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. ย ๐Ÿค”

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 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!ย  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, upย  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! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

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!! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

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.ย  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! ๐Ÿ™‚

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?

 

 

 

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.ย  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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

European Goldfinch

I had been seeing flashes of a small bird in my weedy garden lately (I promise I’ll get to it one of these days ….. ๐Ÿ™‚ ) and had been unable to determine what kind of bird it was until I spotted two of them the other day. They move so fast I couldn’t get a good photo so instead tried to video them.

I had never seen these birds before so had to research them. They are a European Goldfinch. These birds were introduced to south eastern Australia in the mid to late 1800s.

The male bird is very colourful and quite eye catching and I think the other bird in the video is a juvenile. They seem to love the seeds on the weeds. Now I have an excuse not to weed the garden bed! ๐Ÿ˜€

This is my last post for the year, so I hope you all have a happy and safe Christmas and best wishes for the New Year.

 

 

 

Wildlife Spottings At The Wetlands

Now that daylight savings has started, I have decided to go for a walk almost everyday at the local wetlands. I find that walking helps to unwind from a day’s work and it feels good to get out in the fresh air. Also, it is good exercise and great for the mind and spirit, and it’s even nice to say hello to regular walkers and joggers or stop and have a chat with someone taking photos of the birds.

Here are some of the gems I have spotted on my walks at Tamar Island Wetlands.

Surprisingly, I have seen a small number ofย geese. These are likely domesticated escapees from people’s homes around the area. I have spotted 2 pairs but only one had these little golden cuties.

Sadly, none of the goslings have survived.

A plentiful bird at the wetlands is theย black swan.ย I have identified 5 different families so far, all with babies of varying ages. It’s been nice to watch the little balls of fluff growing up. Here is one family.

And look at this adorable scene!

If I go walking early in the morning or late in the evening, I am usually lucky enough to see one of these lovely creatures – a pademelon!

In a previous post, I shared a photo of a Native Hen (or turbo chook) with half a dozen chicks that I came across in the car park. Sadly, there is only one chick left. Look how its grown!

Lately I have seen several Great Egrets fishing in the river. This one was fascinating to watch as it went after some food.

There was even a snake having a snooze by the boardwalk. Funnily enough, it was conveniently sleeping only 2 metres away from the snake warning sign so I knew it was a copperhead!

I was even lucky enough to see two Australasian Swamphen chicks up close. Aren’t they cute!

And finally, this is a video I took one afternoon of the 360 degree view from the end of the boardwalk at the Tamar River. I’m sure you’ll agree, it’s a magnificent view and well worth the walk. ๐Ÿ™‚

What little gems of nature do you see on your daily walks?