Archive | February, 2016

Barker Inlet and Greenfields Wetlands …a road trip

23 Feb

Barker Inlet and Greenfields Wetlands ….a road trip

Dear Reader:

As I cruise along the highway between Port Adelaide and Salisbury a succession of lagoons, ponds and wetlands flash past my windscreen. Over the last couple of decades this once industrial wasteland has become a haven for wildlife and an integral part of the system converting run off into clean water that flows back into the ocean.

1Torrens Island power station

Torrens island power station looms behind the wetlands

 

There are several parking bays along the way that provide vantage points and access to walking paths into the wetlands. In rather an anomalous environmental scene the first one that I explore has the Torrens Island Power Station as a backdrop. And, a family of maned ducks are sheltering amongst the reeds in the foreground.

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Maned ducks

 

I drive another couple of kilometres to a large siding where two 4WD vehicles with council logos on them are parked by a path into the wetlands. A small group of volunteers are working on clearing weeds, counting bird species and making other environmental observations about the health of the ecosystem.

3

Those who care

 

Leaving the voluntary workers to their work I find the next promising entrance and park my car. A sign indicates that we have moved into the Greenfields Wetlands. The track leads to an old bridge then follows an embankment along the edge of a small lake. The twittering of wrens provides a constant sound track as I scan for water fowl and reptiles along the edge of the reeds. There are coots, swamp hens and Pacific black ducks as well as turtles and water skinks along this section of wetland but it is a glorious little blue wren draws the attention of my long lens.

4 2

Male superb blue wren

 

The watercourse ends in a sluice gate that regulates water flow between the ponds and on one side I can see the swirl and splash of large fish feeding in the shallows. They are carp, an unwelcome guest in any ecosystem and their eradication is probably another task for the council and other environmental protection agencies that watch over these important resources.

5

Carp feeding in the shallows

 

My final stop, just before the salt pans is particularly fruitful as there is a mixed population of black swans, herons and spoonbills feeding in a shallow lagoon. It is always interesting to observe these quite diverse species with their individual feeding styles and uniquely evolved body parts. Their beaks, legs and feet have developed unique characteristics over time for feeding in the same area but utilising different food sources and therefore not competing.

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A mixed group of waterbirds

 

And, as is so often the case, my thoughts also turn to food. The Watershed Cafe, just over the bridge, is opportunely positioned on another part of the Greenfields system near Mawson Lakes. Sitting on the edge of a reed fringed lake it is the perfect place for coffee and cake at the end of my wetlands drive.

 

Cheer

Baz

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Montacute’s Cherry Trail

10 Feb

Montacute’s Cherry Trail 

Dear Reader:

The two roos are huge. It is rare to see grey kangaroos this large quite so close to the suburbs. They are browsing by the side of a gravel track just off the main road. The male seems quite protective of the female looking intently at me while she continues to feed. But in truth both seem unfazed by my presence.

1

Grey kangaroos

 

I am parked just near St Andrews Uniting Church where the tortuous curves of Corkscrew Road heads back down to the Torrens Gorge. Earlier I had driven up Montacute Road past the hills face suburbs of Newton and Athelstone. The road traversed The Black Hill Conservation Park as it followed the winding path of Fifth Creek to the little community of Montacute famous for its cherry orchards.

2  red St Pauls ANglican

St Andrew’s Church

 

Along the way I had stopped at several parking bays to access the park. Much to my surprise nearly every stop yielded a koala sighting. They were hanging in trees, nibbling leaves and one was even scuttling clumsily across the ground to a new arboreal refuge.

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Relaxed koala

 

After walking around the scrub near the church photographing butterflies and other insects I call in at Montacute Valley Orchards. I park near the farm shed and purchase a few kilos of cherries and some superb home-made ice cream. But my wildlife instincts are drawn to the birds that are frequenting the nearby fruit trees. There are lorikeets, miner birds and wattle birds feeding on cherries and apricots in the foliage as well as cockatoos and rosellas rummaging amongst the fallen fruit below the trees.

4 red meadow argus

Meadow argus butterfly

 

4 red musk lorikeet

Musk lorikeet in cherry tree

 

With a belly full of ice cream, a bag full of cherries and an SD card full of images I call it a day and drive back to the city via corkscrew Road and the Torrens Gorge.

5 One of the lovely hills properies that nestle in the valley

One of the lovely hills properties that nestle in the valley

 

Cheers

Baz

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