One of my earliest posts on this site is of the Wedge-tailed Eagles nest on the mountain above (March 5, 2010). After many climbs on the mountain during the past 17 years I have finally found the nest active. The white chick is quite young and will spend many weeks being reared by the parents. A rabbit carcase can be seen in the background.
Sunday, September 2, 2012
Friday, August 3, 2012
Saturday, July 7, 2012
We are experiencing the biggest Spotted Gum flowering since we have lived here. This is a composite image of a tree and flowers. A cacophony of honeyeaters and parrots during the day and screeching fruit bats on the night shift. A few kilometres away a large group of Regent Honeyeaters have arrived for the feast.... one of the most endangered birds in the country.
Saturday, April 7, 2012
After two successive La Nina's and big rains the birds are jubilant! This Banksia is outside the bathroom window and is usually frequented by our resident Spinebill's (see post in April 2010). This is the first time a Black Cockatoo has visited to eat the seeds from the cones. I was able to get a clear head-shot with a telephoto lens from a few feet away without him seeing me.
Monday, March 5, 2012
Sunday, February 19, 2012
Many species of small birds slowly start to leave the gully at this time, at the end of the breeding season. There are a few less than usual at the moment due to the hungry young Goshawks. A pair raised 2 or 3 chicks in the top of a big ironbark and they have been terrorizing the small birds for a few weeks. This one was at rest near the birdbath drooling at the wrens having their daily bath.
Thursday, February 2, 2012
The reptile season continues although rather cool for this time of year. I dug up this Bandy-Bandy when planting a tree, played with him for a while to get him all worked up into this strike pose. I thought Mr Bandy-Bandy was non-venomous but when I checked the book...not so. Why did I not check the book first??
Thursday, October 13, 2011
Friday, July 15, 2011
Friday, June 3, 2011
The big "La Nina" event has finally gone from the country. We missed it at Wallaby Gully, having well below average rainfall since January this year. So, last week when La Nina left we had 130mm in three days which filled the dam for the first time in four years and our creek is still flowing!
Friday, April 29, 2011
Saturday, April 2, 2011
The Acacia Moth caterpillar is eating some of my wattles in the nursery. It's relatively small at about 30mm long and I am willing to sacrifice a wattle or two to watch this very ornate caterpillar grow. This is the rear end of the moth opening his "false eye" after I tickled his bum with a stick!
False eyes mislead predators.
Monday, March 7, 2011
One of our neighbours recently found this Emperor Gum Moth and I have been able to get some good photos even though it was dead.
This is one of the largest moths in Australia with a wingspan up to 150mm. It has a very short life span as an adult and does not feed at all after the caterpillar stage, so I suppose this is an adult that ran out of food!
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Have been trying for years to get a decent photo of a Scarlet Honeyeater. It's only on the very hot days like today (40 celsius) that thirst overcomes fear and they will come close enough for a photo. Look closely and you will see the long, pointy tongue designed for searching for nectar in native flowers. I waited for 2 hours for this shot which was hard to do laid back in my banana lounge drinking cider.
Friday, January 7, 2011
Sex at Wallaby Gully can be fatal. The Brown Antechinus (Marsupial Mouse) are nesting in the studio and madly searching for food. All males die at eleven months after a few frenetic days of mating which can last up to six hours at a time. This weakens their immune system and leads to internal infections. The females are less stressed and can live for another season.
Saturday, January 1, 2011
Friday, September 3, 2010
It's been a long time between babbles.......work gets in the way. Now is the time for ground orchids to rear their heads. This one is called "Brown Beaks" and is one of many orchids that are dormant underground for most of their lives, appearing for a couple of weeks in spring.
Saturday, July 3, 2010
Although one of the most common birds at the gully, the Eastern Rosella is hard to photograph being nervous and flighty. They nest in a vertical tree hollow every year not far from the house.
This is one of the most colourful Australian parrots yet they still seem to blend in with the forest.
Saturday, June 5, 2010
Climbed the mountain behind our property this morning and was fortunate enough to spot this Sooty Owl peeping out of a rock overhang. This is the 106th bird species on our list for Wallaby Gully. This large owl is listed as threatened in NSW. Destruction of habitat is one of the critical concerns particularly hollow bearing trees. The call during the breeding season can be alarming - a high pitched scream like someone being strangled.
Alison Green has had this design in her t-shirt range for a number of years.
Click here and visit her website to view the design in full.
Saturday, May 8, 2010
The Regent Honeyeater is a critically endangered species and has been sighted only twice here in the 15 years we have been at Wallaby Gully. They feed in eucalypt open forest and woodlands in inland Victoria and NSW and their range is still diminishing. In 1997 their global population was estimated at a total of 1500 birds.
Alison Green, a Wallaby Gully artist, has just created this new design to add to her range of hand-printed T-shirts. The image illustrated here appears on the front of the shirt. Visit the Alison Green Designs website to view this and other designs in her range.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Friday, April 16, 2010
Two hundred and sixty million years ago Wallaby Gully was a bit different. The sea was much closer and there were big peat swamps that eventually turned into big coal mines.
This shell is embedded in the cliff face high above the gully. We can't put down a bore for water as it is saltier than sea water.
Saturday, April 3, 2010
A pair of Double-barred Finches. A common bird around the garden most of the year, they are currently eating aphids on a native ground cover. Living in a well vegetated area with lots of birds equals less insect problems. A local landowner about 2 km from here is having big problems with insect attack on new plantings due to little vegetation and a lack of small birds.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
The Teddy Bears are having a picnic in the garden. A native Teddy Bear Bee about to have a snack on a solanum plant. These bees are a little larger than a normal bee and are covered in brown fur. They are solitary and make a small hive just for themselves and raise a couple of young each.
Monday, March 15, 2010
Friday, March 5, 2010
Friday, February 26, 2010
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Friday, February 5, 2010
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
It's Australia Day and what better way to spend my time than getting a few close-up pics of a Green Tree Snake hunting frogs in the garden. They are very relaxed around people and I was able to get the lens really close. Of course, it is non-venomous. I would not try this with a brown snake.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
The grey kangaroos are fairly tame now especially when it's a 43 degree day. They stay and drink while we swim. This young one has wet it's front legs as an effective means of cooling off.
We manage our house on days like this. Having a mud brick home we can open up at night to cool off and close up around 9am. With ceiling fans it stays relatively cool all day and we avoid the cost of air-conditioning.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
The tallest Spotted Gum at Wallaby Gully. At around 35m in height this is one of few old growth trees in the area. The top has blown out many years ago leaving an excellent hollow for someone to live in. The spotted gum forests around Cessnock are now largely protected after 200 years of plundering. If we look after them they will be old growth just like this in 50 to 100 years.
Saturday, January 9, 2010
Saturday, January 2, 2010
Friday, January 1, 2010
The remains of cyclone "Laurence" has been a blessing. This low pressure system began in north-west WA and has made it all the way down to NSW dumping quite a good series of falls at Wallaby Gully. That means the tanks are filling and there are no bushfires! The increased humidity and rain has brought these Dwarf Green Tree Frogs out of hiding in the gardens around the house.
Monday, December 28, 2009
A crystal clear rainforest stream........the best place for Christmas lunch on a hot day, and as a special treat a Giant Spiny Crayfish walked past our table near the stream. One of the largest freshwater mountain crays, this one was about 180mm. They occupy specific microclimates and are very prone to changes in their habitat. Mountain crayfish on the east coast are still being identified, will we find all species before climate change affects their lifecycle?
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
A very special Christmas eve visit from a couple of Variegated Fairy-wrens. Compared to the more common Superb Fairy-wren the males have a more silvery azure crown plus the addition of a bright reddish-chestnut back. They spent some time drenching themselves in the birdbath on a 35 degree day.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
House windows are a problem when you live in the bush. One recent afternoon a young Brown Cuckoo-Dove hit the window at high speed and died instantly. It was being chased by a Goshawk. It may have been taken from the nest by the hawk and somehow escaped it's grip but came off second best against our window. The adult (pictured here) called constantly for it's young for two days following. These doves are quite large with a very long tail and are quite common in the wetter forests of the east coast.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
The Brown Treecreepers raised a family this year at Wallaby Gully. They are a full time resident and another endangered species due to habitat loss throughout Australia's woodlands. They spend most of their time in a vertical world scouring the trunks of the ironbarks for insects. Ants make up to 80% of their diet.
Friday, November 27, 2009
It's been three years since I erected a few hollow logs in the trees around the house. Tree hollows are few and far between in immature forests and are neccesary for many types of animals and birds. This hollow has been home to goannas, antechinus and a few days ago a brush-tail possum tried to move in but he didn't quite fit!
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Another endangered species found at the gully....the Speckled Warbler, is well camouflaged as it scours the ground to feed on seeds and insects. The nest is unusual - a dome at ground level with an entrance hole that they can just walk into. This one is drying after a dip in the birdbath on a hot day.
Friday, November 20, 2009
It was 43C yesterday though cooler today at 39. The spotted gums are starting to shed their bark in the heat. Many hours are spent moving the bark and leaves away from the house as it falls (to reduce the fire risk). We think it's worth the effort to be able to live in a spotted gum forest and watch the miriad of different colours appear on the trunks. No longer a eucalypt they are in a class of their own. The genus is now "Corymbia".
Friday, November 13, 2009
During my afternoon walk up to the top corner of our property, I spotted some movement in a flowering Mistletoe. A pair of Little Lorikeets......a smaller cousin of the raucous Rainbow Lorikeet, these birds are very quiet and are usually in pairs and not large flocks. They have just been listed as vulnerable in NSW due to the clearing of hollow habitat trees and according to the Scientific Committee are at a high risk of extinction in the medium to long term.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
This young Lace Monitor surprised us today by climbing up the wall onto the window sill. He picked up the scent (using his forked tongue) of the thrushes window attacks and spent a few minutes searching excitingly for his quarry. The thrush of course was watching from a respectful distance and is still in one piece. The story of the nesting thrushes appears three posts below....
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Hiding behind a curtain inside the house with a tele lens allowed me to get this close up of a Common Bronzewing Pigeon.
At close quarters you can see the iridescent, metallic wing feathers. They are normally difficult to approach, but this one approached us to feed on seeds near the house.
Despite being a bulky bird, they are surprisingly fast fliers.
Friday, October 30, 2009
Two of the three young Superb Blue Wrens posing outside their nesting site. They nested very close to the ground picking a small prickly wattle for cover. These birds are disappearing from suburban gardens due to cats, dogs and disturbance. Why can't we gain the same comfort and companionship having these living just outside the door as we do with domestic pets?