Rainforest for Rehab

29 12 2008

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It’s no secret the Adelaide Botanic Gardens were founded on land adjacent to the Royal Adelaide Hospital, at the eastern end of North Terrace, as a therapeutic resource for patient convalescence, but it’s probably far less-known that Flinders Medical Centre, Adelaide second largest hospital, has something similar, if on a smaller scale.

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The hospital, a teaching institution complimenting Flinders University, which crowns the hill at Bedford Park, was opened in 1976. The core buildings’ square planform (conceptually the same layout as the university’s main buildings) have open courtyard areas at their hearts. Thirty-three years on, one of these contains a fully-grown and developed artificial rainforest.

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Bricked walkways and picnic areas circle an artificial hill, from which waterfalls flow between towering trees, broadleaf plants and palm fronds, a haven for ducks and other birds which on any day entertain patients, staff and visitors with their antics. Often the only sound from the outside world will be the infrequent beat of the air ambulance approaching the landing pad.

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The garden is easily accessed from the main entrance and all visitors are welcome. Walk in from the bus exchange, go up the broad stairs to Level 2, pick up a snack at the coffee shop, and you’ll find the door to the garden just beyond the elevator shafts.

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It’s a pleasant place to kill an hour waiting for that connection, to read a magazine or have a coffee, and it’s a marvelous reminder that even large-scale urban development does not necessarily have to shut out the natural world.

Mike

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Birds Way Down Under

4 12 2008

Greetings all! Dave here. I just thought I’d tell you I’m NOT Jade. She is a professional writer and all the posts up till now have been from her. I’ve been told that I need to do a post, and take my turn at keeping this blog up do date, so…

I thought I’d show you pictures of some common and not-so-common birds that you will see when you visit South Aus. Now, some of these may seem fairly exotic to you, but also remember, some of these flyin’ buggas are regarded as pests in rural areas.

Personally, I think they are very pretty. And, after all, they were here first!

Many of the pics were taken in the backyard, or in a nearby national park; you don’t have to go far to see the birdses.

Let’s start with the standard galah. A galah is a type of Australian cockatoo and in the US I believe it’s called a “Rose-Breasted Cockatoo”. These blokes like to “play silly buggers” and clown around. In fact they are sometimes called “The Clown Parrot” down here. Calling someone a “silly galah” is a way of telling them they’ve done something stupid or ridiculous!

You’ll see galahs all over Australia, not just down here in South Aus. Here’s a few shots:

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Now we come to the Sulfur Crested Cockatoos. These are BIG boys! Weighing over a kilo, wingspan of 3 feet. Big beaks, big claws, and a flock of them will shred an almond tree as you watch. And they are very intelligent and very friendly.

You will see these blokes everywhere.

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Another South Aus parrot you’ll see everywhere is a Rainbow Lorikeet. Fast and colourful — you’ll have fun trying to photograph these little, bright missiles:

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If you get out bushwalking, you’ll see many parrots that you won’t see in the suburbs. Black Cockatoos, Eastern Rosellas, Long-Billed Corellas, and Little Corellas just to name a few.

Here’s a couple of shots of some Eastern Rosellas that you could see in the woodlands around Adelaide:

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There are hundreds of new birds down here for you to see. So grab an Aussie bird book, some binoculars, a good camera, and come on down and enjoy the colourful display of local birds.