Thursday, February 26, 2009

Koala Kingdom

Spot the koala


There he is!
When we first moved to our eight acres of eden over six years ago, we soon discovered that it was a haven for wildlife and a 'koala kingdom' with so many species of the gum tree favoured by these fabulous furry marsupials. However, my first wildlife encounter was with lizards, two rather large lizards or goannas - the lace monitors. On my first week day in my new home I was washing dishes at the sink, gazing out of the window thinking serene thoughts as I surveyed the bushland when I spotted them just outside the window, coming down the path to the kitchen door which was open. This was the first time I had ever seen lizards of such proportions , I'd seen them before of course, but only on wildlife documentaries. This was for real! I raced to close the door and I have to say it was several hours before I plucked up enough courage to venture outside. Perhaps they had come to check out the new neighbours but I wasn't ready for reptile visitors, I was thankful that it wasn't a snake but it was only a matter of time until my first meeting with a snake and it was memorable - inside the house! When we had viewed the house, I asked the owner if she ever had seen snakes close to the house. 'Oh no, they stay down in the bush, I haven't seen a snake for two years' She lied! On a warm summer day, about to enter the bedroom located off a breezeway, I glanced up and just inches above my head was the thickest tail of a snake I had ever seen. It belonged to a huge python or carpet snake as they are commonly called. The snake was disappearing into the wardrobe and most likely into the ceiling, it didn't take long to go but it seemed like an eternity to me, 'fight or flight' was obviously out of order, as I froze and called out 'snake, snake'! The children came running and were most disappointed to find that the python had gone. They christened him 'Arnie' and kept uttering 'I'll be back' to tease their poor, terrified mother! Since my first reptilian encounters, we have seen many more snakes and goannas, they have obliged and stayed away from the house. The only lizards that come inside are the leaf-tailed geckos and they are welcomed house guests. So, are the huntsman spiders but they are the reason my mother-in-law does not want to move to Australia! She lives in New Zealand which does not have snakes or poisonous spiders.

A welcome house guest

The wonderful thing about Australian wildlife is its sheer diversity. Birdlife abounds here and it is so colourful from rainbow lorikeets to king parrots and my personal favourite the regent bowerbird with its striking yellow markings on a black body. Native bees buzz, butterflies flutter on the breeze, frogs croak and in the summertime, the cicadas are so deafening, I'm going to have to hand out earmuffs to our visitors or learn sign language so we can communicate outside! This is a beautiful place to raise children, children who appreciate nature and love to observe God's creatures in their natural habitat, whether it is the honeyeaters hovering as they sip sweet nectar from flowers or a spider spinning a web, they are always enthralled. The novelty has never worn off.

The colours of Nature Rainbow lorikeets
Being the first to spot a mother koala with her baby on her back, was immensely satisfying for my eldest daughter. We soon realized that the loud grunting we heard at night was not a wild pig but a rather large male koala who has a particular fondness for the trees closest to our bedroom. It is peaceful here but not silent. Accompanying the koalas in the evening are the frog choirs competing in 'Amphibian Idol'! I do not know why we bother to set our alarm each morning as the chorus of laughing kookaburras rouses us from sleep, nice and early but we forgive them as we are early risers and like to be up and about by six. Giving our children the time and freedom to explore and discover nature and all its intricacies is so important. It creates in them a sense of wonder, provides sparks for their imagination and enrichment of their mind and spirit, as they become aware of Him who created it all - God the master designer, artist, creator.

A friendly frog - The green tree frog I encourage my children to record their special 'nature moments' in a family nature journal. I will share about our nature journals and other projects in a future post. Until then from eight acres of eden With love and joy, Ann

1 comment:

joolzmac said...

Hello Ann

I found your blog through Rhonda Jean's Down to Earth. It's nice to meet people from around our great land. I'm way down in the lower south east of South Australia. I haven't had a chance to read much of your blog but I'll return with a cuppa and do some back tracking. I have a quiche in the oven for tonight's dinner as we speak, so inspiring is Rhonda. I will post pics on my blog. Catch you later,

Cheers - Joolz

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