Australian Creatures Great and Small

As some readers may know, I’m a bit of a bird-nerd. One of the things I was most looking forward to about Australia was seeing all their beautiful birds (Australia has nearly 900 recorded species!). One good thing to come out of all this isolation and social-distancing time is that I’ve had lots of time to go birding.

My tally is rising slowly (after five months in Australia, I’m only at 66 species) but every bird here is beyond exciting for me.

One of my favourites so far is the classic Australian kookaburra. I saw tons of these at my last job; there was one that would come and sit on the rails of the horse stall. I hear them regularly in Wagga, as well; you can hear the kookaburras laughing raucously and calling to one another at nightfall.



One of my other favourites so far is a tiny, gorgeous bird called the Superb Fairywren. I first saw this bird about a month ago. I was sitting at the kitchen table, battling through homework with the kids I watch. I was staring out the window, watching a cloudy, gloomy day outside that almost matched my mood (I was feeling pretty down that day about COVID-19, not being able to travel, and having seen so little of Australia so far). And then the most beautiful little bird with shocking blue feathers hopped into my view, peeked in the window at me, and flew away.

It made my day.

I used my bird guide for the ID and learned to recognize the female of the species as well. The same pair (a male & female) visits me almost every morning at the same time, flitting around in the trees just outside the window. Today I finally got a photo.

Superb Fairywren:


Singing his song:


In addition to birds I’ve also seen heaps and heaps of kangaroos! (Or as the Aussies call them, “roos”. Australians like to shorten everything).

When I first lost my job as a polo groom, I had an excessive amount of time on my hands. There was a little herd of kangaroos that lived in the ravine behind my staff house, and I spent a lot of time watching them from my porch. They would come quite close:



Last week in Wagga, I got a special treat. There’s a farmer growing wheat in the field behind the property I’m at, and every day at sundown the roos love to come and have a little snack. Last Thursday I saw two large male roos boxing!

They hold themselves up on their super strong tails and then kick and hit each other. (Photo is a little blurry – they were a field away):


I’ve also seen an echidna (which is like a hedgehog, with a long nose). I’m still hoping to see a wombat, and I would love to see the elusive duck-billed platypus.

And of course – one can never see too many birds.


The Eastern Rosella.


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