on 15 October 2013
WILDLIFE OF AUSTRALIA
By Iain Campbell & Sam Woods
Few visitors to Australia see its creatures beyond the confines of a wildlife enclosure. In three visits, I have seen perhaps a dozen kangaroos, wallabies and pademelons in the bush. It was on my second visit that I saw my first crocodile in a billabong, goanna on a riverbank and koala in a treetop, and on my third that I encountered an echidna and a cassowary in the wild. Yet the wildlife is here, and if you go to the right places, then with patience and a bit of luck, you will see it. And if you want to identify species, then this is the book to carry with you.
Fairly weighty, though soft-backed and capable of fitting into a larger pocket, it is attractively laid out, with the text on the left page and corresponding photographs, three on average, on the right. The first twenty pages describe the different wild habitats. Then come forty species of mammal, both native marsupial and introduced placental, as well as bats, seals, whales and dolphins. Around four dozen reptiles and amphibians occupy the final pages, leaving the extensive central section to cover more than 300 species of bird.
With such a vast array of wildlife in this enormous continent, not all species can be featured, so the emphasis is on the creatures a visitor is most likely to see in or near the major tourist regions. The text is concise but detailed and the images are uniformly excellent. I was able to use them without difficulty to identify the animals, and particularly the many birds I had photographed on my various trips to Australia. This book will certainly accompany me on my next visit.