Tag Archives: kookaburra

Hickory’s Run

20 Sep

Hickory’s Run

Dear Reader:

There is a Ringneck Parrot somewhere in the river gum alongside the creek. I can recognise its distinct call. Positioning myself just behind some bushes near the trunk I scan the topmost branches. Finally I find the bird, a little obscured by leaves but just visible enough for a shot.

 

Ringneck Parrot

 

I am at a lovely little cafe and olive farm between Wirrabara and Laura in South Australia’s mid north; about a two and a half hour drive from Adelaide. Hickory’s Run Oliveria and Cafe sits alongside the Rocky River and serves light meals as well as displaying art work in the surrounding garden.

 

Rocky River

 

From the property I can access the river and I take some time to walk along the banks searching for any aquatic animals that might be in the area. There is a Laughing Kookaburra well camouflaged in a branch overhanging the water and a pair of Black Ducks is feeding along the edge of the creek. Both Dragonflies and Damselflies are flitting across the surface but they are too hard to photograph.

 

Laughing Kookaburra

 

My companions call out that lunch has arrived and I leave the creek to enjoy a well presented dish of lasagna with some home fried wedges and salad.

 

Lunch

 

 

 

The area is well known for produce and we stop in the little town of Wirrabara on the way back to the city and walk around the farmers market that is held on every third Sunday of the month. Fine food, some wildlife and a little shopping-not a bad way to end our weekend jaunt to the mid north.

 

Local products

 

 Cheers

Baz

 

Additional notes

This is an easy drive and walk which is quite suitable for families and seniors with toilets parking and other facilities nearby. It is dog friendly.

 

See more South Australian stories on 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 attach a new image and notes to accompany each post.

https://wildlifemomentssa.blogspot.com

Aldgate Valley Reserve

14 Apr

Aldgate Valley Reserve

The road from Aldgate to the reserve winds through rural and bush country with charming homes and patches of scrub on either side. I pull off the road near an old bridge that crosses Aldgate Creek and walk along the well marked trail listening to the sounds of birds high in the gum trees. Eventually I catch sight of a pair of eastern rosellas as they fly between the topmost branches.

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Eastern rosella

 

Aldgate is one of the principal towns in the Adelaide Hills. It has a village atmosphere with fine eateries and small, locally owned shops. A fascinating 6 km nature walk runs between Aldgate and its neighbour Mylor. The route passes through the Aldgate Valley where southern brown bandicoots have been reintroduced to their native habitat (little marsupials that superficially resemble rats).

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Aldgate Creek

 

From the road bridge I take the path alongside the creek where I find a small footbridge. Several eastern water skinks have taken up residence amongst the wooden slats and one little fellow, who seems to have regrown the end of his tail, poses nicely for a portrait. Most of these smaller skinks drop their tail if grabbed by a predator. This serves a dual purpose as the tail continues to wiggle after being detached, acting as a decoy.

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Eastern water skink

 

Today I have decided to simply explore the area around the reserve and search out some of the animals that inhabit it. A bandicoot would be nice but as they are timid and mainly nocturnal and I am not holding out much hope. On the right hand side of the bridge there is a small orchard and some benches. Several large magpies are strutting around the area and one sits on the bench and glares at me as I walk through the trees.

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Magpie with attitude

 

 

I spend a little more time sitting by the creek watching finches and wrens darting between bushes but the day is getting chilly and the clouds are rolling in. As I step into the car for the drive back home a solitary kookaburra chortles in the trees nearby. Something seems to have disturbed the bird and I take a closer look and find a koala feeding in an adjacent tree.

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Laughing kookaburra

 

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Does my bum look big up this?

I make one last stop back in Aldgate to drop in at ‘FRED’ for a late lunch. So much to choose from; but the Sicilian ciabatta with wilted greens, haloumi, home-made chutney and caramelised onion cannot be resisted.

1 7 wilted greens aloumi chutney ciabaco sicilian armelised onion

One of many choices

 

Cheers

Baz

PS

I will be travelling for the next month and will not post any articles until mid-late May

Take a look over some of the earlier work and find somewhere to take a walk and enjoy our wonderful wildlife.

Wildlife and Wineries

15 Mar

Wildlife and Wineries

Dear Reader:

I can hear the first few notes of a kookaburra calling near some picnic tables across the other side of the green. The birds are usually quite shy and I don’t hold out much hope of sighting them with all the families enjoying their lunch on the grass. However, to my surprise there are two birds sitting on a low branch quite close to a group enjoying a BBQ and glass of wine. I have seen kookaburras steal a sausage in the past and these birds must be residents accustomed to life in the grounds of one of South Australia’s most notable wineries.

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Laughing kookaburras

 

Seppeltsfield winery in the Barossa Valley is a pleasant 50 minute drive from the city. Easily recognised by the avenue of huge palms at its entrance, the rambling complex encompasses: green spaces, bushland, old buildings, a family mausoleum, fine restaurant, cellar door facilities and even an art gallery; and that’s without even mentioning the sprawling vineyards. Established in 1851 the land was initially used for growing tobacco then wheat and finally grapes in the mid 1860s. Today, it is one of the nation’s most famous and revered wine wineries.

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Jam Factory gallery

 

I decide that a bushland trek in the area is not by best wildlife option. Today, I will simply wander around the grounds enjoying the animals that take advantage of the plantings, food and shelter that this popular rural setting can provide. My strategy pays off when a wattle bird hops down onto one of the slate tables just a few yards away. Like the kookaburras, wattle birds are fairly common but shy and often difficult to photograph. Having one so close is a rare opportunity.

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Wattle bird

 

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Picturesque grounds

From the picnic area I take a walk around the courtyards near the restaurant enjoying the tasteful landscaping and searching for insects amongst the plantings. There is a good selection of butterflies this time of year and several different kinds of tiny spiders are hunting amongst the flowers.

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Flower spider n blossoms

 

After a late afternoon meal ‘Local Garfish, Skordalia, Snowpeas and Vegetable Escabeche’ at ‘FINO’ and a sample sip of the wonderful vintage port that Seppeltsfield is renowned for, I call it a day. As I walk back out to the car park a young magpie fixes its gaze on me cocking its head to one side as if to bid me farewell

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Fond farewell from magpie gatekeeper

 

Cheers

Baz    

Kids, Kookaburras and Creeks

4 Oct

Dear Readers

It would be lovely to write for a living. To earn my dollars wandering South Australia’s diverse wilderness areas taking photos and composing articles to share with you. Dream over….reality check! Like most of the world I need a steady job to survive and my profession is teaching. One of the many requirements at my school is to take my year 6 students on camp each year. Fortunately, Adelaide has many wonderful destinations in the adjacent hills and along the coastline that provide a range of outdoor activities. Many of these sites also double as corporate destinations. This year we chose Wirraway a campsite located on the eastern fringe of the Mt Lofty Ranges. It is a beautiful location situated amongst rolling hills with a little creek running through the property. And, to my delight their program included a nature walk along with the adventure activities.

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Typical hills country

 

Each morning I woke at six and reluctantly dragged my weary bones out of bed; any teachers reading this will immediately understand that the previous night’s sleep was limited to a few hours. The students were not allowed out of their dorms until 7.00 which gave me an hour to wander around the grounds uninterrupted. Campsites always attract wildlife. However well intentioned the staff may be there are always a few food scraps to be had, nooks and crannies to nest or hide in as well as wood piles and building materials that might be home to both predator and prey. On my first morning a pair of rats scurried under the raised foundations of the caretaker’s home watched with interest by me and anticipation by a kookaburra sitting in a an old gum tree (there’s a song title there).

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Hungry kookaburra

 

The camp site was also home to a wild rabbit that liked to munch the grass close to one of the girls’ dorms but scurried back into the bushes at the slightest noise. Each time it appeared I tried to signal the students to be quiet and take a look…no such luck. Only a picture snapped in the quiet hours and shown at the dinner table convinced them that I was not making it up.

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Peter makes a rare appearance

 

Both male and female superb blue wrens were common though timid and constantly on the move keeping low in the bushes and feeding in the leaf litter. And a resident flock of red browed finches moved between the flowering trees and bushes often coming close when I was working with the students and staying away if I had a camera nearby. Fancy that!!

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Male superb blue wren

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Finches all in a line

 

Our nature walk was quite a revelation. You would not expect city kids to be overly responsive to a lengthy stroll in the bush when the alternative activities included horse riding, archery and rock climbing. Surprisingly, they showed a keen interest in what the guide had to say and even sat quietly by the creek for a few minutes trying to work out how many different frog species could be identified from their distinctive calls. Even the plant life scored a hit, most notably the unusual grass trees that were flowering at the time and an old weathered log with lichen and moss growing in its sinuous furrows.

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Flowering grass plants

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Patterns and colours in nature

 

The three days passed quickly and each group appeared to enjoy their excursions into the bush.  Kids get few opportunities to experience the outdoors in our digital world and watching their faces as they discovered the beauty of wild things was a rare pleasure.

 

Until my next post

Cheers

Baz

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