Showing posts from May, 2011

A (May) Day in the life

This is a rather disparate post, simply recording a couple of moments in our life that I thought were worthwhile expending a few electrons on. 

At least twice a week we take a tour around the perimeter of the property (on the other days we go for a run along the roads).  Our progress has been impeded recently by a fallen dead Acacia dealbata.  So, on the afternoon of the 30th of May I decided to remove it. On the way up I noticed that some of our olive trees were laden with fruit (the type of fruit is a drupe).  So after 4 years here is our first olive harvest.
We shall re-find the recipe for processing them!  In the meantime we will continue to purchase olives-for-eating and olive oil from established retail locations!

In the evening (about 8:30) we were watching TV when we became aware of large moths (possibly Oxycanus dirempta) fluttering at the window.

In the shot from indoors (showing the underside of the moth) I find the headlight effect of the flash reflected in the eyes quite im…

Digging the block

About a year ago I heard a talk about the importance of mammals in digging over the topsoil of woodland habitat in the Southern Tablelands.  This was in the context of an experiment in which (wingless) predators have been excluded from most of the Mulligan's Flat element of Canberra Nature Park.  There is also interest in this process in Tasmania.

The most widespread digging on our block in Carwoola is by rabbits - which is likely to be greatly reduced in the near future!  While going out to check some of the feeding stations from the rabbit business I noted some fresh evidence of a somewhat larger digger.
This is far from uncommon in the area.  However looking a little to the side I discovered further evidence.
This presented a small problemo as the site is only about 40m from our house and we do not need a wombat tunnelling under the building.  If dunnarts and antechinuses are ecosystem engineers wombats are the equivalent of a longwall mining company (and thus bad).  My first tho…

ANPS goes to Scabbing Flat

It being a Wednesday, and not the third Wednesday of the month, we took ourselves to Scabbing Flat, which is part of Cuumbeun Nature Reserve on the top of the Queanbeyan escarpment.  Just to do a small bit of foreshadowing, the definition of escarpment mentions the 's-word' - steep!

As the day was characterised by a fairly stiff Southerly wind it was not that warm when in the wind.  However it was quite sunny and overall a very pleasant day.  The interesting plants started as soon as we got through the fence, with this bunch of epicormic growth on a fallen Yellow Box looking most weird.
There were quite a few flowers out, despite the recent frosty weather.  Here are some that were quite common.  In sequence: Brachyscome rigidula, Chrysocephalum apiculatum, and Xerochrysum viscosum.

The first flowering wattles were also seen.  While this species Acacia genistifolia is the first it does give a little hope that the massive flowerings of Spring are not too faraway.
Of course the othe…

Southside Schools Cross-Country Champs

Let me begin with an irrelevancy.  A "Country Club" tends to be where the rich and famous gather to cosset their bodies and schmooze each other while dressed elegantly.  A "Cross-country Club" is where a bunch of runners gather to hammer their bodies, wearing relatively little clothing of any degree of elegance, across yukky terrain.

Whatever, a friend's male child had been selected by his school (through winning the school's cross country championship for his age group) to run in the ACT Southern Zone Championship.  I rocked along to see him strut his stuff.

On arriving at the starting area I found a whole pile of young persons getting ready for their events. I assumed that my friends were out on the course ready to urge their offspring along,  So I wandered off to see what was left of the Bush Capital after the firies had visited.
There was still some un-burnt country visible but not in the direction the runners were coming from, so was being treated wit…

A less tacky post!

After yesterday's crappy effort today is rather cultured!

On about Friday I had thought we had nothing 'on' today but then Frances was offered a couple of tickets to a string quartet at the National Gallery.  We thought it might be nice to take in the Tobruk exhibition at the Australian War Memorial (AWM) en route.  So we did, and we'll start off there.

Tobruk The catalyst for visiting was an ABC Radio program with Louise Maher about a map (see the linked page) showing an associated event.  It is a very. very good exhibition and anyone in Canberra is urged to see it!

Before getting down to comments about what is there, noting:
the current world order,Tobruk's location in Libya , and the town's iconic status in Australian military history  it is very surprising that no Australian media has focussed on the place recently (as usual, click on the image to enlarge it).
It is not a 'fun' exhibition.  It is a good one, nay, an excellent one, but it isn't fun.…

The Tau of Poo

Sensitive readers should note the missing 'h' from the final word.  This is not about a hunny muncher or Eastern Religions.  Indeed the replacement of 'o' by 'u' shifts into scientific endeavours denoted by Tau rather than the metaphysics of Tao.  It is helpful that one of the uses of Tau listed by Wikipedia is "The lifetime of a spontaneous emission process" and that is exactly what we're at!

I have put up a few posts on my reveg blog about a rabbit control program we are undertaking.  One of the key issues in this is working out where the bunnies are dining, and when something is dining on the bait is it wabbit or something else?  The poop left at the feeding station is a good indicator of that and one of those involved in the work was able to put up a useful guide for telling if one is dealing with hare or rabbit.

"Regarding the difference between rabbit and hare scats, good question! According to the web site, rabbit scats are 5mm to 11mm…

Stable = Clay Lick?

A couple of years ago we were fortunate enough to take a trip to Peru under the guidance of Ian Fraser.  On a particularly memorable day we saw a bunch of the local parrots hacking in to a clay lick. 

This evening I took a picture some juvenile Crimson Rosellas imbibing from a water butt.
The posture of the one clinging to the stable wall reminded me instantly of the birds at the clay lick.  With this species I suspect that rather than remedying a dietary deficiency it was eyeing off the camellia as a potential target for boganism.

Cold runs and the philosophy of Frogmouth Roosts

It might be a bit of a stretch but I think I can link these topics (other than by time).  Note that I expect this post to be a lot shorter than the previous saga.

Before we came to live in Canberra I used to come over for work and would report to Frances how beautiful the place was on the frosty Winter mornings.  When we shifted over (1983) the first Winter was dreary: few frosts and lots of drizzle.  This Winter has had many hard frosts already (yesterday -6.8C, today -6.5C at the Airport: today felt colder at Carwoola) and the days are beautiful.

Despite the chill Frances and I and the small dog went for a run this morning.  The lead is present, but invisible in this image.
Early in the process these Sulphur-crested Cockatoos displayed their stuff.  Note the clarity and blueness of the sky!
As expected the Hoskinstown Plain was pretty foggy.
A spider had been kind enough to set up a framework for Jack Frost to do some artistry.
Let us now move to the philosophical question.  Over the th…

Life in Palerang

This weekend seems to be an interesting one in the Palerang area (which I am choosing to define as including both Urban Canberra and the City of Queanbeyan).

I'll cover a few of the major events under sub-headings below.  Before getting to that I was amused by a poster taped to a speed limit sign.  The poster read "Found Sheep.  Very Friendly pet." You don't often see that in the Big Smoke.  (I was tempted to say you won't see that in the city, but then I thought about some of the things I did see on a leash in New York and decided to withdraw that opinion.)

Council By-election One of our councillors chose to resign thus getting us to a by-election.  This was faintly annoying as we had already had one by-election as an elected person had resigned on health grounds very soon after their election.  However, the Councillor in question this time hadn't attended a Council Meeting for some months and had generally lost interest.  That gets him a "character point…

Osprey and falcon webcams

I have recently received links to two sites with links at Osprey nest sites.  The first of these is in Finland while the second is at Ulladulla, NSW.

The site in Finland has been going since 2006 and has a bird in it as I type.  This screendump is interesting as it was taken at 0:55 AM  and shows the first line of light on the horizon (as well as a dim view of an Osprey).
The site, at 65N, is just below the Arctic Circle.  This extract from Google earth gives the idea.

WRT the Australian site the local birding club has said "...the Ospreys nested at an inconvenient place in the tower in previous years, so council and NPWS constructed this basket and a "starter" nest - and installed a permanent camera... Hopefully the Ospreys will take to it and we would get some magnificent shots."  I am sure all readers echo those hopes.   According to the Handbook of Australian New Zealand and Antarctic Birds v2 egg laying could start in July.
I doubt if many people out of NSW k…