I’m a little late for this prompt but I couldn’t think of a more appropriate word for what I’m about to share.
I’ve just return from Exmouth, some 1200 km north of Perth. It is one of my favourite places to visit and I’ve grown to love it more than I do Broome. There’s just something about the place and the people that is different and very appealing.
It is the first time I’ve seen several signs at the airport and in the national park with warnings to be careful not to feed or interact with the dingoes, an iconic Australian wild dog. The second last morning of my trip, I had to do the airport run, a long straight road of some 38 kms, flanked by scrub and in the distance, ranges. It was early morning so I was careful of wildlife, expecting emu. My eyes scanned the sides of the road constantly and I was ever hopeful, at this hour, I would see the magnificent wedge tailed eagle.Half way to the airport, I noticed a blond tail flick through tall grass. I knew it wasn’t fox. They slink into the scrub. Was it dingo? Sure not! The tail was high, flicking slowly. This was a hunt! It had to be dingo! At 110 km/hour, it took me a few seconds to slow down and I did a U turn, parked on the side of the road and got my camera. It was my David Attenborough moment.
I have never seen a dingo in the wild. They are usually in a pack and it is best to exercise caution when they are around. This one was alone as far as I could tell and totally focused on being a dingo. I thought best not to distract it and stayed in the car.
What surprised me was the hunting style. It had obviously found a small animal that was burrowed down. The dingo pawed the ground furiously and when the animal escaped, the dingo followed it, jumping high over the grass, all four paws on pointe, cat-like arched back, and stomped on the animal. My fingers fumbled for the video button and I gave up and settled to taking pictures instead.
Animal in mouth, the dingo ate breakfast quickly, still oblivious of my presence a few feet away.
When another movement caught the eye and a hunt was on again.
The dingo was now alongside my car, still ignoring me.
It found what it was looking for.
It then ran alongside the road, a magnificently healthy animal, with a perfect coat, the colours and shading, took my breath away. The coat was the softest shades of russet and beige, the colours of the bush one sees so often. Despite the contrast of the foliage roadside, when it went deeper into the scrub, it had disappeared from sight effortlessly.
I have seen a dingo twice before, both times in captivity. To see one unexpectedly in the natural environment was a thrill and to see it hunt with such intelligence, is a memory I won’t forget any time soon.
So if you see a dingo in the wild. Sit back and let it be. It is not a dog. The joy is watching the animal be, who and what it is, a wild creature, with amazing hunting skills.
Until next time
a dawn bird
In response to RPD – Thursday – Ingenuity