Bridgewater’s Cox Creek Walk

7 Mar

My usual decisions as a wildlife photographer revolve around quandaries such as; which lens to use and whether the light quality is acceptable. Today’s problem is far more civilised. What to order from the menu while I sit back and watch the wildlife from the comfort of a deck overlooking a beautiful hill’s creek.


The Bridgewater Hotel, a nice place to eat and watch the wildlife



Before I can even enjoy a glass of wine the wildlife show starts on the other side of the creek alongside the walking trail to Stirling. A small nesting group of Australian magpies are feeding on grubs in the grassy banks. Magpie groups have complex social structures that rely on strict dominance and submission and one adult bird is certainly exhibiting its position in the pecking order by harassing a juvenile. I watch the birds for a few minutes until a rather nicely presented herb crusted barramundi fillet demands my full attention.  


Submit you young upstart



Now, just for good measure, cop that



Cox’s creek meanders past the Bridgewater hotel and the Old Mill restaurant just a half hour drive along the freeway from Adelaide. The two restaurants are excellent and the historical trail to Stirling encompasses sections of the Pioneer Women’s Trail. An important chapter in Adelaide’s early history, the trail is part of a 35 km route walked by women and girls carrying heavy baskets of farm produce from Hahndorf to Adelaide between 1839 and 1854.


An historic working mill wheel distinguishes the restaurant



The banks along Cox Creek have thick cover which attracts a variety of wildlife



After finishing my meal I cross a small bridge and start walking slowly along the trail taking small detours down to the water’s edge where wildlife encounters are more likely. An interpretive sign indicates that water rats are found in the area and I spend quite a long time sitting quietly by some of the larger pools. But mid afternoon is not really ideal for these largely morning and early evening hunters. However, I do come across both maned and Pacific black ducks; both species with young in tow.


An adult Pacific black duck with a brood of yung



Time passes quickly and I decide that dessert and coffee beckon. The walk back is equally fruitful. Near one large pool, two superb blue wrens are courting in the reeds and I am lucky enough to catch them perching delicately on a slender stem. A perfect example of sexual dimorphism with the male’s glorious iridescent plumage contrasting sharply with the female’s conservatively camouflaged dull colours. Mating privileges versus a better chance of avoiding predators, take your choice!


Male and female superb blue wrens



My final encounter features a pair of spectacular bronze wing pigeons that suddenly emerge from the scrub alongside the trail. Fortunately, one of the birds walks through a patch of bright sunlight which highlights its spectacular plumage.


Bronze wing pigeon



Coffee is good

Desert is better

Tough day in the bush



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