It is, perhaps, more polite to call these colourful little creatures push me-pull me bugs or even love bugs but in truth they are a pair of mating stainer bugs. The amorous duet is just one example of the numerous insects that I am encountering as I walk along the perimeter of The Keith Stephenson Park in Mount Barker.
Just a twenty-minute drive up the South Eastern Freeway from Adelaide this rapidly growing hills city is a great place to spend some time exploring the local region, shopping, or having a picnic in the park and enjoying the abundant wildlife.
From the car park where I have been watching the bugs consummating their relationship, I walk along a curving pathway with a creek on one side and playground on the other. Massive red gums border the creek and a wide variety of bird song is emanating from them; peeping rosellas, raucous lorikeets and even the twittering of smaller birds such as silver eyes and honeyeaters. Glancing up, I catch sight of a quartet of corellas crammed precariously on a branch. In the tree alongside a pair of galahs have commandeered a knot hole for a nesting site.
The pathway leads to a man-made lake which is the centrepiece of the park. The expanse of water and pockets of reeds around the edge provide a suitable selection of habitats for a range of water birds. Ducks, coots and moorhens are paddling out near the middle and several ibises are foraging along a muddy bank. I chat to some locals sitting by the water and they tell me that there are sometimes swans and pelicans use the lake depending on the time of year.
I decide to walk back to the car park along the other side of the creek and fossick around in the scrub in search of more reclusive animals. The going is a little rugged but eventually, I uncover a marbled gecko hiding beneath some bark and get a reasonable shot of a monarch butterfly resting in the leaf litter.