Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Friday, December 28, 2007

A dam habitat

Some friends of mine invited me for dinner tonight, which was lovely. Fresh food, much of it grown by the lady of the house, in the vegie garden. The feature piece of the vegie garden is a "Lutyens" teak bench. But the real treasure is to be found in the vegetable gardens themselves.
Here are some photos taken around the dam, which is central to the habitat of the property.

The dam provides a place for water to drain, it acts as a filter (or rather a series of carefully constructed ponds, and water-courses do that). The dam also is home to a flock of Wood Ducks, and many other birds. Obviously, water is able to be pumped back up to the vegie garden, and other parts of the farm, as required.
Some birds, such as the Clamorous Reed Warblers, (Acrocephalus stentoreus) live exclusively in these reed beds.
Here is an Eurasian Coot (Fulica atra), a bird primarily of the open water, although it nests amongst reeds and rushes.
Here is a bed of Bulrushes (or "Cumbungi") Typha orientalis, (or other similar species.) The flower heads are in two distinct sections, with male flowers (which shed after dispensing their pollen) and the female flowers which stay on until they are matured, and the seeds then disperse on the wind. Click to see the enlarged image, to see the detail of the male flowers (mostly having shed) as residual flowers, above the fully formed female flowers.
Other birds, such as Latham's Snipe, (a summer migrant from Japan) hang out in the long grass around the dam, rather than amongst the reeds (where the water is too deep for their short legs). These photos were taken in Kangaloon, but the first photo is typical of where these birds hang out.
This second Snipe photo is typical of what one sees when a Snipe flies away suddenly, from "under your feet". Here is one Snipe, about 120 metres away, preparing to crash land in a reed-bed.
Secrecy (and surprise) is everything, for Snipe. Their survival depends upon it. In Europe they are regarded as a classic "game bird" for that very reason - for the "sport" (so-called) they provide by their sudden "rising", and fast flight to cover. I am pleased to report that these Snipe which I saw today, are safe at this farm dam.


Miss Eagle said...

Denis, you have not made clear - to me at least - whether the reed beds are natural occurences or whether they are man made. If they are man made, are they part of a sewage system, or perhaps a permaculture design, or something of the sort.

Blessings and bliss

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Miss Eagle
I guess I thought by referring to it as a "dam" that it would be clear. It is not a "lake", or in Aussie parlance, a "swamp".
It has been contructed, as a water holding facility on this farm. Created by previous owner, and refined by current owners.
As a dam, it is not "natural". but it has been made as natural as possible, by allowing appropriate levels around the edge. Where the depth suits various types of plants, they naturally colonise the water. Bulrushes and reeds grow at a particular depth. Other Sedges, and Rushes and even grasses grow in very shallow edges of water. So this dam mimics well the natural habitat.

No water plants grow in centre (way too deep). This allows the dam to serve the purpose of the farmer, and to maximise the natural environmental benefits to all (habitat plus water cleansing through oxidising, etc).

Hope this helps.