I keep going on about the drought, but it really is the most visible thing out here these days. Most of my wildlife encounters these last few months have been of roadkill, of animals moving across country to find food and water and being hit by vehicles, and other animals going for the roadkill and getting hit in turn. I haven’t wanted to photograph those for my blog. I’m sure if I looked hard enough I could find something alive to show you, but everywhere I turn all I see is dust. We had a nice little rainstorm about a week ago, but it won’t mean much unless there’s follow-up this season.
And on that depressing note, here are some photos I took around the region this month, which show just how stark it is out here.
Emu in woodland, Darlington Point. No grass or groundcover.
My apologies for the lack of October blog post, it’s been hard to find much to blog about recently, with natural areas across the region being not really at their best, given the current drought conditions.
Today’s post will be a selection of photos I took while driving around my patch during October and November; a mixture of incidental wildlife sightings and snapshots of the drought-affected landscape.
In roughly chronological order, I present to you:
A Bearded Dragon (Pogona barbata) sunning itself in a driveway near Narrandera. I saw at least three of these within a two week period in various locations, which is more than I am accustomed to seeing over such a short period of time. Either I was lucky, or they’re yet another species that’s venturing closer to roads and human-inhabited spaces looking for water and food this season.
Everything happens in April. This is just a fact of my life somehow. But! I promised I would try to go somewhere in April, and so I managed to just squeak in a late-day visit to Narrandera Common yesterday, after the annual koala count had ended.
I usually attend the koala count, but was unable to this year, but I figured I could head out there in the afternoon and at least find the beribboned trees the counters had located koalas in. In about a 2 hour period I managed to find three. The rest must have been cunningly hidden, or at least away from the trails I was following. I did speak to a local person who had participated in the count, who said they’d found a total of 29 koalas across the whole count area, so I guess I just needed to look harder for the marked trees.
While I was making my way around, looking for trees sporting ribbons and koalas, I took a few pictures of other things I saw, and just as the light was going I stopped to take some pics of a small group of kangaroos, and was super excited to see a wallaby nearby. Said wallaby was then kind enough to stay put, nearby and plainly visible, while I tried to take some photos in the fading light.
So here are my photos from my little trip to Narrandera Common yesterday:
I have been so busy this month that I nearly didn’t manage a field visit, but with today being the last day of the month, the weather being nice, and my having no hugely urgent work that desperately needed to be done today, I decided to take a day off and go for a walk/drive out bush somewhere.
I further decided that ‘somewhere’ would be MIA1 – a former state forest reserve that is now part of the Murrumbidgee Valley National Park, and is located between Narrandera and Leeton. MIA1 is one of the sadly numerous reserves in the Riverina that I have spent my life driving past, but never actually visiting. I fixed that today.
Today was the Annual Koala Count in Narrandera. I have been every year for the last several years, except when it’s been called off because of rain or flooding, and as I did last year, I decided the Count could be April’s official field visit.
I believe I have previously mentioned that this has been an unusually wet year – well it’s gotten wetter. All the creeks across the region are over-top, as is the river in several places, and there is so much standing water in paddocks just from rainfall that it’s impossible to tell if you’re looking at flooding from a waterway or not.
I was tempted to just drive around and take photos of all the water everywhere for this month’s field trip, but in the end I decided to head to Narrandera Common, so you can compare this month’s photos with ones I’ve taken there on previous visits.
With both Bundidgerry Creek and the Murrumbidgee River to contend with, Narrandera Common currently looks like this:
Every April the Narrandera Koala Regeneration Committee and the National Parks and Wildlife Service organise Narrandera’s Annual Koala Count. I was told recently that this is one of the longest-running citizen science wildlife monitoring programs in Australia (or maybe just the longest-running koala-specific one – possibly both, I’m not sure). I don’t remember how long it’s been going, but I think somewhere around 20 or 25 years.