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 2019
A Carrickteristic walk
At first glance, the two birds perched high in the top branches of a huge eucalypt look similar. They are probably ravens, commonly referred to as crows, but one seems a little lighter. It is rather an overcast day and I am stretching the capability of my long lens to get a better look. I 'tweek' the focus manually and pick out the yellow eye and lighter tail of the closer bird. It is a Grey Currawong. As I try to focus on the more distant bird the sun emerges from behind the clouds and it is easily recognisable as a raven.
The trail I am walking goes starts at gate 83 of the Waite Conservation Park along Hillside Road in Springfield. It skirts the foothills for around 500 metres then winds down alongside urban roads to the edge of Carrick Hill. The combination of urban and natural environments creates a wide diversity of habitats for birds, mammals, reptiles and invertebrates.
Thanking the couple I move on and spend a few minutes fossicking under bark and rocks to look for invertebrates or perhaps a hibernating lizard. I am partially rewarded when I uncover some ground beetles and a large centipede which quickly 'legs it' before I can focus my camera.
The trail comes to an end where it meets the fencing for Carrick Hill and I walk down a small track that follows a natural gully with houses to my right. There are several ancient gum trees that have a good smattering of potential nesting holes and I am lucky enough to observe a pair of Rainbow Lorikeets perched near one of them. They are either nesting deep in the hollow or renovating it for spring breeding.
After crossing a quaint stone bridge I follow an avenue of huge gums to Carrick Hill's side entrance. Depending on access at this point, it is a further 500metres to the main entrance. This wonderful old home dates back to the 1930s and is currently being refurbished and will be open in mid-2020. However, entrance to the spectacular grounds and gardens is free each weekend and there is a cafe which is my final port of call.