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 1st 2017
Family Fun and Fauna
Sometimes it is the traces of wildlife that catch our eye rather than the animals themselves; the intricacies of a birds' nests or the symmetrical cells in a bee's honeycomb. Today it is the iridescent sheen on a duck feather floating amongst the reeds that draws my attention. Nearby I am fortunate enough to watch the same species of duck, a Pacific black, dabbling amongst the water plants for food.
I am sitting by the Torrens River in Bonython Park about a kilometre downstream from the weir. There are steps and a ramp leading down to the sloping banks just below the kiosk and playground. The grandchildren are playing on the zip line and swings with their mother while I take a few moments to enjoy the proliferation of wildlife that is commonly found in this rather picturesque setting.
Walking upstream towards the railway bridge I duck for cover as a flight of noisy miners arrive in the trees along the edge of the river. The territorial little birds seem to drive all other species away with their aggressive swooping and chattering. One bird sits on a nearby branch and eyes me cheekily before flying off to join its posse.
Large red gums grow a few metres back from the river and they seem to provide favourite nesting sites for a range of parrots. Galahs and sulphur crests are perched high in the trees calling to each other while a pair of rainbow lorikeets has commandeered a nesting hole in the lower branches.
The view from the railway bridge is quite spectacular offering both upstream and downstream vistas. It is also a good place to view wildlife using a long lens from a position that does not disturb the animals. I quickly spot a group of pelicans on a muddy island formed after recent rains and note the telltale 'V' shaped wake of a water rat crossing the river.
After leaving the bridge, I walk along the opposite bank close to the reed beds. Past experience has taught me that there a numerous water skinks living amongst the cracks in some old woodwork. I am not disappointed. Despite being early spring one adventurous heat seeking reptile is basking in the afternoon sun and I manage to get a shot off before it scuttles disappears into the undergrowth.
There is still a fair volume of water pouring over the little causeway that takes me back to the park and I stand against the railing enjoying the view. A family of maned ducks are swimming upstream under the watchful eyes of their protective parents. I enjoy the moment reflecting on the fact that summer is fast approaching and watching cool water pour down the river will only be a distant memory in the months to come.
Footnote: this walk/ride/place is well suited for seniors and families as it provides a safe not too strenuous walk with nearby toilets/ playgrounds/wheel chair accessibility/ food outlets