About Me

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I've been a Canberran since moving here from Adelaide on the first day of 1980. I now live in suburban Duffy with my partner Louise Maher, ABC 666 radio and on-line journalist. Among my early memories is following Sleepy Lizards (Shinglebacks) around the paddocks north of Adelaide, guarded by the faithful bull terrier. I have always been passionate about the natural world, trying to understand how it works, how the nature of Australia came to be, and sharing those understandings. My especial passions are birds, orchids and mammals. For much of my life I have been a full-time naturalist, running bush tours, writing books etc, doing consultancies, presenting a regular radio slot on local ABC, chairing a government environment advisory committee and running adult education classes. Recently I have eased back somewhat, but am still writing, teaching, doing some radio work and running overseas tours - as part of my fascination with our Gondwanan origins I've been running tours to South America for the past decade. I was awarded the Australian Plants Society Award in 2001 and the Australian Natural History Medallion in 2006, both for services to education and conservation. In January 2018 I was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for 'service to conservation and the environment'.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Mottlecah Opening

Mottlecah, Eucalyptus macrocarpa, is one of most dramatically-flowering of all eucalypts, though the tree itself is small and scrubby (of mallee form, multi-stemmed, growing from a subterranean lignotuber). The silvery stalkless leaves are up to 12cm long, while the magnificent red flowers are more than 10cm across! Nearly all eastern Australian eucalypts are white-flowered and are unusually generalist in their pollinators - birds, insects and bats are all involved - but many of the Western Australian species, including Mottlecah, specialise in birds, especially honeyeaters such as the Western (Little) Wattlebird.
Mottlecah, Yandin Lookout Road, north of Perth.
Above, bud cap about to drop to reveal the flower.

Back tomorrow!

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