Saturday, December 27, 2008

A Gift on Boxing Day

I cannot tell you how many times I have gone out walking at different times of day (often dusk) and after more than six years, never seen a wombat. I've seen plenty of evidence - scratchings, droppings, holes under the fence - but apart from a distant sighting of a wombat scurrying up the side of a hill (and I didn't have my glasses on), it has been a whole lot of nothing.

But yesterday, I went for a walk and decided to head up the other side of the creek. This is a dry creek (has had running water in it once in six years) and I often don't bother to cross it. There is no west boundary fence so who knows where our property ends? However, this day I decided to walk that way for a change, and followed a fairly well-worn path made by animals. As I came down the side of the slope towards the creek, I scared a swamp wallaby down in the reed that took off away from me. I stopped to get some grass seeds out of my sock, and then headed back.

Another thump and scurry - swamp wallaby again? No. I froze and waited. (After a while, you realise that's the only way to see animals - stop and don't move.) And there, about 12 feet away, was a wombat. At two in the afternoon. In broad daylight. It froze too. I took some photos, in case it bolted, but they were mostly of a grey mass in the bracken. I edged around to get a better view, and froze again. There he/she was, facing me, sniffing the air.

Luckily, the breeze was blowing towards me. I edged around a little more and sat. The wombat waited. I waited. I took lots more photos. I wondered if it was a male or female. (How do you tell without tipping them upside down? As if that's going to be possible.) Then a small branch fell from a gum tree behind me and the wombat thundered away, down into its hole. The hole was actually only about a metre from where it was standing, so why it didn't head down there straight away was a mystery. Never mind. My six years of waiting and looking was finally rewarded. I am one very happy wombat watcher!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Spring Flowers December

It's so lovely to walk around at this time of year and see all the wildflowers blooming. Some have already been and gone, but some are just now coming into their best shows. This (above) is new to me. I'm not entirely sure what it is, and it is only blooming in one spot that I've found. My best guess from the book I have is Grass Trigger-plant. Am I right?
These are my favourites - Fringe Lilies. I could have posted three photos but hopefully this is the best!
Along the north side of our property, where the sun gets through more, there are dozens of Blue Pincushions. It's not until you get up close that you can see the pins! I noticed today that there are hundreds of bluebells growing all over the place. I've not seen them in such numbers before. Is this because we've had more winter rain? Will this mean more butterflies this summer? Time will tell.
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