Quinn and Pop do Cleland

21 Apr

Dear Reader:

Though I have photographed wildlife for over 30 years, I still get excited when I see an unusual bug in the garden or hear the screech of sulphur crested cockatoos on my morning bike ride. However, every photographer needs an extra bit of inspiration; that fresh way to see the world. Mine came from taking two year old Quinn to explore Cleland Wildlife Park in the Adelaide Hills. Seeing a child experience the beauty and mystery of nature is something that no amount of field experiences can ever compete with. With a little hand tucked in mine I was guided along the bushland paths to the sound of……

“Pop come see.”

“Look croos!!”…. (kangaroos, I presumed correctly)

 

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My first wildlife park

Quinn loves animals, she has a dog, a cat and often toddles down the road to the local wetlands where every bird species is still classified as a duck. At Cleland she was overwhelmed by the variety of new animals and ran between marsupials and reptiles then on to the birds (ducks) with ever increasing gusto. The wildlife was not quite as enthusiastic about her energy levels and tended to disappear with a hop, scuttle or ‘flap of wing’ as the two year old whirlwind bore down on them. The combined wisdom of Mum and Nan tried to instil a sense of calm and caution when dealing with wildlife but the concept did not seem to gel with her two year old philosophy.

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Quinn has a puppy too…not quite a dingo

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Stop croo stop

 

Unsurprisingly, the koalas were a particular hit. She probably associated their solid, furry bodies and bear-like appearance with the plethora of animated cartoon characters featured in various children’s programs. Next time we will get the obligatory ‘kid with koala’ image but on this public holiday excursion the overseas visitor line stretched away into the horizon. A few minutes watching the iconic marsupials climbing, snoozing and munching gum leaves, had to suffice; at least she was still for a while.

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An enclosure of cute

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Koala are not bears…a lesson for later

 

After an hour and half of unbridled, two year old enthusiasm we decided/hoped that she had used up her energy quota. Not so: near the gate there is an indoor complex that features species that require individual conditions such as specialised lighting, temperature control and enclosures that safeguard the public from venomous bites. In she went and spent the next 20 minutes staring at these more unusual animals which included: taipans, death adders and a variety of lizards. Eyes wide and somewhat subdued she grabbed my hand and repeated her, Pop come see’ request as we looked intently at each display.

mulga snake

Mulga snake or king brown… she really liked this one

 

Even as we left the park she was pointing and staring into the trees that surround Cleland in the apparent hope of seeing more wildlife. To be honest I was amazed and secretly wondering at what age a child can be trusted with her first digital camera.

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Before I become a naturalist I’ll try art

 

It was an exhilarating day in a lovely bushland setting; without doubt, a place to take the family and experience the wildlife that makes SA such an extraordinary place to live or visit.

Cheers

Baz

 

Footnote

She slept all the way home

Mum hit the sack at 8.00 pm

Nan rubbed in some back ointment

I pored over the camera and laptop to record a Quinn-based blog

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