The beauty of camping is what will sometimes come to you, if you let it. A camp chair. A glass of wine. A good book. A meadow. The unassuming ingredients from which a magical evening sometimes crystalizes. On this evening, roos wandered from the forest. Sulphur-Crested Cockatoos settled in to decorate the eucalyptus canopy with their brilliant bodies and golden bonnets. And the sun spilled a palette of watercolors across the evening sky. Grampians National Park, Victoria, Australia.
Eastern and Western Spinebills genetically diverged from one another about 12 million years ago when two segments of the original population became geographically isolated during a period of climate change and desertification in Australia. You can see this genetic split by searching for the Eastern Spinebill here. There's also a great article on the global geographic distribution of evolutionary distinctness and species richness, metrics that can be used to prioritize areas for the conservation of avian species.
The Plains Zebra is a relatively common sight across much of Eastern and Southern Africa. While Plains Zebra populations are currently unthreatened, the same is not true of their cousins, the Grevy's Zebra. Differences in social structure may be at least partially to blame. Plains Zebra are social, forming large harems or roving bands of bachelors with a dozen or more members. Grevy's Zebra by contrast are relatively asocial, staking out large territories and creating few lasting bonds. Perhaps there is something to be said for making friends. (Captive. Werribee Open Range Zoo.)
It's the capacity to empathize that provides us with the potential to emotionally enter an image. We've each known a time when we've sat with downcast eyes, pondered circumstances or questions with uncertain outcomes. This capacity to empathize is not uniquely human. Primates, dogs, and even mice have been shown to empathize with others in their orbit. It's also the single thing that might just provide our own species' greatest potential for salvation. (Captive. Werribee Open Range Zoo.)
MacKenzie Falls ribbons over blackened rock in the Zumsteins region of the Grampians. In early 2014, lightning started seven separate fires within Grampians National Park, eventually burning much of the area around Zumsteins. The area is recovering, though, with Fantails and Thornbills now flitting through the creekside brush.
Just another drive in the land of Oz.