Our home borders onto natural "Mallee Box' (Gum Tree) bush. The trees hug the side of a gully which directs rainfall run-off from the hill tops into Cobbler Creek just a short distance away. Cobbler Creek is lined with century old blue and red gums. Bordering the bush is 'improved' grazing land which almost totally encroaches into the treed areas. I will endeavour to bring back some of the Mallee Box understory in coming years in those areas bordering my home. I have already planted some native but not indigenous trees and shrubs in the landfill site bordering the council park. I have also planted some indigenous trees and shrubs near the remnant eucalyptus porosa bordering my fence. These old remnant trees are struggling to survive, having been burned at some stage as well as being constantly attacked by lerp, borers and dry rot. Large trunks and branches come crashing down on a regular basis and seemingly healthy branches thick with green leaves suddenly die off. On some periods of the day and at various seasons the bush is very quiet but more often it is filled with the sounds of many birds and at times, insects.
Occasionally the creatures from the bush come to the garden for a reconnoitre. The conditions here are easier for the wildlife and it must seem an oasis, especially in our relentlessly parched summers. Water, shade, rocks, greenery. This page is to record some of our encounters; our 'visitors'.
Also recorded here are some of our visits into the bush with articles on our botanical discoveries.
Recently I took a walk further into the old Eucalyptus porosa scrub. I wanted to find and identify new species. I suspected that there was very little understory left, only dominant trees and introduced pasture grasses and this was largely the case. However I came across an area where dozens of Native Apricot seedlings had begun a colony amongst the E. porosa. Quite a tall elderly specimen had grown up under the branches of a Mallee Box and spread its seeds for many metres around. There were a few saplings of all ages and many young seedlings. A surprise discovery on an exposed grassy hilltop was a colony of Callostema purpureum, which delighted me because I knew of this species of lily but had only ever seen them in books. Small Cassia bushes were another surprise. I found some young Eucalyptus leucoxylon saplings, Lomandra grasses, Themeda triandra (Kangaroo grass), Wallaby grass, Acacia pycnantha, Sheoaks, Bursaria spinosa, sphagnum moss on the southern side of a steep hill, Kangaroo Apple and of course many introduced or weed species including African Box-thorn.
Galah's at the birdbaths.
Tawny Frogmouth makes an appearance.
White-cheeked Rosella in the apricot tree.
Magpies feeding young.
Southern Cypress Pine.
11 Suphur-crested Cockatoo's.
Activity at the Birdbath.
Australian native apricot trees.
The Sleepy Lizard.
The Blue-tongue Lizard.
The White-faced Heron.
The Galah Nursery.
We retire for the night to a chorus of Bibron's Toadlets (Pseudophryne bibroni) in the garden pond outside our window. This winter we have spotted for the first time, Eastern Spinebills gleaning nectar from the Grevillea's in our garden. Previously we have identified Jacky Winters, White-cheeked Rosella's, Striated and also Spotted Pardalotes and the odd group of Rainbow Lorikeets. Regular visitors are: Australian Magpies, Noisy Miners, Crested Pigeons, Red-rumped parrots, Musk Lorikeets, Adelaide Rosella's, New Holland Honeyeaters, Willy-wagtails, Pee-wee's, Galahs, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo's. On the suburban side of our house we find Blackbirds, Sparrows, Starlings and Indian Turtle-doves, along with the native New Holland Honeyeaters, Pee-wee's and Willy-wagtails. We hear Kookaburra's in the distance and in the summer sometimes see a group of Australian Pelicans circling over the suburb. A pair of native ducks has made an appearance two years in succession amongst the autumn grass. The White-faced Heron does the rounds a few times a year. We see many Wanderer butterflies, Granny Moths, Wooly Bear caterpillars and the occasional colony of Spitfires. There are quite a few lizards in the garden. The most numerous are the Lerista bougainvilli; small, long, shiny chocolate coloured skinks with black side stripes. The most prominent skinks are the very large Tiliqua skinkoides or Blue-tongue lizards, one of whom has been resident here for at least 4 years. An equally large lizard, Trachydosaurus rugosus or Sleepy Lizard, Stumpytail or Shingleback has made a visit and I have also spotted one in adjacent bush.