Kangaroos. With photos » KathSwinbourne

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Jan 02 2015

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Kangaroos. With photos

With a joeyIt’s my first blog of 2015 so I feel this should be something ‘important’.

So what better than kangaroos?

People love kangaroos. Whenever I tweet a photo of kangaroos it’s immediately ‘liked’ and ‘shared’. More so than anything else I post. Except maybe newborn twins, but newborn twins are very, very cute, more so even than joeys.

Newborn twinsNot long ago I took somebody out for a big trip outback. We took in some amazing sights, including icons such as Uluru, but her major ambition for the trip? “I want to see a kangaroo.”

Well, you can go to the zoo for that.

But seeing a kangaroo in captive, or even tame, situations is not the same as seeing them out in the wild.

I took my kids to Broome many years ago, and every night at the Cable Beach Bar we’d sit and have a cocktail (well, I’d have a cocktail, they’d have soft drink and dinner, I’m not that bad a mother), and watch the kangaroos on the grass in front of the bar. They were wild kangaroos and would hop off whenever anybody tried to get near them (or when my kids tried to get near them, but I’m not presuming something personal), but somehow they weren’t really “wild”. They were sort of tame. They’d co-exist with people even if they wouldn’t allow people to touch them.

Kangaroos under the trees near Whitecliffs“Real” kangaroos don’t co-exist with people. And as a result they’re much harder to photograph!

Once we got to outback NSW my travelling companion did see real kangaroos. Hopping along beside the road, under trees in the middle of the day. Even jumping in front of the car as we were driving (they are completely stupid animals with no road sense whatsoever). And she never got sick of it.

Out here at the farm we get real kangaroos everywhere. It’s a big property, so perhaps some of the kangaroos have never seen humans at all.

Part of a big mob of roosThe last few days have been hot, so every afternoon Doc and I sit on the front veranda waiting for a cooling breeze, or at least for the sun to start sinking behind the hills. Then, when it does start cooling, a huge mob of roos suddenly appears on the ridge in front of the house, nibbling at the grass in the lengthening shade of the gum grees. They seem to come from out of nowhere.

The same roos for the last three afternoons. A mob of more than 40.

That’s a big mob, and not the only mob we’ve seen of that size in the last few days. There have been at least 3 mobs of 40-50 or even more roos hopping around the back blocks of the farm. We’ve seen more, but some may be the same mob seen at different times, I can only guarantee 3 different mobs. But that’s at least 120 or more kangaroos in a fairly small space on a very large farm. There are undoubtedly many more.

That’s in addition to many, many solitary male roos seen hopping around.

That’s a lot of kangaroos.

Lunch kangaroos Winton-Jundah (2)My favourite memory of seeing kangaroos was on the trip Doc and I took through outback Queensland on our way back from Cape York in 2011. We had been driving for hours and stopped for lunch under the only tree anywhere in sight. As we were sitting there Doc suddenly went very still. “Shh.” he said “Turn around very slowly.”

I did, and there were two kangaroos about 50 metres from the car, drinking from a water trough set there for the cattle. We watched for a while before I ventured, slowly and quietly, around the car to get my camera. Still they stayed. It wasn’t until one hopped away from the trough that I noticed she had a joey in her pouch.

Rock Wallaby Ormiston GorgeThey probably stayed there for about 10 minutes, drinking, nibbling at the grass, and looking around. We must have been upwind of them, and sitting in the shade they didn’t notice us. Until the wind suddenly changed. Then they pricked up their ears, looked suddenly alert, looked straight at us and hopped off.

It was magic. And a moment I’ll never forget.

I really do know why people are fascinated by kangaroos. Then there’s wallabies ….

Now that I’m back and going through my photos of kangaroos I remembered another favourite moment. We were camped by the Darling River at Menindee Lake, with our own private beach right in front of the tent. Late afternoon a mob of kangaroos came down to drink from the river. They came down in 2s and 3s until there was mob of around 14 there. Here’s the video.

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