Tag Archives: kangaroo

Wilpena Wildlife

4 Oct

Wilpena Wildlife

Dear Reader:

There is a sleepy lizard, or shingleback, staring back at me from the rocky ledge where it is sheltering. These harmless lizards eat a wide variety of foods from vegetation and berries to insects and snails. They are one of the most common reptiles in the Flinders Ranges; an ancient mountain range, about a five hour drive from Adelaide.

 

Sleepy lizard

 

I am staying at Wilpena Pound in the heart of the ranges. The hills that encircle this outback resort and campground are just a two minute walk away from my chalet and contain a plethora of wildlife, geological and botanical treasures.

 

Typical scenery

 

The lizard is just one of the animals that I encounter as I walk from my chalet towards the park’s entrance. The sun is dropping low in the sky and in the soft light I can see a group of emus feeding on a grassy plain that extends from the distant hills.

 

Arvo emus

 

As the emus move off I startle a female grey kangaroo with a joey at heel. The two marsupials look at me for a split second before bounding away into the scrub; grey blurs against a subtle canvass of brown and green.

 

Roos in flight

 

My day ends with a meal in the Wilpena Pound Restaurant watching a couple of roos feeding on the lawns and listening to the call of kookaburras.

 

Come and see the Flinders; you will not be disappointed!

 

Cheers

Baz

 

Additional notes

There are easy walks and drives which are quite suitable for families and seniors with public toilets, barbecues, parking and other facilities nearby. Dogs are not permitted in the National Park.

 

See more South Australian of my stories and photographs in Weekend Notes

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

 I have recently spent time in Africa and the link below will allow you to enjoy images and text describing some of my encounters with the wonderful wildlife of Botswana and Zambia. I will try to attach a new image and notes to accompany each post.

https://wildlifemomentssa.blogspot.com

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Chinaman’s Creek on a cloudy day

3 Aug

Chinaman’s Creek on a cloudy day

Dear Reader:

It is a cool, overcast afternoon; not ideal for wildlife watching or photography. Nevertheless, I have organised a weekend trip north to Port Augusta to investigate the Arid Zone Botanic Gardens during the winter months. As an added bonus, I hope to explore a shallow mangrove creek some 20kms south of the town that a friend has suggested as an interesting wildlife stop off en route.

1 wedge tail 2

Wedge – tailed eagles are Australia’s largest raptors with a wingspan over 2 metres

1 wedge tail 1. Australia's largest raptor with a wingspan over 2 meters

Wedge-tailed eagle about to fly

1 wedgy takes flight

In flight

 

 

As I approach the Chinaman’s creek junction I notice a pair of wedge-tailed eagles in the skeletal branches of a mallee tree. The birds seem quite relaxed as they survey the low scrub that stretches towards the coast. I let the car roll to a stop and gingerly climb out careful not to let the door bang shut. There is good cover between the birds and myself and I fire off a couple of shots before one bird senses the movement and takes to the air.

2 Galahs iin bush near wheat fields

Galahs in bush near wheat fields

2 Cockatoo near the park's entrance

Cockatoo near the park’s entrance

 

The stretch of unsealed road that stretches towards the coast is flanked on both sides by scrubby farmland that supports sheep and some wheat fields. Small groups of rose breasted cockatoos are perching in the branches alongside the road. They occasionally take flight into the fields to dig out tubers and possibly ravage a few of the crops; lovely birds to watch but not always popular with farmers.

4 Dirt trackinto the coservation park about 5 kms from the highway

Dirt track into the conservation park about 5 Kms from the highway

4 Visitors to the park

Visitors to the park

 

Where the cleared land gives way to forest and denser scrub, a fence and sign announces the Winninowie conservation Park which incorporates Chinaman’s Creek. Despite the remoteness of the area we meet a couple of 4X4s complete with camping trailers and stop to chat with the drivers for a few moments. They have been camping by the creek for a few days and had some success fishing the mangrove flats on the receding tide for whiting and mullet.

6 Chinaman's creek jetty at low tide

Chinaman’s creek jetty at low tide

9 Momentary glimpse of a sacred kingfisher

Momentary glimpse of a sacred kingfisher

 

A few minutes later we pull into the camping area. There is a scattering of permanent shacks and a small jetty that is completely exposed at low tide. I change from shoes to gum boots, from experience I know that this mud sticks like glue, and start to walk along the edge of the little creek. I can hear singing honeyeaters in the mangroves and catch flashes of colour from other unidentifiable species that flit amongst the thick foliage. But the birds are some distance away and the overcast conditions make photography all but impossible.

6 Chinaman's creek jetty at low tide

Chinaman’s creek jetty at low tide

 

 

I notice thousands of small burrows honeycombing the edge of the intertidal zone. Each is home to a small shore or mangrove crab. In the creek I can see roving schools of silver baitfish eagerly eyed by a pair of herons that are stalking the fringe of the mangroves.

4 As a pair of emus head towards the trees a grey kangaroo pops its head up

As a pair of emus head towards the trees a grey kangaroo pops its head up

 

Our time at the creek is limited. The clouds are thickening and a few fat raindrops have bounced off my camera lens. As we leave the park has a few more wildlife surprises that make me grit my teeth over the poor lighting conditions. A gorgeous sacred kingfisher perches on a long-dead coastal acacia bush and a group of grazing emus wanders across the saltbush dominated plain. Later, when examining this image in detail I discover that there is another participant in the scene; a grey kangaroo that was feeding close to them.

5 The creek at low tide with mangrove forest and Flinders Ranges in the background

The creek at low tide with mangrove forest and Flinders Ranges in the background

 

It has been an interesting first look at this coastal environment with its varied habitats and I look forward to further visits in the warmer, lighter months ahead.

 

Until next time

Cheers

Baz

Quinn and Pop do Cleland

21 Apr

Dear Reader:

Though I have photographed wildlife for over 30 years, I still get excited when I see an unusual bug in the garden or hear the screech of sulphur crested cockatoos on my morning bike ride. However, every photographer needs an extra bit of inspiration; that fresh way to see the world. Mine came from taking two year old Quinn to explore Cleland Wildlife Park in the Adelaide Hills. Seeing a child experience the beauty and mystery of nature is something that no amount of field experiences can ever compete with. With a little hand tucked in mine I was guided along the bushland paths to the sound of……

“Pop come see.”

“Look croos!!”…. (kangaroos, I presumed correctly)

 

IMG_3608

My first wildlife park

Quinn loves animals, she has a dog, a cat and often toddles down the road to the local wetlands where every bird species is still classified as a duck. At Cleland she was overwhelmed by the variety of new animals and ran between marsupials and reptiles then on to the birds (ducks) with ever increasing gusto. The wildlife was not quite as enthusiastic about her energy levels and tended to disappear with a hop, scuttle or ‘flap of wing’ as the two year old whirlwind bore down on them. The combined wisdom of Mum and Nan tried to instil a sense of calm and caution when dealing with wildlife but the concept did not seem to gel with her two year old philosophy.

IMG_3648

Quinn has a puppy too…not quite a dingo

IMG_3684

Stop croo stop

 

Unsurprisingly, the koalas were a particular hit. She probably associated their solid, furry bodies and bear-like appearance with the plethora of animated cartoon characters featured in various children’s programs. Next time we will get the obligatory ‘kid with koala’ image but on this public holiday excursion the overseas visitor line stretched away into the horizon. A few minutes watching the iconic marsupials climbing, snoozing and munching gum leaves, had to suffice; at least she was still for a while.

IMG_3654

An enclosure of cute

IMG_3651

Koala are not bears…a lesson for later

 

After an hour and half of unbridled, two year old enthusiasm we decided/hoped that she had used up her energy quota. Not so: near the gate there is an indoor complex that features species that require individual conditions such as specialised lighting, temperature control and enclosures that safeguard the public from venomous bites. In she went and spent the next 20 minutes staring at these more unusual animals which included: taipans, death adders and a variety of lizards. Eyes wide and somewhat subdued she grabbed my hand and repeated her, Pop come see’ request as we looked intently at each display.

mulga snake

Mulga snake or king brown… she really liked this one

 

Even as we left the park she was pointing and staring into the trees that surround Cleland in the apparent hope of seeing more wildlife. To be honest I was amazed and secretly wondering at what age a child can be trusted with her first digital camera.

IMG_3695

Before I become a naturalist I’ll try art

 

It was an exhilarating day in a lovely bushland setting; without doubt, a place to take the family and experience the wildlife that makes SA such an extraordinary place to live or visit.

Cheers

Baz

 

Footnote

She slept all the way home

Mum hit the sack at 8.00 pm

Nan rubbed in some back ointment

I pored over the camera and laptop to record a Quinn-based blog

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