Amidst a tangle of branches overhanging Torrens Lake, I can just make out the neat, little mud nest typical of Murray Magpies or Mudlarks. As I train the powerful lens on the nest, up pops the head of an adult bird which must be tending chicks or eggs.
Below the nest, there is a cluster of dead branches extending into the water. They make an ideal place for a group of Great Cormorants
to rest and dry their feathers. Unlike ducks and many other water-birds, cormorants do not have an oily secretion to keep their feathers dry.
Great Cormorants at rest and drying wings
I am walking a circuit from the Torrens Weir to the Morphett Street Bridge along the southern bank of the Lake then back to the weir on the northern side. It is a fairly short walk therefore I will do it twice to give myself a better chance of encountering wildlife in this urban environment.
Red Ochre Restaurant
The main architectural features at this end of the lake are the weir, restaurant
complex and bridge. As I walk towards the bridge and glance back at the restaurant I can fully appreciate the riverboat design this view of the building reveals.
Quite a menagerie on the Canna Lilly flower
A short distance from the resting cormorants I notice a patch of bright yellow Canna Lilies amongst the more common Bullrushes. Anything flowering immediately grabs my attention as it is likely to attract insects and birds. I am not disappointed as there is quite a collection of creatures around one particular flowerhead. Using a macro setting I can see: a pair of hovering wasps, a tiny spider and a long-legged winged insect; which I am yet to identify.
Eastern Water Skink
Just before the bridge, there is a rowing shed with a wooden launching platform on the bank. I have often seen Australian Water Rats (Rakali) in this area but today it is a reptile, not a mammal that catches my eye. An Eastern Water Skink
is sunning itself on the decking and I manage to get close enough for a clear shot. And, to add a little cuteness to the moment, a pair of Maned Duck and a little band of ducklings emerge from the nearby reeds.
Maned Ducks sometimes called Wood Ducks
There have been so many encounters on this walk to the bridge that I decide to write about this southern bank and deal with the northern bank in a later article. With that thought in mind, I stroll the last hundred metres to the bridge and decide on a quicker walk back to justify a stop at the Par 3 Cafe by the Weir, for coffee and cake.
Possum in tree hollow unsure from this view whether it is the more common Brushtail or a Ringtail
After taking in the wonderful view from the bridge, I head back along the southern bank looking for Rainbow Lorikeets and other parrots which I can hear squawking in the canopy. Near the weir I notice a possum curled up in a hollowed-out branch a great, final image to reflect on over my afternoon tea.
My next article will cover the walk from the bridge back to the weir on the northern side of the lake.
Bridge view from the walking track
This is an easy walk/drive which is quite suitable for families and seniors with public toilets, parking and other facilities nearby. It is dog friendly.