Kangaroos and exotic birds: Desert Park, Alice Springs

Desert Park

Young red kangaroo resting in shade at Desert Park

Five kilometers outside of Alice Springs is the remarkable Desert Park wildlife center.  The center is well designed with numerous aviaries, shaded walks, and interpretive displays presenting animal and bird life in the Outback.  The park had been recommended by several people we met in Alice Springs including our Emu guides.

Our last afternoon in Alice, we rented a car to visit several outside of town.  Like summer days in Alice, it was a hot with the sun blazing from 9 AM until an hour before sundown.  The temperature was 38 C, but we were getting used to the heat and bone dry air. It was January and we were reading about low temperatures, snow, and blizzards in the midwest and east coast.  Given a choice, we’d chosen summer weather Down Under this winter, even if it was much hotter than we’re used to in California.

Terrain in Desert Park

The Desert Park is located on about 120 acres in the red desert with the background of the Macdonnell Range.  Quite stunning, in fact.  We started out about noon, walking through a partially shaded trail where there were several aviaries with interpretive displays about the exotic birds of the Outback.

Dried pond bend inside Desert Park


We recognized some of the birds in the aviary from travels, the species at Pathdorf, and visits to Uluru, Kata Tjuta, and Kings Canyon.  One aviary had a laughing kookaburra.  A few days later in Cairns we saw and heard many of them, laughing like hyenas, sounding like monkeys in the jungle. (More to follow on kookaburra in later posting from Queensland)


Desert flicker

Pair of desert flickers

Stabbing for morsel of food

Sorry if we didn’t get the names of some of these birds, but they were all pretty and chatty.

This little fellow had a brilliant red cap

Pair of Grey lorikeets

This little fellow had an amazing range of interesting sounds, chirps, bells and whistles

Parrots, lorikeets, and cockatoos

The heat was so intense we took a break and returned to the center for a light lunch and cold drink.  After a half hour, we ventured out in the heat to see more birds and kangaroos in a remote compound.

Red-tailed black cockatoo

Red-tailed black cockatoo playing shy


Red Kangaroos

Young male red kangaroo

At a remote, caged compound, a dozen or so red kangaroos were lounging in the shade of acacia trees.  Several were licking their front legs muddy from digging in the soil for water. Kangaroos rest in shade during the day, coming out in early evening to feed on grass and shrubs.

Young male kangaroo warily watching us approach

We walked slowly through the compound and sat on a bench where we could see three groups nearby.  One young male kangaroo hopped close and came into the shaded area where we sat.  He studied us, came closer, and sat down, as curious about us as we were about him.  He inched closer and sniffed the air.  When he was about two feet from me, I took photos, surprised that he was allowing us to be so close to him.

Young male so close we could reach out and touch him. But we didn’t.

Young red kangaroo with muddy front legs from digging for water

We walked around the compound where groups of kangaroos were resting in shade.  They watched us warily; one or two would rise and hop away to another tree, looking back to keep an eye on us.

Watching us . . .

After an hour of walking among the kangaroos, we were excited by our day at Desert Park.  We had one more event planned for our last night in Alice; a visit to the Telegraph Station where we’d heard wild kangaroos came out to feed every evening.

We weren’t disappointed.

Making friends

* * * * *

Next:  Wild kangaroos at Alice Springs Telegraph Station

As many of you know, I also write mysteries and romantic suspense novels.

I recently published my first international thriller, Thirteen Days in Milan, which is available on Kindle as well as other ereaders, tablets, and smartphones.

I’m back in Europe for the summer to hire a translator and to research my next book which will also be a thriller based in Milan.  I’ll be posting along the way from Milan, Stresa, Zurich and other locations.

I have a few posts on another blog,  Anatomy of a Thriller, where I write about the process of researching and writing an international thriller.  I’ll add more posts there as well.

Please share these links with writers or readers who might be interested.

Find my books in Apple’s iBookstore
At Amazon including # 1 Kindle best seller “Perfect Crime” 

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