Cromer Conservation Park
Last Saturday my wife attended a workshop at Mt Pleasant in the Adelaide Hills. The workshop was to help her to identify some of our native grasses, a particularly challenging task. To read about what she learned click here.
While she was at the workshop I drove a few kilometres up the road to Cromer Conservation Park. I’d never been there before so I was keen to explore this small park. It is only about 50 hectares in area but it certainly packs a great deal into its pocket size. As soon as I left the car at the start of the walking trail my attention was drawn to the numerous flowers everywhere. In fact, I was so distracted taking flower photos that I temporarily forgot about the birds.
Eventually my attention drifted back to the birds and to the walking track through the park. This was formerly a two wheel track but over the years it has grown over with plants, leaving a single walking track for the most part. The area is open eucalypt woodland with a significant understory of ground covers, small to medium bushes. Many were in flower. The park is surrounded on two sides by farming land, while Mt Crawford Forest (Radiata pine) is situated on the the other two sides.
The bird life is varied and interesting, though only having about two hours to observe, my list is far from complete. A Laughing Kookaburra flew across the road as I arrived, along with several Australian Magpies. Adelaide Rosellas flew through the trees landing occasionally but never in a spot allowing a good photo. Striated Pardalotes were present in good numbers, their calls a constant backdrop sound. Tree Martins swooped for insects just above the treetops.
One of the real delightful sightings was of a number of Eastern Spinebills, a species of honeyeater. I tried to get close enough for a photo but they are restless little critters. They also have a great skill in getting a bunch of leaves, a few twigs or and branch between themselves and my lens. Another day, perhaps. I also had good views of several Buff Rumped Thornbills, not a species I have seen very often.
I spent about fifteen minutes waiting for several Superb Blue Wrens to come into good photographic view, including a male in full colour breeding splendour. Eventually he did come into view – sort of. The above photo show him peeping nervously through the leaves of a bush. If you click on the photo you will get a better view of this beautiful creature. Again – someday one will come up in clear view, full sunlight and right in focus.