German and Austrian biologists say they have cracked the genetic code of the Australian lungfish, which is considered to be a “living fossil”.
Fighting mulga snakes captured on film on wildlife reserve in outback NSW.
They’re ready for their close up Mr DeMille.
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CATEGORY: ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR (finalist)
Royal Penguins (Eudyptes schlegeli)
Graham Morgan, New South Wales
A typical Macquarie Island day – cold, wet and windy. These inquisitive Royal Penguins waddled over to investigate the strange creature lying prone on the pebbly beach. Royals grow to about 70 cm and were curious to see a creature closer to the ground than themselves.
Sandy Bay, Macquarie Island
Canon 1Dx, Canon 24–105mm f/4 lens, 1/500, f8, ISO 400
Eastern Yellow Robin (Eopsaltria australis) – rinse cycle
Anna Pillich, South Australia
The Eastern Yellow Robin is a common visitor to our rural gardens and birdbath. I was busily trying to photograph an elusive Honeyeater (family: Meliphagidae) when I heard a splash and turned just in time to capture the rinse cycle of this little robin.
Kulnura, New South Wales
Canon EOS 5D MkII, Canon EF 100–400mm f/4.5–5.6L IS USM lens at 400mm, 1/800, f7.1, ISO 2000, no flash, handheld
Little Egret (Egretta garzetta), little fish
David Stowe, New South Wales
As the sun set, this Little Egret was hunting small fish trapped in the tidal pools on the sand flats. It was running and jumping after its prey in an almost feverish excitement, knowing that there wasn’t much light left. I was happy to have captured this image when its efforts were finally rewarded. The reflected colour in the water of the last light of the day really appealed to me.
Chili Beach, Cape York, Queensland
Canon EOS 1DX, Canon 500mm f/4L IS lens + 1.4x, 1/2000, f6.3, ISO 1250, handheld
Australasian Darter (Anhinga novaehollandiae) with Bream (Acanthopagrus spp.)
Geoff Longford, New South Wales
The darter was heading to shore to deal with its catch. To intercept the bird as it came ashore, I would wait for it to dive then pick up my gear and race along the water’s edge. This time things went my way and the bird did swallow that fish.
Narrabeen Lagoon, New South Wales
Nikon D200, Nikon manual focus 600mm lens, 1/1250, f5.6, ISO 125, tripod with fluid head
Jan Wegener, Victoria
Galahs (Eolophus roseicapilla) are often found in big groups and are very playful birds. I spotted this group on a soccer field in Melbourne and was amused by their humorous display. It was fascinating to see some birds even lying on their backs screaming and playing with their feet, just having a great old time.
Canon EOS 1D MkIV, Canon EF 600L IS lens, 1/2500, f7.1, ISO 800, Gitzo 3541LS tripod, Wimberley Head II
Shelley Pearson, Western Australia
It is a buzz to observe and photograph the courting and behaviour rituals of the beautiful Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus), but this photo is my all-time favourite. The chick on its parent’s back was adorable, making the most of the free ride. The leg in the air really illustrates just how comfy this chick was.
Herdsman Lake, Perth, Western Australia
Canon EOS 5D MkIII, Canon 500 f/4 II IS lens + 1.4x, 1/1250, f8, ISO 400, handheld
CATEGORY: ANIMAL PORTRAIT (finalist)
Minke Whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata)
Andrew Peacock, Queensland
I was guiding a group of sea-kayakers when an inquisitive Antarctic Minke Whale showed up and began cruising back and forth between us. Trusting this beautiful, intelligent mammal to know exactly where the hull of my kayak was, I tried to concentrate on photographing our encounter.
Neko Harbour, Antarctic Peninsula
Canon EOS 5D MkIII, Canon EF 24–105mm f/4L IS USM lens at 24mm, 1/160, f9.0, ISO 200, handheld
David Rennie, Western Australia
It was 5:30 am and the full moon was still bouncing its light across the water. The sun was just rising. This was taken while floating on a surfboard and dressed in a sniper suit, taking half an hour to get the right position. The Yellow-billed Spoonbill (Platalea flavipes) only knew I was there when the camera clicked.
Mandurah Wetlands, Western Australia
Canon 1D MkIII, Canon 300mm f/2.8L lens, 1/2000, f4, ISO 200, handheld
Papuan Taipan (Oxyuranus scutellatus)
David Williams, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
In southern New Guinea the distinctive copper-red vertebral stripe of the formidably beautiful Papuan Taipan emits a clear warning that this is not an animal to trifle with. Tragically, taipans kill hundreds of men, women and children in Papua New Guinea and West Papua each year.
Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
Canon EOS 350D, Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM macro lens, 1/125, f25, ISO 100, Canon Speedlite 430EX on Canon Off-Camera Shoe Cord, Hoya 58mm HMC Skylight 1B filter, handheld; captive animal shot under controlled conditions without a barrier
Bathing Buff-banded Rail (Gallirallus philippensis)
David Pace, Victoria
I love the droplets of water and movement in this shot. This Buff-banded Rail was one of many that descended into my garden after having never been recorded previously in the area. I am intrigued at the ever-changing fluctuations of birdlife – a new species appears in an area, while others vanish.
Shallow wetland on Torquay bush block, Victoria
Canon EOS 450D, Canon 400mm lens, 1/30, f5.6, ISO 500, monopod
Angela Robertson-Buchanan, New South Wales
Rosie is a rescued adult Tawny Frogmouth (Podargus strigoides) who had been found with her head stuck in a swimming pool gate. Rescued and cared for by wildlife rescue volunteers from Sydney Wildlife and WIRES, she was successfully rehabilitated and released soon afterwards.
Normanhurst, New South Wales
Nikon D700, Nikon AF-S Micro Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G lens, 1/100, f4.5, ISO 1250, handheld
Kimberley Knob-tail Gecko (Nephrurus sheai)
Henry Cook, Queensland
Geckos are known throughout Asia as noisy roommates. Australia’s geckos are also capable vocalists. I was alerted to this gecko by a loud bark and, as I bent down with my camera, it briefly performed its threat display. This was quite rare – these geckos usually scurry away to safety.
Theda Station, North Kimberley, Western Australia
Nikon D300, Tamron 90mm macro lens, 1/250, f18, ISO 200, Nikon SB600 and SB900 as slaves, handheld
Swamp Harrier (Cirus approximans)
Sally Patterson, Victoria
I see raptors on our farm daily, but I was incredibly lucky to come across this Swamp Harrier in one of our paddocks. It was a breathtaking experience to be so close to the bird and also to photograph it. I never did get to photograph the lizard I was after!
Near Browns Water Holes, Mingay, Victoria
Canon 7D, Canon EF 100mm IS USM macro lens, 1/250, f3.2, ISO 100, in-built flash, handheld
Golden Emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae)
Trevor Andersen, Queensland
This photo was taken during my visit to a local emu farm in Queensland. Emus are known to be inquisitive animals by nature. Light variations in colour are uncommon from the information given to me by the owners of this farm. This colour variation is often referred to as the ‘golden bird’.
Canon EOS 7D, Canon 24–105mm f/4L IS USM lens, 1/250, f11, ISO 125, Canon 580EX II fill flash, monopod
CATEGORY: THREATENED SPECIES (finalist)
Glossy Black-Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus lathami halmaturinus)
Andrew Buckle, South Australia
These Glossy Black-Cockatoos are found only in small pockets of Kangaroo Island. It was a special experience to enjoy an hour with these wonderful birds. Thankfully the dedicated conservation efforts of many people, including Kangaroo Island locals, has made their future a little more secure.
American River, Kangaroo Island, South Australia
Canon EOS 5D MkII, 100–400mm L lens at 400mm, 1/2500, f6.3, ISO 1250, handheld
Status: The Glossy Black-Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus lathami halmaturinus) is listed as Endangered.
Riding the wave
Brent M Stephenson, Napier, New Zealand
New Zealand is often referred to as the seabird capital of the world, and rightly so. This portrait of a Salvin’s Albatross (Thalassarche salvini) was captured off Kaikoura during a regular birding trip where flocks of seabirds are attracted to a boat and can be observed and photographed.
Off Kaikoura, South Island, New Zealand
Canon EOS 1D MkIV, Canon EF 400mm f/4 DO IS USM lens, 1/1600, f6.3, ISO 320, handheld from a boat at sea
Status: Salvin’s Albatross (Thalassarche salvini) is listed as Vulnerable.
Snares Penguins (Eudyptes robustus)
Graham Morgan, New South Wales
Snares Penguins at the water’s edge among a naturally reflective backdrop of Bull Kelp.
Snares Island, New Zealand
Canon EOS 1Dx, Canon 70–300mm lens at 221mm, 1/800, f8, ISO 800, handheld
Status: The Snares Penguin (Eudyptes robustus) is listed as Vulnerable.
Jan Wegener, Victoria
With just over 1000 birds left in the wild, the Regent Honeyeater (Anthochaera phrygia) is one of Australia’s most endangered birds. There are only a few places to see them. I had the chance to join a friend on a trip to the Capertee Valley and we were blessed with an opportunity to photograph this striking bird.
Capertee Valley, New South Wales
Canon EOS 1D MkIV, Canon EF 600 L IS lens, 1/800, f7.1, ISO 1600, Gitzo 3541LS tripod, Wimberley Head II
Status: The Regent Honeyeater (Anthochaera phrygia, previously Xanthomyza phrygia) is listed as Critically Endangered.
On the brink – Numbat (Myrmecobius fasciatus)
Robert McLean, Western Australia
With an estimated 1000 individuals left in the wild, each Numbat is an important contributor to the species’ survival. Habitat destruction and predation by feral cats and foxes have played their part in the demise of this unique little Australian.
Narrogin, Western Australia
Canon EOS 7D, Canon 100–400mm f/4.5–5.6L IS USM lens at 400mm, 1/320, f7.1, ISO 400, exposure bias –0.7, handheld
Status: The Numbat (Myrmecobius fasciatus) is listed as Endangered.
Thomas Burns, Cambridge, New Zealand
After several views of the backside of Takahes (Porphyrio hochstetteri) disappearing into the foliage off the track, we promptly stopped and sat down at the sight of a family trio. In their own time the birds approached quite close to us and this inquisitive adult stared straight down my lens.
Maud Island, Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand
Canon EOS 7D, Canon 400mm f/5.6L USM lens, 1/640, f5.6, ISO 800, handheld
Status: The Takahe (Porphyrio hochstetteri) is listed as Endangered.
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Looking like something straight out of Alien, this egg casing is a nursery for hundreds of precious seashells.
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