A walk round my patch

 

This is the view west from my house. The hi-rise and construction site you can see in the distance are just one kilometre away and that is where the ocean is.001_5184x3888

But I am not walking that way, today I am going to show you “my patch”. My street is  quiet. With only 12 houses. So turn left out of my drive and walk past our garden.walk down barwon street 004_5184x3888

I like to think I am a friendly sort of person, but I only know my immediate neighbours on each side. This, I think, is a sign of the times we live in.

Notice the houses on the left do not have big fences. Whereas the houses on the right have recently been renovated and up went the barricades. I think it looks so unfriendly. Notice the trees at the far end of the street? That is where I am taking you…walk down barwon street 008_5184x3888Last week this property sold for 1.2 million$$$!!!

Just before I get to the park I pass this house. Some one, way back when the house was built in the 1970’s, thought it would be a good idea to plant these paperbark/melaleuca trees. I think they are beautiful trees, but, oh dear, look how close they are to the house, what a problem they have turned into. Look what they have done to the drive. Goodness knows where else the roots have wandered too

At the end of the street is an off leash dog walking park. It is 4-30pm and still approx. 30 degrees Celsius and the park is deserted.

So I walk across the park. If you look carefully at the right hand photo you will see a shed in the top right hand corner, behind a tree.

 

walk down barwon street 121_5184x3888

 

Village Bikes are intended to reflect the Gold Coast casual culture and be simple, robust and recycled. They are built for comfort, not for speed. 

 The broad objectives of Village Bike are:
·       To promote sustainable transport alternatives on the Gold Coast
·       To promote sustainable initiatives of reduce, reuse, recycle in sourcing and repairing bikes for the scheme
·       To enhance community engagement through a series bike repair sheds
·       To become a Gold Coast wide institution embraced by the Community by 2018
·       To become a world leader in sustainable community initiatives

I have never seen it open.

Next to the Village Bike Shed is a small mountain bike track. It is in the shade of the large trees in the conservation park, so a group of lads are having fun.

Let’s get out of the heat and wander through the cool of the Burleigh Knoll Conservation Park. I found out that the reason this was designated a conservation park, back in 1973, was a small patch of Acacia attenuata (a specie of wattle tree) was growing in this area and they are designated vulnerable. I’m not sure which tree this is. I will have to come back in spring as the distinctive yellow flowers will easily identify it.walk down barwon street 061_5184x3888walk down barwon street 068_3888x5184I was concerned to see signs of a fire through part of the area. Maybe it had been a cold fire burn to control the undergrowth. There is a lot of regrowth so it may have been a couple of years ago. I do not remember seeing smoke recently.walk down barwon street 078_5184x3888It is not a large park, approx. 4 hectares, but the track winds around making it feel larger.walk down barwon street 084_5184x3888This is an interesting tree….walk down barwon street 082_3888x5184walk down barwon street 076_3888x5184Notice all the strange scribbly marks? This is what I found out about them from a CSIRO pamphlet…

The scribbly dialect, which zigzags around in a seemingly random and indecipherable pattern, found its place in Australian literature and culture. Yet the cause of the scribbles has always been somewhat of a mystery. They are old and dry with no sign of their creator, no ‘graffiti tag’ to identify the artist. How and why are they on the trees? What creature is responsible?

As recently as 2012 a painstaking study by a team of entomologists, botanists, molecular technicians and imaging experts—several of them retired but still active in the science that they love—has revealed how and where these moths develop and how they make their scribbles. They have also expanded the list of known scribbly gum moth species from one to 14 and revealed that the moths had an ancestor that inhabited the ancient supercontinent Gondwana. Marianne Horak, the lead author, has written about their amazing discovery.

The life of a typical scribbly gum moth starts in autumn as an egg laid on the bark surface. The hatching caterpillar burrows vertically down into the trunk then makes a 90 degree turn as it reaches the depth where next year’s cork cambium layer will form. It then starts on a zigzag culinary journey, always taking care to stay beneath bark that will be shed in the following year. As it grows, it sheds its skin several times – an insect skin is a hard shell and can only stretch so much before its owner needs a new, bigger one.

After moulting for the last time the scribbly gum caterpillar, now grown to a grand length of 10 millimetres, does a strange thing. It turns around and retraces the tunnel it had bored, eating the nutrient-rich callus tissue that the tree laid down in response to the initial damage by the mini-borer. This final stage lasts only a few weeks, but the caterpillar grows rapidly. Then it bore its way out of the trunk, drops to the ground and spins a flat, ribbed silken cocoon in a hidden spot, attached to a stone or a piece of bark. Inside the cocoon, the caterpillar transforms into a pupa, with the moth emerging in late summer or autumn to complete the cycle.

walk down barwon street 086_3293x2683Hearing the distinctive cackling chuckle of the Kookaburra I spot this fellow on the fence eyeing something on the ground. I could not see what he was looking at, but suddenly he swooped down, grabbed whatever it was and flew away.

Another squeaking, rasping, rustling sort of noise had me looking into the tree tops to find what it was. Then I spotted them. Black bundles swaying in the breeze.walk down barwon street 099_5184x3888Dozens of Fruit Bats wrapped snugly in their wings waiting for dusk when they would take off to raid the surrounding gardens looking for fruit. At the moment mangoes would be on their diet. But now they are fast asleep.bat cropped

Time to head back. It is cooler now and the dog park has come alive with dogs and their people socializing.

walk down barwon street 049_2690x1887It’s hard work walking the dog, but fortunately there are plenty of benches to rest on.

But these teenagers are full of life practicing their basketball shots. Can you spot the ball?walk down barwon street 114_3318x2548What a difference,  now it is cooler, the park is a hive of activity. There is a small playground with swings and a slide and other playthings for little kids, but no one is using that at the moment. It has a shade cloth over it so maybe it gets used earlier in the day.

walk down barwon street 102_2073x1868Over on the far side this lady is feeding a magpie. I stand and talk to her for a while. She is a bird carer and looks after injured birds that have been found and we lament about the rise in Noisy Miner bird numbers and she gives me a good tip. She gets her teenage son to use a large water pistol on them and now hardly any come into her garden and she has an increase in other bird numbers. (I mentioned the noisy miner in this previous post) I think Jack will like that idea.

Sorry Jo no coffee shops just here, so you will have to come back to my place for a cuppa, or it could just about be time to sit in the garden and have a glass of wine.

Ever “Restless Jo” is in Lisbon this week and the buildings and tiles are superb. Go over and see where her other world-wide walkers are taking us this week.

 

46 comments

  1. What a fascinating creature that scribbly gum moth is! You wouldn’t believe it if you didn’t read it, would you? It’s liike an episode of Planet Earth over here. 🙂 🙂 I did think, when you led me towards the bike place, that it might have a cafe, Pauline, but I shall be quite happy to recline over at yours, now it’s cooler. 🙂 Thanks so much, darlin!

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  2. My fascination with Australia came from TV programmes like ‘Skippy’ and ‘The Flying Doctor’, so it was the Outback which appealed to me – all those vast acres of nothingness – so very different to the cramped suburban English life I was living. Sometimes I get annoyed with myself that I didn’t emigrate when I had the chance, but I’m pretty much a fatalist and life took me in a different direction. Happily I did get to Australia and have seen those wonderful scribbly gums myself along with lots of other wonderful Australian flora and fauna. But when I look at the places where most Australians live and work they are not so different from the cramped suburbs of my childhood after all. (Just a lot hotter and often with a beach at the end of the road 😀 )

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  3. An interesting walk round your patch – you have many lovely things in your doorstep but, oh dear, those barricades. So ugly! I know people want privacy and security but surely they could have used something more aesthetically pleasing?

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  4. What a great neighbourhood- thanks for the tour. Interesting comment about not knowing your neighbours – we have the same situation although almost all ours have kids and always seem to be rushing off somewhere. How nice that you have some natural woodland close by too.

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  5. Those bats are scary too. They look like upside down black vinyl smiling terrier burritos. (That was a mouthful.) Australia sure is a strange place but at least one of the neighbors has a Chevrolet (I think). What are those palms in your front garden, and is that main middle tree at the curb a grevillea of some sort? The seeds of scribbly gum can be ordered here, but I do not know of anyone who has ever grown them.

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    • Bats are a real pest, but they are a protected species. The palm is a golden cane and the tall tree is a silky oak, yes a type of grevillea, grevillea robusta. A lovely golden yellow flower

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  6. Thank you for an interesting tour! Love that gum tree inhabitant and its story. Never heard of it – but we are fortunate to live in a world of wonders. Despite everything ugly. Have a great week!

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  7. Came over from Joanne’s blog. What a lovely walk you Pauline. Loved the interesting story about the scribbly gum tree. I love the kookaburras, but I’m a bit scared of bats which are probably harmless.
    I also live in a very quiet street with about 10 houses and just across a park, but in Perth.

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