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 3 – Up For A Challenge

Another cold and rainy day at Cradle Mountain, but when you’re on holidays, you still get out there among it and do the things you came to do.

On this day, I decided to do the track to Lake Lilla. My day’s walking involved a start from Ronny Creek to follow the track to Lake Lilla, about 3 km, and then I took the turn off to Wombat Pool, another 1 km, then walked on to Dove Lake, a further 2.7 km.

Walker registration at the Ronny Creek bus stop

I started off from the boardwalk at Ronny Creek revisiting part of the same route I took yesterday, even spying a lone wombat close to the track.

Wombat by the boardwalk at Ronny Creek

I even saw some turbo chooks (native hens). They really do remind me of chickens!

Then I took the turn off to Lake Lilla.

There’s always someone wanting to joke around with signs ….

I spotted this interesting bush along the way, but I don’t know what it is. If anyone knows, let me know.

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As rain showers came and went, the scenery changed along the way. At first, there was lots of button grass along the boardwalk.

Button grass is endemic to south eastern Australia and grows in tussocks in peat, and Tasmania has the largest peatlands in the southern hemisphere (another thing I learnt while on holiday!).

Button grass moorlands

Then suddenly, the boardwalk ended and a track appeared. It became quite narrow. Here it’s less than half a metre wide.

I spotted the occasional banksia tree. One tree had a pair of green rosellas but they took off just as I got my camera out.

This path was not only narrow it was unforgiving. With all the rain, the track was wet and sometimes slippery, and occasionally a tree branch had fallen across the track which required clambering over, very carefully. I was so thankful I had good waterproof walking boots! It was incredibly quiet, just the sound of the rain and the occasional bird call, and the gusts of wind blowing the tops of the trees.

There was plenty of this interesting coral lichen around.

Another type of lichen often seen on trees.

I was beginning to feel this track would never end!

While walking along this track, I was very conscious of the fact that I was out there by myself. There was no internet or mobile phone reception out here. And as I had been walking for ages and still had not come across another person, it could be a very long wait for help if needed. I went slower than usual so I didn’t slip and fall or twist an ankle – didn’t want to ruin my holiday!  I’m glad I registered my walk in the log book at the bus stop. I can see why it’s important to do this, as you never know what can happen.

Finally, I made it to Lake Lilla. I couldn’t see the lake yet but I could hear people’s voices so I started to feel relieved I made it all that way in one piece.

I decided to push on to see Wombat Pool, even though I cringed when I saw this – stairs, and many of them, going up, up  and up!

Just a small section of the never ending steps to Wombat Pool. The rope rail was only for a short section.

I don’t like stairs at the best of times, especially when there are no handrails, so it was a great effort on my part to continue on. The rain kept on coming in waves, and the further on I went, the colder and windier it became.

Looking down from the top onto Lake Lilla.

But I’m sure you’ll agree that view of Lake Lilla was worth the climb!

Wombat Pool. Must be the same joker mucking around with the signs …..

Made it to Wombat Pool! Now to get to Dove Lake and get the shuttle bus back to the cabin for a well earned rest.

I thought going down the stairs would be easy, but it wasn’t, especially with the rain coming down. I stopped to chat with an elderly English gentleman who had walked from Marion’s Lookout, and he had the right idea using walking poles. Note to self – get walking poles before my next trip to Cradle Mountain!

The descent from Wombat Pool

Last look at Lake Lilla just before getting to the Dove Lake car park for the shuttle bus.

Lake Lilla from the walking track to Dove Lake car park

Spotted some pinky-red berries along the way back to the bus. Not sure what they are exactly.

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When I finally made it back to my holiday cabin, I was more than ready to put my feet up and have a rest, but then I heard some birds twittering right out of the front so of course I had to go and have a looksee. There were several tiny little birds flitting about under the bushes right outside the cabin. They moved so fast I couldn’t get any photos, so took some video.

The first one is, I think, a thornbill of some kind. If anyone can identify it for me, it would be appreciated.

And this one is of a different little bird, not sure what this one is, maybe a scrubtit? If you can identify this bird as well for me, that would be great.

Well, this was quite an adventurous day!

Keep an eye out for my next post for more Cradle Mountain adventures! 🙂

 

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!! 🙂

 

Murmurations of Starlings

I’m excited to share a short video I took recently of the amazing flying patterns of starlings known as murmurations.

I only happened upon it by accident one evening as I was near the end of my walk at the Tamar Island Wetlands.  It was totally unexpected, and since then, I have taken my camera with me and tried to get some video of the starlings incredible flying formation. However, it’s difficult because they don’t seem to fly like this all the time, and now as winter approaches, I can’t get there early enough.

 

Amazing isn’t it! I could watch this all day! 🙂

There has to be hundreds of starlings coming in to settle for the night at the Wetlands. It certainly sounded like it when I walked past them! I wonder what they were saying to each other?

 

The European starling (also known as the Common starling) is an introduced and invasive bird here in Australia, but even so, it is a very pretty bird when the sun shines on them exposing their metallic rainbow of colours, and they also have a beautiful song.

European starling (not my photo)

Have you ever seen a murmuration of starlings or any other bird?

 

 

 

Down Brownfield Lane

Opposite the Riverside High School near Launceston is a small park and a lake. I couldn’t see any sign as to what it is called and maps don’t have a name for it either.  I visited there one afternoon and found there are quite a number of birds there. It’s a lovely country setting, the lake surrounded by trees, now starting to change colour in late autumn, and farmhouses and green paddocks abound up to the Tamar River with mountains in the distance.

Turbo chooks (Native Hens)
Although turbo chooks are waterbirds and often seen at the Wetlands, this was the first time I had seen one actually in the water.
Native Hen (Turbo Chook) These birds are only found in Tasmania and belong to the rail family.
One of a huge flock of sulphur crested cockatoos I often see flying around the area.
It wouldn’t be a park without a magpie!
This pair of galahs were spotted near the car park.
Couldn’t identify this duck. Anyone know?
Pacific black ducks.
Found these trying to be invisible on the lake edge among trees. Not sure what type of duck they are.
Wood ducks having a meeting
Eurasian coot

I was treated to a quick diving display from a Eurasian coot!

There were quite a lot of these Silver gulls around
An adult and a juvenile silver gull
Silver gulls chilling in the afternoon sun
A lone feral domestic goose was hanging out with its duck friends
He seemed quite friendly and at one point swam right up to me.
Find of the day! A yellow wattlebird. My first sighting of this bird, only found in Tasmania.

This park and lake are definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area.

 

 

Seagull Parade

If I decide to go for an early morning walk at the local wetlands when it’s high tide, I often find that I am the first person there for the day. How do I know? By the seagull parade!

Silver gulls and Pacific gulls lining the boardwalk

Along the boardwalk are a few bridges over sections of the Tamar River, and there are lots of silver gulls and pacific gulls that are perched on the bridges in the early morning at high tide.

Pacific gulls
More gulls on another bridge
White faced herons hanging out with the pacific gulls
A closer look at some Pacific gulls
A large number of immature Pacific gulls can be seen

As I get close to the birds, they start to cry and take flight, and soon there are heaps of gulls flying overhead, heading towards the harbour.

Once disturbed, the birds don’t return, they must continue on with their day. I hate to disturb them, but walk I must, and they don’t seem overly upset as they are there again the following day.

I took this video of walking past the seagulls. Unfortunately, YouTube has removed the stabiliser enhancement feature so the video is a bit wonky.

As you can see, these birds do make a mess of the boardwalk, but a bit of rain cleans it up.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many gulls in one place before!

 

 

 

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.

 

 

White Faced Heron

Recently I spotted a white faced heron perched on a neighbour’s roof catching some early morning sun. This one looks like it has some breeding plumage.

These birds are usually seen around bodies of water and I sometimes see them on my walks at the local wetlands, so I was quite surprised to see one on the roof nextdoor.

As I watched, this heron proceeded to cough up something.

It’s always funny when a bird suddenly catches your eye.

The heron then gazes out looking like it’s feeling better.

Then the bird turns around to get some more sun before flying off towards the river.