Explorer and Independent Biologist

Monday, 2 May 2011

Outback wildlife

Following previous floods further north in Queensland, the flood waters drained into the Darling River which overflowed its banks into the surrounding flood plain, covering huge areas. When Simon and I arrived in the Kinchega National Park, the water levels were starting to subside, leaving areas of muddy, boggy ground with lagoons that were drying out.

You can see the muddy margin of this lagoon 
on the far side, as it begins to dry out

Simon tinkers with his engine before a tour of the 
Kinchega National Park to observe the rich wildlife

Parts of the higher ground that was innundated 
is now rendered to an impassable muddy surface

There are numerous wet areas that were previously dry. 
This has resulted in population explosions of fish, 
and the birds that feed on them.

As the lagoons dry out, the huge numbers of fish become concentrated, 
making them easy prey for the voracious Great White Egrets, 
and many other fish-eating birds
 A mob of Pelicans circle round looking for somewhere 
to join in the feeding bonanza
The Australian Darter uses its dagger-sharp bill to spear fish

Whistling Kites sit around the margins waiting to swoop 
and grab a hapless fish from the water...

...whilst the Black Kite is more of a scavenger, 
snatching fish from other birds, or tucking into dying fish 
that have been stranded in shallow water as the lagoons dry out

Seed-eating birds, like these Red-tailed Black Cockatoos,
also benefit from the flooding when vegetation flourishes

Small flocks of Budgerigars appeared 
as migrating flocks dispersed
Many land animals will have drowned during the flooding, 
but this Stumpy-tailed Lizard evidently found a dry place to survive

This Laughing Kookaburra strayed too close 
without realising that 'Fowler' means 'birdcatcher'

This is my final post on an Australian theme.
I should like to thank my hosts
Simon, Bonny, Rosalie, Susana and David
most sincerely for their warm and generous welcome
and  for making me feel one of the family.

Next stop Japan!


  1. Wow, all those Egrets. I'm blessed when I see even one when I visit the East coast of the Chesapeake Bay. Thanks for this look at the Outback, and especially these wonderful creatures: A great blessing indeed.

  2. So wonderful. This well could have been a documentary. Amazing indeed. So nice you could spend that time with Simon and his family.

  3. Did you have any rings to ring the Kookaburra? That is a lovely photo of you. Wouldn't mind a copy!

  4. p.s. Why do you think Mozart's Birdcatcher Song keeps going round and round my brain?!

  5. My goodness, how you get around! So nice to hear you've made it over to Simon's corner of the world. The photographs are wonderful.

  6. Very nice pics Maalie. Fancy catching a Kookaburra - you are a clever bird catcher indeed!

  7. such beautiful pictures.. thank you for sharing them :) Can't wait for your Japan pics

  8. Fantastic pics Maalie! I love the one of the kite - awesome :D

    As with everyone else I'm looking forward to Japan too.

  9. Love you Jim, I'm so glad that you had a fantastic trip and saw some amazing birds. xxx

  10. Thank you whoever posted this link xx

  11. Goodbye my friend. I loved you more than you knew.

  12. @ Jenny:
    He also loved Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 4.
    Very much.

  13. Thanks again. Jim will be greatly missed by so many. We'd just been discussing his special Druid robes he wanted to have made for my wedding next month and I was so happy that he was able to come. Much love to all of the family xxx

  14. We will miss Jim so much! Our grief and prayers are with loved ones and friends. Listened to Gustav from these links. Moving.

  15. Jim- thanks to a dear friend. For making me slow down and to look at birds, for teaching my children to observe nature in a new way, For allowing me to share Shetland and your work there. For sharing a beer around a camp fire, and for having me as your guest and getting together every year

    I will miss our talks on art, ballet, Sylvie Guillem and the Black dog Pub. I shall miss knowing we will never talk again.

    You said to me whilst here you were so much looking forward to the Pelagic Trip as it was the last time yo would see your favorite bird- The Albatross. I felt a bid odd when you said that and had the chance to ring one. I have never seen so much "boyish enthusiasm"

    You died as you lived mate- doing what you loved.

    Thank you for the gift of birds.

  16. Jim, Your enthusiasm and zeal for observing and learning from the natural world were inspiring. Thanks for all the encouragement you have given me. My thoughts are with your family and friends.

  17. I have a heavy sadness that I will not be able to discuss the Bible with Mallie anymore. He and i had our moments, but I came to like him very much. My heart goes out to Jill especially, and the rest of his family. May the Lord comfort them all. I was blessed to to be able to know Jim Fowler.

  18. my entire family is very upset.

  19. Great post! Keep up the good work!

  20. I met you because of our shared love of Shetland; regularly keeping in contact via emails and so many kind comments on my blog. I learnt so much about Shetland, birds... the list is endless...I truly appreciated your support and I will really miss you. My thoughts are with your family and friends xxx

  21. Maalie, you were a real gentleman and a wonderful friend. I will remember your sweetness, your kindness and your enthusiasm for life.

    If this could be just a nightmare! I can't believe that you're not with us any more.

  22. Awesome photography. I am perfectly overwhelmed to come across this post. All the pictures throws natural beauty and excitation for nature lovers.

  23. I dreamed of you the other night. You were holding my hand, and all was alright.

  24. well mate, its a year ago today I dropped you off at the airport. We are all thinking of you and remembering the great times we shared. Simon and family.

  25. I was thinking of Maalie today as well Simon. I miss him quite a lot; for there are few and far between exceptional men like him around today. Though we disagreed with fervency, and had our moments of blogging-fisticuffs, his demeanor was in the end gracious, and this is why I liked him so much.

  26. yes mate. I was thinking of him at the Nyngan park where we spent hours birding. I just completed the same trip as I did last year.

    Don, its a funny thing. I never thought a loss of life would have such an impact. yet there it is. the word that comes to mind is "passion" and thats what all my kids and family felt.


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