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A walk on the wild side (14 November 2011)

contributed by iandsmith
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Narawntapu National Park This is the view from Archer's Knob looking over Springlawn which is where the office of the National Parks is located.

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.

Narawntapu National Park View across the swamp

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.

Narawntapu National Park The good feeling that you get at Archers Lookout

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.

Narawntapu National Park Wombats are common in the park and can be seen in the daytime.

Still, in one day’s walk I had seen more wombats and pademelons than I’d seen in my entire life.

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