Wings Wildlife Park

Wings Wildlife Park is located at Gunns Plains near Ulverstone in Tasmania. The family owned park has been in the Wing family for many generations and operates solely on donations and money generated by visitors to the park. There are more than 150 different animals at the wildlife sanctuary and it is the only place in Tasmania where you can see American bison. The park also has the largest collection of Tasmanian wildlife in Australia.

You can buy feed to hand feed the kangaroos and wallabies (highly recommended!) as well as food to feed the fish (they have ponds with trout). They have wildlife presentations throughout the day as well as animal encounter experiences. You can even stay overnight at one of the cottages at the park or stay at their campsite. And their cafe has fantastic restaurant quality meals and quick and easy snack food and include gluten free, vegan and vegetarian options.

A lot of the Australian animals at the park are animals that have been brought in injured or ill and are undergoing recovery or rehabilitation and will be released back into the wild. Sadly, some animals have conditions that will not enable them to survive in the wild and so will spend the rest of their days at the wildlife park.

Here are some of the non Australian animals we saw at the park.

First up were the couple of ostriches, including two albino ones!

One ostrich was happy one moment –

And angry the next!

Some other exotic animals included bison, buffalo, camels and Scottish Highland cattle, but they were happy lazing around at the far end of the paddock.

Now onto the Aussie animals. There were so many animals, I have only decided to include a small number here.

Tasmanian devils are critically endangered because of a deadly facial cancer tumour disease.

There were several quolls there too.

Spotted quoll
Eastern quoll (dark morph)

There were a number of emus there, including this one who seemed to like having his picture taken.

In the nocturnal house we saw sugar gliders, and I filmed this funny little incident between two sugar gliders. I’m sure you’ll get a laugh out of the ending. πŸ˜„ 

We also saw three albino magpies, and after enquiring with one of the keepers there, discovered that albino magpies can’t survive in the wild because they get picked on by the other magpies and end up with injuries and also become malnourished. These birds were brought in to the sanctuary individually in a bad way but now have a better and healthier life. So unfortunately for these three guys, they are permanent residents at the wildlife park.

Below is Edward who liked a scratch on the head.

And these two magpies seemed to be in unison!

There was also a swamp harrier who was interesting to see up so close. I would see these birds fly overhead looking for prey when I used to go walking at the Tamar Island Wetlands.

Make sure when you visit the park to buy some feed for the kangaroos, it was such a fun experience hand feeding them and being able to pat them. They have the grey forester kangaroos as well as wallabies and even some albino ones.

And lastly, they had a number of very cute long nosed potoroos!

Hope you enjoyed my photos of the animals and be sure to visit Wings Wildlife Park if you’re in north west Tassie, you’ll have the best time!

The Fairy Doors Of Rubicon Reserve

Rubicon Reserve is a small lot of bush land which can be found at the northern end of Freers Beach next to the surf club at Shearwater, Tasmania.

Entry to Rubicon Reserve with bunny guardians

Dirt trails meander their way around the area among coastal native trees and shrubs.

If you venture through the bush here early in the morning or of an evening, you are sure to see some pademelons out for their grassy meal and hear them bounding through the scrub off in the distance as you approach. You may even see some bunnies. Once I spotted a bandicoot!

Pademelon at Rubicon Reserve

But if you take careful note as you wander through this parcel of land, you will start to see fairy doors on the trees.

These miniature doors are set onto trees with the idea being that people can leave notes and gifts for the fairies that live there. I don’t know who put these doors up, or when, as I can’t find any information about this reserve, so it was just nice to enjoy the scenery as I followed the paths, wondering if perhaps I was being watched by more than just the pademelons!

Most of the fairy doors can be sighted from the trail, but I came upon two that were hidden away, so have a good look around if you’re visiting.

Have you seen fairy doors in your local park or reserve?

Fluffy Little Birds

Spring has arrived and it’s nice to see more sunshine and less rain. Out on a walk at the local wetlands, I spied some cute fluffy spring babies!

I saw 4 different black swan families, ranging from 6 babies to only 2, and all at different stages. This swan family was close to the boardwalk and allowed me to get some nice shots of the littlies before mum and dad decided to head off.

And then further along there was another family swimming near the boardwalk, but it was so windy, the little ones kept hiding behind one of their parents, probably to keep out of the wind.

I also saw this adorable Chestnut teal family! 😍

Here they are in action:

And had to share this funny photo πŸ˜†

Tassie’s Turbo Chooks

The Tasmanian Native Hen is one of 12 bird species endemic to Tasmania and is commonly referred to as a turbo chook.

The native hen is a flightless rail and commonly seen all over Tasmania with the exception of the south west area. They are frequently seen (and heard!) in grassy areas close to water.

So why are they called a chook? A chook is an Australian colloquialism for hen, and if you watch these birds foraging, they do resemble a chicken as they graze on grass shoots during the day.

And why the term turbo chooks? Although they can’t fly, they can run very fast! This bird has been clocked running at 48 kmph (30 mph)!! When they run, they hold their wings out for balance and are able to make tight turns to avoid a predator. The birds and their chicks are preyed upon by Tasmanian devils, quolls, gulls, kookaburras, ravens, and hawks.

Here’s a video of a native hen taking a bath early one foggy morning.

Native hens have 14 separate calls, ranging from low growls to high pitched calls. I captured one of their calls in this video. Usually, when one bird makes this noise, others join in and they make a very loud raucous which can be heard a long distance away. People often say this call sounds like sawing metal, what do you think?

I often hear many of these birds making this noise at night about a kilometre away!

Native hens live in groups of 5 plus juveniles who stay with the group and help care for the next lot of young until the juveniles are old enough to move away to find another territory, some even stay with the group.

Each group has a territory of about 5 acres (2 hectares) and they fiercely defend it. You can often see fights break out where birds kick and peck each quite violently and the native hens come running from everywhere to watch.

Native hen chicks are black and fluffy. A day after hatching, they are already running along with the parents and starting to feed themselves.

Too cute!

Blotched Blue Tongue Lizard

Over the weekend I had a new visitor to my backyard – a blue tongue lizard!

This fellow had been hiding under a large but empty garden waste bin that had blown over in the extremely windy conditions we have been having of late. He was about 30cm in length and was watching me closely. He actually looks a bit grumpy! πŸ˜€

I looked him up in one of my books and found that there is only one type of blue tongue lizard in Tasmania, the Blotched blue tongue, and they are also found in NSW, SA and VIC. They are also known as the Southern blue tongue.

It is also the largest lizard in Tasmania.

These reptiles eat snails, slugs, caterpillars and beetles, plant matter, and apparently have a particular liking for strawberries! (Sorry mate, I’m not growing them this year!)

Why are they called a blue tongue? Well this guy was kind enough to show us why!

This little guy was probably checking me out and warning me to keep away, which I did. Although they aren’t venomous, they can bite and it’s quite painful.

I checked back later but he had moved on. But he is welcome back anytime to keep my garden free of pesky snails! πŸ™‚

Walk To The Top Of Mount William And Bonus Wildlife Sightings

Mount William is in the Mount William National Park and rises 216 metres above sea level. There are 2 walking routes to the summit, a 5 hour return walk and a 1.5 hour walk. We chose the shorter route as we were pressed for time but we still wanted to do the climb while we were in the area.

The track at the beginning felt quite eerie, maybe because the sun was getting lower in the sky as it was a cold winter’s afternoon.

Along the way we saw evidence of wombats but unfortunately didn’t see any, however we did see different types of fungi.

This bright yellow fungus was about an inch big
Although only a tiny few millimetres in size, these bright red fungi were impossible to miss
This almost translucent fungus was about an inch in size

After awhile the path changed and opened up.

The last 30 metres or so of the track became steep and turned into a bit of a rock scramble to get to the summit, but the effort was definitely worth it for the panoramic views.

Here are a few still shots of the view.

Views of Cape Barren in the distance on the far left
Views of Bass Strait

My favourite view from the top of Mt William

Here is a picture of Mount William as seen from the road as we headed back.

Just when I thought the day couldn’t get any better, we had a few exciting wildlife sightings on the drive back to St Helens where we were staying.

We took a slow drive along a road called Forester Kangaroo Drive, a road through Mount William National Park that has some cleared land either side of the road for the forester kangaroos.

Although it can be a bit hard to tell the difference at times, I don’t think we saw any forester kangaroos, but we did see a lot of Bennett’s wallabies.

We also kept spying wombats busily munching grass in farmland beside the road. One was close to the road so we did a quick stop in the car so I could get a photo.

Those marks you can see on its body is mange, a skin infection caused by burrowing mites. Wombats are more affected by mange than other mammals in Australia. We did see a number of wombats with similar marks, so it appears that unfortunately there is a localised population there suffering from the disease.

The other wildlife encounter we had was when we saw an endangered wedge tailed eagle fly across the road a bit in front of us and into the trees near the road. Since there were no cars on the road, we pulled over to get a good look. Because it was nearly dark, the lighting wasn’t good and I had to use the zoom on my camera, so my photos are too blurry but I managed to get this video.

I realised I was watching an adult wedge tailed eagle with a juvenile (the lighter coloured bird on the right). I have never seen a juvenile one before, and had only ever seen a few wedge tailed eagles in my life. This was definitely one of those wow moments!

Wedge tailed eagles are critically endangered in Tasmania, with reportedly less than 300 breeding pairs, so every time I see one of these magnificent raptors, it is indeed a very special moment to treasure.

Mount William National Park is a great place to visit for nature walks, hiking, and wildlife, especially birds, and there is a great range of walks that would appeal to everyone. Even the drive getting there is serene. Spare a minute to watch my video below showing the drive along a road lined with large tree ferns and tall gum trees. (Change it to full screen for a better viewing experience!)

This was my favourite day while staying in the north east of Tasmania (we had done the Coblers Rocks walk earlier on the day). I hope you enjoyed reading about my adventures as much as I enjoyed them! πŸ˜€

Moon Valley Rim Circuit Walk

The Moon Valley Rim Circuit walk is in the Blue Tier Forest Reserve in north east Tasmania.Β  The discovery of grey gold or tin in the 1870s meant it became a a big mining area and up until 1996 about 11,000 tonnes of tin was mined from the region earnings its nickname the Tin Province.Β  In 1997 about 5,000 hectares was claimed as forest reserve, rich in flora, fauna and mining history. There are several walks in the reserve ranging from short easy walks to long difficult ones, and we chose to do the Moon Valley Rim Circuit, a moderate graded walk.

Driving there from Launceston was a beautiful scenic drive, lots of green hills as far as you can see, and close to the Reserve the gravel road was lined with large tree ferns and tall gum trees.

The Moon Valley Rim Circuit trail is about 3.5km long and it takes around 2 hours. It’s not a defined path and you have to follow the markers.

All along the way we saw masses of interesting white coral lichen carpeting sections of land beside the track.

Every now and then we would spot some cool looking fungi.

Tiny yellow fungi, only a few millimetres in size

This fungus was about an inch in size and is growing among some coral lichen

These were about a centimetre in size

We could hear quite a lot of little birds along the way but they were difficult to spot, but we did come upon this beautiful Bennetts wallaby close to the trail, enjoying some warm afternoon sunshine.

A reasonably gentle incline in the path led us to the summit of Mount Poimena, just over 800 metres above sea level.

Views of Bass Strait

The trail then descended gently back down.

Even though we started the walk around two in the afternoon, and it was a cold winter’s day of 12 degrees celsius, we could see little patches of frost on the path, and this shallow pool of water on the track had frozen over.

We could see water droplets falling from underneath the ice as the sun tried to melt it and we could even hear the ice cracking. Amazing!

Near the end of the circuit we came across some old mining relics.

Close by was a little creek and a lovely patch of mossy green forest before we reached our destination.

The Blue Tier Forest Reserve is a great place for nature and history, and has become one of my favourite destinations in Tasmania.