This young elephant gave us a bit of an uneasy moment when it started shaking its head and trunk. They were quite close and moving towards where we were stopped on the causeway, level with the river bed. Luckily it was just having a bit of a shake. The small herd crossed just in front of the car; quite a memorable experience. I’m really happy to have captured the moment without missing a bit of foot or trunk. After this they were too close for my big lens – sometimes you just have to enjoy the scene and forget about taking photos for a bit. The images below were taken after they had passed the car and were heading back into the bush.
Baby elephant following mum out of the river bed
Young elephant in river bed
I have decided to abandon the ‘daily diary’ I was doing for my posts. Instead this post is all about the ellies. We were treated to quite a number of elephant sightings in our week in the park – not a problem as they are one of my favourite animals. Often they were at waterholes or in what seemed like dry river beds, digging below the surface to get at the water. They like to play too, chucking mud and water everywhere. This group had a couple of cute babies with them.
Baby elephant drinking
Elephants looking for water in the river bed
Small baby elephant
Elephants can be quite destructive eaters – not surprisingly, they have huge appetites to match their size. Watching this elephant demolish very unappetizing-looking branches was impressive. They also use their tusks to cause a fair amount of damage to the bark of many trees.
Dryandra and the surrounding area is always good value from a birding point of view, particularly considering the proximity to Perth (about 2 hours driving). From a photography point of view, I appreciate the fact that I can just wander off from the cottages and find plenty to see and photograph. On our last visit, the old arboretum was very productive, as the yellow eucalyptus flowers were attracting several different species of honeyeater. Although the Singing honeyeater is a common species in Perth, it was great to have them feeding at eye-level. I enjoyed seeing and capturing the smaller Brown-headed honeyeaters – they were quite a challenge as they flit about busily.
An entertaining spectacle was provided by a very fierce Willie Wagtail that seemed to have a kamikaze approach to life; diving and swooping at the much larger Grey Currawong. Currawongs probably do eat nestlings of other birds, so I guess the wagtail could be justified – the strange thing was that only one of the pair of currawongs seemed to attract the Willie wagtail’s ire. Meanwhile, a Ringneck parrot quietly went about feeding in the weeds in the adjacent paddock.
Australian ringneck feeding
Some of the first bird images I took with my ‘big lens’ (the Sigma 150-500) were taken in Dryandra in July two years ago. I have learnt a lot about photography since then but am still fond of these pictures – partly due to the subjects being such beautiful birds. They were all feeding on another eucalypt species where the flowers had fallen onto the ground and attracted heaps of bees.