[Above: An angry frillneck lizard, slightly off-center.]
It’s been nearly a year now since I headed halfway around the world to write about Australia for Slate. I was recently sorting through my digital photos of this experience, and I was struck by how many pictures I had of wildlife. My Slate story focused on the Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territories, of course, but I came across countless exotic (for me, at least) animals along the way.
If there’s anything that unifies my photos of these animals, it’s that most of these pictures turned out OK without being all that great. That is, they are a nice reminder of the wildlife I encountered, but most of the pictures are too blurry, off-center, or poorly lit to be of publishable quality. Here’s a selection of those mediocre photos:
- I spotted this red kangaroo in the Flinders Ranges of South Australia. The Flinders Ranges were also great for spotting wallabies, as well as observing kangaroo family life. South Australia, I discovered, is also home to some pretty massive spiders.
- My guide for much of my South Australia sojourn was an Aboriginal fellow named Hayden Bromley, who loved lizards, such as this shingleback skink he found along the roadside, or this frilled dragon, which got loose in the car and ended up traveling with us for the better part of a week. Hayden’s uncle Kelvin (who eats a couple kangaroos a week) took us hunting one morning, and he bagged this red kangaroo joey. Aborigines have been eating kangaroo meat in that part of the world for upwards of 20,000 years — probably the oldest continuous culinary tradition in the world.
- Further north, up in the rivers of the Kakadu region of the Northern Territories, I saw plenty of crocodiles, both in the water and out. This wet region is great for spotting birds, such as the Jabiru (those are magpie geese in the background), as well as sea eagles and herons. While in Kakadu I also spotted this miniature green tree frog on a freshwater mango tree, and I saw plenty of ants (seen here on a “bush apple” in Arnhem Land).
- At times, I spotted wildlife in unlikely places, such as this mother-and-baby pair of tawney frogmouths (which I allude to in my Slate story) in the desert-like heat of Uluru, and this carpet python in a suburban bathroom in Darwin (seen in the clutches of snake-handler Chris Peberdy, who I previously profiled here).