• Ian

The dry continues - fires, orchids and cockatoos

Updated: Apr 8, 2021

It rained - a little. Enough to wet the dust.

Just nine millimetres for the month of September. August was just fourteen millimetres. At least it rained, I suppose. Two years ago it didn't rain for three months straight. Maybe that is when the dry really started here. Of course it had been dry over the range for a while by then, years in some places.

The dry creeps up. You don't really notice it at first. It gets dry but then it gets a little wet again. Around here it can get really wet sometimes but it rarely gets really dry. Not like now. The Clarence is considered sub tropical, with a wet season in summer but that didn't happen this last summer.

Gradually the streams slowed to a trickle. You can see it but you don't notice too much. Then the trickle turns to a puddle here and there. The wildlife start to congregate around these. Birds, wallabies, water dragons and more. Then gradually these puddles dried up.

Paperbark in the dry wetland
Fog still appears in the mornings sometimes mixed with smoke leaving an stunning but eerie scene

The young forest running along our little, now dry, creek is suffering severely. The trees are shedding their leaves. The cork wood trees are particularly hard hit, some begin to die or drop leaves opening the view through the understory. Plants don't die quickly. They hang on but now they are dying. You can see splotches of brown through the bush and along the ridges as trees die.

We found a dead fruit bat recently. It must have just dropped out of the tree. Our neighbour has found several. They are dying from starvation. Although our red gums are now flowering they aren't providing enough food for them.

On the lower areas the banksias are turning brown. Many animals rely on the flowering banksias for food. They will flower next year. Even if it rains there will be a lack of food then.