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Flinders Ranges Moments

14 Aug

Grazing sheep in the Flinders Ranges

Dear Reader:

Several deep gorges cut through the Flinders Ranges from east to west. They can be comfortably traversed by conventional vehicles in dry weather but in the wet they are hazardous and 4WD is a necessity. In these images I push my vehicle through relatively shallow water after measuring the depth first then attach a tow rope to a vehicle that didn’t quite make it.

A calculated and tested crossing

Didn’t get it quite right

The Flinders Ranges are around 800 million years old and are the result of the uplifting, folding and consequent erosion of an ancient, shallow sea bed. Their sedimentary rocks contain fossils of some of the Earth’s earliest life forms known as the Ediacra fauna. The ranges are the ancestral home of the Adnyamathanha (pronounced ud-ya-mutna) people who have lived there for over 40,000 years.

Layers (strata) of sedimentary rock

Four different kinds of Macropods (kangaroos and wallabies) live in the Flinders ranges: Western Grey Kangaroos, Red Kangaroos, Euros or Common Wallaroos and Yellow-footed Rock-Wallabies. Western Greys live in low forested areas, Reds prefer dry open plains, Euros live in the foothills and the rare Yellow-footed Rock-Wallabies prefer higher rocky slopes. There is some overlap between the habitats of all these species.

Red Kangaroos

Euro, Hill Kangaroo or Wallaroo

Yellow-footed Rock-Wallaby feeding in Brachina Gorge

Birdlife is prolific throughout the ranges and include a wide variety of species ranging from tiny finches and Budgerigars to Wedge-tailed Eagles and Emus. While taking friends from the USA around Wilpena Pound and Brachina Gorge, in the heart of the Flinders, we stopped to photograph birds on numerous occasions.

Getting up close

Nice result

This wild and beautiful region has much to offer in terms of fauna both ancient and modern. However, the plants of this rugged landscape are just as fascinating: Sugar Gums, Cypress-pine, Flinders Wattle, Flax Lilies and the SA state emblem the Sturt’s Desert Pea are just a few examples.

Sturt’s Desert Pea

Although the Flinders Ranges is a truly wild destination it also has a significant human perspective. There are ancient First Nations art sites, a world-renowned hotel featuring local cuisine, working stations (farms) and a significant arts and crafts community. From my own perspective as a photographer, there are the remnants of old settlements such as stockyards, settler ruins, old mine shafts and other relics of the Flinder’s early settlement, all backed by stunning landscapes.

Lunch at the Prairie Hotel

Cheers

Baz

Additional notes

Please pass on this blog title and or contact information (URL) to any person or organisation with an interest in taking walks and enjoying wildlife in SA.

Click on this link and see more South Australian stories and pictures in my Weekend Notes articleshttps://www.weekendnotes.com/profile/651267/

Title Kangaroo Island….Day 2 Lesueur Conservation Park

30 Jul

Rosenberg’s Monitor a little upset

Dear Reader:

Grey clouds are shrouding the sky this morning and a cool wind is sweeping in from the sea. I check the weather app and there doesn’t seem to be any rain forecast for the day though the light will be poor.  My Sony RX10 has the larger sensor of my two cameras and seems the obvious choice for today’s jaunt through the nearby Lesueur Conservation Park.

 

Wildlife and Farm life

The unsealed road from the lodge towards Lesueur has been recently graded which makes travelling a little easier and I reach the turn off to the park in a few minutes. There is low scrubby forest to my left and verdant grazing land on the right. To my surprise, a flock of sheep near a small water hole are sharing their territory with Black Swans. A sweep with the telephoto also reveals a few Masked Lapwings and Grey Currawongs in the paddock.

 

Pea flower species

Blue Cockatoo Orchid

I make the signposted turn to Lesueur CP and a little way down the road I notice a cage trap set under a grass tree; I assume it is for feral cats which are a threat to all Australian wildlife from reptiles to birds. Today there are very few animals around which is fairly typical in cool overcast conditions and I decide to fossick around in the scrub adjacent to the road. The first thing I notice is the proliferation of flowering plants including native pea flower species and delicate blue orchids.

 

Grey Fantail and Silvereye

Red-browed Finch

There are small birds high in the trees but they are hard to identify. I come across a deep rut in the road which is partially filled with water. The vehicle scares several small birds away which are using the pool as a bathing area. After driving a several hundred metres down the track I leave the car and approach the ‘bird bath’ stealthily through the scrub. Taking up a position about fifty metres away I wait and within ten minutes they return. Long shots on a cloudy day do not make for award winning images but they do help me identify these small birds as; Silvereyes, Grey Fantails and Red-browed Finches. Meanwhile a large centipede is burrowing through the leaf litter next to the log I am sitting on. Telephoto to macro in a split second supports my use of bridging cameras in some circumstances.

 

Rosenberg’s Monitor (like all monitor lizards it has a forked tongue similar to that of a snake)

Centipede species

The wildflowers, centipede and small bird species have made the excursion into the park interesting and I am sure it is worth another visit on a more amenable day. I leave the park and take another randomly chosen track which takes me away from the coastal fringe. Five minutes along this route I see the flattened shape of a large lizard by the side of the road. I stop and take a closer look hoping it has not been injured or killed by a car. As I approach the goanna/monitor which instantly informs me of my error with a hiss and quick, aggressive lunge. I take a couple of shots and usher the animal away from the road.

 

Creek scene

 

View from the lodge

A little further on, the road passes over a small creek which is picturesque even on a dull day. It then intersects with another road, which my GPS informs me, leads back towards ‘Seadragon Lodge’( see link below for more information) where I started my day’s adventure. By now the clouds have shifted and patches of blue sky are brightening up the day. Time to relax, put a log in the combustion heater and sort through my images while enjoying the view across the gully to the ocean.

Cheers

Baz

Additional notes

Seadragon Lodge……  https://seadragonlodge.com.au/

This is an easy drive which is quite suitable for families and seniors and the lodge is wonderful with magnificent views and abundant wildlife.

Please pass on this blog title and or contact information (URL) to any person or organisation with an interest in taking walks and enjoying wildlife in SA.

Click on this link and see more South Australian stories and pictures in my Weekend Notes articles

https://www.weekendnotes.com/profile/651267/

 

Port Victoria’s Coastal Drive…..Part 1

6 Jul

Rocky outcrop near Second Beach

 

Dear Reader:

A few years ago I spent several days with a close friend at Port Victoria fishing in the rich waters off Wardang Island.  Geoff and I caught whiting, snook and squid and even managed to locate a few abalone which made for quite a feast on the barbecue. Today, we are exploring Port Vic from the shoreline and discovering some of the amazing scenery and coastal wildlife the area has to offer.

 

Patient Pelicans

What’s for lunch???

 

The boat ramp where we set off on our fishing trips is now the haunt of a small group of Australian Pelicans. They also enjoy the fruits of these waters, congregating around returning boats to feed on discarded fish and bait.

 

Pacific Gull in flight

The local golf course sits alongside the ramp and extends south along the coast to our first destination, known locally as Rifle Butts Beach. There are rocky outcrops at each end of the beach and I watch Pacific Gulls and a lone Great Cormorant flying just above the waves. The dunes and beach are pristine and there is an information plaque explaining their ecology and importance.

 

Beach fishing

From Rifle Butts it is only a short distance along Conservation Drive to Second Beach where we stop at a sandy parking bay and watch a couple of fishers casting for Mullet and Salmon Trout. A small sign cautions us to look out for rare Hooded Plovers which nest on the beach; though I believe breeding season is now over. The beach is accessible to 4WD but today is just a first look and we have more distance to cover.

 

Startled Western Grey Kangaroo

We continue slowly along Conservation Drive with the windows open ready to stop and record any special wildlife encounters. There is low coastal scrub to the right and open paddocks with sheep and cattle to the left. Large flocks of Crested Pigeons are feeding in the fields. I brake suddenly and turn the wheel to get a good angle on a pair of Grey Kangaroos half hidden in the scrub. They immediately bound away and I manage a hurried shot of one roo as it disappears into the scrub.

 

Water behind the dunes

Path to the ocean

 

Our final stop is Wauraltee Beach. The parking area lies at the end of a sandy track near a windmill which taps freshwater from behind the dune system. A short trail leads up and over the primary dunes and ends with a spectacular panoramic view north and south along this magnificent yet secluded beach.

View south along Wauraltee Beach

 

From the top of the dunes, I can scan the bush for birdlife, kangaroos and even wombats which live in the area.  Today, I spot several Singing Honeyeaters, a kestrel hovering in the distance and what appears to be a pod of dolphins about 500 metres offshore. There are some small waders near the seaweed fringe but it is hard to identify them at this range.

 

Singing Honeyeater

It has been a wonderful reintroduction to Port Victoria and has left me with a strong desire to return and spend more time exploring today’s destinations in greater detail. And, to add even more incentive, there is an equally interesting track and walking trail heading north from the jetty towards Point Pearce.

Cheers

BAZ

Mildura to Trentham Estate Winery….part 2…..Around the Winery

18 Jun

Moored at the winery

 

Dear Reader:

We arrived at Trentham Estate Winery around 1.00 pm. After tying up and sprucing up, as we are eating at the winery, we wander ashore to indulge in a little pre-lunch wine tasting. Our meal is served under a large marquis with wonderful views of the river and surrounding countryside.

 

Coffee by the river

 

A sipbefore lunch

 

The Duck Breast in a Hoisin sauce is moist and cooked to perfection and coffee, dessert and good company make the afternoon fly. However, before the light disappears I take a walk upstream to explore the properties and bushland alongside the winery.

 

Peaceful Dove by the water

As I edge along the bank I notice Anhingas, Black Ducks (not the source of lunch) and some unusual doves. I wait behind a large river gum and manage to snag a shot of these smallish, striped birds which turn out to be Peaceful Doves.

 

Grey Butcherbird

 

Laughing Kookaburra

 

Further along the pathway I hear the first few notes of a Kookaburra’s call. The bird is perched on a dead tree branch and the Nikon P900’s telephoto is stretched close to maximum extension. In a thorny bush below the tree, I can just make out the outline of a Grey Butcherbird. Despite waiting for the bird to emerge I settle for an image taken through the branches; not a portrait shot but certainly a realistic one.

 

Yellow Rosella

 

Male and female Red-rumped Parrots

 

Parrots are feeding high in the trees which makes focussing difficult. There seems to be two distinct groups. Scanning the branches, I recognise Yellow Rosellas and Red-rumped Parrots. Both are beautiful birds which I rarely see in SA. 

 

Boatel coming in to dock

The light is beginning to fade and it’s time to get back to the boat. When I reach the mooring I can hardly miss the opulent vessel parked a little further on. It is called ‘Boatel’ for obvious reasons and is a luxury version of our houseboat constructed by the same company ‘All Seasons’.

However, our craft has luxury enough for this photographer and I am about to sit back and relax with a cup of coffee and a piece of cake.

Until my next blog, enjoy our wonderful wildlife and countryside.

Cheers

Baz

Please pass on this blog title and or contact information (URL) to any person or organisation with an interest in taking walks and enjoying wildlife in SA.

Click on this link and see more South Australian stories and pictures in my Weekend Notes articles

https://www.weekendnotes.com/profile/651267/

Trentham winery

https://www.tripadvisor.com.au/Restaurant_Review-g255355-d1752428-Reviews-Trentham_Estate_Winery_Restaurant-Mildura_Victoria.html

 

Meadows to Cox Scrub along Bull Creek Road

15 May

White-cheeked Rosella

Dear Reader:

There is a layby just a 400 meters along Bull Creek Road which starts just outside Meadows on the road to Ashbourne. It is a unique viewing point as the road also passes through a cutting which exposes the root systems of a large eucalypt. The layby overlooks a steep hillside providing a direct line of sight into the canopies of the surrounding trees. I can hear Rosellas and ravens calling and a quick sweep with the telephoto lens reveals a White-cheeked Rosella perched on a branch. While I concentrate on the bird a Little Raven lands by the roadside to scavenge on the carcass of a road-kill possum.

Cutting with exposed roots

Little Raven

I continue along the road for a further 400 meters to another layby which has quite a different outlook. A small section of bush is fenced off and surrounded by grazing land. High in the sky, I notice the circling motion of a large raptor. Once again, the amazing 83x magnification of my Nikon P900 comes to the fore and I recognise the bird as a Wedge-tailed Eagle, Australia’s largest bird of prey.

Wedge-tailed Eagle

My next deviation from the main road is a right hand turn into Ushers Road, a dirt track 3.7 Kms further on from the last layby. The road follows a creek surrounded by open farmland. There are Fairy Wrens and sparrows flitting across it. I catch a glimpse of a hare racing across the paddocks and some Galahs are feeding in the distance. As my main objective is Bull Creek Road’s wildlife I travel just a short distance before returning to the main road.

Creek bed and open pasture

Superb Fairy Wren

Around 7 kms from Ushers Road, is the little hamlet of Ashbourne which features a lovely old church and the iconic Greenman Inn. The building dates from 1865 when it was a general store and post office. Today, the Greenman is a contemporary establishment with country charm and a pub style menu sourced from local produce. It is both family and pet friendly. However, plan your drive carefully as the Greenman is closed on a Mondays and Tuesdays.

Greenman at Ashbourne

Little Corellas

Ashbourne is characterised by some massive eucalypts and pine trees sitting alongside the inn and church. As I wander around the area I can hear the raucous calls of Little Corellas and Galahs and it doesn’t take too long to find and photograph both species of parrot.

Pair of Common Brown butterflies

Bridge over Finniss River

Two kilometres beyond Ashbourne, the Finniss River is crossed by an historic Bridge which was constructed in 1865. There is a little water in the river and I climb down the bank careful not to lacerate myself on blackberry bushes. A White-faced Heron takes flight and several Little Ravens retreat high into high the canopy of the River Gums growing alongside the Finniss. As I make my way back up to the car I notice several brownish butterflies and with a little patience and some luck I manage to photograph a pair.

Turn around destination at Cox Scrub

The final destination for this part of my drive lies another 3.5 kilometres past the bridge. Cox Scrub Conservation Park is an area I have written about previously (see link below). There is a car parking area surrounded by trees and I notice a variety of tiny birds flitting around. I use the telephoto to track them and recognise Striated Pardalotes, Silvereyes and Weebills but they are too small and fast to capture with a camera. Perhaps another day when I have more time.

Grey Fantail

Through the scrub I can see a small clearing with some fallen tree trunks nearby. I sit for a while and watch the birds and eventually a Grey Fantail comes close enough to photograph. A nice way to end this part of my Bull Creek Drive and the car park is as safe place to swing round and head back to the city.          

Cheers

Baz

Additional notes

Cox Scrub CP post

This is an easy drive which is quite suitable for families and seniors with amenities at Ashbourne and Meadows.

Please pass on this blog title and or contact information (URL) to any person or organisation with an interest in taking walks and enjoying wildlife in SA.

Click on this link and see more South Australian stories and pictures in my Weekend Notes articleshttps://www.weekendnotes.com/profile/651267/

Hindmarsh Island ……Part 1

29 Mar

 

Hindmarsh Island ……Part 1

Dear Reader:

The bridge over the Murray River to the island is sleek and modern. Where it terminates there is a small layby and a short track going back under the concrete stanchions. A line of posts edges into the river. Probably part of the old ferry structures. Every few minutes, Australian Pelicans land on the old wooden posts and rails resting or watching for prey in the water.

 

Hindmarsh Island Bridge

After a while, the pelicans move off and land in the water near a reed patch. Another bird joins them and they start to swim in a roughly circular formation. They seem to be hunting; possibly herding small fish. My thoughts are confirmed when the birds tighten the circle and simultaneously dip their heads and long beaks into the water. The manoeuvre is repeated several times. Their movements are very graceful, almost like watching synchronised swimming or ballerinas with fluffed up tutus.

 

Pelicans up

Pelicans down

I am on Hindmarsh Island; Kumerangk in the language of the First Nations People who live in this area, the Ngarrindjeri. The island is an hour and a half drive SE of Adelaide near the town of Goolwa. It is flat and low with extensive areas of pasture, some scrub and a modern housing development with associated marina. There are numerous roads both paved and dirt criss-crossing the island. Hindmarsh Island is significant both in South Australia’s settler history and Ngarrindjeri history and culture and the creation of the bridge was the subject of friction between First Nations People and the SA government.

 

Fishing the channel

I continue driving for another ten minutes, past the marina turnoff on my right then the take one of several unsealed roads to my left which brings me to a shoreline where there is a small group of houses. Two fishermen are working the channel and I stop and chat with them for a few minutes about the marine and terrestrial wildlife in the area.

 

Orb weaver at work

Lovely, golden grass and patches of coastal scrub carpet this area and offer shelter to a range of animals. I spot some wrens and other small birds and catch a fleeting glimpse of a reptile near the muddy shore. Lizard or snake? Not sure. However, it is an Orb Weaver spider constructing its complex web that intrigues me. I watch the industrious little animal for some time and capture some reasonable close-up images.

 

Lapwing, Ibis, swans

My next stop is a couple of kilometres down the sealed road at a small group of shacks. There are short jetties poking out into the channel and most of them seem to be favourite roosting areas for both Black and Pied cormorants. Where the muddy shoreline and Samphire swamp meet, I can see numerous wading birds including: Spoonbills, Pied Stilts, Sandpipers and Masked Lapwings. In the slightly deeper water, a large flock of Black Swans are feeding.

 

Fascinating ecosytem

 

The morning’s drive and my initial exploration of the island have been quite productive and after I find a place to sit and have a bite to eat, provisioned from one of Goolwa’s many fine bakeries, I will head over to the Murray Mouth and Mundoo Channel to continue my day at Hindmarsh Island…………to be continued.

Cheers

Baz

 

Additional notes

This is an easy drive and walk which is quite suitable for families and seniors. Hindmarsh Island is dog friendly except for the Conservation Parks.

Please pass on this blog title and or contact information (URL) to any person or organisation with an interest in taking walks and enjoying wildlife in SA.

Click on this link and see more South Australian stories and pictures in my Weekend Notes articles

https://www.weekendnotes.com/profile/651267/

Birdwood’s Cromer Conservation Park…….Part 2

11 Mar

Classic Cromer scrub

Dear Reader:

This is my second visit to the Cromer CP. Unlike my first wander around this unique patch of South Aussie scrub the immediate weather is not treating me in a kindly fashion with low clouds and mist forecast for the morning then clearing as the day progresses. Not great for detailed photography but it might add a different atmosphere to my images.

Roos in the fields

Close up shot from car

As I drive along the road from Birdwood I am forced to a stop to avoid a small group of Western Grey Kangaroos bounding in front of the car. They settle in a field and start to graze only looking up as I power down the window for a shot.

Thornbill species?

Treecreeper sp or Sitella sp

I enter the park from an unmarked gate on the far corner of the park about 1 km from the main entrance. A barely visible track runs into scrub which is dominated by two distinct types of eucalypts. The taller trees have smooth bark while the other’s is rougher and darker. There are small noisy birds flitting about in the canopy and despite the poor light I get a couple of shots at distance thanks to the extreme range of my Nikon P900. A bit of Photoshopping later suggests one is a variety of thornbill and the other a sitella or treecreeper species (any ID feedback would be welcome).

Cockies Galahs) in the mist

The track disappears after a few hundred metres and just where it peters out there is a small mound surrounded by old, rusted fencing. I take a closer look and discover, what appears to be,  a well or perhaps mine digging. There are several smaller unfenced depressions in the area and in one I catch a glimpse of a Blue Tongue Lizard just before it quickly disappears into the undergrowth. The sudden movement startles a pair of Galahs perched high above me. Despite the poor light I manage to capture a rather atmospheric image of the parrots.

Unknown skink species possibly a slider

To my delight the sun is starting to burn off the low cloud and blue skies allow for faster shutter speeds and more depth of field. I decide to turn my attention to the smaller animals inhabiting the park. Under a fallen log, I discover a plethora of life; roaches, a centipede plus a lovely striped skink, possibly a slider species. It has tiny legs and a long slender body for living in the leaf litter and under rocks and fallen branches. Further examination of the shot reveals a small spider by its tail.

Bakery delights at Birdwood

It is time to leave the park on this, my second visit, but I shall return in spring to witness the emergence of delicate wildflowers, birds building nests and roos breeding. Now it is time to obey the urges of my stomach clock and enjoy the calorific delights of the local bakery. So much to choose from but my walk in Cromer Conservation Park might justify my indulgence.     

Cheers

Baz

Additional notes

This is an easy walk which is quite suitable for families and seniors but care must be taken because of the pristine nature of the scrub and the possibility of snakes in the warmer months.

Please pass on this blog title and or contact information (URL) to any person or organisation with an interest in taking walks and enjoying wildlife in SA.

Click on this link and see more South Australian stories and pictures in my Weekend Notes articles

https://www.weekendnotes.com/profile/651267/

Cox Scrub Conservation Park’s Wildlife…..Part 2 From Ridge and Bull Creek Roads

7 Feb

 

Track near Ridge Road entrance to Cox Scrub

Dear Reader:

After my initial foray into Cox Scrub from Coles crossing, today, I am entering the park from Ridge and Bull Creek roads. The Ridge Road entrance leads me to a long straight track which separates nearby farmland from the park. The scrub here is thick and quite difficult to penetrate. I can hear the chirping of wrens and other small birds but they are hard to spot and constantly moving.

 

Classic Cox Scrub vegetation

I employ a sit and wait strategy. The trick is to find a comfortable place with a good view of the surrounding area and not too many bushes and trees in line of sight. A tough ask as the sun must be in the right direction; silhouettes and side lit animals do not make great pictures.

 

Heliotrope Moth on melaleuca blossom

Having chosen a spot alongside a flowering Melaleuca tree I make sure my Nikon P900 is on a moderate telephoto setting. I might only get a split   second to make a shot with no time to zoom in closer. I am trying for bird images however I also stay tuned to the close undergrowth and bushes listening for a tell-tale rustle of leaves or the hum of an insect. For the first ten minutes the only animals I encounter are invertebrates; a moth on the Melaleuca flowers and a dragonfly resting on the sandy soil. Eventually a scubwren lands in a nearby tree and a pair of Crested pigeons start foraging on in the understory. Sighting that make my wait worthwhile.

 

Scrubwren species

There are clouds moving in from the south west and I decide to drive to my next destination before I lose the light or it begins to rain. Several walking trails start at the Bull Creek entrance. The tracks are wide and easy to walk but the scrub is still quite dense with less large trees than the last track. A kilometre along the trail I find a clearing where there seems to be quite a lot of bird activity. It’s time for stop, sit and wait, again.

 

Golden Whistler

This time I am rewarded within a few minutes. A beautiful Golden Whistler perches in stubby eucalypt about twenty metres away. Its characteristic call (loud sharp whistles ending in a whip-crack note) echoes through the bush. The bird is quite active and I set the camera to shutter priority firing at 1/2000 th of a second. The clearing seems to attract a number of different bird species and I watch a pair of Grey Fantails hawking for insects before returning to a perch on a fallen branch. There are also kangaroo droppings and several termite nests have been ravaged by Echidnas.

 

Grey Fantail

Though I would like to stay for a few more minutes, the first drops of rain start to spatter on my jacket. I tuck my camera into its waterproof case and head back to the car. It is time for lunch, and the Mount Compass Bakery beckons. A chicken and vegetable pie with a custard tart to follow. A fitting end to my morning’s work.

Cheers

Baz

Additional notes

This is an easy walk/drive which is quite suitable for families and seniors.

Please pass on this blog title and or contact information (URL) to any person or organisation with an interest in taking walks and enjoying wildlife in SA.

Click on this link and see more South Australian stories and pictures in my Weekend Notes articles

https://www.weekendnotes.com/profile/651267/

Cox Scrub Conservation Park’s Wildlife…..Part 1. Entering from Coles Crossing

23 Jan

Old dairy building

Dear Reader:

It is a glorious day for a drive and some wildlife photography. The bitumen road winds past lush farmland and every so often I come across an old building that reminds me of the rich heritage this region of South Australia boasts. I keep a watchful eye out for kangaroos which are often seen grazing near stock and have been known to hop across the road even in the daylight hours. Rosellas and cockatoos fly between the eucalyptus trees fringing the road. I stop to capture an unusual image of two Galahs feeding on an embankment behind a barbed wire fence.

 

Galahs on embankment

I am exploring the Cox Scrub Conservation Park which is around an hour’s drive south of Adelaide’s CBD near Mt Compass and Ashbourne. It is one of the largest parks on the Fleurieu Peninsula. The park has numerous walking trails cutting through stands of Stringy Barks and a dense understory of Banksias and many other native shrubs. There are several entrances to the park and today I am starting at Cole’s Crossing where the Finniss River cuts through the north western perimeter of the conservation park.

 

Coles Crossing

He Coles Crossing track ends at a ford which is too deep to cross in the SUV but a great place to stop and eat lunch. There are small fish in the river and quite a lot of macroinvertebrates (tiny aquatic invertebrates like water boatmen and pond skaters) in the shallow water by the reeds. Several butterfly species are settling amongst exposed sand and pebbles to drink and I can see a Kookaburra perched on a dead tree branch about a hundred metres downstream.

 

Painted Lady

I follow a fence-line which skirts the river. There are numerous small birds twittering in the reeds and high in the canopy of the massive River Gums which tower over the water. I use the extreme telephoto on my Nikon P900 as a bird spotting tool then manage to get a half decent shot of a small honeyeater-like bird which I later identify as a Brown-headed Honeyeater (note to readers…please correct me if I am wrong with this ID).

 

Brown-headed Honeyeater

It has been interesting just pottering around the crossing but I want to enter the park from a different direction and see if there is any variation in the terrain and wildlife. However, that will be my next blog ‘Cox Scrub CP from Ridge and Bull Creek Roads’

Cheers

Baz

Additional notes

This is an easy walk and drive which is quite suitable for families.

Please pass on this blog title and or contact information (URL) to any person or organisation with an interest in taking walks and enjoying wildlife in SA.

Click on this link and see more South Australian stories and pictures in my Weekend Notes articles

https://www.weekendnotes.com/profile/651267/

Murray Bridge’s Rocky Gully Wetlands (Part 1)

4 Jan

Eastern Water Skink

Dear Reader:

We are standing on a culvert above a long, narrow canal which is used to channel water from one part of the swampy wetland to another. Despite the coolness of the day an Eastern Water Skink is lying on the concrete edge soaking up what little warmth it harbours.

David taking a panoramic shot

Today, David and I are exploring the Rocky River Wetlands; a series of shallow pools fed by urban run-off and the nearby Preamimma Creek. This low-lying area has been developed by local volunteers into a significant wetland supporting a wide diversity of native flora and fauna. Sanders Walk is a 1.8 Km loop around the wetland. Named in honour of the man who instigated this reclamation project and turned a salty wasteland into a wonderful, local biosphere. It is both wheelchair accessible and dog friendly.

Pelican Colony

Pelican flyby with silos

From the culvert we follow a levy which provides views across the wetland with both the town and the Murray River in the distance. A colony of Australian Pelicans occupies a small island while a lone bird flies past the massive wheat silos. They provide me with a couple of nice photo ops featuring wildlife in an urban setting.

Western Grey Kangaroos feeding on floodplain

The clouds are starting to roll in and there is a sniff of rain in the air. We decide it’s time to head back to the car. However, one last scene begs my attention. In the distance, on the low scrubby plains closer to the river, there is a small mob of Western Grey Kangaroos grazing. They are just in range of my P900 on full extension.

A pair of Pacific Black Ducks hunker down as the rain comes in

Then the rain belt hits us. Waterproofs zipped up and cameras protected we beat a hasty retreat. I will return in a few days when the sun is out as there is so much more to see. Now its Murray Bridge for lunch or that lovely little bakery in Hahndorf? Spoilt for choice!

Cheers

Baz

Please pass on this blog title and or contact information (URL) to any person or organisation with an interest in taking walks and enjoying wildlife in SA.

Click on this link and see more South Australian stories and pictures in my Weekend Notes articles

https://www.weekendnotes.com/profile/651267/

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