Category Archives: Animals on land

A study in contrast

The weather has warmed up and snakes are on the move. Here on Bundjalung Country, late July and August are called ‘Coming Out Season‘: Getting dryer and can be strong winds, first hint of northerly winds. Birds starting to sing … Continue reading

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The introduced Mexican beetle

This pretty little beetle was in the backyard last week. I couldn’t find it in my reference books or on the ‘net so I asked the ever-helpful Queensland Museum, who identified it as the parthenium or Mexican beetle, Zygogramma bicolorata. … Continue reading

Posted in Animals on land, Insects | Tagged | 2 Comments

The reptile and the monotreme

I heard the first boobook of the season the other night, and the first cicada. The mulberry tree’s leaves are growing back, and the whipbirds are going nuts with their call-and-response mating calls. Some frogs are even calling, and soon … Continue reading

Posted in Animals on land, echidnas, Lizards | Tagged , | 4 Comments

The swamp rat

Sometimes it is educational to see a dead body, and sometimes it is just sad. I found this native swamp rat (Rattus lutreolus) at the front of my house. The body was very fresh and just the head had been … Continue reading

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Not your average Christmas reindeer

Svalbard reindeer (Rangifer tarandus platyrhynchus) are endemic to Svalbard and are the smallest subspecies of reindeer – about half the weight of other reindeers. They sure do look small with their short legs and pot bellies. We saw several small … Continue reading

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Walruses suck!

They really do! Let me explain. I’d only seen walruses (Odobenus rosmarus, ‘odobenus’ from the Greek meaning ‘tooth-walker’; they sometimes haul themselves out of the water using their tusks) in TV documentaries, a la David Attenborough. I think Taronga Zoo … Continue reading

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Polar paws

There are two types of polar paws on Svalbard: those of the arctic fox and the polar bear. I find bears interesting, possibly because we don’t have any in Australia (no, a koala is not a bear),  so I can’t … Continue reading

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Koala aloha

The local male koala has been creating quite a din over the last few nights, and we finally got a shot of him at twilight, high up a gum tree. You can hear a recording of the call here. It’s … Continue reading

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In the Arctic circle

After a couple of days in Oslo, we flew to Longyearbyen in Svalbard (aka Spitsbergen, the island of pointy mountains, halfway between the north of Norway and Greenland) via Tromso, but I will leave talk of Longyearbyen, Tromso, Bergen and … Continue reading

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Red-legged pademelon

We see red-necked pademelons (Thylogale thetis), usually alone but sometimes two or three together, in our backyard in early morning and twilight. They are very shy and bolt at the slightest disturbance. The joeys are tiny and very cute. Up … Continue reading

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