While driving back from Canberra on Sunday afternoon, I took a slight diversion along "Hanging Rock Road", near Canyonleigh. This road is in fact the old highway, and runs parallel to the modern Hume Highway, just south of the "MacDonalds on the Hill" at Sutton Forest. On the southern entrance, it is signposted to "Pauline Fathers Monastery". On the northern end it is signposted "Hanging Rock Road".
Much to my delight some "wit" has suspended a small rock on a string, from below the sign - as a hanging rock. I took a photo once, but I don't know where that image is filed, at present. I shall dig it out one day...
Of course, the name refers to a particular sandstone outcrop somewhere in the area of bushland nearby. It is a popular name - usually referring to a large stone perched vertically atop another rocky outcrop. Never really a true "hanging rock". Poetic licence rules in old-fashioned Aussie bush names.
Anyway, I went looking (without success) for some early flowering Ground Orchids. My blogging colleagues in Victoria are reporting spring-flowering Orchids. Not fair!
Then I saw an Echidna crossing the road. This fellow scurried to the relative safety of the soft grass, and clung on - as they do. I tried to budge him, ever so gently, but I knew there was no point. So I took the photo against a two litre ice-cream bucket which just happened to have been dumped there - for a size comparison. He was a good size.Then I found a family of Eastern Grey Kangaroos (Macropus giganteus) which were very tame and quite photogenic. This first image was taken at about 150 metres range - looking down the quiet country road, in the late afternoon light. Usually, they sense that someone is taking "too much interest" and head off, leading the family away from danger.The old male - the old Buck - was very bold, I thought. He is checking me out with his very large ears which are "focussed" on my vehicle. So is the Doe. She is about 30 metres closer than the Buck, so you can see the size differential between them.
This old guy decided I was no threat, and just stared me down. Good for him. He was a very good sized specimen - probably standing as tall as I do. I loved his bold posture. You can see how powerful he is on the lower body. But even those forearms are very strong, with large claws.But, of course, the real power in his body is in the lower body - the thighs and rump. Here you can see how that weight distribution allows him to use all his power for jumping. Here he takes off - suddenly.
He was sufficiently relaxed, though that he only took a few bounds, and stopped to assess the situation again. He stayed there, and I left them all in peace.What a magnificent animal. Long may he reign over his territory!
In the next few days I shall post some photos of the much smaller Red-necked Wallabies, taken at Steve and Amanda's place, near Stroud, north of Newcastle.