Tag Archives: Aouth australian wildlife photography

By the Barrage

17 Dec

By the Barrage

Dear Reader:

A stately Australian Pelican glides across the water between the barrage and the reed beds.  This stretch of water is home to a wide variety water birds, fish and insects and even the occasional water rat.

 

Barrage and Pelican

 

Goolwa’s barrages are an intricate set of barriers between the freshwater expanses of Lake Alexandrina and the ocean. They are used to control the saline ocean water that once extended far up river under certain conditions. Locks in the barrage allows boats to pass through them giving fishers and other ‘boaties’ access to the Coorong; a long shallow waterway that runs parallel to the open ocean.

 

View from the track

Returning after collecting cockles

A paved road accesses the area with numerous interpretive signs explaining the history and purpose of this barrage which about five minutes from the Goolwa wharves taking Admiral Terrace which leads into Riverside Drive and then Barrage Road. Where vehicle access stops there is a small car park and a sign-posted track that leads over the sand-hills to Goolwa Beach; well known for its surf fishing and proliferation of cockles that are gathered for both food and bait.  

 

Pied Oystercatchers

 

I take the sand hill track over to the beach. There are several species of birds on the beach including; Plovers, Silver Gulls and the occasional Pacific Gulls and Common Terns patrolling the shallow waters looking for food. But it is a pair of Pied Oystercatchers that catch my eye as they delicately balance on one in the wet sand near the waterline.

 

Singing Honeyeater

Dune beetle

 

On my walk back across the dunes I focus on the numerous species of bushes, grasses and spreading ground covers that hold the dune ecosystem together. The wildlife is sparse in these harsh conditions but I do manage to find a large ‘weevil-like’ beetle foraging in some grasses and there are quite a few Singing Honeyeaters calling from the tops of bushes. There are also numerous tracks and droppings from kangaroos, rabbits and reptiles. I suspect that there is more action in the nocturnal hours.

 

Little Raven

Trudging through the dunes has been quite tiring; it is approaching lunch time and the wonderful bakeries of Goolwa beckon; or perhaps a pub lunch at the hotel.  As I climb into the car and head back along the lake one last animal  draws my attention. A raven is sitting on some weathered branches fluffing up its feathers and the light seems just right. Normally the all black birds are hard to photograph and the colours and reflections off their feathers seem incorrect. Down with the window, engine off to reduce vibration, rest the camera on the door frame and gently press the button. Voila… and now for lunch!!

 Cheers

Baz

 Additional notes

This is an easy drive which is quite suitable for families and seniors with parking and other facilities nearby. The walk across the sand hill track is quite strenuous though relatively short

 

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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….’

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Taking a closer look

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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.

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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.

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Johnathan art centre

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Work space and gallery

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Layers of colour and rosella

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Bee at work

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

Cheers

Baz

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