It’s another wet and windy day in paradise, so not much to do but sit it out. It also means I haven’t got a lot to type about (as opposed to write about, given I’m using the keyboard). So I’m going back a little and posting about some photos I’ve taken in recent months here. In fact, what I’m posting about today is one of the great things about living here in Tea Gardens, which differs a great deal from other places I have lived down Newcastle and Lake Macquarie way and that is the abundance of wildlife around here. Sadly we have managed to kill of most of the wildlife down around Newcastle, or at the very least drove it all away. Here it abounds and I love it being so.
I’m not talking about just the smaller animal and bird species you might expect to find in a suburban area, but even the bigger examples of wildlife also. Kangaroos and Wallabies can be found all over the place in this area and it isn’t unusual to see them bounding down the main street in numbers. In fact, sadly, you often find them as road kill on the main road out to the highway. Where I work we have smaller wallabies and kangaroos actually living in and amongst the homes, with joeys in their pouches as well. The odd Dingo can also be seen from time to time. Koalas are known to live in healthy numbers around the area – not that I have spotted one here yet.
Reptiles abound here also, with large numbers of Red Belly Black Snakes, Diamond Pythons (pictured at above left) and Tree Snakes readily found in the warmer months, along with Blue-Tongued Lizards and Goannas. I have seen some Goannas that have been at least 1 metre long. Some of the Diamond Pythons have been closer to 2 metres in length.
It is the bird life that really thrives around here, especially the wetland varieties. The area is rich in bird life. At work you can see on a daily basis Wattle Birds, Blue Wrens, Finches, various Parrots and Rosellas, Black Cockatoos, Galahs, Water Fowl, Wood Ducks, Ibis, Egrets, Spoonbills, Herons, Black Swans and many, many more species of birds. There are the rarer sightings of birds also. A Tawny Frogmouth (pictured at below right) has made its home near where I live, trying its best to look like part of the tree in which it chooses to roost.
The area also abounds in sea life, of various types and sizes. It is not unusual to have Humpback Whales sighted of the coast here and Dolphins can be spotted almost every morning if you know where to look. The Sting Rays are also easy spot at the right time of the day.
You do get your not so welcome species of wildlife also, such as mosquitos and sand flies, but I guess these play their part in the general run of things, being food perhaps for the more welcome members of wildlife society.
One of the things I’m doing down here, tieing in my interest in web applications and social networks, is being involved with the Project Noah social network. This is a place to log wildlife spots with GPS markings using the iPhone application, along with the web application. I haven’t long been involved in it, but it is something I will be doing more and more. It will be good to build up a more complete picture of what species live in the area. Others can get involved in recording and mapping the wildlife of the area here by joining the ‘mission’ I have started at Project Noah.
The mission I have started for Tea Gardens can be found at:
It was the official first day of Spring here in Australia. However, Spring has really been with us here for quite some weeks now, given the very warm days and bushfires we have already experienced. In fact August 2009 was the hottest on record.
Given that it is Spring it is time for a new season of new growth in the gardens and of new birth in the surrounding wildlife here in Tea Gardens (though it isn’t that clear cut obviously) and there is plenty of wildlife here.
On the way home from work today I was swooped by a Magpie – several times. The Magpie does this in its breeding season to drive off potential threats to its nest and young. Recently I have also been savagely swooped by the local plovers, which attack with even more ferocity than the Magpie.
The plovers had been defending their nest for some weeks prior to their eggs hatching. Their nest was beside the artificial lake in the centre of the village where I work at Tea Gardens Grange. The nest is just a small spot on the ground on which the eggs are laid. In this case their were four. They seemed to sit on the eggs for between 4 and 6 weeks before the young were hatched – swooping the entire time if you ventured too close, as well as making plenty of noise. One of the adults sometimes seemed to pretend to have a bad leg as it hobbled away from the nest in an attempt to get any threats to follow it.
At the moment there are two remaining chicks that are growing fairly rapidly now. The parents are still defending their young with menace.