Saturday, March 29, 2008


Lately, I've been using my binoculars more and checking out the bird life. On the weekend, I saw three king parrots, but other birds were harder to identify. I need to take my bird book with me and do it on the spot!

In the past four weeks, I've seen the echidna again, but also we finally spotted the wombat at dusk. He was a fair way off, heading up the hill, so no photos as he had disappeared by the time we got up there (he was probably wondering who the mad people were thrashing through the bracken behind him!). Consequently, I'm posting a photo instead of one of his many holes.

The other sighting was of a koala. This is only the second time we've seen one on our property, so it was pretty exciting (well, it was for my husband, as when I went up past the rocks, I couldn't find it). There is plenty of evidence though - gum trees with lots of scratches and shredded trunks. I have borrowed a copy of "Tracks, Scats and Other Traces" by Barbara Triggs from the library so that will come in handy.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

More Trees

It doesn't seem to take much for a tree, especially a gum tree, to start up again. Maybe that's because of bush fires, because you will often see a burnt out area with blackened gums where the trunks are literally blooming with new growth. This tree has been down for nearly a year, but with a couple of decent rainfalls recently, we're seeing quite a bit of this new growth from broken trunks here and there.
We talked to a local man recently who told us that our property (and adjacent forest) was totally burned out in 1951. This explains why a lot of our trees are not very big and old, of a similar height and girth, and all look like they sprinted upwards at once to grab the light.
This means that we don't have many old trees with holes which is, of course, where wildlife such as owls and possums live. However, I spotted these down the southern end, and have since found more to the west.
I'm also finding a lot of things on the ground that someone once told me was 'owl vomit' - in other words, what the owl spits out after eating small animals. However, what I'm finding are things that are full of insect casings. They don't look like scats. Any clues, anyone?
My guess is that this is one of the original old trees from 1951. Its insides are mostly burned, and the rest of the tree is dead, but it's still standing, as are several others nearby. They are all large trees, which makes me wonder what kind of forest was there before the 51 fire. Very sad if it was largely trees this size, but it's also possible that it was only the biggest ones that stayed standing and the small ones that went.

Friday, March 7, 2008

By Gum!

The gum trees (eucalypts) on our property are many! And often hard to identify as my only book that covers trees has no photos and some minimal descriptions of leaves. This is, I believe, a ghost gum. Its white trunk and branches are so vivid against the rest of the green and brown that it is outstanding to see. This one was highlighted by sunshine, but at night in the moonlight I can see why this is their common name.
I think this is a candlebark gum. I've read that these were given their name by early settlers because in bushfires the curled bark (that hangs down in long strips) looks like candles when it burns.
Stringybark - again named for how it looks, I would say. The younger stringybarks are not as rough but this one is older and wiser.
We also have peppermint gums and ironbarks, plus a few other varieties that I can't yet identify. One day I'll find a decent book!
Nature Blog Network