Winter Birds At The Wetlands

Here are some photos of the various birds I spotted at Tamar Island Wetlands during the winter months.

Australasian swamphen
Terek sandpiper
Greylag geese
Roman tufted goose
Male and female Australian shelducks
Red capped plover (a rare sight at the Wetlands!)
Superb fairy wren (male)
Welcome swallow
Black swan
A black swan losing its silver feathers as it matures to adulthood
Great egret and Little black cormorants
Male and female Chestnut teal
Chestnut teals and Little black cormorant
A closer look
Juvenile silver gull
Pacific gull
Silver gull
Silver gulls feeding on little crabs at low tide
Royal spoonbills
Close up of Royal spoonbills
Swamp harrier
Swamp harrier in flight

And I captured some nice images of Little black cormorants.

And I spotted some early Black swan cygnets!

And bonus sightings of pademelons!

Pademelon
Pademelon

Russell Falls, Horseshoe Falls And Tall Trees

Russell Falls is the most photographed waterfall in Tasmania and gets lots of visitors throughout the year. It’s a short easy walk to the falls and the track is easily accessible for wheelchairs and strollers.

To start the walk to Russell Falls, you need to pass through the visitor centre where you can obtain a Tasmania National Parks Pass if you don’t already have one. You’ll also walk past this giant possum!

Take careful note of the warning sign at the start of the walk!

This delightful walk takes you through forest full of dogwood, myrtle and musk. The overcast skies and occasional rain added to the atmosphere, and everything was so fresh and green, just beautiful!

We even came upon this mother pademelon with her joey who were casually foraging beside the track.

Russell Falls was quite busy with people, but there was a fair bit of room to move and get a good view.

There was even a short easy track that went up above the falls so you could look out over it to the forest beyond.

From here, there is a short track to Horseshoe Falls. I think it’s one of the most beautiful waterfalls I’ve seen so far.

There is also a track that goes to Lady Barron Falls, however, on this day, that track was closed due to hazards after some extreme rain and wind the area had had during the week. So instead we decided to do the Tall Trees Walk.

This walk took around 30 minutes and was well worth it.

We spotted some fungi

Another pademelon

Even an echidna!

I felt dwarfed by these magnificent tall trees, they are probably the tallest gum trees I’ve ever seen.

These swamp gums are hundreds of years old and can grow up to 100 metres in height. They are the tallest flowering plants in the world!

Remember the warning sign at the start of the walk to Russell Falls? Well, during our walk on the Tall Trees circuit, we heard an almighty cracking sound and quickly turned around to see a huge branch fall into the fork of another tree! It was that loud, that shortly afterwards we came across a park ranger who was walking toward where the sound had come from to make sure it hadn’t fallen onto the track and hurt anyone. Not long after this, we heard another tree branch crack and fall through the trees. Scary stuff!

You can see Russell Falls, Horseshoe Falls and the towering swamp gums in the Mt Field National Park near Hobart, Tasmania.

Dooley’s Hill – Pademelons Galore!

A picturesque drive from Launceston to Latrobe brings you to Dooley’s Hill Walking Track – various trails intertwining through forest with a myriad of wildlife.

We started the walk from Bell’s Parade and after a rather steep uphill section the path evened out. Tall gum trees surrounded us on either side with lots of fernery framing the track.

At the beginning of the walk was a council sign regarding feral cats, apparently they have a big problem in the area, and sure enough, it was early on in the walk when we spied numerous traps like this one amongst the trees.

Feral cat traps

Not long after this we got our first glimpse of the local wildlife –

Three pademelons casually eating grass on the track

As we walked along, we could hear plenty of birdlife but we didn’t get to see much of it. We saw quite a few superb fairy wrens flitting about on the trail in front of us, and even came upon four green rosellas helping themselves to food in a tree by the track –

Green rosella

– but unfortunately we didn’t spot the beautiful firetail finch or white goshawk that are reported to often be seen there.

However, what we did get to see plenty of were pademelons! It was quite funny walking along and often hearing a light thump thump thump as they got scared and hopped off deeper into the forest.

And a few of them just stood stock still like a statue, hoping we couldn’t see them, like this one!

After about an hour’s walking, we ended up in the main street of Latrobe, a small town well known for its heritage and fresh local produce. There are heaps of shops to peruse, including antiques, cafes and bakeries.

The locals must have a fun sense of humour as I spotted this sign in front of their post office –

Humour in the times of covid-19

After grabbing some lunch to go from a bakery, we started to walk down the main street to head back to Bell’s Parade but decided to go a different way when we stumbled upon the Sheean Memorial Walk off the main road.

The above memorial is to honour and remember a Latrobe war hero, Edward “Teddy” Sheean, who was a seaman in the Royal Australian Navy during WWII and who, at the age of 18, gave his life to save 49 others. On board a navy ship in Timor that was sinking and with Japanese aircraft machine gunning survivors in the water, Teddy Sheean strapped himself to an anti aircraft gun and kept shooting at the enemy as the ship sunk to save his fellow men struggling to survive in the ocean.

After a lengthy petition by Teddy’s relatives and supporters, Teddy Sheean was finally awarded Australia’s highest military award, the Victoria Cross, late last year, 78 years after his heroic death.

The Sheean Memorial Walk is a beautiful treelined walk with many memorial plaques of information on various aspects of the conflicts Australia has been involved in, including plaques about defence chaplains, women in the forces, and many more.

Sheean Memorial Walk
One of the many memorial plaques along the Sheean Memorial Walk

At the end of this walk, we found ourselves back at Bell’s Parade and had our lunch by the Mersey River in the cool shade of the huge old English trees on the river bank. There were lots of ducks of all kinds there enjoying the sunshine and having a snooze.

After lunch we decided to do the walk around Pig Island via a footbridge across the river. The walk only took about 45 minutes and mostly follows alongside the river and passes through some wetlands at the other end.

Treelined track along the river on Pig Island
Grey fantail spotted in leaf litter near the track
View of the river between the trees
Paperbark trees in the wetlands near the end of the track – watch the river here for awhile and you might spot some large fish swimming around like we did!

Overall, this was a great day out in nature with a bit of history thrown in. πŸ™‚

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 Part 2 – Wombats and Waldheim

Hi everyone, I’m back! πŸ˜€

After my last post 6 months ago, I decided to take a break from blogging as I had some issues that required dealing with concerning work as well as a few other personal issues, but I didn’t expect to be away for so long.Β  But now things are going well again and I feel more motivated to get back into my blog and share my Tasmanian experiences with you.

Even though it has been some time, I thought I would pick up where I left off, continuing my adventure to Cradle Mountain last year.

On this fourth day at Cradle Mountain, I had walked the Cradle Valley Boardwalk (see my last post about that walk here) and then decided to walk from Ronny Creek to Waldheim, and I am so glad that I did!

The short walk to Waldheim led me to the historic Waldheim chalet.

This is a rebuilt chalet originally built by Gustav and Kate Weindorfer in 1912. The Weindorfers are famous for promoting and opening up the Cradle Mountain area for tourists.

Next to the chalet was the Weindorfers Forest walk, a short but enchanting nature trail with lots of tall trees and bright green moss.

 

 

The view at the end of the walk.

By the time I had returned to the Waldheim Chalet, it started to snow!

A bit of snow wasn’t going to stop this waddling wombat I spied from the shelter of the chalet!

I managed to get a good photo of that wombat too, I dashed over to take a photo before it disappeared. How cute is it!!

As I walked back along the track to Ronny Creek to catch the shuttle bus, I saw more wombats!

When I reached my cabin late in the afternoon after a very tiring but enjoyable long walk today, there were a few pademelons hanging around wanting a feed. This one seemed to be pretty hungry! πŸ˜€

Not long afterwards, it snowed at my cabin!

I also spotted this cute pademelon sitting out the front of my cabin getting snowed on.

Well, this was such a wonderful day I didn’t think it could get any better. Little did I know what was in store for me the next day! πŸ˜‰

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! πŸ™‚

After only a few minutes walking, this happened!

It snowed! Only briefly, but wow, it was great! Freezing cold, but great! πŸ˜€

 

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!Β  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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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! πŸ™‚

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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!

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 pademelonΒ 

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