Tag Archives: rosella

Para Wirra Wildlife

2 Mar

Para Wirra Wildlife

Dear Reader:

There is a small group of lorikeets high in one of the taller eucalypts that overhangs the track. Several birds fly down to the ground and start to forage amongst the bushes and groundcovers. A closer look shows them to be Adelaide Rosellas, a sub group of the crimson rosella. One bird in particular struts across the ground towards me and despite the low light conditions I manage to fire off a frame.

1-para

Adelaide rosella

2-para

Strutting his stuff

 

I am walking along one of the many trails that cuts through Para Wirra National Park near Gawler about an hour’s drive from Adelaide’s CBD. The park has a wonderful array of wildlife as well as excellent shelter and barbecue facilities situated in several convenient  locations including a small lake close to the park entrance.

para-5

Trio of emus

Leaving the parrots to their own devices I continue along the trail towards the ‘Devils Nose’ a prominent lookout a few kilometres ahead. There is an abundance of leaf litter on the ground and every so often I can hear the rustle of small skinks amongst the bark and twigs. Suddenly a crashing of branches and leaves permeates the air as three emus emerge from the scrub and head up the nearby hillside.

3-para

Crescent honeyeater

 

I come to a sign-posted junction of trails and decide that today is about slow and stealthy not a long walk. Heading back towards the car by retracing my route I take a little more time to wait and watch where I think there might be wildlife. Near a thick patch of scrub I am well rewarded when a beautiful crescent honeyeater lands amongst some branches just a few metres from me.

4-para

Striated pardalote

 

Back at the lay-by where I have parked the 4WD I take out some well earned lunch bought from one of Gawler’s many superb little bakeries, pop the cork on a bottle of cider and sit on a conveniently placed wooden bench beneath a spreading eucalypt. Not two bites in and I hear an unfamiliar bird call and glance up into the tree to identify the ‘perp’. And there sits a lovely striated pardalote, with half its body tucked into a nesting hole…….what a way to end my walk!!!

 

Cheers

Baz

 

Crafers…soft light and pretty birds

1 Feb

Crafers…soft light and pretty birds

Dear Reader:

The road meanders up the slope of the hill from the freeway exit past houses and a plant nursery towards a school nestled in the scrub. A few metres back, a footpath shadows the road. I can hear small birds twittering among the bushes and as I walk the trail nature seems to have re-established itself despite the occasional sound of a passing car.

1-edit

Yellow thornbill

 

Tall eucalypts and a few pines cut the light to a minimum and I have to work hard to focus my camera on the birds that live in the shadows. Eventually I spot a tiny yellow thornbill hopping between the branches. I fire off a half dozen frames, one is reasonable.

4-edit

Crimson Rosella

 

A little further along the path I can hear the single piping note of a crimson rosella. The sound seems to emanate from the top of a tall pine closer to the road. It takes a few minutes to find the bird but the soft light and beautiful plumage render a gentle image in the viewfinder.

5-edit

Classy meals, great service

 

 

I am in Crafers, a charming little hill’s town, just off the South Eastern Freeway about 15 minutes from Adelaide’s CBD. The town is set amongst lush bushland with tall eucalypts and a smattering of introduced pine trees dominating its skyline.

2-edit

Grey currawong

 

The trail cuts and curves through the trees skirting some lovely homes and bush gardens that in themselves are drawcards for wildlife. A grey currawong catches my eye as it flies into a stringy bark tree and starts to sharpen its beak on a branch.

3-edit

Unknown small skink species

 

I stop near the school and chat to some of the adults who are dropping their children off. They tell me that koalas are common in the area and sometimes echidnas trundle through the undergrowth. With this information in mind I find a spot on the hillside opposite and spend twenty minutes just waiting and watching. No koalas or echidnas today but a there are small brown skinks hunting in the leaf litter.

7-edit

Interesting entrance to B&B

 

Shouldering my camera I walk back down into Crafers on the opposite side to the trail taking in the country ambience and imagining what it would be like to live here. I pass an intriguing guest house and stop at the local hotel for a meal. All in all…..a pretty good morning.  

 Cheers

Baz

Additional notes

This is an easy walk which is quite suitable for families although the road does a have a reasonable incline which is mediated by the winding trail.

A Walk through Victoria Park

14 Sep

A Walk through Victoria Park

 Dear Reader;

The little musk lorikeet has been hovering around the small opening in the trunk of a red gum for a few minutes. Suddenly another lorikeet appears and disappears down into the tree. They are obviously nesting here. I walk closer to the tree and listen. From deep inside I can hear the plaintive calls of the young chicks demanding food.

1-1

Musk lorikeet

 I am walking around the old Victoria Park Racecourse which is now a recreation area bounded by gracious old houses, a creek, walking trails and stands of massive old gums as well as a variety of native shrubs and bushes. It is a wonderful space for people to enjoy a bike ride, walk or run, exercise their dog off lead or even fly model planes.

1-2

Historic old racecourse stand

 

1-3

Avenue of gums on the western perimeter

 From the car park at the south western edge of the park I take the path towards Greenhill Road which winds through a copse of massive old gums and thick tangles of bushes. There are white cheeked rosellas high in the branches and one pair seem to be staying close to a hollowed out limb some 10 metres above the ground. I’ll come back at another time and see if they have chosen it for a nesting site.

1-6

Huntsman spider in bark crevice

 To get a better idea of the bird life I decide to spend a little time sitting quietly on a fallen log deep amongst the trees and bushes. Unfortunately or fortunately depending on how you look at it, the aforementioned log is also home to a large huntsman spider that scuttles for cover as my ‘butt’ approaches.

1-4

White cheeked rosella

While the spider and I share our seating arrangements, a wide range of birds including- miners, mudlarks, crows, magpies and galahs-are active in the scrub around me. Wonderful for a photographer to capture some images; not so good for a spider who features on many of their menus.

1-7

Police greys

Bidding adieu to ‘Boris’, I continue along the pathway. To my delight, my final encounter is not with native wildlife but a pair of police greys being ridden through the parklands.

1-5

Spiny wattle variety with feeding fly

 Spend some time in our parklands during the spring. It really is the best time to enjoy the wildlife.

 

Cheers

Baz

Hindmarsh Falls….An easy walk with lots to see

20 May

Hindmarsh Falls….An easy walk with lots to see

 Dear Reader:

Eucalyptus trees overhang the dirt road that leads to the falls. Tiny wrens and even tinier thornbills twitter and flit amongst the branches and leaves. Occasionally pairs of rosellas fly out from the foliage. From the parking area I can see bush clad hills and open farmland rising all around and the sound of running water provides a pleasant background melody.

 

1

Driving into the falls

 

1a thornbill species probably yellow rumped

Thornbill species probably yellow rumped

 

Hindmarsh Falls are about 12 kms north of Victor Harbor towards Mt Compass on the Adelaide Road and are clearly signposted. The walk to the falls is easy and the path down to the viewing platform has rails and steps.

2

Path to the falls through scrub

 

I make my way along the trail that descends to a lookout point where I can see the water tumbling down dark boulders to a small pool below. There are kangaroo droppings on the forest floor and some of the trees show signs of a recent fire.

2a

Falls and pool

 

The birds are very wary here and difficult to photograph. I concentrate on other aspects of the area’s natural history. Bright orange fungal growths adorn some of the fallen logs and striking yellow Banksia flowers lend splashes of colour to the browns, greys and greens so typical of our bushland. I spend some time just watching the water. In the driest state on the driest continent watching a waterfall is always good for the soul. Near the edge of the pool I catch a glimpse of a grey kangaroo slowly edging through the scrub. Not clear enough to take a picture but interesting to watch how the ‘roo’ leans forward onto its front legs then pushes with its tail when travelling at slow speeds.

4a

Common orange fungus on fallen log

 

4

Banksia flowers

 

 

As I climb back up the incline towards the recreation area I notice a wattle bird perched on a branch scouring the leaves and limbs for insects to pick off. And in the sharp native grasses that border the creek near the picnic area I come across a fascinating little diamond weevil crawling along one of the blades. Hopefully, not to become a victim of the ever- vigilant wattle bird.

5 diamond weevil

Diamond weevil

 

7

Wattle bird

My trip to the falls has been interesting and though there has not been an over abundance of wildlife it is, after all, the middle of the day. And on that note I occupy one of the benches and tuck into pasty, lamington and a bottle of OJ bought en route at one the many excellent, local bakeries.

 

 

Nice to be back

Cheers

Baz

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.

1 1

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).

1 2

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.

1 3

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.

1 4

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.

1 5

Laughing kookaburra

 

1 6

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.

Adelaide’s Frome Road Bikeway

16 Aug

Adelaide’s Frome Road Bikeway 

Dear reader:

One of my favourite bike rides starts in north Adelaide at the junction of Barton and LeFevre Terraces. From the roundabout, a dedicated bike lane follows Le Fevre Terrace which is flanked by open parklands on one side and lovely colonial homes on the other. For the marginally more adventurous, there are several paths through the park that run almost parallel to the road. Noisy miners, honeyeaters, magpies and lorikeets are common here and in the evening you might see brush-tailed possums in the trees.

miner bird5

Noisy miners are a species of honeyeater

1

Nice little house with a good view of the parklands

 

The bike lane curves down towards the city through more parklands and playing fields. Huge Moreton Bay Fig Trees dominate the parklands providing a vantage point for both rose breasted and sulphur crested cockatoos that often fly down to the grass in search of food.

2a

Galahs having a bite to eat

 

Just over the Frome Road Bridge, Adelaide Zoo’s classic entrance marks the end of the parklands. Tucked between the zoo and the Botanic Gardens there is a stand of huge pine trees. Look up and it’s hard not to notice a large colony of fruit bats (flying foxes) that call these trees home.

2b

Entrance to the zoo

2c

Fruit bats in the trees

 

After the zoo there is a well marked bike lane that runs up Frome Road past the medical school and hospital. The lush lawns around these buildings are a favourite haunt of Sacred Ibises that probe the soft ground with their long curved beaks in search of worms and grubs.

12

View of the Torrens from the Frome Road Bridge

 

3

Sacred ibises feeding

 

As Frome Road crosses North Terrace you enter a purely urban environment with a wide bikeway that cuts all the way across the city towards the southern parklands. This charming region of the city has many unique little houses and flats decorated with native plantings providing a rich urban ecosystem that supports common bird species such as sparrows, blackbirds and magpies.

10

Magpies carolling in an urban environment

11

Stopping for a coffee along the way

 

The bikeway finally emerges at the Himeji Japanese Gardens. These gardens are dedicated to Adelaide’s sister city on the Japanese island of Honshu. In keeping with the rest of Adelaide’s green belt parklands the signage also relates to the aboriginal heritage of the area. Rosellas and lorikeets are common inhabitants in the ancient eucalypts that characterise this southern edge of the city.

5

Japanese garden

6

White cheeked eastern roesella

 

 

From the Japanese Gardens there are bike paths that meander through all of the southern parks but their wildlife and charms will be the subject of a further post in the warmer months to come.

 

Cheers

Baz

Brougham Park on a Winter’s Afternoon

7 Jun

Dear Reader:

It is late in the afternoon and a bit on the chilly side. Grey skies and showers have alternated all day with patches of blue and occasional bursts of sunshine through the clouds. My car is parked in O’Connell Street where I am meeting friends in an hour for a bite to eat then a movie at the art deco Piccadilly Theatre. Typically, and despite the weather, I have arrived a tad early with camera in hand, hoping that I might encounter a little urban wildlife.

O'Connell street has a woderful collectionof cafes and restaurants

O’Connell street has a woderful collectionof cafes and restaurants

 

At the end of O’Connell St the road curves down into the city through a little patch of parkland. Asphalt paths cross this little green oasis which is dotted with tall eucalypts, pines and several large Moreton Bay Figs. I can hear parrots calling in the tree tops and eventually I spot a rainbow lorikeet shuffling along a branch high in the crown of one of them. With a flourish of feathers, a second bird appears and the parrots start to preen and gently peck at each other. They seem to be a mating pair settling in for the night. Nearby a lone eastern rosella appears to be looking on with a touch of sad envy…anthropomorphic, I know.

Just dropped in to say Hi

Just dropped in to say Hi

A lone eastern rosella sillhouetted against the late afternoon sky

A lone eastern rosella sillhouetted against the late afternoon sky

 

I sit and watch the birds for a few minutes while scanning the rest of the tree with my telephoto lens when I notice the furry coat of a possum wedged in a hollow. I toss a couple of pebbles against the branch. The brown patch moves and a tail appears for a second as the owner moves further into the tree; definitely a possum, probably a brush tail as they are far more common than their ring tail cousins.

Daytime view of a brushtail possum

Daytime view of a brushtail possum

Parkland possums forage at night

Parkland possums forage at night

 

On the eastern side of the park the imposing facade of the Brougham Place Uniting Church is framed by the massive leaves of an old fig tree. There are birds flitting though the foliage but in the afternoon shadows it is impossible to identify, let alone photograph them.

Brougham Place Uniting Church across park

Brougham Place Uniting Church across park

 

Before heading back up to my parked car I walk further down Brougham Place alongside a red brick wall that cordons off one of the area’s classic old mansions. A tangle of olive tree branches straddle the top of the wall and deep in their shadows a pair of crested pigeons are finding a sheltered place to roost.

Classic homes and businesses surround the park

Classic homes and businesses surround the park

Crested pigeons in olive tree

Crested pigeons in olive tree

Even on a cloudy winter’s afternoon, Adelaide has yet again delivered a memorable wildlife experience; a fascinating and ever-changing urban ecosystem available to anyone who takes a few moments out of their busy day to stop and look.

 

Thanks for reading my work

Cheers

Baz

%d bloggers like this: