Life, with my dogs, living on one acre in Tasmania. Living on a low income, and with Complex PTSD. I write about all sorts of things. I called my Blog Echidna Home because I have echidnas that live here
A walk with my dogs on a grey wet Spring Saturday afternoon when a flock of Sulphur Crested Cockatoos, (Cockies) flew into the trees about where we were. They did not stay in these for long. Taking off with much screeching and carry on as only cockatoos seem to do. I noticed some landed in a dead tree further along the river bank. The white of their shape defined clearly on the dark limbs against the rain filled sky. These raucous characters are very intelligent and have in suburban areas learnt to open wheely bin lids. They naturally bob their heads but will also enjoy moving as if dancing to other noises, including music.(more tame birds I imagine. though maybe the odd one in a tree near a BBQ or pool party. Some see them as jerks and pests, especially true as they can be very damaging to crops and when flocks can be as large as several hundred they can decimate a grain crop and damage it totally. In suburbia they have been known to land on a persons shoulder. They tend not to be fearful of humans out where I live in the bush this is not the same. I am also not sure that our Cockatoos have learnt to open our wheely bins when out for garbage day.
I felt I had missed any opportunity to catch this cheeky group again as I loaded up two wet dogs and a damp human into the car for the journey home.
I was delighted to see this fellow up in a tree and at first thought it may have been a nest. It certainly met the criteria for a nesting site for a cockie. Large hollow up high in a tree. It also would explain its flight away. Not wanting to show it was a nest. The comb of sulphur yellow (giving the name) is matched by the underside wings and tail feathers. How wonderful I was able to catch it taking flight.
If this is a nest the eggs are laid in our Spring until early Summer (so now) both parents prepare the nesting site, both will incubate the eggs and care for their chicks. Once the chicks are old enough to fly they will remain with their parents and their flock in definitely.
As I watched it fly away I heard more cockies, down the way a bit and noted that this single bird was flying towards the screaming and other loud squawks emanating in that very direction. Off I drove in pursuit.
I arrived just in time to capture our solo cockie landing near and rather intrusively it seems bye two others. The one already on the branch was attempting to stop it from landing it seems to me as it moved towards it wings akimbo and head up facing the intruder.
I watched the antics of these delightful if raucous screeching native birds considered by some to be clowns of the bird world in Australia. As they interacted in the tree tops. I am glad where I live we do not get the flocks of hundreds that they do in some areas of mainland Australia. The hullabaloo would be deafening and tiresome for too long.
So thankful for such a lovely afternoon and to be mask free again. Thankful that Tasmania fortunately seems to have been lucky and not had an Outbreak of the Delta variant. I am thankful that I am surrounded by incredible bird life. blessings to You, Tazzie
The weather is fluctuating as is normal here in the southern most council region of Australia. Huon Valley Tasmania, on the Island state of Australia, situated in the Roaring Forties. Tasmania’s location between the 40th and 50th southern parallels place it directly in the pathway of the “Roaring Forties”, which are strong westerly winds in the Southern Hemisphere.
It tends to be especially windy around the solstice, and equinoxes here in Tasmania. Which can be really hard on gardens. I had tied my broad beans the wind has been harsh, though it I am really delighted to see beans are forming.
Above, Rocket and coriander going to seed, broad beans knocked about by the wind show beans, looking towards the hen house, vegetable garden broad beans, garlic marigolds, peach tree and fig i(n barrel), with daffodils.
above: I love my red wattle flowering tree. The nettles will soon be flowering. Hellebore flower and the last of my snow drop. My bay tree is being attacked by something. It is on my to do list.
My hens are settling in really well. They come running to me I believe its more about the seeds I bring for them. They are running a bit amok, as the fencing in the chickens area is too low. I am working on that. The black bantam is still sleeping in the tree. I have no idea how she managed to hold on during the gale wind and storms we had the last few nights.
I love having them. The dynamics of the hen house are really fascinating to observe. I love listening to their chatter. I continue to get about six eggs a week currently. As the hens (which were an incredibly generous gift) are different ages, and very mixed breeding. So I feel that I have two hens laying and five who are maturing to be layers.
My seedlings are mostly doing well though I have had some failures. It may be I over watered them, or they grew to rapidly. I have time to resow the seeds, and get them underway.
I feel so thankful to have my hens, eggs, my potential veggies grown in my garden. There are wonderful blossoms forming on my peach and two plums (I have a couple more that are just budding up).
More rain and wind is forecast, the days are lengthing and temperatures increasing.
The wet weather has gone for the time being. This morning after a very stormy wet night it was lovely to wake up to blue sky even if it is still somewhat winy.
When I went out this morning I discovered how lucky I had been!
A large branch had fallen off one of my eucalyptus trees in my driveway. during the storm. It missed my car. How wonderful was that! Interestingly I had been parking my car about where the branch landed over the previous few days.
I had things in the boot so I parked closer to my house when I returned home yesterday. I am very thankful my car is OK.
A pruning saw and 15 minutes of sawing had the branch removed. Just one of the things you have to be able to attend to. I may now think about a chain saw..just in case.
The wind continues today and I watch the big trees bending in the winds, My plans to work in the garden on the fence for the chickens were not followed up.
The gals are all settling in well. Only two I believe are laying at this point in time. One egg is tiny and the hen lays one every three days at present. The other hen or two give me an egg every day/36 hours or so. The other girls will start laying in the next month or two.
I am surprised that one hen continues to sleep in her tree over night (gale winds last night). I did try putting her in the hen house one night; she is very much her own hen! Choosing the tree. Happy hens and happy me with lovely fresh eggs.
The days are lengthing as the ‘Georgian calendar welcomes Spring. Here in Australia Spring begins September 1st. It is quite interesting though as it does not really represent the beginning of the blossoms flowering beginning. My garden here in Tasmania has had daffodils, jonquils, flowering for over a month now. I imagine further north they have been blooming for longer.
The end of a beautiful sunny day even with the wind. I am so fortunate and thankful for all I have.
Even though we are staying home to keep safe, only leaving for essential shopping. Both the dogs and I have to exercise. We have a few ways we can go for a walk and today it was a matter of getting out when the rain stopped. As I looked down on my path I noticed some nasturtiums had self seeded (I have struggled for years to get them to grow here). My rhubarb in the front of the house has just taken off too. My nettles are growing and when a few more leaves develop I think I will try and make a nettle soup.
Of course Busby has to pop in on his mates Toby and Chubb, who live across the road and say good morning neighbours. The lichen and moss along the road edge. It is always different when we walk up the hill colours change, weather creates different impacts. This morning the cloud was lying low in the river valley where I live.
It was raining and has been raining off and on for five days now. With lower temperatures Autumn (Fall) is definitely showing her colours now in the valley. There are not a lot of native trees in my valley that are decidous so the colour on the hills and mountains change very little at this time.
There was a break in the clouds and the sun made a brief appearance and it became warmer as we were walking. I had left the fire going and was now thinking it may have been a mistake.
The clouds were beginning to come across and the sky was darkening as we got up the hill. That did not stop Miss Treacle and Busby from saying hello to one of our neighbours. I stayed several meters away to keep social distancing. The poplars are yellowing as the paddocks greening up after the rain and cooler temperatures.
As we walked back down the road it was getting darker, but the dogs were unconcerned. Busby was thirsty and a puddle was just the ticket. I ask you why do I give him clean water??
I stopped and looked at the blackberry climbing over the old garage on the road. There you have Autumn (Fall) and spring in one shot, I had to ponder at the Autumn leaves colour and on the very same vine new growth.
Busby stopped at our neighbours gate on the way home, in the hope his whines at Toby and Chubb might encourage their mum to come out and bring them out to play with him. It was not going to happen and Busby needed some encouragement to come home. Miss Treacle on the other hand was very willing as the first drops of rain were falling.
We just made it home before the wind and rain hit with a WHAMO!
If you look on the let side of the above photograph you will see a patch with yellow in it about halfway up that is over my area. We had timed it perfectly!
I enjoy taking photographs of the night sky. I have to apologise that these photographs have been changed from my 35mmdigital RAW format to JPEG and have lost some of the definition in the process. I am very fortunate to live in the far south of Tasmania and when the Aurora Australis or Southern Lights as they are also known. The Aurora has been very quiet for quite some time. So I thought I would share with you some photographs I have taken back on the 1st of May 2019 , 01/05/2019. This was a wonderful night and the Lady Aurora was resplendent in her colours.
What causes an Aurora, be it the Aurora Australis/Southern Lights or the Aurora Borealis/Northern Lights? Charged particles are the “ammunition” of an aurora. The short answer to how the aurora happens is that energetic electrically charged particles (mostly electrons) accelerate along the magnetic field lines into the upper atmosphere, where they collide with gas atoms, causing the atoms to give off light.Jun 19, 2001www.exploratorium.edu › learning_studio › auroras › happen My understanding is the different gases that are in the atmosphere give off different colors when gas atoms collide with these electrically charged particles.
The lights are seen around the magnetic poles of the northern and southern hemispheres. Auroras that occur in the northern hemisphere are called ‘Aurora Borealis‘ or ‘northern lights’ and auroras that occur in the southern hempishere are called ‘Aurora Australis‘ or ‘southern lights’.
The above photograph is interesting as it shows a formation in the Aurora known as a picket fence. The orange light to the right of the screen is a column.
Here You can see the beams and when I am taking these shots and review them you can see the beams swirling as the move across the sky.
More beams and the beautiful colour, with swirling beams and bright colours.
Many people get quite confused as here in Tasmania due to not being as far south it is very unusual to actually be able to see the Aurora Australis with only your eyes. When you are fortunate to see it with only your eyes it is usually more like grey to greenish movements or columns in the sky. If you are looking south and you see a glow like there is town and you know there is no town it could very well be an Aurora.
There are many aurora forecasting apps out there. The photographs you see are taken on long exposures usually with Digital 35mm cameras. Though some mobile phones can take photographs of the Aurora. You also really need to have a tripod or some sort of support, to keep the camera from moving, no matter how you believe you can hold your camera steady for 30+ seconds you can’t.
Here in Tasmania is not the only location in Australia you may be fortunate to see an Aurora Australis. Last Year there was an Aurora and we were clouded in almost all over Tasmania. Yet people in Western Australia, South Australia, and Victoria were getting a wonderful display.
People often ask me if they can come with me. I have to explain that sometimes when an aurora is forecast, it might be hours that I am out there and it might not be quite as good as predicted. Or I might just get out there because I woke at 2am to go to the toilet and noticed a brighter look in the sky to my south. I got in my car and just went to a friends paddock and set up. Sure enough the lady was visiting. She only stayed for a brief time. I was home in bed again by 3:30am
I may just go and it might only last for half an hour. Or as the last time I was out I was out from 10pm until sunrise. Sometimes I have driven to one of my spots only to find I have missed the show. I have sat hoping that she may start up again, but no.
It is why we call it Aurora hunting. We are fortunate that we have good night skies. I have seen wonderful photographs taken from the north of the state the midlands, cradle mountain, Bicheno, Swansea,Frecyinate , Port Arthur area. Of course New Zealand also has great views for Aurora Australis as to the Antartic.
Here in Tasmania in summertime when we do have Aurora because of daylight saving time it is very late when it gets dark. After 8;30pm at present, but in December it is almost 10pm before it is dark. In winter the cold is a problem and fog, sea mist, and again clouds. But it is all what makes the hunt so fantastic when You do get great shots.
Again I am so fortunate, to have this natural wonder occurring in my backyard.
I am so thankful to have experienced this wonderful display numerous times, and hope that some time in the near future the sun will again be having flares that will instigate the possibility of more opportunities for me and others to photograph the Lady Aurora.
I was heading to Cygnet to catch up with a friend at the bakery. Great food and coffee. Wonderful croissants. Local fruit ice cream and sorbets so delicious made on the premises too. It was Friday, and the Cygnet Folk Festival would be starting in the afternoon. Yet the town was already busy as organisational stuff and food trucks, venues and staging were all happening all the place. My friend and I enjoyed people watching. I had my dogs with me. They were petted and commented on by lots of people.
A walk around town was an interesting experience, even though the festival has not officially started there are lots of people about and some really strange things to see
I am not really sure what the idea of this really is but as far as contraptions go it was quite exceptional. A piano that when played light flames and smokes. I might see it at night when I imagine it will be even more awesome. My friend is playing it and one of my neighbours (the fire fighter tshirt) is looking at it. (you can see joyfully for me rain clouds forming, not so good for the festival.
My dogs and I went down to a lovely dog friendly spot down on the bay, and Miss Treacle and Busby had fun racing about sniffing and marking, as I took some photos. I was sitting watching some swans and cranes landing. As well as the sun slowly sinking behind the hills.
As the dogs were running around I was listening to some music coming from across the bay. I could hear beating drums and a beautiful voice. Looking back towards town (photo above )you can see white amongst the trees, tents and campervans fill the reserve and sadly access is not permitted to the locals who walk through it ever day or go to take their kids to the play area for the weekend. Or to see the birds in the bird sanctuary. It is only one weekend a year I guess. People pay to camp here about $40 for the weekend three nights .
To the left you can see the white tents, these are for Glamping accommodation at the festival
Two photos below are looking down over the main st.
It is a pretty valley and the township is settled adjacent to a lovely bay. Mindy you being an Island it is not hard to have water near you.
The end to the day was a little similar to the beginning in that we came across another native critter on the road. This time a wallaby eating grass on the side of the road. I stopped to let it get away without any danger from my car.
It is less than three seconds it moved and got away. They can be so hard to avoid on our roads, which is why I try to travel at 40km p/h especially during dawn and dusk but also at night when they are about.
I do apologise for the quality of these photos in this post. I had to change them from a SLR camera setting to a JPEg and it seems to have made a huge difference to the shots.
I do find that in among a lot of noise and people something I once enjoyed, I no longer do. I find myself enjoying the periphery of things. After walking through Cygnet today and listening to the music and the noise, traffic and smells. I was needing to get away from it. So I was really chuffed that there was no one else down on the point where the dogs and I spent a lovely time. My CPTSD does impact me greatly sometimes. I know I am better than I have been in quite a long time. I do come home from this sort of thing exhausted and just basically spend the next 24 hours in a semi immobile state. Hard to explain to people who have not experienced it. I do feel sometimes, that it is the after effects of going out and being part of the world/community place I live, is often what stops me. My progress here is that I now know this. I now accept this is me and my life in the present time. Instead of pushing myself and doing the expected I dont anymore. That in itself is a wonderful difference. Knowing my limits, and retreating. One of my favourite things is saying I am content with the discontent.
I love Echidnas! (also known as Spiny ant Eaters colloquially ). I have Echidnas who live and visit my garden and in the surrounding bush. I wanted to share what makes these animals so awesome.
The Long beaked (nose) Echidna found in the Highlands of New Guinea, Indonesian Papua, and the Short beaked (nose)found in Australia. Even though some people call them Spiny ant Eaters they are not related to them at all! Nor to Hedgehogs, Porcupines or Pangolins.
Long Beaked Echidna. are in danger even as they are eaten by indigenous people in the hills of New Guinea and Papua, They are also in danger from deforestation.
The Short Beaked Echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus) is the smaller of the two. In Tasmania you can often see them especially by the edges of the roads and even crossing the roads. Sadly as they move slowly they do get hit by cars.
I am very fortunate to have at least one living in and about my property. I will go into more about their territory and life in another post.
They are amazing and fascinating animals.
Mammals are a diverse group, but all mammals-
produce milk to feed their young
have hair or fur
have a unique jaw structure
Echidnas are mammals? Yes.
But they have spines (which are actually tough hair folicles). Yes but they also have fur to keep them insulated so in colder regions you will see that Echidnas have longer fur covering some of their spines. If you compare my local Echidna with the picture below of an Echidna from NSW with a warmer climates you can see that it has less fur covering its back. So yes they have fur. Check. You can see more of it in the curled up photo on the right below.
Mammals are warm blooded, yep Echidnas are warm blooded.
Echidnas and Platypus are Monotremes, they lay eggs and their babies hatch.
Echidnas breed in Winter. Now the mother doesn’t have a pouch all the time. It is pretty amazing how she creates one; she does this by contracting her abdominal muscles which then forms a fold which is secure enough to hold the egg and puggle after hatching. (WIRES Northern Rivers. http://www.wires.org.au) and a single soft shelled egg is laid (like birds and reptiles).
The puggle (a baby Echidna) hatches out of the egg after about 10 days. As it is developing the puggle will grow a tooth structure, like chicks have, known as a ‘egg tooth’ a small sharp structure on a chicks beak to help it break the shell and hatch. Watch the video (below) of a puggle hatching and see if you can spot its egg tooth. Puggles are born blind with no spines or fur and it will be about the size of a jelly bean 1.45cms and can weigh in at as little as 380milligms/0.0134041ozs! (https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/topics/animals-and-plants/native-animals/native-animal-facts/echidnas)
Since there is no nipple for the puggle to cling too it will cling to its mothers fur about her belly with its front legs that are incredibly developed and strong. but clings with its well developed front legs to the hairs on the mother’s belly.
Mammals feed their young milk. Check.
Whilst most mammals have nipples Monotremes do not. Instead in Echidnas the mother produces milk and it is excreted through the milk patches. Areas of the mothers stomach flat skin on either side of the pouch about where you would find teats or nipples on other mammals. The milk is excreted and the puggle will suckle at the patches not lick them. Patches are located on either side of the pouch approximately where one would expect a teat or a nipple to be.
The young laps at the milk patches, it does not suckle. Echidnas, the Different Mammal Dr. Peggy Rismiller OAM Anatomical Sciences, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia 5005
The puggle stays in the pouch for a further approximately 50 days until it starts to develop its spines, at which time mum will dig a nursery burrow in which she will leave the puggle. http://www.wiresnr.org/echidna.html The Puggle suddenly finds itself no longer clinging to its mother feeding when ever it desires warm snug and safe in its nestled in its mothers pouch. It now finds itself alone in a much cooler place where its mother will only return to feed it once every five days and it will only be with the puggle for a few hours. Echidnas, the Different Mammal Dr. Peggy Rismiller OAM Anatomical Sciences, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia 5005 (Rismiller 1999; Rismiller and McKelvey 2009)
It goes from clinging to the belly of its mother and having access to the milk patch at all times to being left alone in a cool (15 – 18°C) chamber .
Many of us have had encounters with these animals in the garden, where they may dig them selves in to the ground, if this happens it is due to the animal being frightened, leave it alone, remove the threat (usually the family dog) and the echidna will go on its way once it feels secure. We can not relocate an echidna, they are solitary animals and have a territory, and if removed from this territory they will make every effort to return, crossing unfamiliar territory, also as we do not know if it is a male or female it could have a puggle waiting in a hollow for the next feed. wires.org.au
If you are interested in reading more about Echidnas and their lives I will be posting more on these endearing unique animals.
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