Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Koala Count


The Koala count...

this morning
I came across 
a familiar shape
resting in a gum tree
soaking up the early sun

a new koala...
how exciting

a young juvenile
I think

with a soft fuzzy brown face

changing trees
to settle
for the day...

So now we have met
Grandfather Grey Butt

Speckled Butt

Last night at dusk
I met Red Eye
a very fearless koala
who was walking 
along the track
stopping to chat
with sunset strollers 
and joggers
and very sprightly
clambered up a gum tree

He was scratching his face
his eye red
indicating he has the koala disease
My camera batteries had died
so no image of Red Eye

and today
we have encountered
Brown face

So if what the Wildlife Volunteer 
told me is true
that there are less than ten koalas
left in the park
we have now met four 
of the inhabitants
and I am still looking...


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Grasshopper in Green


Mr Green

I went out for a walk
just before dusk
and thinking of Meri
stopped to look at the vine
that grew the curly flower
I showed you yesterday

I bent over the vine
 parted the leaves
and I came eye to eye
with Mr Green himself

as verdant and vibrant
as his surroundings

he watched me 
from his single eye
the one I could see

and pretended he wasn't there
and he almost wasn't
such was his wonderful camouflage
so I left him
to continue with his chomping
through the green
and continued on my way


Monday, March 29, 2010

Coastal Cinquain

Coastal Cinquain

High seas
heave rolling sets
of hollow waves to shore
eager young ones sprint through the tracks
to surf

And me
I stand and watch
under the pandanus
above me a cicada thrums...


five lines
with syllables:


thanks Dan...


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Lush Green


Lush Green

In the few weeks
that I was away
the coastal forest
and bush
have been transformed...

from dessicated 
brittle dry brown
to lush green

the hillsides have become 
cloaked in regal emerald

new life springs
and curls
from leafy growth

and wild green
paints the landscape 

little flying beetles
do the pollination dance
on hibertia scandens

tender wild violets
lean towards 
the soft morning sun

the painted lady
has been in her makeup box

even the rocks
at the ocean's edge
have taken on a green hue
to keep in context

the dry grasses
are festooned with wildflowers

weird flower heads emerge

lush green
has come...
for its season


Ants or Termites

Ants or Termites

My post yesterday discussed the ant tunnel 
that I came across on my walk
I think perhaps the little critters are termites 
or white ants as they are known here.
While fascinating these creatures they can cause
much damage to wooden structures.

At Meri's suggestion I did a bit of googling 
and found an Australian website 
that included the comparison sketches below...

Alates are reproductive termites with wings. 
The others don't have wings
Termites can belong to the subterranean group 
and live in colonies with up to two million inhabitants

How on earth do they know what they are doing...

In warmer climates they like to be above ground

Drywood termites,
the ones we find here,
feed on wood from which they draw moisture.
The tubes or tunnels are made from soil, wood and saliva
Dry wood termites live in smaller colonies 
with about 3000 members.

The termites like to keep in tunnels to avoid predators
who can be ants, aardvarks and birds

The critters come above ground 
to look for food and to raise their larvae...

Now we know a little more about this amazing family
who can chomp their way through your house. 

In Kauai it is not uncommon to see houses tented
in colourful stripes like circus tents
They are being fumigated for the white ant.

Reproductive (alates)
Termite (left) and ant (right)
Line drawing 
showing the differences between winged reproductive termites and ants 
(alates). Termites have a narrow waist and antennae are beadlike and not
 elbowed in shape         

Termite (left) and ant (right)
Line drawing 
showing the differences between soldier (worker) termites and ants. 
Termites don't have eyes and the abdomen ends broadly, never with a 

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Drawing a line in the Sand


Drawing a Line
in the sand...

when I was walking
the coastal track
this morning
I came across a line
drawn in the sand

at first I thought
it may have been 
a column of furry caterpillars
that like to travel 
tip to tail
and give off a putrid stench 
if touched

but when I looked closely
I saw that it was a marvelous
feat of structural engineering

it stopped at a fallen leaf
where the ants were congregated

and from there
some of the tunnel
was only in wall stage
looking like a pin ball maze

while other sections
were nearing completion
nearly sealed over

and I wondered...
how can this architectural wonder exist
how do the grains of sand stick together
how does the roof stop from falling in
do the ants climb on each others' shoulders to build the roof
what is the tunnel's purpose
do the ants not like the sun
or the rain

what function does the tunnel perform
how long had this building taken
how many workers were employed
how do they know which section to work on...

It was still early morning
and few joggers and walkers 
had made their way
along the track...

Within an hour
the tunnel would be trodden on 
and destroyed
by feet oblivious
to the structural masterpiece
created during the night
in the sand...

would the ants start again
or would it be time
to draw a line in the sand...

who would make the decision to quit
would there be a consensus
do ants have telepathic communication...


Friday, March 26, 2010

Koala Rescue


 Koala Rescue
in the National Park

At the end of my walk 
early this morning
I came across
a wonderful couple
who had rescued an old
and ailing koala

 He had been noticed 
by walkers last night
at the foot of a tree
skinny and weary
too weak to climb

Unable to find him in the dark
they went searching 
early this morning
and tracked him down 
in the bushy undergrowth

I wondered whether
Grandfather koala
shown above,
as koalas tend to keep
to the same foraging corridors
and territory

He will be taken
to the wild life hospital 
and cared for

The lady told me
that there are fewer than ten koalas
in the whole 
Noosa National Park
and where it was once common
to have a sighting
they are now rare
Development and disease
have taken their toll
on the koala community

I think that we have been very lucky
to have had Speckled Butt
as a neighbour

even if only 
for a brief period.
I have not seen him since
the day I posted
of his slumbers

The lady was excited 
to hear of Speckled Butt
Every sighting is good news
when you have a population
dwindling throughout the state

such as these volunteer workers
are so admirable.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Early Morning Sounds


at early morning
on my walk


Cicada songs float
out over the briny drifts
soft footfalls on sand


Waves wash over stones
while far above Granite Bay
Splendid Blue Wrens sing


Thank you Dan
for inspiring me 
to capture these sounds
in Haiku


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Pandanus Parable


The Pandanus Parable

In the few weeks
that I have been away
our corner of the state
has received its entire annual rainfall
and more...

the dams are full
and the trees and plants 
are leaping greenly...

when I walked 
into the National Park 
this morning
I saw lush green
but it is not lush 
that I am going 
to tell you about today,
that is the content 
of a future post

I want to tell you 
the Pandanus Parable

When I first moved to Noosa
many moons ago
if you had told me that 
pineapples grew on trees
I would have believed you
not knowing that they grow
in straight rows 
on the ground
like cabbages

but these fruit aren't pineapple
they are the fruit 
of the Pandanus tree

A few years ago
a terrible blight,
a virus,
spread down the Sunshine Coast
attacking all the Pandanus trees
and many
like the one above
lost their limbs
and their multiple heads
And it appeared as if 
the entire population of Pandanus 
was doomed

the Pandanus 
is a gorgeous tree
with a deeply textured 
chicken poxed trunk

and sweeping sculptural limbs 
that arc out over the ocean
and the blue skies
in striking architectural form

it grows along the walking track
in the rocks

precariously clings
to rocky escarpments

and has an amazing root system
the tree throws out
aerial roots
for support
and ballast

to brace itself 
against the prevailing wind
or to hold the trunk upright
on a sloping gradient

the pineapple like fruit
are found way out
on the end of a limb

from where the seeds 
are dropped by munching birds
like the cockatoo
or nibbled on 
by the marauding brush turkey,
when the fruit has fallen
to the ground

and a new plant
will spring up 
over time

today I noticed
that the forest 
was full 
of healthy pandanus trees

the trees had regenerated 
from their ordeal
after a period of endurance
and recovery
the trees are once again flourishing

the Pandanus parable
is a story of persistence
in the face of great odds
of tenacity and resilience
of stoicism and faith
of toughing it out 
and never giving up

It is a story 
of regeneration
and new life...

It is a triumph