The changing colours and fallen leaves in the cooler months provide carpets of colour and an important refuge for many small creatures. Woodlouse, Centipedes, Millipedes, Ants, Spiders, Earthworms and others can be seen busily devouring decomposing matter or searching for food. All these contribute to the life-force of our gardens. Observing too their predators like the beautiful Common green tree frog (Litoria caerulea) adds an element of interest especially when conversations are shared. What do you enjoy in your back yard? Perhaps it’s a blue tongue lizard, an unusual insect or a favourite bird. I recall a few days ago when a flock of six magnificent black cockatoos flew overhead. It was the start of a new day and their characteristic long wailing cry of kee-ah kee-ah echoed across the blue skies. Looking and listening from my front verandah, I knew they would soon be landing and feeding in their habitat trees, the Casuarina.

A supply of fresh, clean, drinking water in a shallow dish is the easiest way to encourage birds to our home gardens. Our birdbath has views from the kitchen window so their amusing antics and charming chorus provides us with endless entertainment. In addition it is a good idea to provide suitable shelter, food and shade by planting native shrubs or small trees. These can include Bottlebrush, Grevillea, Hakea, Eremophila and Midgem Berry. Within the South Burnett we have a wide range of bird species and both Peter and I have found bird identification apps really helpful for identifying any unfamiliar feathered friends. Their calls can be recorded or their picture can be matched to their call. I played the Magpie song from an app to the bird in the branch above and by the twist of his head I’m sure he was impressed I could now speak Magpie.

Highly recommended is a family friendly facebook group “South Burnett Natural History”. It is a wonderful resourcewhere photos can be posted and information shared. Anything to do with the flora, fauna and geology of the South Burnett can be discussed with “Emphasis on a deeper understanding of the natural history of the local area.” Skilfull photography and opportunities for asking questions within this group are enjoyed by many people who feel we can all benefit from appreciating our surroundings and observing nature. My observation this afternoon was the trickle of water and whistling of the wind through the needled Casuarina leaves while noticing some tiny red flowers at the ends of the branches. It was a good feeling to observe something on the banks of the Stuart River I had not noticed before. While doing this a wallaby stopped and stared curiously before bounding away again.

“Happy Gardening” from your local gardening enthusiast, Romaine Undery.

Photo credits –

  • Green tree frog – Romaine Undery
  • Joey – Alwyn Campbell
  • Double barred finch – Alwyn Campbell
  • Hover fly – John McAleer
  • Common grass yellow – John McAleer
  • Red-winged parrot – John Coborn