Odd bird portraits

These are odd portraits of birds rather than portraits of odd birds, although the Jacana probably qualifies on both counts. I took them on a ride along the Annandale side of Ross River from Aplin’s Weir to the Palmetum a few days ago.

There are always swallows flitting about the weir, resting on the weir wall between excursions over the water in search of insects. I liked the contrast of the small-fragile-soft, but absolutely nonchalant, bird against the massive-brutal masonry. For the record, it’s a Welcome Swallow, Hirundo neoxena, our only resident swallow species.

Welcome Swallows Hirundo neoxena on Aplins Weir wall
Welcome Swallow, Aplin’s Weir

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Birds along Ross River

The birds along the Ross River bike paths are a constant pleasure. Every time I ride there, there is something worth stopping to watch and (if possible) photograph. Here are three such highlights, all from the short stretch of river between the Nathan St and Bowen Rd bridges and all within the last month.

Pelicans

We often see one or two pelicans along this stretch of the river but larger groups are not so common. This group on the Annandale bank, opposite the end of Water St, had four or five members when I first saw it, late one afternoon, but more came in as I watched. I caught some of them doing weird things with their enormous beaks.

Pelicans on Ross River
Coming in to land

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Black Weir to Ross Dam

My ongoing exploration of the Ross River bikeways has ameliorated the lockdown for me to some extent, and bike shops report booming sales as others enjoy the same outlet.

I completed the Riverway circuit (introduced here) by riding on the Riverside Gardens side of the river from Black Weir to the motorway bridge and returning past the Riverway Arts Centre (closed since the 2019 floods), sports fields and playgrounds. That side was more interesting and enjoyable than the other, which just runs through a narrow strip of parkland between houses and the river like the rest of the Riverside Gardens section.

motorway bridge
The motorway bridge, with the footbridge slung beneath it

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Riding from Bowen Road bridge to Idalia and Oonoonba

Ross River immediately below the Bowen Road bridge
Ross River immediately below the Bowen Road bridge

The Ross River bikeway (introduced here) extends nearly three kilometres downstream from Bowen Road bridge on the Idalia side, past the meatworks chimney and the new Fairfield Waters residential subdivision.

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Ross River bikeways

An Easter break in which everyone is staying in town has reminded me of my intention to write about the bike paths which run along almost the whole length of Ross River. I have often mentioned sections of the network as I visited them so the overview is long overdue. Here goes!

Well-constructed paths follow both sides of the river from the Bowen Road bridge in Rosslea to the new motorway bridge between Riverside Gardens and Condon. The five river crossings – Bowen Rd bridge, Aplin’s Weir, Nathan St bridge, Black Weir and the motorway bridge – automatically create four loops for walkers and riders.

View of Mt Stuart from Sherriff Park
Mount Stuart from Sherriff Park

The city council has named the loops on its excellent downloadable maps:

  • Wetlands circuit, 5.9 km, Aplin’s Weir – Bowen Rd bridge
  • Aplin’s Weir circuit, 5.3 km, Aplin’s Weir – Nathan St bridge
  • Federation circuit, 7.2 km, Nathan St bridge – Black Weir footbridge (Weir State School)
  • Riverway circuit, 3.7 km, Black Weir – Motorway bridge

The path continues from the motorway bridge to Ross Dam, 11 km further upstream, but only on the Condon – Kelso side of the river.

Similarly, paths continue downstream from the Bowen Rd bridge. Continue reading “Ross River bikeways”