June 2016 Field Visit – Winter Textures at Willans Hill

Yesterday I went for a mosey up Willans Hill in Wagga Wagga.

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It’s been very cold and wet recently, and yesterday was no exception – cold, cloudy and damp underfoot – so I wasn’t sure what I would see. As it turned out, I saw a lot of Red Wattlebirds (Anthochaera carunculata) feeding on White Box flowers (Eucalyptus albens).

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Not much else was active in the patch I visited, so I decided to look more closely at the inactive lifeforms present. It turned into a bit of a study of the textures and colours found in a box-dominated woodland in winter.

Red Gum bark:

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Mosses and lichens:

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Borer holes:

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Flowers and flower buds:

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Fungi:

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Fibrous bark:

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New growth:

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Other things that caught my eye:

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4 thoughts on “June 2016 Field Visit – Winter Textures at Willans Hill

  1. A.M. Valenza June 30, 2016 / 10:52 pm

    I really like the Wattlebird, that’s a very serious face there. So everything’s sleeping where you are, huh? How cold does your area get usually? Compared to fall/winters where I am, as you’ve seen, that’s a lot of plant growth still. Although, barring subzero (farenheit) temperatures, we do get the mushrooms and some tenacious molds/fungi.

    *clicks tongue* Your lichens are so much prettier. Like little star-blooms!

    Like

    • riverinawildlife July 1, 2016 / 12:33 am

      I enjoy watching Wattlebirds, there’s a lot around at the moment, and they’re always fun to watch because they’re big, noisy and argumentative (which pretty much describes most Australian birds really). I had two fighting quite fiercely outside my window the other day – coincidentally while I was reading a book chapter about them and their relatives. My favourites are Friarbirds though, I’ll have to try and get some photos of a Friarbird – they look kind of ugly in photos, but I’ve always really liked them. (There’s some pics here: http://www.birdsinbackyards.net/species/Philemon-corniculatus)

      I wouldn’t say everything’s sleeping as such; insects, reptiles and microbats tend to hide away until it warms up, and plant growth slows up a bit, but we don’t get anywhere near as cold here as you get, and there’s always something flowering somewhere, and birds and kangaroos and things stay active all year, it’s just that on particularly cold and wet days everything likes to cuddle up and keep out of the cold as much as possible. Around here lately day temperatures have been up to 13-15 degree Celsius, and down between around 4 degrees and zero overnight. It can go a few degrees below zero overnight in the middle of winter, and we’re within a few hundred kilometres of the snowfields, so we get some quite chill winds coming through. In Fahrenheit it would be between the high fifties and low thirties I guess. By your standards that’s probably not cold at all, right? It’s definitely cold enough for me to go piling on the blankets at night though. And complaining about my drafty house to anyone who will sit still for long enough.

      I love looking at lichens and mosses up close, especially when they’ve had some water and are perking up after drying out in summer. It’s so easy to just walk past them and not notice, but they’re always really pretty and interesting up close, so I like to stop and have a look whenever I can.

      Liked by 1 person

      • A.M. Valenza July 1, 2016 / 3:41 am

        *laughing* My first thought at seeing the Friarbird was, “Uglh! It’s got the head of a vulture with the body of a pigeon!” *dies laughing* That is one awkward looking bird!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. riverinawildlife July 1, 2016 / 1:14 pm

    I have slowly come to realise that the vast majority of my favourite birds and animals (but birds in particular) are ones that look weird or ridiculous. Friarbirds look slightly less stupid and ugly in person, or maybe that’s just because I normally see them amongst vegetation and my eyesight is poor. 😛

    Liked by 1 person

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