Thursday, December 31, 2015

A Moving Moment



By way of an explanation for the lack of activity here recently, I thought I might enlighten you and warn you that this quiescence may continue a little longer.

Mrs. G and I are on the move again. Not far mind you. Currently we reside at No22 and will shortly be moving to No16 in the same street!

We love our locality and a short while back, received an offer too good to refuse – similar abode, similar commitment but a brand new home in which we have had some small input to design and fittings, etc and a generous and receptive overlandlord!

And so, at present we are otherwise quite occupied with moving house, and discovering some little, (and some largish), gems of human detritus that have managed to remain concealed for several years.

Why-oh-why do we do it? That old box of children’s books? Records, who plays records these days? Who even has a record player? Useless/outdated/even broken bits of furniture that might be useful/contemporary/repaired one day but we know never will be. Tools that once I used all day every day but now break me into a sweat after five minutes. Will I ever swing a golf club again?

Aaah, memories and I guess that’s just why we do it, so why not? At least that’s what I’ve been telling myself lately as I trudge the six small house blocks down the hill – it’s a court and the property numbers are sequential – and back up again for another load.

Anyway, that’s why this little corner of bloggland is relatively idle at present and will remain so for another few weeks, particularly in view of the fact that in a few days time I will be surprised if the Telstra/internet switch-over goes succesfully. (Regular ‘contactees’ might note that the only change to the address will be, or should be, the substituting of the 16 for the 22).

Birds, wildflowers, fungi, et al will be seen here again soon.

Kind regards and a happy new year.
Gouldiae

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Drouin’s Trees – The Mountain Grey Gum



Undoubtedly the outstanding remnant indigenous tree species in Drouin is the Mountain Grey Gum, Eucalyptus cypellocarpa. More than a dozen of these wonderful town giants have girths greater than 6m and are estimated to be around 250 years of age or older. Many of Drouin’s Mountain Grey Gums are well over 40 metres tall.


Mountain Grey Gums have very long lance-shaped or sickle-shaped leaves, and the buds and fruit occur usually in groups of seven on flattened stems. The white flowers generally appear in autumn.



The smooth bark sheds in ribbony strips to expose whitish-grey to creamy-yellow patches on the trunk.



In Victoria, Mountain Grey Gums grow mostly south of the Divide from Melbourne to the NSW border, generally in wet gullies and on mountain slopes up to an altitude of about 1200m.


Many of the street and parkland cypellocarpas in Drouin are old enough to contain numerous hollows and a range of fauna have been observed making use of these for nesting and roosting – Eastern and Crimson Rosellas, Galahs, Sulphur-crested Cockatoos, Little Corellas, Rainbow Lorikeets, Kookaburras, Striated Pardalotes, Brushtail and Ringtail Possums, Sugar Gliders, etc.



To walk beneath some of these giants is inspiring. They are sanctuaries, provide shade and beauty and Drouin would be the poorer without them.
Gouldiae

Friday, December 4, 2015

A Pair of Ducks



I went ‘back home’ for the day yesterday and spent a beautiful day with some of the old mob, the Heyfield Birdwatchers – click here for Jack’s report.

The title of today’s post you will be unsurprised to hear, does not refer to a cricket score, although in my cricket playing days, a pair of ducks was not unusual! No, it of course refers to the Duck-orchids I spotted on the side of the Licola Rd just north of Heyfield. I checked the spot on my way back home after a wonderful Heyfield Birdwatchers end of year lunch, thanks to Marg and John  again.

 



The Large Duck-orchid is a widespread but relatively uncommon orchid that grows in a variety of habitats. At this spot they grow in a gravelly-sandy soil in dry open forest.

(Click on images to enlarge)





 
In the above image you can see how the labellum of one of the flower heads has snapped shut when I tried to clean away a cobweb with a strand of grass. The plant assumed a pollinating insect had entered.

There was quite a colony of flowers in one spot and I found one triple-header.









The Small Duck-orchid too is a widespread and uncommon species, but is often overlooked because of its diminutive proportions. Rather than a flying duck, I reckon they look more like a seahorse!






 


Small as they are, once I found one and got 'my eye in', I discovered quite a few of these strange looking orchids. 












Sticking to the wildflowers for a moment, I enjoyed seeing again the dry bush floor being dotted with what I call White Everlastings.  








 
Most centres are yellow but often you come across a flower head that is completely white.










As Jack reported, we ticked some nice birds for the day with a Brush Cuckoo and an Emu family at Beaver Meadows being amongst the highlights. These three Little Black Cormorants were basking on their favourite stump at the Heyfield Wetlands.


 

A great year Heyfield, thanks, hope to enjoy some more in 2016.
Gouldiae