All the colours of sunset

Royal Hakea (Hakea victoria), Fitzgerald River National Park, Western Australia. © Bronwen Scott.

It started, as these stories often start, with a dirt track and a distraction. The track ran through heathland of Fitzgerald River National Park in Western Australia, and the distraction was a plant.

Fitzgerald River NP lies at the western end of the Great Australian Bight, about 400 kilometres (250…

Magpie Geese fly over a wary Hardhead, Far North Queensland. © Bronwen Scott.

The air was filled with black and white

Magpie Geese (Anseranas semipalmata) have taken over the wetlands.

Neither a true goose nor a duck — nor, indeed, a magpie, just in case you were wondering — the species is the only living representative of family Anseranatidae. Magpie Geese are strange-looking birds with a bare face, a bump on…

Small, fierce, beautiful

Sacred Kingfisher, Nyleta Wetlands (Hasties Swamp), Far North Queensland. © Bronwen Scott.

After a fortnight of hot, dry weather, the water level has started to drop at Nyleta Wetlands (Hasties Swamp), revealing a sliver of edge, but not enough to attract waders. We are almost at the end of the dry season. In a few weeks, the rains will begin again, and…

Jottings from the Tropics

The trust of a wild animal is a precious thing

Red-legged Pademelon joey tucked away in mum’s pouch, Atherton Tablelands. © Bronwen Scott.

For years, I had been planning a shift from inner western Melbourne to somewhere with trees and wildlife and interesting landscapes. First, I looked at Corangamite, with its salt lakes and volcanos; then at the Messmate and Mountain Ash forests of the Otway Ranges; and finally the coastal heath and…

Botanic Gardens

Tasmanian botanical garden with an ancient theme

Thylacine sculptures in the Jurassic Garden, Bruny Island. © Bronwen Scott.

When the Wollemi Pine (Wollemia nobilis, Araucariaceae) was discovered in a narrow sandstone gorge only 150 kilometres from Sydney, the world went wild for this ancient survivor.

Wollemia-type conifers have a long history. The earliest fossils date back to the Jurassic period, a time when the southern land masses were…

This insect is no fly by night

Zodiac Moth (Alcides metaurus, Uraniidae), Far North Queensland. © Bronwen Scott

…Do not all charms fly/At the mere touch of cold philosophy?

John Keats, Lamia, 1819

Not all moths are creatures of the night. I photographed this Zodiac Moth (Alcides metaurus, Uraniidae) mid-morning, as it rested on a leaf. …

That’s the question the Mad Hatter should have asked

Photo by Tanya Grypachevskaya on Unsplash

The Hatter opened his eyes very wide…but all he said was, ‘Why is a raven like a writing-desk?’

Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, 1865

Where does it come from, all this clutter? I turn my back for a few minutes, make a cup of tea, nip into town, and…

Four butterflies, two stories

Tawny Coster (Acraea terpsicore, Nymphalidae), Sweers Island, Gulf of Carpentaria. © Bronwen Scott

In 1871, the Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus, Nymphalidae) was recorded in Australia for the first time. A prodigious flier, this American species has spread across the Pacific to South-East Asia, and across the Atlantic to the Azores, Spain, and Morocco. Australian records remained low until about the 1900s. But once…

Stalking a nectar thief

Introduced Buff-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) in southern Chile. © Bronwen Scott.

About thirty years ago, the European Buff-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) appeared in Tasmania. It might have arrived accidentally from New Zealand, where it was introduced to assist in crop pollination, or been smuggled in to make production easier for tomato growers. …

I don’t make ‘em

That time I had the right lens: Magpie Goose flies by, Hasties Swamp, Far North Queensland. © Bronwen Scott
  1. Always take your binoculars.
  2. Pareidolia is a powerful thing. Everything looks like a bird, including a foraging goat*, guano on a rock**, and rescue helicopters***. Make sure you’re actually watching a bird before loudly and confidently informing other people of your find. …

Bronwen Scott

Zoologist, writer, artist, museum fan, enjoying life in the tropical rainforest of Far North Queensland. She/her. Top writer in Photography, Travel.

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