Friday, August 26, 2016

Cleland Wildlife Park

A highlight of the trip!  We don't often visit zoos, but we had heard good things about Cleland, and we weren't sure how many different Australian creatures we would get to see in the wild.  So we drove up the hill from Adelaide and spent a wonderful few hours checking out the menagerie.

Selfie with a koala (an unusual one in that it stays awake to greet people, also not nearly as fuzzy):

Starting off with some birds we had not seen before - these are Bush Stone-Curlews:

This bird looks a bit pissed, maybe because it received the name Tawny Frogmouth:

Wombats!  They really are a "thing," and quite a solid thing at that.  We watched them inside their burrow, behind what I think is one-way glass:

Hello Wombat!  They are the size of small pigs and are apparently super-solid, perhaps one of the densest animals.  Like an oblong rock with fur and a face.

We were excited to get to see them:

A sign describing an echidna, although there was no sign of an actual echidna in the enclosure.  Echidnas are monotremes, egg-laying mammals, not something you run into every day.  In his book "In a Sunburned Country" Bill Bryson talks about one crossing his path in a park in Western Australia.  To be so lucky!  As an aside, we were re-listening to that book as we drove around the country, an on-point and humorous addition to our experience.

A mob of wallabies.  I just learned that a group of them is called a mob, so between that and writing a blog post about this collection of delightful creatures at Cleland, my morning is starting off quite well.

Wallabies up close - fascinating little animals, not quite kangaroos, they seem more curious about us and the world around them:

Kangaroos grazing, as they tend to be whenever we see them:

Taking a break from eating, must be tiring leaning over all the time:

Back inside for our own break and rewarming.  This was the coldest day of our whole trip, happily there was a fireplace and cafe to visit in between loops around the park.  Also - that's what a "flat white" coffee looks like:

Wombat attack!

Back outside, we found this strange fellow doing laps, and even though I knew exactly when and where he would be each time around, he was moving fast enough that I didn't get a clear photo.  Turns out it's a Tasmanian Devil, and yes, moving in purposeful circles is what they do.  Not quite the same as on Bugs Bunny but I see something of a resemblance.

Oh hey, I took a video, excellent.  I would be hard-pressed to beat one of these in a 24-hour timed race:

Aww, koalas!  So sweet and adorable.  And stationary:

Time to feed the koalas!  They bring one out for petting, and it turns out that food (lots and lots of leaves) is a strong koala motivator to stay awake.  They sit and eat and eat and don't mind someone stroking their fur.  So furry and soft, and with such an adorable face.  Thank you sweetheart!

The dingo den, with a sleeping pair:

I caught these two watching us from a distance.  Apparently dingoes aren't directly related to wolves, but they share some characteristics and their howling sounds similar.

I forgot the name of this rodent, turns out it's not a rodent but a marsupial called a potoroo.  Very cool that we got to see them.  They are sometimes called a rat kangaroo, which totally makes sense (except the part where they are actually related to kangaroos!)

Time for more birds!  I'm glad I took pictures of the signs so I can hopefully ID most of them.  Starting with Regent Parrots (I expect they were loud, based on my memories of all colorful birds in Australia):

A masked lapwing, very pretty:

Royal Spoonbills which were using their bills to scoop things from the bottom of the pond:

Evolution sure is a curious thing sometimes.

I think this is an Australian Pelican, although feel free to correct me on that:

Feeding time at the bird pond.  Ducks, a pretty Black Swan, and an Australian White Ibis (the one standing on the food bin like it owns it), now that's an interesting-looking bird:

Possibly coots on the left in the back, along with several large black/white birds with the fun name of Magpie Goose:

A cloudy (and windy/cold - trust me) view down to Adelaide:

One of my favorite Australian animals, the yellow-footed (and ring tailed) rock wallaby - jumping around on talus slopes, what?  How cool are these guys?

I would have loved to get a video of them gliding over the rocks, but they would sit and stare for a few minutes and then QUICKLY fly over to another perch and sit for a while again.  Photogenic but hard to video.  And very fast.

Mom with a joey!  I could watch these guys all day.  Especially on a warmer day.

Budgees, I believe (the bright bird whose name I never remember):

A few indoor animals to close out the morning.  Including bilbies!  We had never heard of them until they were mentioned at Haigh's Chocolates of all places.  Haigh's is working to keep them from becoming extinct (you can buy a chocolate version of one):

And here they are (the non-chocolate version), that's pretty cool:

Australia has a few types of snakes, many of them venomous, so that's good to know (but not think about too much):

I wonder if the snakes know that there are mice nearby?  Hard to see, but these are called Spinifex Hopping Mice.  Love the name, especially with all our preparation for spinifex (spiny plants) for the upcoming rogaine.  I wondered whether we might see some of these mice in the Outback, but we didn't.  At least we got to see them here:

That was a super fun!  Both the time we spent there and this morning going through the photos again.  We learned a lot about the animals that we would refer to in the upcoming weeks, and we saw some we didn't get to see anywhere else.  Cleland - and Adelaide - were totally worth the visit.

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