Summer has once again closed its doors and Autumn has opened its in turn. Autumn doesn’t necessarily mean a return to slumber for plants and wildlife in preparation for Winter, indeed, Autumn has brought to life any number of hitherto quiet things. Black Cockatoos are one notable aspect of Autumn, as they return from wherever they’ve hidden themselves during most of the summer months and have started making themselves known to all and sundry. A number of our trees are a favourite source of food for these cockatoos and they make the biggest mess possible while eating the nuts from the trees. It’s not enough that they discard the husks of the nuts, but they also cut branches from the trees in the process, tripling the mess.
And the Kookaburras seem to be increasingly active after a fairly quiet spell during the Summer months. They’re about in far greater numbers and are giving their ‘bush rooster’ moniker a fair pounding, be it in the High Country or right at home.
The plants are also beginning to note the change, with our Banksias returning to flower and the deciduous trees changing, dropping leaves and beginning to show the traditional fiery red colours of Autumn, while others are rapidly dropping their leaves in readiness for the long sleep. That said, our gums don’t know one season from the next and just keep dropping branches and leaves with their business as usual attitude.
And on this year’s Easter Holidays on the Nunniong Plains in the High Country, the Autumn wildflowers were everywhere, with many different varieties in both the dry scrub and moister swamps.
This Autumn is also the year when I hope to plant our walnut tree. I picked up this tiny sprout several years ago when we camped in the Mitchell River National Park under a grove of walnut trees and there were a number of walnuts in the grove that had sprouted under the large branches. I love European trees so I thought it would be great if I could give at least one of these a chance at life in a not too dissimilar environment. So I picked one, wrapped it in damp paper towel and put it in a plastic zip bag, while keeping an eye on it over the next few days of travel. As things turned out, it’s done supremely well and has thrived in its pot, such that it’s ready for formal planting in our yard.
I’m not sure if it’s an Autumn thing or not, as I’ve not seen them previously, but these were some of the more unusual critters to be found in the High Country. The brumbies were also on the move, as they always are, but I didn’t manage to get any shots this time, as I wasn’t prepared, and they did come very close.
Mossvale Park is also changing its clothes in preparation for Winter and with that comes a series of wonderful colours as the cold weather has its effect on the landscape.
And of course Autumn brings with it a mixture of rain and sunshine and, when the sun peeks through the storm clouds, our two hounds enjoy all that they can get.
Some people don’t like Autumn all that much, as it’s a precursor to Winter, but for others it’s a nice time of year because of the colours and changes that occur; the never ending cycle of life.