Friday, July 29, 2016

Winter fungi after the fire

It's amazing how so many fungi have come up, especially those growing on burnt/dead trees. Also dozens of puffballs in the ground everywhere.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

May 2016

 With the amount of rain we've had, the sprouting from the gum trees is continuing, and in some trees there are signs of canopy growth, too.

 The tussock grass is re-sprouting around the edges, making them look like monks' tonsures!

 In the lower areas and gullies, most of the trees are showing signs of sprouting, even if only at their bases.

 Rain on the new gum leaves sits like liquid jewels.

 There is now a lot of bracken making it look green, but underneath the bracken the ground is still bare and/or black. With the continued rain, we're starting to get grass and various green native plants growing (even a native violet or two) but nothing substantial yet. It will take until spring to see what is really going to regrow.

 This is the top end of the property where the fire was clearly fierce (as it usually is at the top of the hill). Some sprouting here but many of the trees are still black and may never come back.

 An example of sprouting from the trunk. This one is quite big and the branches at least a centimetre in diameter. It will be interesting to see how much of this trunk sprouting survives into full branches. Some of it has already fallen off.

 There is a huge amount of lemondra growing, far more than I have ever seen before. This is the first I've seen with flowers starting to show.

There are still some trees with trunk sprouts for the first time, in beautiful colours like this against the black.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

January and February

We had two good lots of heavy rain that stimulated a lot of bracken growth and sprouting from the gum trees (about 60% of them are now showing signs of sprouting to various degrees). We've now had no really good rain for a few weeks, and things are either slowing down a lot or, in some cases, dying off.

 First signs of sprouting mostly on the trunks. This is late December.

Fascinating to see how the bark is forced open and the green springs out.

 In January I found these burnt fern nubs growing in the dry creek bed - the first of this species I've seen. But with no rain, by the end of February they were all dead.

 Towards the end of January the rain we'd had meant a lot more tree growths.

This is early February, in one of the greener spots.

 The wallaby seems to be used to us now and hangs around the house more often!

With the new growth, as well as bracken I'm seeing some of the native vegetation coming back more - lots of rushes, some heath, some bosseia, and very occasionally a bluebell or a vanilla orchid. A fair few grasshoppers and dragonflies. However butterfly numbers are very low. At this time of year there would normally be dozens everywhere I walk, but I'm lucky to see a couple at the moment.

A lot of the ground looks greenish with the bracken, but when I look closer, there is no leaf litter and it's all still bare. With the heavy rain, a lot of the ash has washed down into hollows.

A few of the bigger birds are around, including kookaburras. A few wrens and finches still, and occasionally bigger birds but not many. It may take a while for the insect population to build up to create a food chain again.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Last week of December - more green

 Large skink (around 12-14 cm) basking near the track.

 Cascades of new leaves from a burnt gum tree.

 New bracken is growing the most on south-facing slopes. Here it's creeping towards my favourite rocks.

 But with the bracken regrowth come the birds returning. We now have finches, wrens and wagtails in the thicker bracken, and with the fuzzy new growth at the tops of some trees, we have magpies, cockatoos and kookaburras as well as smaller birds.
This is, I think, a forest kingfisher, and I don't remember ever seeing one here before.

 The new leaves are determined to get out, splitting the burnt bark of the eucalypts.

 I was very happy to see lots of spots where the bosseia is regrowing at the north end. This had become a widespread ground cover with bright, deep yellow flowers in spring. Glad it's making a comeback.

Already with the bracken growing, some of the burnt, fallen and broken trees are being hidden.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Two months on ...

 First signs of life returning.

 Bracken re-emerging quite thickly in some parts (like here) but in other parts it's still bare and black.

 New growth from the trunk of a burned tree - as beautiful as a vanilla lily to me!

 This is the best bit - resprouting at the tops. Nearly all the leaves have died and dropped now, and we have no shade. It was noticeably hotter on Saturday because of this.

Of course some inhabitants just stayed below ground and have now rebuilt their houses and are open for dining!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

After the bushfires - 14 November

 Looking across to the hills from near Lancefield - it's easy to see where the fires were now as the tree canopy dies and drops leaves.

 Most trees have now lost more than half of their leaves, but there is a fuzz of new bracken in patches here and there.

 This area probably has the most bracken right now.

 In other places it's just a few plants. In most areas it's still bare. The north side of the property is the only place where grass is growing well, and at the bottom of a couple of gullies. More rain would be good.

Very happy to see several of these on the south side - vanilla lilies!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

7 November

It doesn't matter how optimistic I try to be, when I go for a walk and all I see is this, it's hard.

 With no undergrowth, I've been finding small rubbish dumps from previous owners. Some relics go back more than 50 years.

 Yes, the bracken is fighting back.

 Heavy rain over the past week has washed a lot of ash and leaves into great heaps and lumps everywhere. I'm not sure if this is good or bad. We'll see.

 Today I saw a lot of this in different places. I think it's a form of fungus. The orange stuff is spongy and fungus-like.
Not sure if this is normal after a bush fire?

A large tree that has fallen in the past couple of weeks, burned out inside.

This is lovely to see - one of the microclimates of spongy grass and mossy underneath. It's at the base of a gully that funnels a lot of rain through, and when it's really wet, you can see the water running. This is the only area that survived the fire, and is now the first to come back and look really green. Most of the other gullies are also showing signs of green along their bottom areas.
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