Archive | October, 2015

Athelstone … a river walk…field notes and images

15 Oct

Athelstone … a river walk…field notes and images


Dear Reader: I hope that you enjoy the field notes and images from my day exploring the lower reaches of the Torrens Gorge near Athelstone. I will be using this style from now on as it allows me to share more observations and thoughts with you.


Spring 12/10/2015

A cool morning with a little cloud cover and patches of blue sky

Drove from city to Gorge Road intersection then to Athelstone, approx 20 minutes

Stopped in at bakery to get steak pie, apple tart and fruit juice

Photographed historic community centre, lovely roses on display

Spoke to history officer

Quite a few colonial buildings in the area worth visiting

Started walk from the mining road 2.8 Kms from Athelstone Council chambers, just past stone and fibre house on RHS of main road, parked near the causeway (ford)

Followed old, narrow bitumen road along left bank of Torrens heading up the gorge (upstream) towards historic aquaduct

B18 jpeg

Council chambers

B17 image

Stone and fibre home by turn off


Trail to aquaduct only 800 meters

Not going to walk off impending lunch this way

Walked slowly, stop, look and wait

Can hear small birds twittering in scrub to the left

Several little wrens fossicking in leaf litter

They appear to be different species as one has a blue tail

All are females as fairy wren males of the most common species have patches of bright blue plumage


Female superb fairy wren


Male superb fairy wren


Koala in dense foliage of a non native tree, unusual

There are several gums nearby, perhaps this tree is shadier

Tree creeper (possibly white throated) feeding probing for insects on a eucalyptus tree, seems to be favouring old and dead branches

Note the huge feet for gripping and providing stability

Hard to get a clear shot

Switch to shutter priority to stop action 1/1600 should do



White throated treecreeper

White throated treecreeper


Reach the aquaduct

Note the signage about its history

State listed heritage item in 1980

Operated continuously for 138 years carrying water from Hope Valley Reservoir

There is a deep pool below

Scan the edge of the water and several logs for fresh water turtles…nothing

A water skink is basking on one of the flat rocks

As I approach and take a couple of shots it disappears into the undergrowth

I have often photographed these little reptiles and never seen one in the water swimming




Eastern water skink


Start return walk to car

Expansive views of the gorge rising on the SE side

Several cyclist ride past on the main road above the river

They use the steep road for training

Concentrate on the other side of the path on return walk

Yellow tail black cockatoos fly above

See and hear a lot of Rosellas in taller trees

Manage to get a shot of a crimson feeding on berries in tree top

Stop to look at interesting gum trunk with red sap oozing from it

Like the colours and texture

B20 red

Bark patterns and gum resin

Back at car

Drive to park about 1 kilometre out of Athelstone to walking trails in parkland area, still has Torrens flowing through

Lunch on a bench watching some magpies haggling over territory

A Good morning’s work



Nairne….an artistic afternoon

6 Oct

Nairne….an artistic afternoon

Despite a field that is full of lush green grass, a veritable cow paradise, the small herd of young bovines drifts down towards the fence where I am standing. Perhaps they are intent on providing me with the perfect ‘cow’ shot or they may be simply illustrating the old adage; ‘the grass is always greener….’


Taking a closer look


Classic South Aussie dirt track

 On this perfect spring day I am driving along Ironstone Range Road just off the Old Princes Highway, a few kilometres east of Nairne. Expansive, open woodland dominates one side of the unsealed track and rich pasture carpets the other. I am on my way to the Jonathan Art Centre to grab a bite to eat and make some inquiries about art classes.


Open woodland with massive eucalypts

 Five minutes later I am driving across an open paddock on a grass trail to a pitch roofed building set on the side of a gently sloping hillside. There are rosellas in the trees that line the driveway and a pair of crows raucously announces my arrival. The entrance hall is a combination studio and gallery displaying the owner’s work and opening on to a balcony which overlooks a cottage style garden.


Johnathan art centre


Work space and gallery


Another view from the property

A friend has recommended the fish pie, a classic British dish that I often enjoy in London’s Union Cafe. And this version does not disappoint; full of good South Aussie seafood and topped with a fluffy potato mash. Like the art on display, it is a credit to the proprietor, Liz’s, creative flair.


Fish pie and fresh garden salad

To my surprise and delight; while I am enjoying the meal a hare hops through the garden below the balcony, pauses, looks straight at me then heads off down the hillside. Now, though his blog has had more of an ‘afternoon drive in the country’ flavour about it than my usual wildlife emphasis; rest assured, the camera was well within reach and a short burst fired off at my visitor.


Waiter, there’s a hare in my garden

Art inquiries and meal complete, I ask permission to wander around the property. Behind a bushy hedge there are rows of colourful annuals and lavender that abut a small pond. I can hear the call of parrots and eventually spot a crimson rosella amongst the layers of blooms. Then, switching to macro, I zoom in on a honey bee feeding. Its legs are covered in pollen brushed from the abundant flowers as the little insect drinks in their various nectars.


Layers of colour and rosella


Bee at work

A great drive, wonderful meal and a few wild encounters…not a bad way to spend a day.



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