It has been a long dry Summer this year. I notice my last post was dated in October 2015, so I have missed telling you about the end of Spring and the entire Summer season. (Oops – sorry about that.) In Australia, the El Nino weather pattern meant a hot, dry Spring followed by an even drier Summer. The dam is the lowest it has been, there were no ducklings this year, the kangaroos seem to have moved on, and the wild flowers we had were fewer and didn’t last long. Hot October weather killed the Bird Orchid plants, so they didn’t end up flowering at all. This first day of Autumn is also hot and dry, and dry weather is likely to continue for another month or two.
Despite this, there are still interesting things happening – often when I least expect it. This week, for example, we had a kangaroo we recognised return with a strange mob. She was carrying a joey and from the size of her pouch, the joey is probably old enough to be peeking out at the world. Unfortunately, it didn’t peek out when I was watching. The mob only stayed one night and were gone the following day. Hopefully this marks a return of kangaroos on the property.
The low water level in the dam makes it possible to see the Long Necked Turtles swimming around. Sometimes it takes twenty minutes or so before they come to the surface to breathe. This year, I’ve seen a couple sun-baking on the sand. They are so shy, at the first sign of a person they dive back into the water. Photographing them is a little difficult.
Fallen trees and branches have been another feature of Summer. Not knowing a lot about native trees, I am guessing this is because of the drier conditions. Some branches have been quite large, and have fallen over the walking track, so I’m just thankful I wasn’t beneath them at the time. I saw one hit the ground and I heard another, so that felt like a couple of close calls.
The wild cockatoo we call Cheeky still visits us, often with a second bird we’ve dubbed ‘Sonia’ as it makes a noise resembling ‘Yoo Hoo!” while sitting on the back of a chair on the deck and looking in the door. I’m told this was a running gag in an old sit-com “Yoo hoo! It’s only Sonia” but I don’t think I have ever seen that show, so it may not be true. This Summer, Cheeky and Sonia seem to be pushed out by a wild mob of cockatoos and there have been some battles over key positions, water and food.
The water feature we placed in the centre of the new bird-attracting garden is also well-used. Mostly by birds, but also by other wildlife. One morning a small wallaby was taking a long refreshing drink before eating the fresh tips off some of the native plants in the garden. Most of the plants beneath the bracken in the bushland have already been eaten, and it wasn’t causing any damage to small plants in the garden, so we let it go. Thankfully, it didn’t eat much before it hopped away.
Over the last few months I have also been working on a few new projects which I will share with you in later posts. I think 2016 is shaping up to be an interesting year for me, and I hope it is for you as well. Here is a collection of photographs I’ve taken over the last two months to give you a taste of the Summer on Fifteen Acres.