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 May 30th 2018
There are rustling sounds of a reasonably large animal shuffling through the bush just a few metres from where I am standing. It doesn't sound like a bird, more likely a rabbit, fox or perhaps a feral cat. Peering through the lens I pick up the blurred shape of a koala as it moves from one eucalypt to another. I have rarely seen them do this. They are most vulnerable on the ground and usually move between trees at night or by climbing where branches cross over, high in the canopy. Eventually, the koala stoically climbs into a neighbouring tree to snooze away the day.
I sit and watch the bear-like marsupial for a few more minutes before heading further along the trail towards a stand of tall, stringy barked gums. I can see a small group of yellow tailed black cockatoos perched amongst the branches. They are wary birds and I have to approach carefully and try to capture some images from a distance. The cockatoos are not feeding just calling to each other and some appear to be scraping their beaks along the branches, perhaps to scrape them clean on the rough surfaces. I have seen magpies do this but never these particular cockatoos.
Yellow tailed black cockatoo
I am exploring one of the foothills walking tracks, which starts in the suburb of Glen Osmond at the end of Allandale Road in the Burnside council area. There are several different routes displayed on a trail map near the car park. The path I am following dips down into a small valley then winds around to an old mine site -Wheal Gawler. Another trail climbs switchback style' towards Mount Osmond. All of the tracks have signs about the area's history and are well defined. Some sections are rather steep and can be slippery in wet conditions.
Climbing out of the creek bed towards the old quarry I stop to read some of the interpretive information about the mines and pathways while above me a pair of galahs appear to be reconnoitring some prominent knot holes with nesting in mind. The birds squawk and protest at my presence, fly off, circle the trees then land back near their chosen place. Location! Location!
With images of koalas, and parrots safely locked away on my SD card I decide to walk back along the creek bed and take a more elevated path back to the car park on Allendale Road. I can hear blue wrens twittering in the bushes and hopefully, with a modicum of luck and a little stealth, I will be able to finish my walk with some shots of the tiny birds. But they are too quick, darting amongst the scrub and only stopping for a split second to feed. I watch the wrens for a while before noticing the unmistakeable shape and plumage of a laughing kookaburra perched in a slender gum just a few metres from where I am sitting.