This intense-looking bird is a black currowong native to Australasia that I photographed while hiking in Tasmania. These birds look quite similar to Australian magpies except that their eye color is yellow instead of red. They have a very special relationship with the richea honey bush and were featured in a David Attenborough narrated documentary called Life in the episode on plants. The honey bush encases its flowers in individual little pods which protect the flowers from cold weather and icy winds that are common in Tasmania. Unfortunately it also prevents successful pollination of the flowers by insects which cannot access them nor remove the protective outer casing. When warmer weather comes along the flowers produce a nectar which attracts the currawongs. They go about their day pulling off each of the little flower pods to access the nectar which also exposes the flowers to pollinating insects and thus the plant can reproduce.
This flower is an unknown that I photographed in Tasmania. A little, orange, star-shaped flower on a small shrub in the Tassie grasslands. Even though I spent a very long time trawling through Google images under many search terms, the flower and the name remained elusive. I am surely not the only person to have photographed this little gem, so if anyone can shed some light on this flower, that would be very much appreciated. It is fitting that I introduce a star in a month where the talk of planets has been quite abundant. The five planets Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn have been visible this month in the night sky, together, shortly after sunset. I hope some of you have been out sky, star and planet gazing this month. Happy Friday everyone!
Today is a pademelon photo purely for the cuteness factor. I just look at this furry, chubby little critter and want to cuddle it. Hopefully, this little cutie can bring a big smile to your face on what is likely a very ordinary Thursday (or at least it is for me).
If you’d like to read more about their fascinating reproductive biology, please click here.
I don’t think many of us from mainland Australia would know that Tassie has its very own type of Waratah. The waratah is a very special flower to those of us from the state of New South Wales, as it is our state emblem. The Tasmanian variety is called Telopea truncata (seen in the photo above), which has different flowers to Telopea speciosissima that we are used to seeing. Through pure chance, this photo also includes a damselfly which might be one of three different types (apparently commonly mistaken) called Austrolestes annulosus (the blue ringtail), Coenagrion lyelli, or Caliagrion billinghursti. After looking through many photos of them on Google, I am most definitely not taking the chance at picking which one! Sometimes we are better off not knowing and just enjoying, have a great weekend everyone!
Since Tasmania has gotten such a great reception on my website, I thought I would continue this week with some more photos from the same area. This small pond that I came across on a walk, was clearly the perfect meeting place for numerous wildlife and insects. Looking into the water you could see millions of tadpoles at various stages of metamorphosis, even some having both legs and a tail, almost ready to fully transition into a frog. The grassy bushes were filled with damselflies chasing each other, interlocking, and forming their heart-shaped mating pose. Snaking through the shrubs are the favorite trails of the wombats who live here, the plants trodden down by the weight of these stocky creatures. A few times I was lucky enough to see them out for their late afternoon dinner, and they were quite happy to pose for some photos (see wombats here).
I will always be a Sydney girl with a love of visiting the tropics as often as possible. However, I cannot deny that there is something alluring about Tasmania that I don’t completely understand. I feel like it’s the perfect destination of an aspiring farmer, or a lover of camping, a retiring couple, or at the very least, a cold weather tolerant person….all of which, I most certainly am not. Despite this, I am drawn to this part of Australia in admiration of the rugged beauty that this tiny state possesses.
In the photo above, I especially love the sense of loneliness that this landscape depicts. The blue sky being invaded by clouds that change in mood across the photo. The golden tufts of grass, creeping up to the gnarly dead tree that commands your focus. It has a sense of space, of freedom, even if you will spend it alone…it is beautiful.
Sorry to inundate you with such cuteness on Monday morning, but this photo was too adorable to not to share. This pademelon youngster following its mother around is about 6-8 months of age. Interestingly, mum is likely to already have another joey in the pouch. The reproductive cycle is a bit complicated, but stick with me on this. When mum gives birth to a new born (after 3 weeks gestation) the little jelly bean climbs up her tummy and into the pouch where it lives for the next 6 months. As soon as the baby is born, mum is immediately receptive to mating again. If she does and the egg is fertilized, it is put into a state of suspended animation until the current joey exits the pouch. When the pouch is vacated, the blastocyst continues to develop and the newest baby is born. It then climbs into the pouch and attaches itself to a teat for milk. The youngster outside the pouch will still put its head into the pouch for milk (where it meets its younger sibling). Even more interesting is that mum is making newborn milk for the little joey, and from a separate teat, toddler milk for the older sibling, and has a blastocyst in suspended animation as a backup. Talk about a very efficient parenting strategy!
In Tasmania, like many places around the world, springtime means a lot of youngsters are finally out roaming around. Pademelons are marsupials (they have a pouch) which are particularly abundant in Tasmania, Australia. Baby pademelons are born at any time throughout the year, though higher numbers are born at the start of winter and spend the first 6 months in the warmth and safety of mums pouch.
This gorgeous wallaby was photographed in Tasmania, Australia. Native to Australia, these beautiful animals are in the same family as Kangaroos but were informally designated as wallabies due to their generally smaller size. Interestingly, there are a number of feral populations of wallabies in various places around the world including Hawaii, England and France because these bouncy critters are great at escaping from the zoo!
Each year the season of Spring brings with it an influx of animal youngsters growing up in the warmer months of the year. Spring time in Tasmania, Australia, is a particularly wonderful time of year where baby wombats are following their mothers around. They are incredibly cute and cuddly, and very solid little creatures. Don’t let that fool you though, as they have quite large and sharp claws for digging burrows, and can run surprisingly fast for their short little legs. This particular mum and bub was quite happy to be photographed, even sharing a very cute and cuddly moment with the camera whilst contently munching on the grass.