  Sand goanna  Sand goanna  Stumpy-tailed lizard  Western blue tongue

Other reptiles seen in the mallee as well as many other areas are the Central bearded dragon; the small Tree skink; the Sand, or Gould's, goanna, which is a species of monitor lizard; the Stumpy-tailed or Shingleback lizard, one of the Blue-tongue family; the Western blue-tongue; and (below) the Sand dragon, the Crested dragon, and the Painted dragon, which features in a delightful story on my third Outback page Awesome salt lakes

Crested dragon  Painted draqon

Sand dragon  Sand dragons meet  Sand dragon

These two Sand dragons encountered each other while hunting ants among clumps of porcupine grass. The larger male seemed interested in the female, but the interest wasn't returned; she seemed to hold a defensive posture

Corella storm
Storm of corellas, River Darling
Outback bird storms Galah explosion
Galah explosion, Flinders Ranges

Major Mitchell feeding   Major Mitchell cockatoo   Major Mitchell cockatoo

Mallee ringneck    Splendid blue wren   Chestnut-rumped thornbill    Rainbow bee-eater   Spiny-cheeked honeyeater   Red-capped robin   Juvenile red-capped robin   White-browed tree creeper

Wedge-tailed eagles
Wedge-tailed eagles ©Yvonne Milbank
Collared sparrowhawk
Collared sparrowhawk

There's much birdlife in the outback. Large flocks of galahs and other cockatoos and parrots are a colorful and noisy feature of many areas. Some of many other species I've seen are the Major Mitchell cockatoo, Little corellas, the Mallee ringneck parrot, the spectacular Splendid blue wren, the Chestnut-rumped thornbill, the Rainbow bee-eater, the Spiny-cheeked honeyeater, Red-capped robin, the White-browed treecreeper, the Collared sparrowhawk and the biggest raptor, the majestic Wedge-tailed eagle

Red kangaroo   Female red and young   Yellow-footed rock wallaby   Western grey kangaroo   Western grey kangaroo   Western grey kangaroo at dusk   Young Euro

A red kangaroo, taking one last look back before fleeing over a hill in the Flinders Ranges. The most common kangaroo in the Flinders is the euro, while a few rocky gorges are havens for the enchanting but endangered yellow-footed rock wallaby. The mallee country has many western grey kangaroos, as well as euros and reds

Where the photos were taken Click on the Maplink to locate the Flinders Ranges, Danggali Conservation Park and the Broken Hill region

The next Outback page Awesome salt lakes; start your African safari or look at other Australian pages: Birds , Kangaroo Island ,the River Murray , the Adelaide Hills , Victoria, Wildlife carers, or Papua New Guinea

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