We are fortunate that the Anacotilla River and gorge still have many old River Redgums (Eucalyptus camaldulensis), Blue Gums (Eucalyptus leucoxylon), Manna Gums – Rough Barked (Eucalyptus viminalis cygnetensis) Drooping Sheoaks (Allocasuarina verticillata) and a variety of smaller trees and bushes, providing ideal habitat conditions for many species of flora and fauna. Our vision is that the existing flora and fauna will thrive even further as we allow restoration and rejuvenation of the environment, through protection of sensitive riparian areas, and by planting a variety of understory species that have been eliminated from the landscape. We enjoy observing and monitoring the increasing numbers and variety of native flora and the subsequent benefit for the local fauna.
Since July 2017 BirdsSA has visited Anacotilla Springs seven times, the most recent in August 2020. A total of 61 species have been identified with an average of 33 species each visit. During the nesting season of 2020, we saw several pairs of birds – Galahs, Adelaide Rosellas, Rainbow Lorikeets, Kookaburras, Magpies and, late in the season, Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoos – looking for, and presumably finding, the perfect nesting spot. A pair of Maned Duck (Australian Wood Duck) often foraged outside our shed window at lunchtime, with our regular visitors the Red Browed Finches and Yellow Rumped Thornbills preferring to entertain us at breakfast.
There are several families of kangaroos (Western Grey, Macropus fuliginosus melanops) living in the reserves we have created within the riparian and gorge areas. Their numbers go up and down with the seasons but overall we are happy with the numbers and that they keep primarily to the un-grazed reserve areas. Luckily numbers are not at unsustainable levels as has happened in other nearby properties, such as around the Wirrina Cove resort where authorised controlled culling has been required.
The all year running Anacotilla River provides habitat for frogs with a number of different frog calls heard over the year. At least two species have been identified – the Common Eastern Froglet (Crinia signifera) the Brown Tree Frog (Litoria ewingii) and Spotted Marsh Frog (Limnodynastes tasmaniensis). We are sure there are more, we just have to record them so they can be identified by Frog ID Project.
On a wet night in April 2020, we saw something small moving very quickly around the floor, near and under the furniture. After some time we worked out that it was a small froglet. We then discovered a larger frog clinging to the glass sliding door and another froglet on the ground nearby. We don’t know what species they were, or what caused this behaviour but it was a very interesting and unexpected encounter.
In May 2020 we had our first sighting of an Echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus) since 2015. It was first sighted waddling up the northern face of the Anacotilla Gorge about 150metres away from our shed. We followed its trail, and found it happily foraging away in a fallen log. Unfortunately, we haven’t seen it since, but are still looking.
There is substantial evidence of small diggings, burrows and trails along the river which the local NRM has suggested could be the native water rat (Rakali, Hydromys chrysogaster). We have yet to see one!
Butterflies and insects are common and we are still learning to identify native species.
Of course our grassy bush land and riparian areas provide the ideal habitat for snakes. The Eastern Brown Snake and the Red-bellied Black Snake call Anacotilla Springs home in the summer months. We found an NRM Snake awareness course very useful to allay our fears and become more aware of what to do and not to do. We know meetings will occur and this is about as close as we like to get! Even with this juvenile brown snake (1cm diameter and 20cm long) recently located by our neighbours while gathering rocks at our place.
Updated 20 June 2021