Posts Tagged ‘St Peters


Turtles Plus

‘Twas a public holiday on Monday and I hightailed it to Sydney Park. I haven’t been there much lately and I wanted to see how things were going, there. It was the middle of the day, so not the best light for photography, but anyhow I took my camera. And I’m glad that I did.

I hadn’t been down the little gully for some time, either; and because I’ve had wonderful bird and reptile experiences there in the past, I hoped to again. But any noticeable animal life seemed absent.

There was, however, a plant with enormous leaves which had grown very large in the time I’d not visited. It looked like some alien spawn amidst the conifers.

Big Leaves 1

Big Leaves 2

That is my hand there for comparison.

After walking around the plant for a while, I headed down to the wetlands.

Which weren’t looking all that wet, actually. It hasn’t rained much for a while and the catchments above the two ponds are being upgraded, so they are empty. The ponds have much less water than they’ve had for a while.

This has attracted unusual visitors, though. For one, a Black-winged Stilt which loves to poke around in sand and mud to look for food.

Black Winged Stilt

A Black-fronted Dotterel which feeds similarly. I have seen these before when the water was low; they are such timid creatures I could never get close enough to photograph them. Even this one was a mere dot, really, but my current camera has a longer zoom. In fact, all these birds would’ve escaped my camera without it.

Black-fronted Dotterall

And these two, which I believe to be Latham’s Snipes. It took a little bit of searching on Google images to find these. It was also hard to make them out as they blended in so well with their background.

Latham's Snipes 1

Latham's Snipes 2

But by far the best thing was the discovery that Eastern Long-necked Turtles lived in these ponds. They feed off of the small fish that also live there. I had never seen them before, but with the drop in water levels they were more exposed.

Eastern Long-necked Turtles

Eastern Long-necked Turtle 2

Eastern Long-necked Turtle 1

Two of them wanted to cross the small hill between the ponds to better water.

Eastern Long-necked Turtle 4

The first one I just guarded from dogs as it went its way. The second one (above) was more timid and I carried it across before letting it go. They headed for the viewing platform, particularly to the delight of a small girl and her baby brother.

Something of this may be seen on a video that I put together of the day.

I knew that the ponds would be drier than they have been, and I expected to see little of anything. So the day turned out rather well for me. The turtles especially were a joy, though after carrying one across…you know they’re rather smelly.


A little cheek

I was down at Sydney Park last Sunday. I had my camera with me but wasn’t expecting to actually take any photos.

Nonetheless, a young White-Faced Heron was on the scene, so the camera came out.

Heron 1

It was fishing along the margins of one of the ponds, there.

Heron 2

The plastic fencing in the background was put up to keep dogs out of the ponds, because there has been the occasional killing of bird-life there.

Heron 3

The little fellow was finding lots of little meals in the form of small fish. We must have had more rain than I realised because the water was quite a bit higher than I expected.

Heron 4

See it in action. It’s a quick little hunter – the fish didn’t stand a chance.


The big hill

The big hill, originally uploaded by smallfox2.

Sydney Park, St Peters. This hill is good for deep breathing as you climb. Over the other side, I would later this day tear a hamstring as I chased someone’s runaway kite down a grassy slope and slip.



Contented, originally uploaded by smallfox2.

This is, I believe, an introduced species, a Teal, maybe. It seems quite happy floating on the waters here at Sydney Park.



Currawongs are a member of the crow family native to Eastern Australia. They are intelligent birds, and I even think they have a sense of humour. (I’ve watched them stir up Magpies and then leave them to argue amongst themselves while they watched.)


The Beak



The first photo is in Sydney Park, St Peters, where there were a number of the birds calling out, carrying on and generally, I guess, having a good time.

The second photo is on the wall outside our old place, looking at me through the sliding door. I would occasionally feed it.

The one below is of a nest that used to be outside my workplace. They were hard to photograph because they were quite distant and the tree was moving around a lot in the wind.


Feeding Time

There was a documentary on many years ago called Wolves of the Sky, which is how they described them since they hunt together and show high intelligence. Of course, like all hunters, they will scavenge and accept food from people, if it’s available.

Put down the camera and nobody gets hurt


Their direct gaze from their black faces with golden eyes is quite powerful. There is no doubt that it is you that they are looking at and they can be quite communicative, especially when they want your food. Or perhaps they are just wondering why I am looking at them. And then on one occasion, I was walking through the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney when one flew in from behind me and flicked me with its wing tips. I’ve no doubt that it was intentional because there was plenty of room beside and above me – it was just a bit of fun.

Below is a video from Sydney Park on a quite hot day. The Currawongs were calling in the small gully above the wetlands area so I decided to go a check them out. They were quite tolerant of my being there – well, as I’ve said, they are quite intelligent. They know that I am no threat and that they can easily fly out of harms way if I become difficult.

Currawong A4

Above – Bath Time.


Hey Bird

Also an ideal subject in this case for a bit of playing around with on the computer – quite like this effect.


Sydney Park – Wetter than ever

Sydney Park in St Peters, inner-west suburb of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

I live not far from here so it is a very convenient place for me. But I haven’t been there in a while and there has been a lot of rain, and the wildlife is pretty happy with it.

The Spoonbill, below, is an occasional visitor to the area. With the abundance of water comes an abundance of life, very tempting for a hungry bird.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Pied Cormorant here, before. This one was quite happy to let me get pretty close for this photo. Even when people went by on bikes, it didn’t fly away.

The usual Black Cormorant, much more flighty. It seems to have a permanently worried expression to go with this character.

In parts of the wetlands, there is an abundance of weed floating on the surface, and the ducks and moorhens etc. took delight in this, swimming through it, diving beneath it, presumably eating it.

The moorhens are still having babies – they are such prolific breeders!

Moorhen chick 1

Another happy duck, its face covered with green.

Sticky beak

And a Little Grebe nesting on the pond, even at this time of year.

Nesting Grebe

Finally, a short video showing the creek with actual water in it, and the spoonbill has a funny altercation at the end.


Calendars for the new year

Okay, so with the new year knocking on the door, that of course can only mean one thing: CALENDARS!

And with that in mind, here are TWO NEW CALENDARS from myself at Smallfox Photos:

Buildings and Architecture

Buildings and Architecture is a pretty straightforward name. This includes some of my first ever night photography. There is a wide variety of photos here, differing styles taken over the year, reflections in glass photos, stone cathedrals photos, by the river, by the train tracks…

Parks and Beyond

Parks and Beyond. This is another favourite subject of mine – the Natural World. So, birds, reptiles, plants, scenery with and without people. I live in the heart of a large city, where you get your nature wherever you can find it. And one of the things that surprised me when I first moved to Sydney was just how much wildlife there was here!

In fact, I’ve some old photos from around ’92/’93 which show me with possums in the bedsit where I first live in Kings Cross. I must try and find them to show here, they were beautiful animals to have around.

But that’s off the topic – CALENDARS – OUT NOW!

And MERRY CHRISTMAS and Happy New Year everyone!!

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