Every walk in the bush is a new adventure!!
Wait what! You're kids don't want to go for a walk??!! Well actually 'going for a walk' does sound a bit boring..... but it doesn't have to be...
When you take a walk in the bush you're entering the home of thousands of insects, birds, reptiles, amphibians and other creatures, but hold on, where are they??
Most people forget to look up when they're walking but you must look up! You may see giant UFO shaped fungi hanging off the trees, it's softening up the wood so one day a bird will be able to dig out a home for itself. Maybe you'll spot a nest, have you ever seen a willie wagtail nest? They're amazing! You might see birds hanging upside down, being silly and playing games or a tawny frogmouth sleeping between the branches.
Make sure to check out the bark on older trees, what camouflaged creatures will you find? A marbled gecko? A shield bug? A bark huntsman?
Imagine you're walking through the bush now.
Oh look this tree has a big chunk of bark missing. Look up a bit further, do you see? There is a family of pink and grey galahs living in the hollow of the tree. I bet the mum and dad stripped the bark off to make it too slippery for hungry lizards to climb. What clever parents they are.
There is another tree but all of its bark is on the ground, it looks a bit like the tree has shed its skin. Have you seen paperbark trees before? Make sure you never peel that bark off as it's protecting the tree, just like your skin protects you.
Have you ever seen bark with squiggly lines all over it? Those squiggles are from a very hungry caterpillar who has been munching away. The patterns they make are actually very beautiful, it is like they a making a piece of art.
Wait what is this here, exoskeletons? Wow!
Did you know that a dragonfly starts out as a water bug. When it's ready it leaves the water, crawls up on a tree or wooden post and sheds its skin.
It emerges as a dragonfly complete with brand new iridescent wings and some truly incredible flying skills.
We are not finished with this tree yet though...
You haven't checked the leaves... what is on those leaves? Is it a group of sawlfy larvae using their secret language of tap tap tapping...
What else do you notice about these leaves?
Do the leaves have bumps or have the leaves been munched on?
What clues did the minibeasts leave behind?
If you scrunch up a few leaves in your hands does it smell like eucalyptus or even peppermint?
Wait what about this leaf, it has been folded into the shape of a pyramid!!
The pyramid is all sealed up, what kind of amazing architect lives here?
A crab spider!
When you're walking in the bush you also mustn't forget to look down. If it is winter you are in for a treat!
Question. Why did the clever person go to for a walk in the bush?
Answer. To hang out with the Fun-guy of course!
Fungi is amazing!!
Did you know that fungi is the internet of the forest floor.
It is often referred to as the Wood Wide Web.
It connects the roots systems of the trees and allows them to speak to each other. If a tree is being eaten by some naughty parasite it can send a message through the fungiweb to the other trees. "Save yourself my friends, I've been hit, I will hold out as long as I can but you must act now to save yourselves!".
The other trees will hopefully thank their friend for the heads up and produce a chemical that makes themselves taste bad to the approaching parasite.
Now you might not be able to see all that happening but you can see the fruit, the mushrooms. Natures ultimate recyclers are breaking down leaf litter and returning the nutrients it finds back to the plants and trees.
Some mushrooms look just like little fairy houses, some like little cups and some even look like birds nests?!
The fungi does have some help in the recycling department, take a closer look and you'll find some beetles hard at work. What kind of beetles can you find? Some beetles are so pretty with their glossy jewel tones, amazing symmetry and beautiful patterns - and what about those dung beetles doing the job no one else want to do, champions.
What about spring? Is that a good time to go for a walk in the bush?
What! It's spring, what are you doing reading this, get out there!!!
Summer in the bush is hot, so go early and keep an eye out for snakes, let's not forget this is their habitat.
If you do see a snake this is what you do...
"Say G'day and Walk Away"
You say g'day because that's just what a decent person does when they meet someone new. You walk away because the snake isn't going to chase you but it also doesn't want you to keep walking toward it. So just go back the way you came and he/she will take that opportunity to make a quick exit and slither away.
On hot days you might also meet a lizard like my bobtail, Truffles. There are many special things about bobtails, we need to take care of these very special creatures. If you ever see one that has a super skinny tail and mucous in their eyes you need to get it to the vet asap. You can always give me a call if you need to (0404007308) because bobtail flu is no joke, it's nothing like man flu, it's the real deal. So if saving wildlife is in your blood then maybe you've just found a new reason to get walking in the bush!