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 March 4th 2020
Yabbies, Koalas and Butterflies
There are butterflies flitting between the bushes and occasionally landing on the track I am following. They are wary of any movement and do not remain still for more than a few seconds. Tricky little animals to photograph, nevertheless after numerous attempts I manage to capture images of two different species; a Marbled Xenica and a Common Brown.
Magpie Creek Trail winds along a richly wooded watercourse that runs through the suburbs of Glenalta and Blackwood quite near the railway line. Despite the closeness to urban areas the trail feels like it is in the middle of the bush and far from civilisation.
Where the track winds down close to the creek bed I am engulfed by a stand of substantial River and Blue Gums. I scan the upper branches for koalas and after several minutes I find one inching its way along a branch. It is unusual to see one active during the daylight hours as they are usually sleeping wedged between branches.
Although I have only been walking for around twenty minutes, I am beginning to sense the surprising diversity of wildlife in this area. The 'usual suspects' such as Ravens, Magpies, Lorikeets, Rosellas, Doves and Miner Birds are all plentiful plus a smattering of more unusual species such as Blue Wrens and Cuckoo Shrikes.
After a while, the creek's sides become steeper and the track harder to negotiate and I decide to sit by a remnant water hole. The little pool seems to be fed by water running down a rock face making it a permanent water source; a rarity in the summer months.
Patience is a prerequisite in wildlife photography but not my forte so I give myself 20 minutes to sit and wait. Ten minutes in and I'm restless; fortuitously, at 15 something happens. An Eastern Water Skink warily emerges from a rock crevice and starts to search the damp rocks for insects. Then another lizard appears and I lose track of time as I watch them foraging.
I am about to leave when I notice some movement in one of the deeper pockets of water between some large flat rocks. To my utter amazement, a large Yabbie scuttles over one rock and into another part of the pool. I get one chance to capture this moment and I'm lucky. A memorable way to end my walk along Magpie Creek Trail.