University Daze and Riverside Ramblings

Jacaranda skies

Well, it’s been an interesting couple of weeks here. A few highs and lows which are a natural part of life. Since surfing these emotional waves is not my forte, I planned to climb a mountain for some nature therapy.

I was hoping to regale you with sweaty tales of danger and delight as I scaled the summit of Mt Maroon, a class 5 walk requiring high fitness, navigational skills, and some rock scrambling with a 360 degree view as a reward. However, my dreams were short-lived as the heavens erupted the night before and I woke up to a warm, humid day with even more showers  and storms predicted.

Storms and rock scrambling do not mix. The weather probably saved my daughter from having to write an obituary post anyway. Disappointed but not defeated, I rang my son and asked him if he’d like a walk in Toohey Forest Park on the weekend. I woke  before my alarm went off as I do every time I’m going to a new hiking destination. While dunking my sugar and fat filled gingernut biscuits  into a mug of organic, ethically grown healthy green tea (they balance each other out) I was anticipating being able to write a riveting blog post about venomous snake encounters and fluffy koalas. A twinge in the abdomen as I left the house was ignored. Continue reading

The Geese Have Gone and I Am Cheering: Sherwood Arboretum and Wetlands

Sherwood Arboretum Wetlands

Sherwood Arboretum Wetlands

Well, there has been some drama of late. A family member was struck by a car recently while cycling home from work. He was fortunate to survive the incident but now has injuries which will take about six months to heal.   The driver of the car was  at fault according to the police report and unfortunately this is not uncommon where I live. I’m quite disheartened by the car-centric culture in my country although there have been some improvements.

As Michael Reilly recently wrote in an article explaining 18 Reasons Why Registering Bicycles  is a Bad Idea, “Even among people who don’t ride for transport, a survey showed 60% would like to do so – but many say they are too scared.”  Yes, here in the Lucky Country, many of us are too scared to ride a bicycle. After a few close calls I have even curtailed my own cycling activity.

Now  let’s move onto something more cheerful… Continue reading

Blue Serendipity: Mt Glorious Delivers – D’Aguilar National Park

blue-tiger-feeding- rainforest

I have a small addiction. It’s not exactly a harmful one, but it can  distract me from working occasionally and result in some frustration. I’ll be  tapping away intently at my laptop until a characteristic fluttering movement in my peripheral vision causes immediate physiological and emotional responses. An increased heart and breathing rate accompanied by an idiotic grin and a sudden compulsion to leap up and grab the closest available camera heralds the onset of the maddening condition known as “take-a-picture-of-a-butterfly-itis.” This condition can be intensified if the butterfly happens to be blue, my favourite colour. I’ve been told that blue is meant to be soothing, however it doesn’t seem to have that effect on me when I see it on a butterfly.

Until recently, the hyperactive movements of Blue Triangle and Blue Tiger butterflies have eluded capture by my lens. Following their meandering flight through my garden has not led to photographic satisfaction, so much so that I had even renamed them the Blue Teasers. A recent series of events contributed to me achieving a much longed for state of blue delirium though. Continue reading

Local Treasures – Wildlife Escapes in an Urban Environment

Water dragon

The most effective way to save the threatened and decimated natural world is to cause people to fall in love with it again, with its beauty and its reality. – Peter Scott

I remember what parks looked like when I was a child. Most were uninspiring patches of grass and prickles with one or two trees, a token swing set, a splintered wooden see-saw and a scarily tall slippery slide. I recall frying my rear end and upper legs on baking hot summer days as I zoomed down enormous shimmering  metal slides, often ending up   bruised and concussed  on a rock hard bed of concrete. While they seemed exhilarating at the time and we certainly learned to be physically tough, I do think the elaborate green spaces I see in cities today with their mini-forests, gardens, ponds and lakes are a vast improvement. They provide sanctuaries for wildlife  and much needed nature therapy for stressed residents. Continue reading

The Shortest Hike in the World

mantid

“Among the myrtles the mantids moved, lightly, carefully, swaying slightly, the quintessence of evil. They were lank and green, with chinless faces and monstrous globular eyes, frosty gold, with an expression of intense, predatory madness in them. The crooked arms, with their fringes of sharp teeth, would be raised in mock supplication to the insect world, so humble, so fervent, trembling slightly when a butterfly flew too close.” – Gerald Durrell, My Family and Other Animals.

It’s past midnight and the party is still going strong. It happens every night and I’m never invited. Instead, I lie tossing and turning, listening to their high-jinks, romantic interludes and  occasional fighting. That’s what happens when your backyard is a jungle in a street of manicured lawns and trimmed hedges. The possums move in! Continue reading