Saturday 11 September 2010 – Yerrabi Pond

Banal as it may be, I was relieved that we were able to bring the washing in before we left for our walk on Saturday afternoon. I’ve lost count of the number of wet Fridays we’ve had in a row – yes, yes, of course I’m pleased the drought is over!

I decided on the Yerrabi Pond walk, although it’s a fair drive from here. I’ve hardly spent any time in Gungahlin, and am always interested in seeing what the ACT Planning and Land Authority describes as “water bodies”. The ACTPLA place name search informed me that Yerrabi Pond falls into the categories “reservoir, pondage, artificial lake”. Here’s the Community Walk map:

Map of the Yerrabi Pond walk

Map of the Yerrabi Pond walk

I consulted Google maps before setting out, but managed to get lost as soon as we reached Gungahlin, mixing up Gungahlin and Gundaroo Drives. Fortunately I listened to Dac’s directions rather than following my dyspraxic instincts, or we’d still be driving round over there.

The walk is described as a 3.2 km loop, mainly flat with some moderate gradients. 3.2 km is further than I’ve tried to go before, and Dac was sceptical. Mercifully the gradients were imperceptible, and there were some good places to sit. There was no choice but to keep going till the end, but we had plenty of time.

We parked in the first parking spot above rather than the second, so we started walking before the walk started. The park was thronging, especially the skateboard ramp and the flying fox. Neither of us is keen on the type of commentary we tend to elicit from passing youths, so we gave these areas a wide berth.

Dac mentioned later that he’d been alarmed at the number of little kids hurtling round at random on scooters and tricycles – he thought I’d be knocked over. I must say, I was quite worried too, but we soon got past the crowd.

With my post-Holland dog-consciousness, I was pleased to see many happy dogs being taken on the Yerrabi Pond walk. I decided to take photos of as many as I could, and that meant asking their owners’ permission. People tend to get a bit alarmed if they see you snapping away, and I don’t blame them. Everyone was very happy to comply, and tried to make the dogs pose. You can judge what the dogs thought of this:

Five dogs we saw on our walk

Five dogs we saw on our walk

How do people manage to take wonderful portraits of animals? I suppose it takes time. Having already stopped the dog owners in their tracks, I didn’t feel I could make them stick around till the dogs stopped looking away!

Five more dogs we saw on our walk

Five more dogs we saw on our walk

I learnt of the existence of white German shepherd dogs from the owner of the one on the left. I thought it was a Malamut! The little black dog above is, I think, a French bulldog – one of a pair being walked by their owners. They were too quick for me to ask permission, so this is a stolen shot.

Two more dogs we saw on our walk

Two more dogs we saw on our walk

I’ve left the owners in this one so that I could record:

  • a kind posing attempt, and
  • the little curly-tailed doggo trotting along beside the bicycle.

My daughter-in-law Chloe has a special tune she sings (a couple of bars of Alberti bass) when she sees jaunty little dogs like this, and I’m hearing it now. 🙂

As well as dogs, there were plenty of water birds around, including quite a few cygnets at different stages of development:

Four cygnets and a black swan

Four cygnets and a black swan

The pond was very brown, obviously having been churned up by the recent heavy rain.

Two cygnets and their parents

Two cygnets and their parents

These babies were very small. They kept trying to climb aboard their father’s back, under his tail, and falling off. A coot (not a moorhen – that comes next – but I had to look up the difference again, despite sorting it out in Holland) takes an interest from the background.

Waterbirds we saw on our walk

Waterbirds we saw on our walk

Clockwise from top left: wood duck, moorhen (love those giant feet!), black swan, big cygnet, duck. Other sights we passed:

Public artworks beside Yerrabi Pond

Public artworks beside Yerrabi Pond

I’ve looked everywhere I can think of, but I haven’t found any information about the sails, buoys, and fish floating on the above lawns. 🙂

Terrace houses overlooking Yerrabi Pond

Terror Souses overlooking Yerrabi Pond

These boxlike structures are to go with the ones I photographed in Garran and Narrabundah. There’s a lot of it about.

Two views of a sculpture of two pelicans

Not really pelicans

And here’s another unattributed sculpture. I thought the birds were real until we got close.

It was near the pelicans, just about halfway, that we found a seat on a little peninsula and had a rest. My next rest was at the base of Mirrabei Drive, about 2.5 km along, where I took this panorama of our walk:

Panoramic view of Yerrabi Pond

This is where we walked!

Bigger versions are on Flickr, and the whole collection of photos is up there as well, in my Yerrabi Pond set.

It’s good to see public facilities being enthusiastically used. I enjoyed this walk, and the beautiful day.

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