Friday, January 1, 2021

Favorites of 2020

Thank goodness this f'in year is over!!!

I am sure that I am not the only one out there saying that since it has been a trying year for just about everyone.  

The best thing to happen to us all year (maybe the only good thing) was the fact that we were able to take a trip to Australia in February and March before everything was shut down.  Our timing on the trip was perfect since we didn't have to cut it short and there were less tourists around.  Plus, we got out of Australia a couple days before they locked it down.

Sadly, I barely even picked up a camera the rest of the year.  So, all my favorite photos from 2020 are from that trip down under.  

We started our trip in Victoria where we explored the fantastic Dandenong Ranges.  The lush forests here were fantastic with all the tall trees and singing birds.  It was our introduction to Australia and the experience was great:

It was also in the Dandenongs where we saw our first macropod.  We were just walking along enjoying all the sounds of the forests when we rounded a bend and saw two black wallabies munching on some grass.  They didn't seem very bothered by us so I was able to get a few pictures including this favorite:

No trip to Victoria would be complete without driving along the Great Ocean Road.  While we didn't have the best weather for this drive, the scenery was still pretty spectacular especially at the 12 Apostles:

Of course, the main reason for our long weekend stopover in Victoria was the chance to see koala in the wild.  We weren't disappointed since our total tally was an amazing 37 koalas seen.  It's not often such an iconic animal lives up to its fame but we were totally enamored by the koala.  My favorite koala photo was taken far up Grey River Rd at Kennett River and just happened to be the last koala we saw on the trip:


After Victoria, our next stop was Bruny Island in Tasmania where we hoped to find more great Australian wildlife.  A lot of Australian wildlife is best seen at night.  So, we spent hours every night of the trip hiking, driving, and spotlighting looking for anything that moved.  This picture was taken on Bruny Island during our very first night drive.  

While most of the 30+ quolls we saw on this night drive were very skittish, this one eastern quoll got close enough to us for a decent picture.  It was great to see this dark morph quoll so close:

For the most part, we had great weather the whole trip.  However, there was one day on Bruny Island where it rained most of the day.  Luckily, that didn't keep all the wildlife hidden since I spotted this new holland honey-eater patrolling the garden of our cottage seemingly not bothered by the rain:

One of the target animals for the trip was the short-beaked echidna.  We actually saw our first one not long after getting off the plane in Tasmania but our favorite encounter was near Mount Field National Park where we were able to spend lots of quality time with this lovely echidna:

Another target animal for us was the wombat.  THE place to see them is at Cradle Mountain and once again we were not disappointed.  We saw more wombats and their square poo then we could count including mothers with juveniles.  But, our favorite photo was of this full grown one just sauntering along:

Of course, no trip to Australia would be complete without seeing an actual kangaroo.  In Tasmania, that means going to Narawntapu National Park where they are everywhere.  We found it interesting that these roos always saw us before we saw them no matter how far away they were.  On one particular hike, everywhere we looked up popped another kangaroo or wallaby to check us out including this alert eastern grey kangaroo:

Despite all the iconic wildlife we saw on this trip including koalas, wallabies, kangaroos, echidnas, wombats, platypus, quolls, etc, one of our favorite animals was the ubiquitous brush-tailed possum known locally as a "brushy".  We saw lots of them every night no matter where we were in Tasmania.  We saw dark ones, light ones, and even an albino one. Not only are these pretty darn good looking possums, but many of them seemed to have an "I don't give a crap" attitude and went about their business despite us watching them.  It was really an endearing quality so I have to include a picture of one of these guys as the last favorite of the year:

Here's hoping that 2021 brings a better year for all!

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