Tag Archives: Reptiles

Spring Garden Moments

3 Nov

Dear Reader:

There is a Mudlark foraging in the garden bed. At first I think it is searching for food. The garden has just been watered which makes it easy for birds to probe the soft soil for grubs. Besides, there may be a few seeds left over from those that I scatter each morning for the doves. I peer through the telephoto lens and realise that the little bird is collecting small twigs and leaves from the mulch around the flowers. It is also adding mud from the soft soil around the sprinkler head. Ahh; realisation dawns. Nest building time.

 

Magpie Lark with nesting material in beak

 

Spring has arrived in my Prospect garden and all about there are signs of the changing seasons. Flowers are blooming and insects are hatching. Tiny Lynx Spiders are hunting amongst the blossoms and leaves, and a variety of colourful bugs are crawling across the foliage.

Lynx Spider with prey

 

The Mudlarks have flown off and I can walk around the garden without scaring the nervous little birds away. I take stock of the different flowers that are emerging; bright yellow and white daisies, tangerine Abutilons, and pink Rock Roses. They attract a wide range of small creatures and I get close enough to a yellow daisy bush to capture images of a Hoverfly, Shield Bug and Woolly Bear caterpillar all feeding on the same plant.

 

Jewell Bug
Woolly Bear Caterpillar feeding on emerging blossom

 

Spring also heralds a time of intense gardening with plants to trim and weeds to pull. And it is while I am cutting back a patch of Lantana that I disturb a lovely, slender lizard about 15 cms in length. I take note of its hiding place and get the camera. Luckily the lizard hasn’t moved too far and I manage a couple of nice shots. It is probably a Four-toed Earless Skink.

 

Skink digging into soil

 

I sit back at my garden table, rest the camera on my lap and watch the honeyeaters flying between the blossoms and hawking for insects. They appear to be feeding young ones that are roaming around in the undergrowth. There is also a pair of blackbirds hunting for worms and grubs where I have extracted weeds from the lawn. They get a mouthful of the wriggling creatures then fly off; obviously feeding chicks too.

 

Blackbird with beak full of goodies for chicks

 

All of these events are occurring in the back garden but I know there are different interactions in the front yard. Armed with a camera and cup of tea I sit on the front porch and wait for something to happen….I do not have to ‘sit and sip’ for long. A pair of Rainbow Lorikeets fly into a nesting hole in one of the White Cedars that line my street. A nice way to end a spring garden experience.

 

Rainbow Lorikeet perching
Rainbow Lorikeet entering nesting hole

Check out what is happening in your garden and share some observations in the comments section of my blog.   

Cheers

Baz

For this [project I used a Canon Eos camera and a Tamron 16-400 lens which helped me work in lower light conditions and for close up macro images….very versatile set up.

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Monarto Zoo’s Native and Exotic Animals

2 Jun

Dear Reader

There’s something wrong with the first few images; lions do not usually recline under eucalyptus trees and my blogs are about South Australian wildlife. However, Monarto Zoo’s impressive array of wildlife and ideal safari setting certainly merit an article or two from this writer.

 

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Aussie lions

 

When I travelled to Botswana’s Okavango Delta a couple of years ago I was lucky enough to see many of Africa’s iconic species. Unfortunately I never encountered hyenas. As you can see from the following shots of two young animals racing around in a space that could easily be an African veldt, Monarto went some way towards rectifying that disappointment.

 

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Spotted hyenas

 

Monarto Zoo is about an hour drive from Adelaide along the Princes Highway. It is a vast (1500 hectares) open range zoo with over 50 exotic and native animals, most of them displayed in open range settings. Visitors tour the enclosures in special buses with volunteer guides who provide expert information. There are excellent tourist facilities including a cafe, picnic areas and special ‘behind the scenes’ tours that can be pre-arranged.

 

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Viewing areas

 

After my predator experiences from the safety of elevated viewing platforms and many other wonderful encounters with plains animals from giraffes to Mongolian wild horses, I had a bite to eat and set off on one of the many walking trails that wind through the park’s natural bushland.

 

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Walking trails and bushland

 

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Visitor facilities

 

I now switched my focus from exotic species back to native animals. Along one of the trails that ran through a display on sustainable, native gardens I caught sight of a shingleback lizard. The dry sclerophyll scrub was also home to numerous small common dwarf skinks that I had not encountered before.

 

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Shingleback in native garden area

 

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Common dwarf skink in leaf liitter

 

Emus and grey kangaroos roamed freely in certain regions of the park and in one smaller, closed off area yellow footed rock wallabies enjoyed a boulder strewn habitat. A variety of birds including: honeyeaters, wrens, finches, various parrots as well as the usual suspects like magpies, crows and birds of prey, were also common throughout the trees and open spaces.

 

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Emus

 

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Yellow footed rock wallaby

 

This unusual combination of exotic animals in extensive natural enclosures alongside bushland that can be accessed by walking trails made my day at Monarto exciting at so many different levels and certainly a special place to visit whatever your wildlife preferences.

 Cheers

Baz

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