A Visit to Monarto Zoo
We had my wife’s ten year old niece staying with us over the weekend. On the holiday Monday we decided to take her to the local open range zoo at Monarto. This zoo is about a ten minute drive from our home in Murray Bridge, South Australia.
Near the entrance gates I saw two Peaceful Doves sitting on a fence. Two Common Bronzewing Pigeons flew over the road a little further on. As we waited in line to pay at the gate I observed a Red Wattlebird and several Australian Magpies. Thoughout our visit I saw many more magpies. In the car park I saw two Grey Currawongs and Mallee Ringneck Parrot near the Meerkat enclosure.
We only had a ten minute wait before our tour bus left. Unlike some open range zoos where you drive yourself, this zoo has a regular guided bus tour through the park. On busy days like Monday the buses often leave every ten or fifteen minutes. The tour takes about 80 minutes and covers a large part of the zoo property.
During the tour I saw Galahs, Magpie Larks, Masked Lapwings, Willie Wagtails and Little Ravens. Several times we saw flocks of White Winged Choughs. Rocky Gully Creek flows through the middle of the park. For most of the year this is a dry creek bed but seeing we have had some rain recently sections of it have some pools at present. In the largest pool I saw Pacific Black Ducks, Wood Ducks and several Black Fronted Dotterels. Welcome Swallows swoooped low over the water.
After our bus tour we went for a walk along the self-guided walking trail called the Emu Trail. We saw no emus, but had good views of Yellow Rumped Thornbills and a Grey Fantail. Two Adelaide Rosellas flew quickly past and we had fleeting glimpses of a Singing Honeyeater.
There were three highlights of the visit as far as I was concerned. I saw a female Red Capped Robin, a species I hadn’t recorded before in the park. The second was seeing the 30+ playful Painted African Dogs cavorting happily all around the bus. The third highlight was the two new “baby” giraffes, one born two days ago and the other three days ago. At over two metres high at birth “baby” seems almost inappropriate.