Tag Archives: Australian birds

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

Houseboat 2022 Mildura to Trentham Winery….part 1

4 Jun

Houseboat sunset

For any regular followers:

(I am stepping outside my usual SA destinations posts to recount part of my latest houseboat adventure from Mildura. The town is on the Murray River just over the border from the SA Riverland towns of Renmark, Berri and Barmera). The terrain and wildlife are much the same as the Riverland

Dear Reader:

It has been a long drive from Adelaide to Mildura and with the unpacking finished and the boat moved to its new mooring on the Mildura Quay it is time to enjoy a glass of wine, sit back on a comfy couch and admire a glorious river sunset.

Pond by the quay

Purple Swap Hen

Coffee time

The next morning is all business. Sandra checks the maps, two couples take a quick walk up to the local shops to purchase a few extras and Pete stows the fishing gear and coolers on the rear deck. The weather is fine so I wander over to the recreation area opposite which has a lovely pond used to rear protected, native fish species. The pond is a perfect place to take some close-up shots of the aquatic birds I will encounter along the river. In addition, the little coffee shop alongside the pond is ideal for an early morning ‘cuppa’ and a calorie laden treat for breakfast.

Swallows on outboard by Peter Zab using iPhone

Back on the houseboat we’re waiting for everyone to come aboard. I watch the swallows hawking for insects alongside the boat. They are incredibly fast and acrobatic and never seem to slow down. Pete notices a pair resting on the small outboard motor of our attached dinghy and zeroes in on them with his iPhone.

Sandra at the helm

Ropes are untied, Sandra opens the throttles and blasts the reversing horn…we are off; cruising around 7km/hr. I climb the stairs to the top deck and take up a position near the front, ready to brace my camera against a fibreglass side panel. From this position I am able to sight a target coming towards me from the riverbanks on either side of the boat. It is tricky photography and stretches the Nikon P900’s capabilities to the limit.

View of Whistling Kite from the boat

Whistling Kite through the telephoto

Our destination is Trentham winery about 10 kms away by river. The scenery along the way is classic Murray River scrub with Mallee trees, a few errant Willows and billabongs dotted with massive dead River Gums protruding like bony, grey fingers. At the top of one fading gum, I spot a Whistling Kite and further along the river there is an Australian Pelican perched on an old tree stump. My final shot for the morning, as the winery is just around the bend, an Anhinga or Snake-bird drying its wings after hunting in the river………….to be continued…. 

Anhinga drying wings

Australian Pelican and rosella

Please comment on this story if you find Houseboat posts interesting.

Cheers

Baz

Additional notes

This is an easy holiday which is quite suitable for families and active seniors as tying up the boat requires some mobility and strength. Only a driver’s license is required to operate a houseboat and instruction is given prior to use.

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/

For more information about Trentham Winery go to:

https://www.visitvictoria.com/regions/The-Murray/eat-and-drink/Wineries/Trentham-Estate-Winery

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 2

13 Apr

…….Continued from my last post about Hindmarsh Island……

White-faced Heron stalking

Dear Reader:

Having explored the little settlement by the channel I decide to drive a little further on this side island before cutting inland and heading to the Murray Mouth. A fortunate decision, as I spot a Royal Spoonbill working the shallows near a patch of reeds, a Black Swan just taking to the air and a heron stalking prey; all just a couple of hundred metres further down the track. Window down, some quick snaps and fingers crossed!

 

Spoonbill at work

Swan take off

It is only a five-minute drive to the river mouth but the wind has certainly whipped up the water and bent the grassy pastures. The area around the Murray mouth has a varied collection of shacks, the signposted entrance to a conservation park and even a pop-up coffee van.

 

Murray Mouth with dredge in background

Surprise…time for a break

Despite the blustery weather a tourist boat is taking groups from Goolwa along the sheltered reaches of the Coorong to enjoy the scenery and wildlife. As I lift the camera to photograph the boat I notice a Pacific Gull tracing its path in the foreground, a nice image !

 

Tourist boat and gull in synch

There is a sign near the mouth for the Lawari Conservation Park which covers 106 hectares at the eastern end of Hindmarsh Island incorporating natural coastal scrub and former grazing land. Lawari means Cape Barren Goose in the local Ngarrindjeri language. Over a hundred different species of birds have been recorded in this park and there are significant reptile species as well as Western Grey Kangaroos.

 

Cape Barren Geese

Entrance to park near the river mouth

The wind and cloud have made the Murray Mouth too difficult to photograph as the wildlife is taking shelter in the grass and shrubs. I turn for home and retrace my path down the middle of the island stopping at the memorial to Captain Charles Sturt who was the first European explorer to view the Mouth of the Murray.

 

Sturt memorial

Layby near the bridge

 

Just before I cross the bridge back to the mainland there is a shelter with parking, a barbecue area and detailed graphics about Hindmarsh Island’s history. I take a path through the scrub leading a to a lookout where I can Goolwa and catch a glimpse of an old paddle steamer at the docks. This visit and reading the historical information enthuse me to return on a sunnier day and explore more of this special place where history, culture and wildlife are so closely interwoven.   

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 Park.

Some useful links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindmarsh_Island#Lonely_Island

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/

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/

Torrens Island

1 Oct

Torrens Island and its causeway entrance are situated over the Torrens Island Bridge at the end of The Grand Trunkway in Port Adelaide; about a 30 minute drive from Adelaide’s CBD. The island is closed to the public but the small breakwater and causeway are open. Most of the island is a conservation park with the remaining area housing the power stations and some historic sites.

Road across breakwater looking back at hills

The island if flat and covered with mangroves, samphire and saltbush. The causeway has no vegetation. The mangroves that are accessible from the causeway and road are actually situated on Garden Island. The causeway forms a barrier between the Angas inlet on the left and the warm water outlet from the power station on the right as you face the power station.

Black-shouldered Kite perched on light pole

Numerous fish species including bream, mullet, whiting and Mulloway are attracted to the warm water. In turn, predatory birds such as: herons, pelicans, terns, gulls, cormorants and egrets are found in this area. Small mangrove crabs are found under the rocks in the intertidal region. Dolphins are not uncommon and best spotted from the bridge.  A population of common rats live among the rocks feeding on discarded bait but they are rarely seen during daylight hours.

Little Egret hunting near mangroves

The dominant vegetation seen from the causeway is the Grey Mangrove with small amounts of samphire. At low tide there are seagrass meadows visible through the fencing on the mudflats to the left facing the power station.

Mangrove leaves and fruit….note the waxy top and rough, paler underside where salt crystals accumulate.

Prior to European settlement the mangrove and samphire swamp areas were a rich hunting and gathering region for the local Kaurna people. They would have caught crabs and speared or netted fish as well as collecting shellfish.

Torrens Island power station

Torrens Island was named after Robert Torrens senior who was chairman of the SA Colonisation Commission. Between 1870 and 1980 it was a quarantine station for both animals and people entering the state. During World War 1 the island was used as an internment camp for citizens of German and Austrian backgrounds. Since 1963 much of the island and surrounding water have been protected areas and part of different marine reserves. Three power stations are operating on the island: Torrens Island PS since 1963, Quarrantine PS since 2002 and finally Barker Inlet PS since 2009. All are gas powered.

Fishing as the sun goes down

Fishing from the rocky causeway in the warm water outlet is popular. There are fine views of the ships’ graveyard and its wrecks from the bridge. Tours of the old quarantine facilities can be arranged through the maritime museum in Port Adelaide. In short, quite an interesting place to visit and combine with a day at Port Adelaide.

Cheers

Baz

Additional notes

This is an easy destination to visit and 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/

Rainbow Parrots……..1

2 Aug

As well as continuing to write posts describing South Australia’s best natural and urban destinations and their associated wildlife; I will be posting some shorter pieces focussing entirely on one species or idea.

Dear Reader:

I am sitting on the front porch watching the street’s wildlife. There are a few New Holland Honeyeaters hawking for insects and a small group of Crested Pigeons congregating on the newly mown nature strip. Always a good time to look for food. But it is the brightly coloured Rainbow Lorikeets in the Hackberry Tree opposite that really catch my attention as they balance on the thin branches to feed on the small, dark berries. 

Hackberries for dinner

These energetic little parrots do not feed quietly; they squawk and chatter to each other as they bounce, balance and flutter amongst the foliage in search of the ripest fruit. And, while these birds feed on the Hackberries another group are tucking into the last blooms of my flowering gums in the backyard.

Blossoms for desset

Rainbow Lorikeets (Trichoglossus haematodus) are smallish parrots with around 30 cms in length wih a wingspan around 40 cms. Their main foods are blossoms, nectar, seeds, fruit and sometimes insects. They have brush like tongues for collecting pollen and sharp beaks capable of biting into fruit and crushing seeds. Rainbow Lorikeets are often considered a nuisance by people who have fruit trees in their yards.

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/

Houseboat Day 5…..At Caudo Winery

2 Jul

Dear Reader:

The gum tree alongside the boat is massive. Its branches extend well over the bank and river. These River Gums are a sanctuary for many species that live along the Murray providing homes for myriad invertebrates, birds, reptiles and even mammals such as bats and possums. At the moment, I can see a Yellow Rosella perched high in the canopy. A long shot but certainly gettable with my Nikon P900.

Yellow Rosella

We have tied up the houseboat at Caudo Winery after a lovely cruise along the river which was quite productive when it came to wildlife; as I mentioned in my last post. The winery is a perfect pause for lunch and wine tasting on a river trip from Morgan, and the staff are both helpful and knowledgeable.

Houseboat and winery outdoor area

After a sip of a local white, I am ostensibly a non-drinker but love a little taste to simply enjoy the flavours, I decided to take an exploratory wander around the grounds. Another Red Gum, even larger than the first, towers over an open paddock on the property’s edge. Peering through the long lens I can make out a Corella nesting in a dead branch. While I am watching the Corella’s mate flies in and they exchange places.

Short-beaked Corella in nesting hole

Turning my attention from the larger animals I start to hunt around under the half-shed bark and understory by the base of the gum trees; always a good place to find insects, spiders and reptiles. I am not disappointed, discovering some beetles and small coppery skink that I have yet to identify.

Pie Dish Beetle species
Unknown skink species

My stroll is brought to a pleasant end when a couple the houseboat crew send me a quick text about pizzas hot from the oven being served in the next few minutes. Pizzas, fine wines, good company a bit of wildlife….a pretty good afternoon on the Murray River.

Cheers

Baz

This is an easy trip which is quite suitable for families and seniors with all facilities on board, only a driver’s license required to drive and boat training provided by the company prior to departure.

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/

Secretive South Aussies

1 Mar

Dear Reader:

The diminutive birds look like mottled balls of feathers darting through the undergrowth. It is time to just sit and wait until one settles long enough to let me focus and fire. A keeper arrives and spreads some mealworms across the floor of the enclosure. Temerity is temporarily discarded and the Stubble Quail come out of hiding to feed. The Birds still move quickly as they peck at the mealworms and I must switch the camera to shutter priority which I have permanently set at 1/2000 of a second on my P900.

 

Stubble Quail feeding

Virtually all the photographs for my posts and the books I write are taken ‘in the field’ at the location I am exploring. However, sometimes there are animals that I see, hear or find traces of, but cannot photograph. For some of these species, wildlife parks, museums and zoos are an invaluable resource. Today, I am collecting images from Cleland Wildlife Park in the Adelaide Hills near Crafers and Mount Lofty; about a twenty minute drive from Adelaide’s CBD.

 

Inland Taipan

Near the exit and shop there is a building that houses nocturnal animals and a range of reptiles. Having gained permission to use limited flash photography, it can stress and annoy certain animals, I decide to target venomous snakes. When shooting through glass enclosures it is necessary to angle the flash to prevent the light from bouncing straight back into the lens. Luckily several of the snakes are active in their enclosures.

 

Eastern Brown Snake forked tongue protruding

In several decades of photographing wildlife I have seen very few venomous snakes and those I have encountered have been shy and almost impossible to photograph in any detail. Limiting my attempts because of the flash stress factor, I manage to get a couple of reasonable images of an Inland Taipan and an Eastern Brown Snake with its forked tongue protruding. The forked tongue that all snakes and monitor lizards possess, allows the reptiles to pick up tiny particles emitted by prey and determine direction and distance using a special feature known as the Jacobsen’s organ. The process is much the same as our two ears being set apart determining the direction of a sound based on the intensity and volume being different for each ear. By the way; snakes do not have ears but can feel vibrations through the ground.

 

Princess Parrot

South Australia has many beautiful bird species and it is often difficult to get near some of them in the wild. In addition, some species like Princess Parrots are quite rare or live in extremely remote areas. With this in mind, I stroll through one of the ‘walk-through’ aviaries in search of birds I have not previously encountered or photographed.

 

Ringtail Possum

Most South Australians know and recognise the common Brushtail Possums that frequent urban backyards and sometimes, to the dismay of residents, their roofs. It is the slightly smaller and endearing Ringtail Possum that is less often seen. To this end, I have arranged with an education officer to photograph the ringtail they use in lessons about our native marsupials. She carries the little marsupial out in a hessian sack and places it on a tree branch. I wait for the most natural pose and capture a couple of images.

With possum and possum image safely ‘in the bag’ it is time for lunch and a little retail therapy at the café and souvenir shop. The food is good and I am pleased to say that I find a copy of my last book ‘Discovering Adelaide’s Wildlife’, on the shelf. I never tire of Cleland and will return again in the cooler weather to add to my  ‘hard to get’ wildlife, photographic collection.  

Cheers

Baz

Additional notes

These images were taken using a Nikon Coolpix P900 camera

This is an easy excursion which is quite suitable for families and seniors with public toilets, parking, restaurant and other facilities on site.

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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