A troop of kangaroos

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Did you know a grouping of kangaroos is known as a ‘troop’.  Not a herd as I have always thought …  incorrectly telling our visitors “hopefully you’ll see a big herd of roos over the ridge” as Chris takes them off  in our old Landrover on the compulsory ‘boundary tour’ of our property.  Almost always there is to be seen a ‘troop’ of kangaroos up on our top paddock which adjoins a huge olive grove on one side and lovely gum studded country on the southeast looking towards Exeter.  In the cover of these gums lives a large family of grey kangaroos.  Sometimes, when food or water is short, like it was last week before these lovely rains, they venture down into our paddocks and even into the garden.  Over the past month, as water levels in dams and springs were sitting at their lowest for years, I spotted quite a few heading through the paddocks at dawn, and then one morning as I went out to feed everyone, there was a lovely young male right in Pigley’s yard.  Pigley, focused as always on her breakfast didn’t care at all and I moved quietly away so as not to frighten the lovely creature who was already stressed having been separated from his family and struggling to return home through our sheep-proof fencing.  They are such interesting animals.  Majestic and strong and like poetry in motion when in full flight. I find them compellingly beautiful.

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Some years ago I was lucky enough to have my camera on hand when  a pair of males started  boxing in our front paddock, in the early morning mist. How pleasing to capture such classic images of ‘the boxing kangaroo’.

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IMG_0030Below:  Kangaroos feeding and play fighting by the dam, while little birds pick bugs from their coats.IMG_0078

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We love it when we see kangaroos grazing in with the sheep.  Below a shot taken last Spring of a family ‘flying’ through Pigley’s paddock. IMG_8152

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IMG_9417Above:  Again, taken from the kitchen window, these young roos were feeding in our vegetable garden when I disturbed them.  Off they sped past a startled gaggle of geese,  around the pond and through our new plantation of pin oaks. They’re such magnificent animals, it’s awful to think they are shot down for competing with stock for feed … but that’s the reality for farmers in Australia.  Man against nature. Luckily this family lives pretty safely and peacefully in our neck of the woods, and that we only get occasional visits makes them even more special to us.

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Below:  A local farmer and his wife who assist wild animals for WIRES, brought a little orphaned  joey over for a visit one day.  She was adorable, living in her little pillowslip ‘pouch’, she had quickly become house trained and never soiled her safe haven.  They grow up to be wonderful, intelligent, well mannered pets so it must be heartbreaking to release them back into the bush.  Thank goodness for WIRES and the many volunteers and vets who donate their time to helping injured and rescued animals from the wild.  If you would like to assist them in their work, or to register as a volunteer, here’s the link. Meantime, next time you see a group of kangaroos on your travels, you will know you are looking at a ‘troop’!

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