I am an Australian natural history writer and photographer. My aim is to encourage people to venture outdoors and enjoy the natural beauty of our planet.
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Published October 31st 2019
The lily pads are perfectly balanced to complement the stone sculpture in the middle of the pool. But if you look really carefully there is an anomaly in this almost perfect setting. Peeping out from the pads, a short-necked turtle surveys the pond while a trio of koi break the surface nearby.
I am walking around the Japanese gardens or Himeji gardens, which were laid out in 1985 to recognise our sister city Himeji in Japan. The pool is central to the garden and a network of small paths surround the water. They pass through a variety of themes that include trees, shrubs, lawn and raked gravel. The garden is situated in the South Parklands adjacent to South Terrace between Pultney Street and Hutt Street. Signage at the entrance explains the style and purpose of the different part of the garden.
As I walk around the pathways and across the stepping stones I keep a sharp lookout for insects. The various springtime blossoms are sure to attract a variety of butterflies, bugs and flies. I am not disappointed. Unobtrusively hiding in the shadows of a camellia bush are several shield bugs that feed on both nectar and sap.
A pair of Pacific Black Ducks seems to be making the pool a courting ground and a variety of mating displays are on show from wing flapping to head bobbing and splashing. Eventually, the male has his way and mates with the female while pushing her head down into the water. Not the most chivalrous of birds!
Leaving the gardens I walk back to my car which is parked a mere hundred metres from the entrance alongside one of the many massive gums that are common in the parklands. Even this short walk is a delightful experience with Magpies and Noisy Miners jostling for territory in the branches and a pair of musk lorikeets nesting in a hollow limb.