Tag: natural history

The peak of cold resistance
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The peak of cold resistance

Australia is hot and dry. Ask any tourist on sun-drenched Bondi Beach and they will affirm this well-known paradigm. Yet although much of our flora has adapted to thrive in our baking interior and dry open woodlands, many unique plants have evolved in a very different setting: the frigid landscape of the Australian High Country....

On the tail of the malurid wrens
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On the tail of the malurid wrens

I remember sitting with my cousin in my aunty and uncle’s backyard when I was in my teens, watching the local birds milling around the garden and bathing in the bird bath. The backyard was providing plenty of thrills for us novice birdwatchers. We watched the interesting behaviours and interactions of the birds and identified...

Reconnecting with the South West wilderness
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Reconnecting with the South West wilderness

Looking upward, the Karri trees towered above me with their creams, pinks, oranges, yellows and deep greens curving up their smooth trunks, shining in the sun. Eucalyptus divisicolour – the scientific name says it all. My pack harness creaked and I breathed in the fresh South West air. As a black-cockatoo arrived at the branch...

The scent of a eucalypt
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The scent of a eucalypt

The next time you are near a eucalypt, I want you to do one thing. Breathe in. Deeply. You’ll be able to immediately notice it. That sharp, sweet scent of the eucalypt leaf. A mix of menthol and honey. Take some leaves in your hand, crinkle them. The scent will become more powerful, before it...

I propose a mistle-toast
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I propose a mistle-toast

You may have heard about mistletoe because of its place in Christmas festivities. The tradition goes that you are able to kiss anyone who happens to stand under a sprig of mistletoe adorning doorways, ceilings, or rafters. But there are better reasons to heap praise on mistletoe than simply its ability to allow you a...

A different way to leave
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A different way to leave

I work in a university biological sciences department that has a large number of international staff and students. Shortly after the arrival of new international members to the department, once they have ventured out into the Australian bush a few times, I often hear the following summation about our landscape from them: ‘The Australian bush...