Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Kangaroo family life and Eucalypt blossom

Kangaroo family life
Yesterday afternoon I was looking out of a window and noticed a medium sized Eastern Grey Kangaroo with a large joey beside.  The joey appeared to cuddle the adult and then proceeded to stick its head back in the pouch for an extended guzzle.  (Sorry about the chook wire intervening in the image - see below.)
The adult didn't seem to mind this at all and settled down to do a bit of joey-grooming.
I decided to try to get some images of the happy duo from the other side of the fence so invaded our neighbours property,   Unfortunately, despite my full array of skulking skills being deployed mum spotted me so stopped her activities to fix me with a steely gaze.  The resultant image does give a clearer idea of the relative sizes of the two animals.
Personally, I reckon junior is big enough to get a smack round the ear and be told to get his own grub, especially since Mum would almost certainly have another joey in the pouch slurping from a different nipple.

I have attempted to find out for how long the joeys take milk and an ABC article suggests peak lactation is around nine months joey-age when they completely leave the pouch.  My guess would be this joey is a fair bit older that 9 months and must be getting close to a less convivial bit of treatment.   Further research of this on the net has been made impossible by wretched US breast-feeding enthusiasts stealing our animal's name for an approach to care of premature human babies and thus obliterating any information useful for my purpose.  Good luck to the mums (note: not 'moms') and the babies, but why couldn't they call it "raccoon care" or "grizzly care" and muck up their own researchers?

Eucalypt blossom
We have had an excellent season of blossom for our Eucalyptus meliodora (Yellow Box) trees, but they have now got to the end of their season (exactly on schedule).

Driving into Queanbeyan yesterday I noticed that some of the E. mannifera (Brittle Gum)  trees on the top of the escarpment behind the town were beginning to get a good crop of flowers.  This morning I noticed that a neighbour's tree across our road was quite well endowed.
 Consulting our copy of "A guide to Eucalypts in the ACT" (note for the downloader: the linked document is a resource-pig .pdf document so is 1.8 Mb) this species flowers in February-March so is spot on time.

On our own property an E. macrorhyncha (Red Stringybark) was hitting its straps.
 Isn't that pretty?

The same source cites a flowering season as November-January so one might conclude this is a bit late, possibly due to the very cool Summer we have experienced.

On 9 March we noticed that a Eucalyptus bridgesiana (Apple Box) was flowering in the top paddock.  The tree is easily identified by its 'alligator skin' bark.
 Again the flowers are beautiful as are the swollen buds.
Flowering time for this species is given as January to March so, as we are a little later than the flat country, I would rate this as bang on time.

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