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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. I am now 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. 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. As part of my fascination with our Gondwanan origins I've been running tours to South America for the past few years.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

On This Day, 5 January; the big wet

As I write this, it's 38 degrees C outside (and in my study!), about 10 degrees above our long-term average maximum for January. In many places in south-eastern Australia it's well over 40 at present. There's not much rain around, and numerous fires are burning. From down here it's hard to imagine that on this day in 1979 Mount Bellenden Ker, behind Cairns in tropical Queensland, received 1140mm of rain in 24 hours! That month they got 5387mm (ie over 5 metres); their annual average is 8500mm. (Across Australia the average is 165mm...) Mind you, parts of the western slopes of the Andes in north-west Ecuador and south-west Colombia get double that each year.

The mountain was named by Phillip Parker King, for a curious character called John Bellenden Ker, editor of the Botanical Register in London. He was born John Gawler, but at the age of 40 sought and received royal permission to change his name to John Ker Bellenden; having achieved his odd aim, he proceeded to call himself Bellenden Ker... Please don't ask me. He did however get this rather nice Tasmanian shrub named for him.
Bellendena montana, family Proteaceae, Cradle Mountain National Park.
These are the fruit.
Meantime we await a bit of rain - not a metre preferably! - down here.
Spotted Catbird, (near!) Mt Bellenden Ker.
Back Monday.

4 comments:

Flabmeister said...

I have posted about the day's weather in our area: http://franmart.blogspot.com.au/2013/01/the-weather-of-5-january-2013.html

Martin

madoqua said...

It has been a hot weekend. Hereabouts our thermometer registered a max of 46C yesterday. Definitely preferable to chilly winter temperatures, but maybe a bit too warm!!

Ian Fraser said...

Strewth! Yes, I much prefer hot weather to cold, but 46 is pretty challenging... Hope you've got a nice cool cellar, or a pool!

Ian Fraser said...

Some nice graphs on Martin's posting; I've commented there.