A former resident of Canberra complained today on talkback radio about how the city had become “tatty” during her brief absence. Apparently her family now lives somewhere up the north coast and have green lawns. The difference I reckoned was that the ACT region has missed out again in late autumn with our miserable share of La Nina.
Out on the western fringe of suburbia a few local residents have been watching two strange visitors for a week or so. Opposite my place is another dead tree, a large Eucalyptus nicholii that was planted as a street tree back in the early 1970’s. A few bird droppings on parked cars was the first clue. My neighbor pointed up to some high branches and eventually I recognized the shapes, a pair (?) of tawny frogmouths perched motionless in the higher branches.
This messy old tree would normally have been condemned as a neighborhood hazard and removed on schedule with many others, however overnight it became “habitat” for what I believe after glimpsing another big wary gray bird on the outer limb late yesterday, two young owls left day by day by their parents.
Despite prying eyes, noisy cars, trucks and machinery underneath these beautifully camouflaged individuals remained seemingly motionless for days. Unfortunately I think a gang of currawongs has finally driven them off.
Note the clear blue sky in my latest photo.
Gavin, Reminds me off a talk I heard a few years ago called “Messy forests are healthy forests”.
Apparently in nature, things are not all uniform colours and shapes and there is no such thing as waste. There are bugs and fungi able to make a living in the most unlikely situations, and their actions help keep the forest alive and healthy.
Certainly in nature we should not think of a forest after harvesting or after a bushfire as destruction but as habitat and as an opportunity for new life.
For any one interested in this talk a free DVD can be ordered at http://www.forestrytas.com.au/science/forestry-talks/forestry-talks-2003-04
Nearly all those euc nicholli are now dead, another good idea gone bad. Nice trees but no staying power.
How many other trees planted in the ACT are inappropriate to the location?
Eucalyptus nicholii – vulnerable in the wild (NSW)
I have a few big dead trees and people want me to cut them down because they are “dangerous”.Many have stood for 20 years.
They are high rise appartments for many species.
I see them checking out the real estate all year round. Black cockatoos at present.
If you reckon they’re dangerous, don’t go near ’em,I say.
Johnathan Wilkes says
“If you reckon they’re dangerous, don’t go near ’em,I say.”
Depends where they are?
You didn’t say!
Pierre Gosselin says
King Canute says
Gavin is a retired industrial / environment observer with a keen interest in recourse security living in the national capital of Oz, not to be confused with anybody from the USA
Thanks Gavin. Tawnys are not actually owls. They appear to be a pretty hardy species, but obviously still need suitable habitat. Manicured surrounds and exotics tend to attract the same. How unAustralian!
They’re certainly difficult birds to spot – I’ve had the privilege to see just 3 in my 25 years in Canberra.
Ian Mott says
One has been sitting on the clothes line down at the farm on and off since my father died in 1993. We told the kids it was grandad come back to keep an eye on things. Now much older and wiser, they still maintain that particular family myth. He was there again last weekend.
After events near home today, I should write an update
Jonathan, Tamborine Mtn. The big dead trees with the big holes and termite mounds are the favourites. Forest Kingfishers and Kookaburras dig into the mounds for nests. Wood Ducks have 8 or 10 ducklings in them then kick them out before they can fly and they all waddle off to the pond.
The Tawny Frogmouths lay their eggs on a virtual bare branch or fork and the chicks teeter on oblivion.
They all struggle on, even the Glossies.
When they finally fall it’s very sad.
The ABC tonight was carrying on about the “death” of the Murray. Those big dead River Reds will be a marvelous habitat when the floods come.
Remember the bit about bushfires high in the mountain ranges? Apparently many thousands of acres of burnt bush struggling back to life further reduce annual flows from the east
Ian Mott says
The ABC finally gets the message. We have only been telling them this for two decades.
So when can we expect the MDB Commission to adjust all catchment flows for the impacts of past clearing and subsequent regrowth? How long will these clowns persist in pretending that current flows are unchanged from pre-settlement flows?