Protection

    Boxer crab, Lybia tessellata

    During a dive in the Celebes Sea in North Sulawesi I was lucky to meet this boxer crab (Lybia tessellata) that was carrying its eggs. The peculiarity of this crustacean is its symbiosis with small anemones that are attached to its claws. They’re used as protection against intruders, just like a boxer.

    Bunaken Marine Park, North Sulawesi, Indonesia

    Olympus E PL-1, Leica DG Macro-Elmarit 45/f 2.8, 1/160, f/19, ISO 100, Inon Z240, 10Bar underwater housing

    Photo Credit: Alex Varani, Italy

    Jumping for Joy

    Bottlenose dolphin, Tursiops truncatus

    A bottlenose dolphin jumps high above the water after riding the bow wave of a boat moments before. The dolphin took off quickly away from the boat towards a wave and I was able to focus on the wave before capturing the whole sequence of the dolphin ‘jumping for joy’.

    Balls Pyramid, Lord Howe Island, New South Wales

    Canon 5D Mk III, Canon 24-70 mm f/2.8 II, 1/1250, f/4.5, ISO 100, handheld

    Photo Credit: Beau Pilgrim, New South Wales

    Left Behind

    Adelie penguins, Pygoscelis adeliae

    As a katabatic wind begins to blow across the ice a group of adelie penguins move toward the ocean edge, yet one penguin remains behind, motionless on its belly. I now wonder was it sick or just indifferent to the environmental maelstrom gathering around it?

    East Antarctica

    Canon EOS 5D Mk II, Canon EF 300 mm f/4L IS USM, 1/1000, f/5.6, ISO 100, handheld

    Photo Credit: Andrew Peacock, Queensland

    Devouring a home

    Giant jellyfish, Tiburonia granrojo; green turtles, Chelonia mydas

    Giant jellyfish make a very inviting meal to a couple of green turtles (Chelonia mydas). One of their main food sources, the green turtles devour the soft tentacles and underside of the jellyfish while slowly reducing the home of some small fish to a lifeless shell.

    Byron Bay, New South Wales

    Canon 5D Mk III, 16-35 mm, 1/200, f/11, ISO 250

    Photo Credit: Scott Portelli, New South Wales

    The Rehearsal

    Southern royal albatross, Diomedea epomophora

    A southern royal albatross (Diomedea epomophora) with its wings unfurled, practices ‘sky calling’, while two others clap bills. This behaviour is part of a complex courtship rehearsal performed by groups of up to a dozen young pre-breeding birds who advertise for partners using a complex repertoire of signals known as gaming.

    Campbell Island, New Zealand

    Nikon D750, Nikon 24-70 mm f2.8, 1/3200, f/8, ISO 500, handheld

    Photo Credit: Jason Hosking, New Zealand

    Perpetuating the Species

    Nankeen kestrel, Falco cenchroides

    Early spring rise, sound of the surf, sandy trails, crafty disguise, sand dune position, excruciating patience, bird calls, incredible blue sky, gentle breeze, mindfulness, and the never ending brilliance and wonder of nature. Finally the planets aligned and I was so fortunate to photograph two nankeen kestrels perpetuating the species.

    Blairgowrie, Victoria

    Nikon D810, DX Nikkor 18-300 mm, 1/1600, f/14, ISO 1000, Hoya UV filter, handheld

    Photo Credit: George Russell, Victoria

    Almost a Crash

    Black-winged stilt, Himantopus himantopus

    The waters at Bibra Lake are often perfectly still, mirroring anything that passes perfectly in reflection. This image of an adult and juvenile black-winged stilt was captured just after dawn. As the juvenile took off the adult followed but had to brake unexpectedly on landing, almost causing a crash.

    Bibra Lake, Western Australia

    Nikon D800E, Nikon 80-400 mm f/4.5-5.6 AF-S, focal length 400 mm, 1/4000, f/9, ISO 640, handheld

    Photo Credit: Melissa Zappelli, Western Australia

    Kung Foo Fighting Swamphens

    Purple swamphen, Porphyrio porphyrio

    Two cute purple swamphen chicks emerged out of the reeds, falling over each other chasing after the parent. Every now and then the parent stopped to nudge them gently. It was a beautiful interaction to witness and this moment showed the cuteness and clumsiness of the chicks.

    South Perth, Western Australia

    Canon 1DX, Canon 500 F4 IS II, 1/2500, f/7.1, ISO 640, handheld

    Photo Credit: Shelley Pearson, Western Australia

    Rainbow Bee-eater orientating Dragonfly

    Rainbow bee-eater, Merops ornatus

    This male rainbow bee-eater returns to the same branch to toss and orientate his catch prior to entering the in-ground nest and feeding the young. This was shot near the North Para River, where there are deep sandy soils perfect for burrowing and nesting and an abundance of insects.

    Rowland Flat, Barossa Valley, South Australia

    Nikon D500, Nikon Prime 500 mm, 1/6400, f/5, ISO 800, tripod

    Photo Credit: Stuart Blackwell, South Australia

    Battle to Breed

    Australian giant cuttlefish, Sepia apama

    Each year, thousands of Australian giant cuttlefish (Sepia apama) flock to Whyalla with one intention, to breed as many times as possible. Males fight each other for the chance to mate with the females. Several weeks later they all die, well before the next generation of cuttlefish hatches.

    Point Lowly, Whyalla, South Australia

    Nikon D7100, Tokina 10-17 fisheye, 1/200, f/8, ISO 200

    Photo Credit: Tammy Gibbs, Western Australia

    Embrace

    Humpback whales, Megaptera novaeangliae

    Humpbacks gather in numbers in the waters of the Tongan archipelago during the southern hemisphere winter. The females give birth here and, while fasting themselves, nurture their new-born calves. This calf watches, secure in the reassuring embrace of its mother. Ahead of it lies the perilous migration to the Antarctic feeding grounds.

    Vava’u, Kingdom of Tonga

    Canon 5DSR, EF24-105 mm f/4L IS USM, 1/250, f/8, ISO 640, Nauticam underwater housing

    Photo Credit: Wade Hughes FRGS, Western Australia

AG Nature Photographer of the Year 2017: Animal behaviour shortlist

By AG STAFF | June 2, 2017

The Animal Behaviour category asked for photographs of animals engaging in natural activities. These photos will be exhibited at the South Australian Museum in Adelaide (11 August to 24 September) and the Australian Museum in Sydney (11 August to 10 December)