I could have kicked myself.
Missing one photograph could be regarded as misfortune but to miss both was surely carelessness, and I tiptoed back and forth along the outcrop in the desperate hope the wallaby would re-emerge from the undergrowth.
I was on the nature walk trail near The Wall at Mount Canobolas and had been enjoying myself immensely. I'd been meandering along the trail at a much slower pace than usual - I was still recovering from a severe bout of Covid - and I'd paused by a 600-year-old gum tree and spent several minutes watching the birds in the morning light.
I loved the challenge of photographing animals. The thrill of a good shot never really got old and I was pleased I'd managed to capture some of the colourful birds before they'd disappeared into the bush once more.
The mist was still lifting, adding a kind of mystery to my photos, and I was starting to feel a little more invigorated after walking in the fresh air.
I branched off to walk to the top of Young Man Canobolas and overlooked the valley. It was a nice view but I turned my back to it and instead sat on a rock to breath in the cool breeze.
My body was starting to protest after the uphill walk and I was annoyed at how weak I felt, but I perked up once I was back on the flat trail and was soon lost in thought about the trips I wanted to take and the stories I wanted to write.
I was so engrossed I didn't see the rock wallaby until I was nearly on top of him, and we both leapt in surprise before he shot off at a rapid pace along the impossibly steep hillside and darted into the bush.
I scolded myself to pay attention as I continued along the track and only a few seconds later I was rewarded as I spotted a mob of kangaroos.
They were good posers; I shot some photos before looking excitedly through the viewfinder to capture video footage too.
Creeping forward, I stumbled slightly on a rock and heard another tell-tale thud as the rock wallaby launched out from the bush again.
What were the chances, I thought, exasperated, and I watched hopelessly while the wallaby disappeared into the bush to my left, the kangaroos hopped away on my right and all the while a white cockatoo screeched constantly overhead.
The wallaby couldn't have gone far, I reasoned, and I spent an embarrassingly long time walking stealthily back and forth to try and catch another glimpse as I willed the cockatoo to shut up and let me focus.
Eventually I admitted defeat and walked along the final stretch to the lookout. It was a good view, in fact the whole walk had been really quite scenic, and I was looking forward to editing my photos later.
I made my way back to the car and opened the door before a bird in a tree above caught my eye. The glare ruined the shot but I couldn't help but take a closer look, and realised with awe it was feeding chicks in a nest.
I felt bad having parked underneath and quietly left them to it, before pulling out onto the road and heading home for lunch.