blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit

blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit
By Alison Hobbs, blending a mixture of thoughts and experiences for friends, relations and kindred spirits.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

In the Bush

Unexpectedly, we've had rain, unremitting, heavy rain on our second day in New South Wales that flooded the roads and drenched us thoroughly on a walk to the local Woolworth's supermarket and back, showers that have rinsed the patio and watered the pot plants, and, last night, hours of noisy, flashy thunderstorms while George played the 'cello part of Dvorak's Piano Quintet at Maureen's house. More about that later. It's pouring again as I write this on Saturday evening: George and Chris have taken the umbrellas on their after-supper walk.

Burnt area of bushland
The good thing about all this moisture is that it has soaked the forests and dampened the possibility of more bush fires springing up, next time the wind blows on a dry day. We're very close to the steep hillsides along the Lane Cove River, here, with miles of dry Bush to explore---a wilderness within the city where you can see many eucalyptus trees with scorched black barks. George drove us to the "wildflower garden" at St. Ives last Monday and for part of our walk through the Bush there we went through a post-fire regeneration area where all the trees' remains were black. All the same, the forest seems full of life, wild turkeys scratching at the undergrowth with their feet, and cockatoos (mostly white ones with yellow crests, but we saw a flock of the rarer black cockatoos as well) squawking away as they fly past, more musical ones calling too. I saw the Australian equivalent of warblers and a fairy wren with luminescent blue feathers on its head and back. Apart from the eucalypts, palm trees and oak trees, Banksia trees are ubiquitous, their bottle brush flowers full of nectar for the long-beaked species. There are termite nests up the trees and on the sandy ground.

Turkey on the bird feeder
Today, after a fish 'n' chips lunch by the water at Bobbin Head, we visited another nature reserve, the Kuringgai Chase National Park above Cockle Creek, traditional home of the Guringai people, some of whose photos we saw on the information boards. We walked part of the Birrawanna Track, starting from a Discovery Centre with a display of the local flora and fauna (stuffed), and the first thing we saw was a turkey on the bird feeder and a wallaby sitting beneath it. It hopped off when we tried to take its photo. A family of kangaroos was gathered in a grassy enclosure, lolling on the ground or standing on their hind legs, boxing.

Cockle Creek from the top of the hills
Sydney is far hillier than I remember it and in the nature reserves are sheer sandstone cliffs and rocky outcrops that look as if they might hide all kinds of dangerous beasts, but we haven't spotted any. This is black snake territory. I found some big lizards in the "Eden" garden centre near Macquarie University this week, but none in the wild as yet.

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