I inherited a perfectly neat and serviceable but boringly plain shed when I moved here.

It happened to be green, with a reddish trim. I fancied a Virginia Creeper might suit, but doubted it would creep up smooth tin like this.

The nursery couldn’t guarantee it would.

I took the chance.

But very slowly, those little sucker paws struggled up, with a bit of support from wires to start with, as guides.

After one year, it had managed this much.

And yet now, by its second year, it has taken over the shed beautifully, the colours matching. It gives me great pleasure to see it.

Colour aside, I do know why it has done so well, because when I emptied a compost bin nearby I found its roots had found their way in at the base.

Compost well spent!

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The greyheaded flying fox colony in Wingham Brush is enormous: about 200,000 at peak times.

As the sun hits their trees in the morning, the chatter and activity sounds like every bit of a peak time.

I am fascinated by these creatures, watching their deft acrobatics as they stretch a wing or hang by one ‘foot’. Their soft fur looks like golden peach fuzz in the sunshine, and their pointed ‘foxy’ faces dare anyone to call them ugly or scary.

To fit so many into this colony, they are of necessity crowded, but the chatter and movement doesn’t sound irritable; it sounds like morning gossip.

‘So, how did you go last night?’

Where the sun is less strong as yet, they are tightly bundled in their leather cloaks, strung like Christmas baubles.

These two were interacting without fuss, but what was the larger one doing to its smaller mate?

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In the reclaimed Brush at Wingham, Brush Turkeys abound. In daytimes, they are usually seen scratching amongst the leaf litter.

Today I entered the Brush on the still-dark side. It was too early for their routine, and I caught them napping. This was the first time I had seen them roosting on branches.

Neither of these looked happy at being disturbed.

You can see from the overall shot how dark it was in their part of the Brush — and why the photos are not great! 

But a little further on the daylight had penetrated to the ground and other Turkey families were at it already.

Amongst the gloom I was struck by this Strangler Fig in a very real pose of strangling. Can I watch that with my Jacaranda?

As a farewell treat, the early sunlight perfectly highlighted this small spiderweb in my path.

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I urge you to watch this film with your family, to recommend it, to share it and/or show it to groups.

Al Gore’s film woke many of us up. David Attenborough sums it up and shakes us hard, in this excellent and comprehensive documentary.

It covers the varied causes, the current status, the possible tipping points, like the release of ice-trapped methane, and the likely solutions. 

Not all solutions are yet to be invented, like TREES! And yet deforestation, clearing and burning, is the cause of one-third of carbon emissions.

Many different experts in their fields tell us why we are at this point, and the voices of now, like Greta Thunberg, tell us why that point is so urgently in need of action.

This film reminds us with an electric jolt why we need to make this election a climate change one.

Our own actions matter. but we – and our world –  are running out of time. We need leaders to see that it is in their hands NOW to take us forward to a future that is not catastrophic.

How many election terms until 2050 when we must be at zero carbon emissions??

Mr Shorten, methane will warm the atmosphere 21 times faster than carbon dioxide; still think subsidising fracking for gas is a good plan?!I

This is no short clip; but it is no simple matter.

Again, I urge you to watch it all, with your family, to recommend it, to share it and/or show it to groups

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Arranged like a tableau on stage, these fungi glowed at me from the gloom of the Rainforest Walk in the Australian Native Botanical Gardens in Canberra. Unsurprisingly, the climate of Canberra is not great for rainforest plants, so frequent misting is needed to keep plants happy.

Waiting until a break in misting episodes seemed sensible, pretty as it was.

I walked alongside the little stream, and was astonished by these giant strappy plants. A little further on, I found the name peg: their common name is Stream Lilies! Or more properly, the rather ugly Helmholtzia glaberimma.

Native to New South Wales and Queensland rainforests, they can apparently grow up to two metres high.

The misting left the spiderwebs as beautifully bejewelled as dew can. The ‘stump’ of a tree fern here provided the perfect framework for the diamond-hung strands.

Other less-ambitious spiders took advantage of even the low ground covers, with hundreds of ultra fine mini nets.

Older tree fern trunks, with their many broken-off leaf bases, were home to a stunning variety of life — unidentified, unimagined, but applauded.

And it seems fitting to end as I began, with fungi, always treasure to be sought on rainforest floors. This sole flower-like specimen of brassy gold was yet so well camouflaged I might have missed it. Again, I applaud.

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On the mid north coast of New South Wales, there are many secret small coves like this one, usually in national parks and accessed by foot.

You may see another person or two there, but seldom more.

But other creatures actually live there! Like this perfectly camouflaged tiny crab, who kept disappearing and then popping back up at my feet, to scuttle further away.


The tide being low, the bands of evidence of other cove dwellers were in plain sight – the shell homes of upper level barnacles and then those of the galeolaria worms. Almost perfectly demarcated.

This was not a marine rock platform, so there were lower tide dwellers, plant or animal, but I found a few at the feet of the densely populated rocks.

The shore bound rocks are even more spectacular, sliced and split and stacked so very neatly. Nature is amazing!

It can also be amazingly peaceful… and pristine… and people-free…

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I am bordered on two sides by tall trees – casuarinas, camphor laurels and cadaghi (Corymbia torelliana), with lower growing myrtles and pittosporum and melaleucas. I hear heaps of birds that I rarely see.

One I have often heard – or thought I had – is the Powerful Owl (Ninox strenua). Its mournful, slow ‘woo-hoo’ has wafted up from the forest to my verandah and my study windows so many times but I have never been able to locate it in time to see it. And I am a visual person, so evidence of the eyes is what will convince me.

Now I have been not only been able to see it, but manage one discernible photo image, much zoomed, before it took off.

No doubts: a Powerful Owl!

More commonly seen in the higher rise branches is the White-headed Pigeon, but these look like a pair: the male (on the left) and the less dapper, or less vividly contrasting plumaged female, which I have not seen before.

Oh, I am so fortunate that I still have this proximity to an arboreal high rise and its inhabitants!

I love the large Jacaranda tree outside my house, even if it is an introduced tree that self-seeds rather too readily.

But over the last year I have watched a Strangler Fig that some passing bird has seeded in the Jacaranda fork steadily grow larger.

But eventually it will ‘strangle’ the host, as I see so many enormous ones have done in the Wingham Brush. They would be food for the Greyheaded flying foxes and the Whiteheaded Pigeons I see here.

But the Jacaranda is deciduous and allows my solar panels winter sun; the fig will not.

But just look at the spiderwebs in that fork and the fig roots inching earthwards. This is a natural process; I don’t feel I have the right to intervene, like a gardener.

But perhaps I can prune the fig tree later, to keep it from shading my panels…

Flush with fungi

March 25, 2019

With rain every few days and humidity almost liquid — or it is on my person! — fungi are thriving. Nothing spectacular or colourful, some rather shy and delicate, but each different in an unassuming way. And the large colony amongst my raised garden beds is still renewing itself, growing larger and more fleshy each […]

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Nannas sash-on for Water

March 11, 2019

What better way to mark International Womens Day 2019 than for 120 KNAGs (Knitting Nannas against Gas/Greed) from all over NSW to converge on Sydney to get their message out, ‘United to Protect our Water’. In a yellow and black tide, red-rimmed for solidarity with their indigenous sisters, they met in Martin Place. I’m an […]

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From camouflage to cappuccino

March 4, 2019

Spot the odd one out amongst the horse poo and mulch chips? I nearly didn’t. But then the choc-chip coated drumstick swam into focus and could not be unseen. Looking about, I spotted two more beside the raised garden bed, still in the same rough mulch. It’s been so dry, I was surprised to see […]

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Travelling Huntsman

February 8, 2019

I was used to spiders seeking shelter from wet weather but in these very hot days–  and more days – and more days, I have had a Huntsman spider come inside. For the first day he was high up in the kitchen, near the manhole, so I assumed that was the entry point. Next day […]

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