Port Stephens’ Native Fauna Captured Incredibly By Mat Spillard

One of Port Stephens’ resident Lace Monitors heading through the Mambo Wetlands Lagoons. Photo: Mat Spillard.


PORT Stephens’ land and seascapes are regularly captured by keen local and visiting photographers, but what about the animal inhabitants that call those spaces home?

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With the social media feeds connected to the region sharing content centered around the coastal facade of non-stop brunch and endless sun you’re usually hard pressed to see the real wildlife portrayed in pictures.

For Mat Spillard of Corlette a passion for the preservation of nature drives him to spend many hours traversing the bush to share the images he captures of nature in action.

Mat explains that for him the thrill is in being able to witness the wide variety of species that call Port Stephens home.

“We have an amazing and diverse range of birdlife and other fauna that inhabit the region of Port Stephens,” said Mat.

“You’d be surprised at what you can see when you take the time to pause and look up around you all along the Tomaree Peninsula and beyond.

“I think this region has a lot to offer in making sure that these creatures are protected well beyond our generations.”

On one of Mat’s recent ventures into the Mambo Wetlands he captured the circle of life in action when he witnessed a six-foot Goanna stalk out the nests of some Little Pied Cormorants.

“I was at one of my favourite shooting spots when I heard a rustle in the bushes next to me,” said Mat.

“At first I was wary thinking it was a snake, but then I saw a huge Goanna skim down the embankment and into the water.

“It was bee-lining for the nests of some Cormorants and was submerging itself in the lagoon to evade detection.

“The result wasn’t a pretty sight but that’s just the way nature is sometimes, it can be poetically cruel!”

Mat himself knows firsthand how nature operates in it’s dynamic way when a Red-bellied Black Snake chased him out of the scrub late last year.

“The bush is unpredictable and that’s why I always carry a compression bandage and proper first-aid equipment,” said Mat.

“I’ve never had to use it, but when I had a Red-belly round me up and usher me from my position in the bush I came pretty close!

“I have a huge respect for nature in that regard, we’re only borrowing from it in the long run.”

To see some more of Mat’s imagery of Port Stephens’ wildlife search ‘mats_shots’ on Instagram or keep your eyes peeled across the usual Port Stephens community-based social media pages.


By Mitch LEES


The circle of life can indeed be tough to watch as it unwinds before us. Photo: Mat Spillard.


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