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A walk on the wild side (14 November 2011)
contributed by iandsmith
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I decided to do the Springlawn Nature Walk and thus tick my 19th box on the excellent “60 Great Short Walks” brochure. It goes to a bird hide deep in a swamp. It says it “meanders through a paper bark swamp forest along a raised boardwalk”. Turns out the total length of the boardwalk is around 50 metres of the 700 and it’s a sandy but firm trail where wildlife abounds, or should I say “bounds”, because Tasmanian pademelons were everywhere. By day’s end I’d lost count but I saw well over 30, some tarrying on the trail until you were only metres away before thumping off through indiscernible tunnels in the underbrush.
But I wanted a picture of a frog because I could hear them and, suddenly, there was one right in front of me, barely moving, legs akimbo. The other end of him was firmly entrenched in the jaws of a copperhead. Actually, it was a toad.
There was a time when I was young when I would have scarpered at a rate I can only reminisce about these days. Knowledge had taught me not to be afraid and I started shooting, remembering a time when I’d come across a large goanna with a baby wallaby in its throat and I’d stuffed those shots up. This time I had equipment and experience on my side. On a couple of occasions I had to prod the snake with my tripod to entice him to move to a better position, a use not mentioned in the tripod manual, and eventually got enough shots to satisfy my wants.
I reached the hide which is so typical of such things. Great hide, no birds. Well, not unless you count half a dozen swans and a lone grebe; so I decided to continue on the Archers Knob Track and, after half an hour, it suddenly ascended. A ten minute hike through low, wind blasted heath takes you to spectacular 360 degree views over Bakers and Badger Beaches, Springlawn and Port Sorrel.
On the return trek I tried to complete the Springlawn Loop Track but it was in vain as large pools of water now lay across the track in several places so I returned from whence I came, taking time to see some ferocious ants killing a dragonfly.
Still, in one day’s walk I had seen more wombats and pademelons than I’d seen in my entire life.
This story was uploaded into the Bonzle Digital Atlas of Australia entry for the Nature Conservation Reserve 'Narawntapu National Park'.
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