Tuesday, 14 July 2020

After the Megafires

The rains came in January and February… thankfully…

…because in the preceding months, our region was scorched by an unprecedented number of wild fires, with an enormous impact on people and their homes, and on nature, local environments and our beautiful wildlife.

Our valley was spared the conflagration, but regardless, our local wildlife suffered heavily, their primary sources of food destroyed. This suffering was so severe that a regional wildlife charity provided free sustenance for our starving animals and birds. From January until early May, when the regrowth was considered sufficient to sustain our wildlife, local outlets such as garden nurseries and hardware stores provided a supply of pellets for wallabies and kangaroos, and a seed mix for our birdlife.

From this point, I will tell the story in photos…

At the height of the drought, a thirsty Swamp Wallaby seeks water from a bird bath. Without substantial rain for months, our local environment, bordering a wetland, was devoid of groundwater to sustain the animals. This wallaby, which we have named Molly, regularly comes close to the home...

The aftermath... Molly 'stands' to drink at the bird bath... which is no more.
After Molly's 'accident', we provided water at ground level for the animals. This was placed with the free kangaroo pellets obtained from local stores.

A hungry crow samples one of the pellets provided for the wallabies. For some months, the crows returned to the feeder tray to sup along with the wallabies.
February... The rains had come but the birds were starving. On one occasion, we were visited by 30 galahs, young and old.

A flock of White-Headed Pigeons comes to feed... It was as if there was a booking sheet for dinner. Each species of bird seemed to arrive together. Crested Pigeons and Bar-Shouldered Doves would form one party, then a party of Galahs, then White Headed Pigeons, and finally Rainbow Lorikeets, Musk Lorikeets and Eastern Rosellas. If one could infer human traits to this behaviour, one might say that this was a wonderful example of cooperation during a crisis. 

Mercifully, the extended drought and the fires have departed for the moment. The rains came in January, followed by an absolute deluge in February. Since, then, however, we have experienced average rainfall: this has given the wildlife some chance to recover, the feeder tray and the water basin being less-often visited now in July.

I keep my fingers crossed for a continuation in the rains into the future so that our ravaged environment, our people and animals can recover.

During these dangerous times of spreading Coronavirus, please stay safely at home as often as you are able. Wishing you hours of enjoyment and contentment in your garden…