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 31st 2021
Main street wildlife
There is an Australian magpie sitting in the Oak tree just a few metres from Ruby's Organic Café where I am having lunch. It makes its presence felt by a characteristic, chortling song which is also referred to as carolling. Although in shadow, the striking black and white of the bird is in stark contrast to the leaves which are turning from green to gold and brown as autumn progresses.
I am investigating the main street of Stirling in the Adelaide Hills about a half hour's drive from the CBD. Stirling in Autumn is a reflection of the early settlers who planted European trees in many parts of the hills to remind themselves of their heritage. The legacy of this behaviour is the shifting colours of autumn that deciduous trees exhibit as opposed to our native eucalypts which shed leaves throughout the year and are never bare.
Further along the street, there is another oak on the edge of a park and I can see a Wattlebird foraging for insects along the rough-barked branches. Magpies and Wattlebirds are not the only urban wildlife along Stirling's main street. Perhaps the most common birds are the Ravens, misnamed as Crows by most of us, that sit high in the trees on the lookout for scraps as they serenade us with their rasping call.
One of the wonderful things about Stirling is the proximity of the Woorabinda Bushland Reserve (just a 2 minute drive from the main street) which includes a little lake and numerous walking trails. The lake which was once a reservoir and pumping station used to top up steam trains on the nearby line provides a different set of plants and animals to the urban area. At different times of the year, Koalas, Western Grey Kangaroos, Water Rats, turtles, finches, wrens as well as waterfowl, cormorants and other aquatic species are commonly sighted.
I follow the loop trail around the lake and capture some good images of Superb Fairy Wrens and a koala. From the bird hide, I can see a Laughing Kookaburra searching for prey while a couple of Snake Birds (Anhingas) perch on a half-submerged tree trunk drying their wings.
My day started with lunch at Ruby's Organic Cafe, one of the many eateries in this lovely old town but I decided to end it by browsing through one of my favourite galleries, Aptos Cruz. This wonderful double-storied space is set in an old church and full of original artworks, curios and furniture. Just one of the many reasons to visit Stirling, especially in the autumn months.
Additional notes This is an easy walk that is quite suitable for families and seniors with public toilets, barbecues, parking and other facilities nearby. Both sites are dog friendly.