Rose-breasted Cockatoos or Galahs, as we commonly call them, are usually found in noisy flocks foraging on the ground for seeds, roots, tubers and even devouring a few insects in the process. Today, a solitary bird is comfortably nestled in the branches of a huge River Gum that towers over the creek. It presents a lovely shot even in the dappled light which challenges both camera and photographer.
The Fifth Creek Trail stretches between Maryvale Road to its junction with the Torrens River in Athelstone which is a suburb within the city of Campbelltown. I am walking along the section between Gorge Road and George Street. There are good walking tracks on both sides of the creek. Being summer, the creek is dry but the River Gums provide plenty of shade.
A little further along the trail, I catch the 'peeping' notes of a White-cheeked Rosella and I wait in the shade of a native pine scanning the trees with my telephoto. After a few minutes, I locate a pair of rosellas in another River Gum. One is closer and offers the better shot as it perches on a dead branch. It seems like today is going to be parrot day!
There are still blossoms in the higher branches of the different eucalypts lining the creek and they are attracting two species of smaller parrots: Rainbow Lorikeets and their smaller cousins, Musk Lorikeets. Both are raucous little birds that live in groups constantly flying from one food source to another.
With four parrot species encountered and photographed in the first twenty minutes of my walk along the track, I decided to search for some other forms of wildlife. The huge eucalypts along the watercourse have patches of loose bark which are home to a wide variety of invertebrates including roaches, centipedes, spiders and beetles. However, there is a vertebrate predator lurking in these enclosed, darkened spaces. Marbled Geckos are nocturnal hunters with large eyes and special suction pads on their toes. They have wonderful cryptic camouflage which helps them to both hunt and survive larger predators like owls, snakes, possums as well as introduced species such as cats and foxes.
I have strolled down one side of the creek, then returned along the other and it is now time to sit down and indulge in some goodies fresh from the Athelstone bakery. Scrolling through the images on my camera, I am sure that this will be a destination worth revisiting in Spring when winter rains have refreshed the creek.
Additional notes This is an easy walk, which is quite suitable for families and seniors with well-defined paths that are not steep. It is dog friendly.