Foggy Morning At The Wetlands

One thing I have always wanted to do is go for a walk in a fog. Some people think I’m weird for wanting to do that, but I think fog is mysterious and very atmospheric. Fog even makes great moody photos.

Launceston can get pretty foggy during winter, but the best fogs are always on days I have to work. Finally I had the opportunity one Sunday morning last winter. I was up early and headed off down to the Tamar Island Wetlands despite it being only 3 degrees.

It didn’t turn out to be thick fog like I was hoping, but it was good enough to have an eerie experience. I only came across one other lone walker, and didn’t see many birds, but I reckon I managed to get some interesting photos.

A feather sitting on top of the water, the river was very still

 

 

 

The only other walker appearing out of the gloom on the jetty

 

 

It was a bonus getting to see a few pademelons!

 

 

Cradle Mountain Day 4 – Blissful Solitude

Continuing on with my adventure at Cradle Mountain recently, this day was a great one for walking.

I decided to do the Cradle Valley Boardwalk starting from the Ranger Station and finishing at Ronny Creek seeing as I had already done the last section via Lake Lilla the day before, making it about a 5.5 km walk.

The boardwalk started out in a beautiful mossy green forest then opened up to big skies and wide landscapes.

 

It was raining on and off but it was so quiet. It was really pleasant listening to the occasional bird call and the sound of rain falling softly. It felt like I was in another world.

Every now and then, there would be a short path to a kind of lookout area with a seat to rest on.

There was even a sun shower!

Someone’s home by the boardwalk.

I spent a bit of time at this next spot. I tried to find the source of the unfamiliar birdcalls, but the rain and grey skies made it quite difficult.

I did get a quick video of one bird, but can’t make out what it could be. Anyone got any ideas what it might be?

Back on the main track again and it started snowing! You can even hear a black currawong calling at the end of the video.

I saw quite a few black currawongs along this track today. Here’s just one.

This next bit of the track felt like I was in a ghostly tree graveyard.

 

The track then became more closed in with forest.

Just after I spied a sign saying I was at a spot called Snake Hill (and looking around me wondering if it was appropriately named!) I saw a wombat run across the track in front of me and hide like a statue in the bushes near the track!

And just a few metres on, I saw a very casual Bennett’s wallaby munching grass.

Here he is enjoying his grass.

Not long after, the sun came out and some blue sky appeared. It was amazing how the landscape looked so different.

I crossed a bridge over a river and saw some interesting fungi.

And then I came across an obstacle – a huge tree had fallen on the boardwalk and damaged it quite a bit.

I was only minutes away from my destination of Ronny Creek, so luckily I was able to squeeze under the fallen tree trunk and scramble to the other side. Although, now that I think about it, maybe that wasn’t such a good idea in case the tree moved and fell on me.  🤔

And here’s another black currawong I saw coming in to Ronny Creek. I love the look on his face!

At Ronny Creek, the sun disappeared and it became cold and bleak again.

I really enjoyed trekking the Cradle Valley Boardwalk. There was lots to see, different wildlife, little tracks detouring to the river, it rained, it snowed and was sunny for awhile. It was so peaceful walking on this path, it was blissful solitude. I never saw another person the entire time.

As this is quite a long post, I’ll continue my day’s walking in my next post. I decided to continue the walk from Ronny Creek to Waldheim and finally check out what was there. And it was definitely worth it!

Cradle Mountain Day 2 – The More You Look The More You Find (Furry Things)

After an exciting first day to my holiday at Cradle Mountain, I was pumped to discover what awaited me the next day. And I wasn’t disappointed!

My friends at work told me to make sure to visit a place called Ronny Creek and guaranteed that I would see plenty of wombats there. Well, they weren’t wrong!

Ronny Creek and the beginning of the famous Overland Track
Black currawong

After registering my walk at the shelter, watched by this wet black currawong, I headed off to see if I could find some wombats.

It was only after a few minutes walk that I stopped to take in my surroundings and get some photos. It was so quiet, just the occasional bird call and the constant, soft babbling of the little streams meandering around the boardwalk.

Then a movement caught my eye near my feet!

So close I almost missed it!!

This wombat was too interested in eating and couldn’t care less what I was doing, so I took a video of him.

This would have to be my best wombat encounter ever!

And then I started looking around more closely, and what do you know – wombats were everywhere! They blend in so well with their environment they can be difficult to spot, but once you start looking for them, they just seem to pop up out of nowhere!

Looking back to the bus stop
Another wombat close by

Wombats are nocturnal creatures however on days that are rainy and overcast they will often come out of their burrow in search if more grass to eat.

I decided to walk on to Waldheim and see what was there. The whole track was about 1 km long but it took me ages, because, you know, animals! 🙂

After only a few minutes walking, this happened!

It snowed! Only briefly, but wow, it was great! Freezing cold, but great! 😀

 

Pandani palms in the foreground and button grass behind them

The pandani palms in the photo above are only found in Tasmania and are the largest heath plant in the world. They are found in sub alpine environments, which is what the Cradle Mountain area is. These plants survive the cold conditions because their old leaves remain on the trunk to provide insulation. (You can see that my holiday was also educational lol)

The sun made a very brief appearance along the way.

Pandani palms

And yes, there were more wombats to see on the way to Waldheim!

Most of the wombats seen were busily munching grass oblivious to what was going on around them, but a few times I spied one of the move.

A wombat burrow – quite a big one!
Looking back from Waldheim the way I came

As it was getting late, since I was taking so long watching wombats, I decided to turn around and head back so I didn’t miss the last shuttle bus, otherwise it was going to be a very, very long walk back to the cabin!  But I knew I could come back another day and explore what was at Waldheim further.

And more wombats were spotted all the way back to the bus stop. They were probably the same ones I saw before.

It was really exciting that not only were there plenty of wombats to see at Ronny Creek, but that they were often close to the boardwalk making it easy to watch them and take pictures of them. Although it was difficult to see their faces as they were eating and heading away from the boardwalk, so much of the time you just saw their back end!

Here’s a wombat having a scratch!

The most common sight at Ronny Creek – wombat butts!
Waiting for the shuttle bus which you can just see on the back left.

Back at the cabin in the late afternoon, I was looking forward to a rest after an exciting day of wombat spotting, but I got distracted when several pademelons turned up. They are just too cute for their own good!

Pademelons around my holiday cabin

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Pademelons around my holiday cabin

I also saw this Forest Raven in a tree near the cabin.

Forest Raven

And these two black currawongs turned up looking for a feed. They also got some apple to eat like the pademelons.

Black currawongs

That poor bird with the extra long beak! I don’t know why it’s like that. It’s been around for a fair while too, as I noticed several visitors had written in the cabin’s guestbook since 2016 about a black currawong with a long beak (I needed some reading material one night lol).

I took a video of how the bird has adjusted to eating with its extra long beak.

As if all that wasn’t enough excitement for one day, I discovered that night what had been making some mysterious noises the night before. I had just settled in for the night when the noises started again, so I threw on my coat and boots, turned on the outside light and opened the door to find a rather startled brushtail possum!

Of course, I raided my bag of apples again and gave him a few pieces. He wasn’t tame enough to hand feed but he looked like he enjoyed the treat.

What an eventful day!

My next post will be about a walking track that was well out of my comfort zone! 🙂

Cradle Mountain Day 1 – First Impressions

I recently went on an amazing holiday to the beautiful wilderness area of Cradle Mountain, Tasmania. This region is well known around the world for its stunning scenery and famous walking tracks and is one of Australia’s most visited places, by overseas tourists and Australians alike. This was my first ever trip to Cradle Mountain.

Red marker shows location of Cradle Mountain

I spent 6 glorious days at Cradle Mountain and would have loved to have stayed longer. I booked into “The Bushman’s Hut” at Highlanders Cottages and I was spoiled for friendly customer service, gorgeous scenery, wildlife at my cabin door, and a perfect location to easily catch the shuttle bus to get to and from the walks.

Small on the outside but big on the inside.
View from the cabin’s veranda.

I packed a fair bit in on my first day. It was a 3 hour coach journey to get there from Launceston, then once I settled into the cabin and unpacked, it was off to the Visitor Centre after a quick lunch to get my shuttle bus pass for the week and to start exploring. My first stop was the Ranger Station and Interpretation Centre, where you can walk around static displays about the walks, wildlife and history of the area. There was even a small theatre inside playing short films.

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Outside the Ranger Station, I spied a black currawong and finally discovered what was making that very strange noise I had been hearing since arriving.

My first walk was the Pencil Pine Falls Walking Track, a very short walk of only 500m but quite enjoyable with lots of nice green trees. Of course it took me longer to walk all the tracks during my stay as I kept stopping to taking photographs and observe animals and watch for new birds I had yet to discover!

Just a short walk away was another track called the Enchanted Walk, about a kilometre long and was exactly as its name implied – enchanting!

Afterwards I went back to the cabin and shortly thereafter I found this cutie at my door!

Pademelon

My friends at work had given me advance notice that there would be friendly and hungry pademelons around the cabins so I came prepared with a few apples. It turned out that every afternoon around the same time, there would be a few pademelons looking for a handout. I’m afraid they were too adorable to resist!

It was wonderful to get up so close to a pademelon, I think they are beautiful animals. I have only seen them at the local wetlands on my walks back home and certainly never get this close to one.

To finish off the day, right on dusk, I joined a small group of half a dozen people for a night tour of wildlife spotting. The tour lasted for around 2 hours and included animal spotting from the bus as well as a 20 minute walk around on a boardwalk to see what we could find.

Wombat spotted at Ronny Creek

This was exciting for me as I had never seen a wombat in the wild before. We ended up seeing at least 6 wombats that night along the boardwalk, a few of them quite close to the track. Our driver and guide, James, was great with his commentary and was quite informative and entertaining.

I was also stoked to spot this beautiful Bennett’s wallaby from the bus!

As well as spotting a few more wombats, pademelons, and another Bennett’s wallaby from the bus, we spied a number of brushtail possums, a few had joeys on their back, so cute! I caught this possum heading into the bush as it started snowing!

On the trip back to the various accommodations where the group members were staying, there were several snow flurries which was exciting for me, never having seen snow fall before.

This next video is a view from the bus with a sighting of a pademelon and some interesting information about them from our driver James.

What a first day at Cradle Mountain! Gorgeous mossy green forest walks, wildlife at my door, my first wild wombat sighting, and even a tantalising look at a bit of snow! I was filled with happiness and excitement at what the coming days would bring.

Keep an eye out for my next post to find out what furry creatures I encounter on my second day!

Random Photos

I recently purchased a new camera, a bridge camera, and I’m really happy with the results I’ve been getting so far, especially as it is more advanced than cameras I’ve used before. So here are some random shots I’ve taken.

Looking up at paperbark trees
Female superb fairy wren – with an attitude!
A male superb fairy wren proving that the early bird does indeed get the worm!
A blackbird – perhaps with a broken beak. Just as he flew off ……
Another one took his place!
Black swans in flight
A silver gull having a sit down
Eurasian coots making a beeline for me!
Random ducks
A peaceful country setting by the river (zoom from my house)
Look Mum – I can walk on water!
Ducks in flight

Black swans are always beautiful to watch.

In a week’s time I am going away on holiday to Cradle Mountain and I’m hoping to get some great photos with my new camera of the wilderness and wildlife there. My work friends have guaranteed I will see plenty of pademelons and wombats! It might even snow!! 🙂

 

Interrupting Breakfast

This pademelon was so engrossed in having breakfast the other morning that I was able to get up nice and close and get a decent photo before he/she noticed me and hopped away.

I often see these lovely animals on my walks at the local wetlands in the early morning or late evening.

A few interesting facts about the pademelon 

Common Name: Tasmanian pademelon (say it as “paddy-melon”)

Also Known As: Rufous wallaby

Scientific Name: Thylogale billardierii

Location: Tasmania, Australia

Habitat: Rainforest, wet sclerophyll forest

Diet: Herbs, green shoots, short grass

Predators: Tasmanian devils, spotted-tailed quolls, wedge-tailed eagles

Breeding: No specific breeding season however 70% of joeys are born in early winter; young stay in the pouch for 6 months and mature at 15 months; life span 5-6 years

 

A Day With Seahorses, Platypuses and Echidnas

I recently went out to a lovely spot called Beauty Point about 40 minutes drive from Launceston in Tasmania and visited Seahorse World and Platypus House.

Seahorse World was quite interesting and had plenty of seahorses to watch and discover.

There were a number of tanks full of baby seahorses. These were only a few centimetres big.

This is a White’s Seahorse, found in Sydney in Australia.

Here are two expectant fathers.

Here are some Pot Bellied Seahorses being fed brine shrimp.

This is the beautiful Weedy Sea Dragon.

Recently it was news headlines when Seahorse World announced a rare feat – a successful transfer of eggs from the female to the male. This has only been accomplished in captivity a handful of times.

Right next door to Seahorse World is Platypus House.

After a short video on platypuses and an introduction on the animal, we went into a room with a big tank where we got to watch Jupiter, the only male platypus there. He is 11 years old.  The guide fed him some food, including a yabby. Here is a video of Jupiter feeding and swimming around.

We were then ushered into another room where there were 3 tanks, each having a female platypus. The guide fed all three so we could watch the platypus feed and swim around. Here is a video of a female called Poppy.

I could watch her all day, it was so relaxing.

The last leg of the tour was a visit to the Echidna Garden, where three echidnas roamed the garden amongst our feet. What a treat!

Here is a video of an echidna eating. Check out their long pink tongue!

Here is a cute moment with the guide.

And here is a video of the echidnas wandering around among us.

This was a great day out and I recommend a visit to Seahorse World and Platypus House if you ever visit Tasmania. It gives you the opportunity to view some unique animals up close and learn about them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer’s Day Low Tide At The Wetlands

On a bright sunny summer’s day recently, I decided to try my luck birdwatching at Tamar Island Wetlands. I wasn’t expecting to see too much in the way of wildlife as it was quite a warm day and early afternoon with a low tide. I thought the majority of the birds would be hiding away in some shade somewhere, but I was quite surprised by what I found.

Low tide at Tamar Island Wetlands
Several great egrets and a cormorant hanging out together
Chestnut teal having a quiet midday snooze
Grey teals snoozing nearby
Another image of low tide at Tamar Island Wetlands
A variety of birds in one spot – black swans, great egrets, chestnut teals, grey teals and a masked lapwing
A young Australasian swamphen, the parent was close by.
A pair of geese foraging.
Cracked dried mud
A muddy beaked masked lapwing (plover)
A lovely cool and shady spot next to the bird hide
A grey teal with something to say
One of the lovely views from the boardwalk.
White faced herons.
A pair of chestnut teals.
Mother swan with her growing babies
Another view of the wetlands

If you ever find yourself in the Launceston area, it’s worth a trip out to the Tamar Island Wetlands as you can see all kinds of birds anytime of the day and the views are beautiful.