Plovers, Ducklings and Platypi!

“Platypi” is the plural of platypus isn’t it – it sounds right? I posted a blog a few weeks ago called “Louisa’s Nature WalK” well, Louisa’s Walk has become even more bound up with natural things of late. At this time of year, when Spring has well and truly sprung, we always expect to see ducklings along the Hobart Rivulet, beside which a great deal of Louisa’s Walk takes place. Sadly, these fluffy little black and yellow balls don’t generally survive in any great number, falling prey to the forest ravens, cats and raptors that also inhabit the area.

The weather has been very challenging this week but we have managed to take out a few groups between the heavier days of rain. One such group was last Wednesday when General Practice Training Tasmania brought a group of 11 on Louisa’s Walk as a social outing for their team. They were a great bunch and we cracked some good jokes in the Crime Yard when Louisa asked their advice about whom she should tell about the abuse; “Don’t tell the doctor, doctors are terrible people” they quipped!

For the past ten days or so, we have had to compete with a pair of spur – wing plovers who have laid three eggs right in the centre of the Crime Yard upon a patch of grass (they did this a few years ago too with little success). As soon as we enter Yard One with our audience, they start up their warning cries and wheel and swoop on poor Louisa when she separates from the main group. I was wondering if they might think that I am a plover as I am dressed in black, grey and white but Chris thinks not! I have circled their nest with large stones so they don’t get trampled on and also notified the Ranger from Parks and Wildlife. These birds are a protected species here and it would be wonderful to see little chicks hatch but, in such a public place, I do wonder if they can possibly survive?

On our return journey, last Wednesday we hoped to see the platypus in the pool at the bottom of the rivulet (or to use its correct term “the flood mitigation device”). Chris and I have named him “Monty the Monotreme” and we have been privileged to see him several times in the past few weeks but, no luck on this particular day. However, no Monty but, a little further upstream, a gaggle of newly hatched ducklings with their Mum sheltering under the emerging leaves of a rhus plant. We completely lost our audience at this point. What is it they say about never performing with children or animals?

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