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 November 4th 2015
Enjoy a park, a walk and some birdwatching
The two Australasian grebes are paddling close to the reeds. They seem to be taking turns looking after the little, striped chicks that quickly disappear into the parent's plumage at the first sign of danger. Every so often one of the parents dives then surfaces with some small pieces of vegetation that the babies soon devour. I watch them for a couple of minutes eventually capturing an image of the chicks almost disappearing into a parent's feathers.
A closer look reveals two stripey chicks hidden in the parent's feathers
These gorgeous little grebes are just one of the many interesting animals that make the Solandra wetlands their home. The wetlands consist of three little lakes surrounded by native scrub that flank Dry Creek near the Ladywood Road bridge. The pools are part of system used to recycle and clean stormwater in the local area.
Natural history is not the only attribute this location boasts. A series of walking and cycling trails that follow the creek converge here and there is a modern children's playground at the site. In addition, the Solandra Wetlands are just a few hundred metres from Tea Tree Plaza, Civic park, the Modbury Hotel and Sferas function and gourmet centre making them an ideal place to visit as an adjunct to shopping, eating out or attending an event.
This time of year the eucalypts near the playground are blooming and there is a hoard of musk lorikeets feeding on the bright yellow flowers. They seem to prefer the crowns of the trees and are usually deep within the tangle of limbs and leaves where they can be safe from aerial predators such as kestrels and hawks. Standing below the trees I am showered with tiny filaments as the birds tear apart the blossoms.
Sulphur crested cockatoos nibbling and grasping seed pods
Closer to the creek on the north eastern side of Ladywood Road a pair of sulphur crested cockatoos are also lunching on the local vegetation. They are picking off seed pods in a large acacia bush. Despite the intense concentration the birds display when feeding they manage to fill the air with raucous squawks between mouthfuls.
The creek near this upstream lake is well shaded and quite picturesque and I have often seen photographers and artists stop on the banks to craft pictures of the meandering stream as it winds past the weathered foundations of an old bridge.
A dragonfly pauses momentarily on its search for a mate
Although birds have dominated this walk around the wetlands I have seen a variety of other animals including: foxes, koalas, possums and turtles, over the many years I have explored this remarkable little habitat. In fact, my final encounter is with a far smaller 'none the less' just as significant part of the wetland ecosystem; a beautiful red dragonfly.