Tag Archives: Australian nature

Sweet Humming: Bees of Bellbowrie


Sweet Humming – J.K. Leahy Poem

Sweet humming;

low vibrations drumming

Rhythm of life

spins the hunt for sweet vibe,

and the taste of real honey –

that requires no money

My afternoon walk passes this tree and many others in Bellbowrie, Brisbane. Yesterday, I was drawn by its brush petals and the low humming of the bees so I entered the lower leaves and stood  undercover. The tree is called cadaga or cadaghi gum which the Brisbane City Council has declared a weed. The exhilarating thing about the moment was, the bees were humming all around me without attacking me and enjoying the sweet nectar. Above me the birds were enjoying the same sweetness and singing on top of their voices. I don’t know why we need to cut these trees when so much is dependant on them. These photos were taken by my iPhone, so I hope the quality is enough for you to see the bees.

 

    

The Furry Squatter Settlers – Short Story


The Furry Squatter Settlers – Short Story

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Our house roof broke under heavy rain and the wild Queensland storms sometime last year. Separating the entrance hall with front door, the storm created an unexpected alfresco space. I rejoiced in the fact that, the roof was now broken, so it removed the fear and threat of when it would actually fall. It happened when my sons were away. I heard a crack and ran out and held up the beam as long as I could, and finally, when it settled, I inserted two timber pieces to keep the roof steady until my sons returned from their holidays. It took three men to bring it down and let it break apart.

We cleared the entrance, and waited to repair. And, before we started repairing the broken roof, some furry squatters moved in. They used the leaning trees against the house to make their entry.  It was quite a natural invasion of these parts of Queensland. One small possum settled into the car port ceiling; separated now by the broken roof. Another took the main house.

Above the kitchen, noises started. Sometimes light bulbs would flicker and weaken from bright to pale orange – just like a ghost movie, bringing family dinner to a pause – perhaps someone from outer space or inner ceiling is speaking to us, we joke.

In the evening, long hours into the night, our family would hear knocking, walking and thundering repetitive noises in the ceiling. My guess initially was, the possums were cracking the macadamia nuts they picked from our tree. With my Callaway Steelhead Systems III driver I had not used on a golf fairway in a long while, I would thump the ceiling in response to the settlers’ sounds. The sounds would immediately pause or move, given it is a large house with an extensive ‘living area’ for the possums. Sometimes there would be fights, a lot of screeching and grunting.  It often reminded me of the fights in the streets of Port Moresby or neighbours in a drunk brawl. If the furry fighters didn’t listen and stop to the golf club’s thudding, I cursed them and told them they were staying rent-free, with free meals and should keep the noise down. And if they did not appreciate their high-class living, I would need to call the possum remover to evict them.

Eventually, they would stop pounding and exit. It was through one of the broken parts of the roof that the possums used where we suspected the snake entered and took Boz’s life.

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One day, about three weeks ago, a squatter settler came out of one of the broken part of the roof. It was in the middle of the day and the animal urinated and excreted above the back door entrance, sending a collection of light brown pellets sprinkling down the door frame. It was the first time we saw her with a baby in her pouch. It was not the time to wander about or visit. Possums only came out in the dark. She was fed some carrots and green apples. Obviously, she did not have too many ‘hospital visits’ or someone to care for her and bring her macadamia nuts while she was caring for her baby.

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The possum could not care less what time of the day, nor where she left her waste. She was starving.

It has been a few weeks of spring and summer will make the roof too hot to live under. Iron roof bakes like an oven when you are one foot under it. It would be a good time to close the hole, repair the house, evacuate the squatter settlers and get rid of the noises. (I am hoping…)

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Paper Flowers – Photography


The Paper Flower – JK.Leahy

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I’m told they are Spiraea crenata. They are tiny. Under the lens, they look like paper flowers. But, they sure are real. These beautiful white blooms look almost like bleached paper. There are several scattered bunches on the bush at our door. Hopefully by spring, more of these miniature bouquets will cover the whole bush.

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One flower head is as large as the size of an adult finger nail.

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Pelleted Fungi – Nature Photography


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A cluster of dark brown to black pelleted fungi invaded one of my plant pots. I had never seen anything like it. They were tiny, but the use of micro lens helped produce these pictures. When each ‘lid’ – size of a tack pin head came off, the mushroom’s inside was full of black pellets.

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A Spiny Visitor


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Curled into a ball, our spiny visitor on the floor of the workshop in Bellbowrie – Picture by Flynn and Chris.

One of the luxuries of living in the Australian bush is the unusual ‘visitors’ we get. So, far in the three years we have lived in Bellbowrie, Queensland, we have had some interesting ‘visitors’. We have had the slithering kinds, the furry kinds, and scaly kinds, and two days ago, a spiny kind.

My younger son Chris and his friend Flynn were downstairs in Chris’s workshop and they heard a noise of something knocking thinks over.  With their phone lights, they saw a dark mop run to the corner and wedge itself between a child’s chair legs. I kept these chairs for children’s art classes. Even when they had switched the lights on, they could not tell what it was. When they got closer, they were surprised and started yelling in excitement. We all rushed downstairs to see what it was.

Wedged between the small chair legs was a frightened little spiny ‘visitor’ – an echidna. The poor echidna was so frightened that it  rolled up in a ball with its head between its front legs. The boys carefully removed the chair to take the picture above and then put it back. We never got to see its face and after half hour or so, with the lights off, it disappeared.

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‘Dame’ here is a male short beak echidna that lives in Australia zoo and is much-loved by all the zoo keepers. Photo: Australia Zoo

Judging from what I saw and the image Chris and Flynn took, this spiny visitor was a short-beak echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus). It is also known as the spiny anteater. There are five sub-species of this echidna in Australia. The Echidna generally is a highly adaptable creature and can be found in coastal forests, alpine meadows and interior deserts of Australia. They weigh up to 6 kilogrammes and can grow up to 45 centimetres. Read more here

After all this time, this spiny ‘visit’ finally solves the mystery of the half-moon shape hollows dug into the base of plants in my garden. The markings would have been made when it was looking for ants, baby roots and worms to eat. I have been blaming my chickens and the bush turkeys for these markings.