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Cleland's Bush Trails

Home > Adelaide > Animals and Wildlife | Parks | Walks
by Barry Silkstone (subscribe)
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. Visit my blog naturallysouthaustralia.com
Published November 30th 2017
Happy Trails
The Adelaide rosella looks striking against the stringy bark tree. The evening light makes the image a little soft but the overall effect is rather lovely. Further along the trail, another rosella lands a little closer and I am able to use the flash to capture a sharper image. These beautiful parrots are not common around the city and seeing them in the foothills is a treat. They are, in fact, a hybrid species of the crimson and yellow rosella and are more common along the River Murray.

South Australian wildlife, South Australian tourism, Wildlife photography Wildlife stories, Cleland Wildlife/Conservation Park, bushwalking
View of the city and beyond from the Perimeter Trail


I am walking the trails near in the Cleland Conservation Park in the Mount Lofty Ranges just a twenty-minute drive from the city. This protected area lies alongside the Cleland Wildlife Park, where there is ample free parking and access to the nationally acclaimed park which has an extensive collection of South Australian wildlife. A visit is a great follow up to walking the trails as there is a special emphasis on the species found in the immediate area.

South Australian wildlife, South Australian tourism, Wildlife photography Wildlife stories, Cleland Wildlife/Conservation Park, bushwalking, Adelaide rosella
South Australian wildlife, South Australian tourism, Wildlife photography Wildlife stories, Cleland Wildlife/Conservation Park, bushwalking, Adelaide rosella


South Australian wildlife, South Australian tourism, Wildlife photography Wildlife stories, Cleland Wildlife/Conservation Park, bushwalking
Adelaide rosella feeding on berries


As I amble further along, one the many 'shared use' tracks I can hear small animals rustling in the undergrowth, probably lizards or ground-dwelling birds disturbed by my presence. The best way to spot these animals is to sit quietly a little way into the bush and simply wait. No guarantees, but often with a modicum of patience the results can be significant. And eventually, a superb blue wren foraging amongst the leaf litter rewards my persistence.

South Australian wildlife, South Australian tourism, Wildlife photography Wildlife stories, Cleland Wildlife/Conservation Park, bushwalking,wren
Superb blue wren


Further along the trail, I repeat the exercise and this time it is a blue tongue lizard that appears amongst the detritus below the bushes and trees. I do not encounter these large skinks as often as their shingle-backed cousins, the sleepy lizard, as they tend to be wary and move more rapidly. Blue tongues feed on slugs, snails, small animals such as spiders and insects as well as a range of vegetable matter.

South Australian wildlife, South Australian tourism, Wildlife photography Wildlife stories, Cleland Wildlife/Conservation Park, bushwalking, blue tongue lizard
Blue tongue lizard


There are numerous insects including hoverflies, beetles and some native bees congregating around various flowering plants and I scan the area using my macro setting to get an image. Finally, I manage to spot a common brown butterfly well camouflaged as it perches on some decaying wood. I wait for a few more seconds and the little insect spreads its wings on cue; a nice before and after sequence.

South Australian wildlife, South Australian tourism, Wildlife photography Wildlife stories, Cleland Wildlife/Conservation Park, bushwalking
Camouflaged


On display


My walk around the outlying conservation area has yielded a variety of birds, reptiles, insects and a wide diversity of delicate flowering plants. Only a mammal has eluded my watchful eye and I know that koalas are common in the area. Perhaps it is time to finish my day in the hills with a visit to the wildlife park for lunch and a closer look at some of the species I did not encounter while exploring the nearby trails.

Footnote: Many of the trails in the area are flat and well-graded gravel paths. Others are quite steep and there are no toilets or other facilities unless you pay to go into the wildlife park.
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Why? Wildlife Park and trails in one place
When: All year round
Where: Cleland
Cost: Trails are free, Wildlife Park $25.00/adult and $12.00/child
Your Comment
Great article! Sounds like a nice place to visit and the photographs are amazing.
by Jay Johnson (score: 3|1192) 11 days ago
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