Port Stephens Diary of Natural Events - December/January

An extract from Michael Smith's "Port Stephens Diary of Natural Events"

Beard Heath develops berries.
Oyster spat is collected.
Mud Dauber Wasp makes its nest.
Jacaranda blooms cover the ground.
Half of the Christmas Bush flowers have turned red.
Lobelia gibbosa, Mountain Devils and Apple Berry are in flower.
Broad Leaf Geebung is in flower.
December to January is peak birthing time for Koalas.
Handsome Flat Pea seed pods explode.
Jewel Beetles and Scorpion flies appear on blossoms.
Christmas Beetles fly against windows at night.
Shark egg cases and bluebottles wash up on beaches.
Pigmy Possums have their young.
Flies breed and multiply.
Christmas Bells are in flower.
Young Wombats are 6 months old, fully furred and leave the pouch.
Saw Banksia is in flower.
Nests are full of baby birds.
Gymea Lily flowering stalks begin to grow.
Kookaburra chicks are fully independent.
Baby Brushtail Possums peeking out of their mother's pouch.
Blue Wrens are seen more often.
Mosquito populations breed up.
Dagger Hakea is in flower.
Bark of Angophera costata litters the ground.
Prostanthra densa is in flower on the cliffs.
Wombat Berry is in fruit.
December 22nd, Summer Solstice, longest day of the year.
Bushfire season.
White-fronted Terns visit from New Zealand.
Ant Lions transform into Lacewings.
Some Grass Trees are in flower.

Britta Stenmanns, Port Stephens Lookout, 2011, photograph
Gunyah artist-in-residence 2011

This is a month of moulting, the casting of fur, feathers, skin, leaves and bark.
Gymea Lily sends up flowering spikes, they will take months to form.
January is the peak time for snake births, 90% will die in the first year.
Scribbly Gums are finished moulting and have clean snowy/creamy bark.
Dragonflies mate.
Toad fish are washed up on the beaches.
Mountain Devils in flower.
Young Ravens leave their parents' territory to establish a territory of their own.
Baby Koalas are born.
Sarsaparilla Vine Smilax glyciphylla is in fruit.
Some Banksias are dripping with nectar.
Young sugar gliders leave their parents to fend for themselves.
Eastern Grey Kangaroos give birth.
Goannas lay eggs in termite nests in trees.
Bluebottles wash up on the beaches.
Tern and Dotterel chicks can be seen running across the sand.
Scorpion Flies appear around flowers, the male offers the female a fly.
Christmas bells flower in the wetlands.
Big Mud Wasps fly about building nests.
Mutton Bird chicks hatch on Broughton Island.
Green Tree Frog is breeding.
Snakes escape the heat by hiding in deep crevices.
Swifts feed on flying ants.
Grebes build floating grass nests in the wetlands.
Mongolian Dotterel arrives from its Siberian breeding grounds .
Young foxes leave their mother's den to find their own territory.
Breeding time for many species of lizard.
Wanderer butterflies and Ladybird beetles about.

Michael Smith, 1999