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 September 30th 2018
Once Around the Lake
It is the beginning of spring and rather a mild day. I am certainly not expecting to catch sight of any reptiles in what is essentially an urban setting. But there amongst the flinty boulders is an eastern water skink warily searching the rocky terrain for a meal.
I am walking around the artificial lake at Mawson Lakes, a large concrete edged body of water that lies at the centre of this northern suburb. Not an ideal wildlife destination! However, this urban area encompasses a remarkable number of habitats which in turn attract a wide variety of creatures.
There are urban gardens full of flowering native plants, patches of reeds and rocky outcrops along the embankment as well as tall flowering gums and lawns planted just a few metres from the water's edge. And of course, the expansive waters of the lake itself. The concrete path that surrounds the lake provides easy access to all these environments. Each one suits different groups of animals therefore in a relaxing half hour walk a remarkable number of species can be encountered.
A few hundred metres further along the path a narrow channel meanders into the main lake and group of mallards are sheltered in the reeds alongside the water. They seem unperturbed by my presence and I am able to photograph them from a number of different angles. Ducks and other waterfowl are prolific on and around the lake and on this single walk I encounter; white-eyed, black and wood ducks as well as grebes, mallards, coots and moorhens.
With my circuit of the lake complete, I stop in at the 'Boatdeck Cafe' for an afternoon snack. But even here I am not far from the wildlife. Welcome swallows are darting across the water's surface then landing on the edge of a nearby railing. Coffee, cake, wildlife and a pleasant walk quite a combination for an urban location.