Kids, Kookaburras and Creeks

4 Oct

Dear Readers

It would be lovely to write for a living. To earn my dollars wandering South Australia’s diverse wilderness areas taking photos and composing articles to share with you. Dream over….reality check! Like most of the world I need a steady job to survive and my profession is teaching. One of the many requirements at my school is to take my year 6 students on camp each year. Fortunately, Adelaide has many wonderful destinations in the adjacent hills and along the coastline that provide a range of outdoor activities. Many of these sites also double as corporate destinations. This year we chose Wirraway a campsite located on the eastern fringe of the Mt Lofty Ranges. It is a beautiful location situated amongst rolling hills with a little creek running through the property. And, to my delight their program included a nature walk along with the adventure activities.

G

Typical hills country

 

Each morning I woke at six and reluctantly dragged my weary bones out of bed; any teachers reading this will immediately understand that the previous night’s sleep was limited to a few hours. The students were not allowed out of their dorms until 7.00 which gave me an hour to wander around the grounds uninterrupted. Campsites always attract wildlife. However well intentioned the staff may be there are always a few food scraps to be had, nooks and crannies to nest or hide in as well as wood piles and building materials that might be home to both predator and prey. On my first morning a pair of rats scurried under the raised foundations of the caretaker’s home watched with interest by me and anticipation by a kookaburra sitting in a an old gum tree (there’s a song title there).

kooka2 red

Hungry kookaburra

 

The camp site was also home to a wild rabbit that liked to munch the grass close to one of the girls’ dorms but scurried back into the bushes at the slightest noise. Each time it appeared I tried to signal the students to be quiet and take a look…no such luck. Only a picture snapped in the quiet hours and shown at the dinner table convinced them that I was not making it up.

A

Peter makes a rare appearance

 

Both male and female superb blue wrens were common though timid and constantly on the move keeping low in the bushes and feeding in the leaf litter. And a resident flock of red browed finches moved between the flowering trees and bushes often coming close when I was working with the students and staying away if I had a camera nearby. Fancy that!!

C

Male superb blue wren

B

Finches all in a line

 

Our nature walk was quite a revelation. You would not expect city kids to be overly responsive to a lengthy stroll in the bush when the alternative activities included horse riding, archery and rock climbing. Surprisingly, they showed a keen interest in what the guide had to say and even sat quietly by the creek for a few minutes trying to work out how many different frog species could be identified from their distinctive calls. Even the plant life scored a hit, most notably the unusual grass trees that were flowering at the time and an old weathered log with lichen and moss growing in its sinuous furrows.

E

Flowering grass plants

F

Patterns and colours in nature

 

The three days passed quickly and each group appeared to enjoy their excursions into the bush.  Kids get few opportunities to experience the outdoors in our digital world and watching their faces as they discovered the beauty of wild things was a rare pleasure.

 

Until my next post

Cheers

Baz

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