One of the best parts about the Australian Institute of Marine Science was the wildlife. Northern Australia has had below-average rainfall this year, partially because of El Nino. The greenery has mostly shriveled up, except for small patches of lawn near the Institute.
Guess where the hungry wallabies go.
So my work suffered frequent wallaby-watching breaks. Over the two months I was there, this joey went from a full-time pouch resident to a semi-independent adolescent. So proud!
Once in a while, I like to wake up in the morning with a very simple plan: walk, and see what happens. One Saturday, this led me to a full-day hike in one of the more isolated parts of Magnetic Island. These tiny skinks kept darting across the path. They almost never stayed still long enough to photograph, but I got lucky with this orange-flanked rainbow skink. I’m not too sure about my identification here, because this skink is not orange, let alone rainbow-colored. But that’s my best guess.
The Australian magpie. Every Australian I’ve spoken to talks about the magpies with equal parts awe and hatred.
These birds are notoriously smart – for example, they have learned to eat poisonous cane toads by flipping them onto their backs and eating their non-toxic organs.
The problem arises during breeding season, when some magpies behave in a way that one article describes as “home-grown terrorism“. These testosterone-pumped males will aggressively defend their nests against pedestrians and bikers, and this battle has cost passersby their eyes, or, sometimes, their lives. It’s lead to articles describing how to stay safe from these angry birds, which advocate everything from putting eyes on the back of your head to wearing a helmet covered in spikes. This is beginning to sound a lot like defenses against drop bears, isn’t it?
Another platypus picture. Such fantastically bizarre little creatures.
While hiking at Daintree, I came across this fruit with a brilliant purple-blue color that you rarely see in nature. It’s probably a quandong (blue fig). Though I didn’t know it at the time, its fruit is edible, though apparently not very tasty.
I have more Australia pictures coming, though most of them come attached to much lengthier stories. So, I’m giving them posts of their own. In the meantime, hope you enjoy this whirlwind visual tour of my time in Australia!