Tag Archives: bush

…this still early day

Early mornings always call to me…

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The soft light of the morning sun through the branches of an old tree beside the track.

… and this morning was no exception.

Up with the birds, I pottered around the house, checked my emails, found my camera, and waited for the subtle light of dawn to become strong enough to light my way for a morning stroll.  I was eager to be out and about.

It has been hot of late.  I mean hot.  Too hot to do much outside.  We had a week with temperatures soaring over 40 degrees Celsius, with the sun too brilliant in a stark blue sky, and gusty, drying winds.  Every morning we closed up the house, drawing blinds and shutting windows to keep the heat out, and spent our days in quiet reading and long cool drinks.

Saturday saw us loading the water tank onto the back of the Land Rover and checking the pumps as the sky thickened with smoke blowing up from fires down the coast and to the south of us.  Keeping track of updates on the NSW RFS feed, we were very aware of five fires within 20 to 30 kilometres of Seventy Seven Acres.  Will and I were just back from a brief sojourn down at the beach, arriving home to find Matt busily preparing hoses and pumps, not sure, at that stage, how far away the fires were.

Having driven back through the smoke, and seen the way it was blowing inland as we got closer to home, I was pretty sure we were safe, but we were both keen to be certain.  At Matt’s suggestion, I turned the car around and did a bit of a trek down the Valley to check for any as yet unreported columns of smoke closer to home.  Matt was wondering whether there might be something in the forest reserve on our southern boundary which could have explained why the smoke was so heavy out our way.  All, however, was apparently clear  –  but the smoke was still getting thicker, and the wind was picking up.

I hadn’t unpacked the car from our overnighter at the beach, and decided that it could wait.  Just in case.

Then came the rain.

Not much, or for long, but enough to clear the air and damp down the parched grass.  It rode in on a southerly change which brought cooler air.  We all breathed again, and stood around in the rain, glad of the respite from the heat (and smoke).

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Trees reflecting in the still water of the bottom dam…

So, this morning I was determined to get out for a walk and take advantage of the milder weather.

I enjoyed my ramble around the bush, heading up the track and across to the top of the block before taking a diagonal path down towards the second creek and back to the rough track past the bottom dam and on below the house.  I then took a brief detour down the towards the road, then back up beyond the main dam, before cutting back to the house, taking some quick photos on the way.  Both dams are looking low after the hot, dry spell, but nothing to panic about, yet.

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You can see how the main dam is sitting a good 30cm lower than capacity.

All the tanks are close to full, and we have a bit more rain forecast for the coming week.  The sky is heavy with cloud at the moment, and I’m watching it carefully, but I don’t think it will rain before tonight.

I’m hoping that we’ll get enough rain to top up the dams and maybe green the place up a bit more, but even a small amount will be welcome…

… and if I’m lucky, I might even get to go for a walk in the rain tomorrow morning.

King of the Bush is He…

A pair of kookaburras has recently taken to visiting our garden and the immediate surrounds.  While they are certainly not the only ones around – there are several ‘tribes’ that we hear calling regularly, from different parts of the property – this particular pair are definitely feeling quite at home in our presence.  The one in the photo is watching while Matt is clearing the slope down to the lower dam  (getting rid of the long poa grass and spiky acacia bushes) in preparation for summer, and is not at all worried by the noise of the brush-cutter or the mulcher.Image

Kookaburras are a kind of kingfisher and are quite large in size, up to about 40cms in length.  They are carnivorous birds, mostly living on insects, worms and small crustaceans.  They certainly like the yabbies in our dams.  We often find their leftovers – a bit of claw – here and there around the place. 

I’m told that kookaburras are also partial to frogs, small mammals and birds, and young snakes.  I found a small – somewhat dead –  brown snake, minus its head, outside our bedroom window one day last year, and can only surmise that one of the kookaburras dropped it while flying over!

I’m wondering if this one is on the lookout for a something to eat – he (or she – I’m not sure how to tell) may well be hoping to score a quick treat running (or slithering) away as Matt works his way down towards the water.  Or perhaps he is just curious.  Some of the things we people get up to must be quite incomprehensible to the wildlife we share our home with.

I’m guessing this must be a young pair, just setting up home.  They seem to be on their own, anyway, and not part of one of the other tribes. Apparently, kookaburras mate for life, and the young from previous years’ matings help with parenting duties until they make their own way out into the world, so perhaps these two are enjoying their first season together and will be building up a family over the next few years.

I’ll certainly be keeping an eye out for them.

They are a beautiful (and cheerful) addition to the list of visitors whose company we enjoy.