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.
It is even more exciting to spot and watch an endangered species, which has dazzled scientific experts for centuries.
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.
This prosperous platypus population seems to sustain from the endless banquet of crustaceans floating in from Lake Tinaroo.
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.
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.
There was some movement in the water and shortly after, a platypus emerged from his foraging dive.
It is always an amazing moment seeing these almost clumsy appearing creatures for the first time.
This one was chewing on something before he submerged again in greenish waters.
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?
I observed these two platypus taking turns diving and resurfacing for a while, which was just like watching a tennis match. Advantage Platypus!
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
This one was so close, I could have touched him.
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.
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.
He really enjoyed this stagnant water patch and his duckbill was chewing through thick floating grass.
Leaving a snail trail behind, he was up and down, left and right and around in circles again.
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.
Some grass or algae attached to his body, giving him the perfect camouflage.
It could have been a fashion statement as well, this suited him well.
I have seen a similar fashion show about a year ago in Zambia, which was just as amusing to watch.
The platypus eventually swam in clear waters for a wash-off before retiring in his burrow. What an unexpected spectacle this was, just awesome.