An ibis and lapwing are feeding on the well-manicured lawns just metres from a group of children playing football. Just twenty-four hours ago this same stretch of parkland had been a thriving venue for forty thousand people celebrating Carols and Christmas cheer. No doubt there are still tiny food scraps amongst the blades of grass that will keep the local bird population happy for some time to come.
I am taking a leisurely stroll around Civic Park, a lovely open space opposite Tea Tree Plaza in the city of Tea Tree Gully. The extensive grassed area is bordered and bisected by watercourses and surrounded by massive eucalypts. Around a dozen different restaurants and cafes surround the park and there are toilets and a wonderful adventure playground on site. Indeed, everything that a family or individual could ask for when planning a day out enjoying nature in an urban setting.
At the southern end of the park, there is a little creek that meanders behind the playground. Several massive red gums tower over it. Their aged branches and trunks are full of holes where limbs have broken off, providing prime nesting sites for cockatoos and other parrots. A quick scan through the lens reveals a pair of rainbow lorikeets hunched together on a weathered branch and taking it in turns to inspect a nesting hole at the end of their perch.
The park provides many habitats for wildlife though some are not quite as natural as others. Several ravens are inspecting pine bark alongside the parking lot and the garden beds bordering some of the pathways provide good fodder for a pair of maned ducks.
Apart from the more obvious bird life, the park is also home to a range of other animals. Possums are plentiful but only seen in the night or early morning and evening. And the carefully planted native shrubs and trees are home to a variety of insects, spiders and even gecko lizards, for those who wish to look a little more carefully.
With Dry Creek's walking and bike trails nearby, restaurants, play areas and extensive lawns there are few places in Adelaide that have so much appeal for a gentle walk, some refreshment, shopping and a look at our more common species of wildlife. Take a drive out to the northeast and enjoy this lovely hills face setting; I guarantee you will not be disappointed.
Additional notes This is an easy walk/drive which is quite suitable for families and seniors with public toilets, barbecues, parking and other facilities nearby. It is dog-friendly.