Fashion Parade in Yungaburra, Atherton Tablelands, Far North Queensland, Australia

Watching wildlife in their natural habitat is one of my favourite outdoor activities. Big or small, I always find something interesting to look at or to understand wildlife behaviour.

Platypus in sepia at Yungaburra, Atherton Tablelands, Far North Queensland, Australia

Platypus in sepia at Yungaburra, Atherton Tablelands, Far North Queensland, Australia

It is even more exciting to spot and watch an endangered species, which has dazzled scientific experts for centuries. 

Platypus hotspot at Yungaburra, Atherton Tablelands, Far North Queensland, Australia

Platypus hotspot at Yungaburra, Atherton Tablelands, Far North Queensland, Australia

The small town of Yungaburra is a well known hotspot within the Atherton Tablelands to watch the elusive and playful platypus. Paterson Creek, which gently flows into Lake Tinaroo, boosts a healthy population of platypus.

Show and go at Yungaburra, Atherton Tablelands, Far North Queensland, Australia

Show and go at Yungaburra, Atherton Tablelands, Far North Queensland, Australia

This prosperous platypus population seems to sustain from the endless banquet of crustaceans floating in from Lake Tinaroo. 

Should I stay or should I go now?, Atherton Tablelands, Far North Queensland, Australia

Should I stay or should I go now?, Atherton Tablelands, Far North Queensland, Australia

I stationed Troopy at the carpark near the popular viewing platform next to the bridge. One fellow photo enthusiast had already setup his tripod-camera combo and waited patiently for movement in the water. There was none and only a little bit of movement above the water surface. This water turtle seemed a bit stunned and was wondering what the fuzz is all about. 

Rest at its best at Atherton Tablelands, Far North Queensland, Australia

Rest at its best at Atherton Tablelands, Far North Queensland, Australia

I wandered along the pathway underneath the bridge and followed Paterson Creek downstream towards Lake Tinaroo. With or without seeing platypus, this is a gentle stroll where any animal could be sighted. Carefully scanning the water surface for bubbles or gentle ripples, I didn’t seem to be lucky today. It was more of a resting day as more turtles lazed in the sun. Paterson Creek swerved to a sharp S-bend of the walking track, creating a miniature peninsula. These hidden spots are always worth checking out for wildlife.

And there he was, Atherton Tablelands, Far North Queensland, Australia

And there he was, Atherton Tablelands, Far North Queensland, Australia

There was some movement in the water and shortly after, a platypus emerged from his foraging dive.

A little clumsy on the surface, Atherton Tablelands, Far North Queensland, Australia

A little clumsy on the surface, Atherton Tablelands, Far North Queensland, Australia

It is always an amazing moment seeing these almost clumsy appearing creatures for the first time.

Whale of a time at Yungaburra, Atherton Tablelands, Far North Queensland, Australia

Whale of a time at Yungaburra, Atherton Tablelands, Far North Queensland, Australia

This one was chewing on something before he submerged again in greenish waters.

Another platypus at Yungaburra, Atherton Tablelands, Far North Queensland, Australia

Another platypus at Yungaburra, Atherton Tablelands, Far North Queensland, Australia

Just as he did, another platypus came up for a breather. Wow, there’s two platypus within short distance of each other! How good is that?

Traffic jam at Paterson Creek in Yungaburra, Atherton Tablelands, Far North Queensland, Australia

Traffic jam at Paterson Creek in Yungaburra, Atherton Tablelands, Far North Queensland, Australia

I observed these two platypus taking turns diving and resurfacing for a while, which was just like watching a tennis match. Advantage Platypus!

Priceless, Atherton Tablelands, Far North Queensland, Australia

Priceless, Atherton Tablelands, Far North Queensland, Australia

The sharp creek bent itself was covered in floating greens of stagnant waters. Accumulated tree branches blocked the river flow considerably, acting like dam walls. A perfect resting spot for the turtle population.

Another platypus at Yungaburra, Atherton Tablelands, Far North Queensland, Australia

Another platypus at Yungaburra, Atherton Tablelands, Far North Queensland, Australia

Another platypus emerged from his burrow on the other side of the creek bank. Three platypus? I didn’t expect anything like that. This one was incredibly active.

On a mission around Paterson  Creek in Yungaburra, Atherton Tablelands, Far North Queensland, Australia

On a mission around Paterson Creek in Yungaburra, Atherton Tablelands, Far North Queensland, Australia

He was on a mission right from the get-go and seemed to favour the shoreline area to scavenge for food. I followed his direction whenever he submerged and stood still when he resurfaced.

Curiosity for both, Atherton Tablelands, Far North Queensland, Australia

Curiosity for both, Atherton Tablelands, Far North Queensland, Australia

It was a game of hide and seek, only my camera wasn’t hiding. My camouflage tactics either paid off really well or this platypus was to hungry to care about my whereabouts.

Platypus visit at Yungaburra, Atherton Tablelands, Far North Queensland, Australia

Platypus visit at Yungaburra, Atherton Tablelands, Far North Queensland, Australia

Standing right the creek edge, he appeared not even a meter away from my standing point. A platypus to my feet, my heart was racing.

Close encounters at Paterson Creek, Yungaburra, Atherton Tablelands, Far North Queensland, Australia

Close encounters at Paterson Creek, Yungaburra, Atherton Tablelands, Far North Queensland, Australia

This one was so close, I could have touched him.

El vigilantes, Atherton Tablelands, Far North Queensland, Australia

El vigilantes, Atherton Tablelands, Far North Queensland, Australia

Their vigilant moves makes it incredibly hard to focus on them, or even getting the shot I aimed for. He foraged the opposite riverbank back to where he came from, I followed closely.

Right amongst the thick of it at Yungaburra, Atherton Tablelands, Far North Queensland

Right amongst the thick of it at Yungaburra, Atherton Tablelands, Far North Queensland

The platypus swam towards the carpet of swimming grass and showed no hesitation to swim through. I expected him to glide through this patch of pea soup but was surprised once again by his actions.

Platypus on the prowl at Paterson Creek, Yungaburra, Atherton Tablelands, Far North Queensland, Australia

Platypus on the prowl at Paterson Creek, Yungaburra, Atherton Tablelands, Far North Queensland, Australia

He really enjoyed this stagnant water patch and his duckbill was chewing through thick floating grass.

Round and round we go at Yungaburra, Atherton Tablelands, Far North Queensland, Australia

Round and round we go at Yungaburra, Atherton Tablelands, Far North Queensland, Australia

Leaving a snail trail behind, he was up and down, left and right and around in circles again.

Duckbill lawnmower at Atherton Tablelands, Far North Queensland, Australia

Duckbill lawnmower at Atherton Tablelands, Far North Queensland, Australia

His duckbill never stopped moving, it was cutting through the grass carpet like a lawn mower. I watched him for about 30 minutes moving through this glaring mat in green.

Ambush camouflage at Paterson Creek, Yungaburra, Atherton Tablelands, Far North Queensland, Australia

Ambush camouflage at Paterson Creek, Yungaburra, Atherton Tablelands, Far North Queensland, Australia

Some grass or algae attached to his body, giving him the perfect camouflage.

Fashionable at Paterson Creek, Yungaburra, Atherton Tablelands, Far North Queensland, Australia

Fashionable at Paterson Creek, Yungaburra, Atherton Tablelands, Far North Queensland, Australia

It could have been a fashion statement as well, this suited him well.

African fashion parade at South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

African fashion parade at South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

I have seen a similar fashion show about a year ago in Zambia, which was just as amusing to watch.

Wash-off at Paterson Creek, Yungaburra, Atherton Tablelands, Far North Queensland, Australia

Wash-off at Paterson Creek, Yungaburra, Atherton Tablelands, Far North Queensland, Australia

The platypus eventually swam in clear waters for a wash-off before retiring in his burrow. What an unexpected spectacle this was, just awesome.

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