Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Har den åran! Carl von Linnés 300-årsdag.

You've seen him before, but today is his special day, his 300th birthday. Happy birthday Carl, or Linnaeus, as we sort of know him. I did a piece on this wooden statue of the man in a very early post in January this year. The statue is in Djurgarden in Stockholm, where it is now approaching summer. I took the photograph in 2004, while I was living there.
Linnaeus taught at Uppsala University, a wonderful town not very far from Stockholm. Among those he taught was Daniel Solander, inventor of the specimen box, acolyte, friend of Sir Joseph Banks, James Cook, and who was here 70 years before my ancestors arrived in 1839-40.

Linneas invented modern taxonomy, the binomial system of Latin genus/species we use and have modified. Chelsea Flower show has a tribute. And there is a lot of energy going into this tercentennary, for some of Sweden's try this! Happy birthday Carl.

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Thursday, 17 May 2007

and along came Jones...

I was out walking the other day along Morack Road, which forms one boundary of the golf course, and I heard a couple of my friends from the other day (see Cockatoo 10th May).
A little later a saw a couple of them down by the road side, grazing...
As I stood watching, other cockatoos came to see what was interesting. They stayed...
The road , which is quite busy, was about 1 metre from our friend watching me. The birds were completely unfazed by passing cars...
Another birds flies in. They are quite big, at least 18 inches from head to tailfeathers.
In all about 10 arrived...
I walked away, I was on my morning walk, and had already spent half an hour watching these beautiful birds. But then...
Along came an old man, a real coky, walking just off the road, oblivious to everything...
He walked straight through the flock. They took off and headed into the treetops, he just kept walking... The tree with the reddish tinge is flowering. I am sure I know what species it is.

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Thursday, 10 May 2007

Getting a lift...

This palm tree was brought in to decorate the front yard of a St Kilda house. The front yard was created by removing quite a large two storey building used as flats. In St Kilda this is quite a common thing, the beachfront is lined with palms so imported. The trees are planted and considerable attention is paid to watering, as the soil is quite sandy. Park Street probably was at the back of the sandhills which once lined this part of the bay, so the gound was also swampy. However, that was a hundred years ago. Accompanying the palm was a fig, which can be seen on the right hand side just under the palm fronds. It will be interesting to see what happens: figs grow far quicker and larger than palms.

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Cockatoo...

These white cockatoos spend considerable time on the ground feeding. They often roost in a large gum in someone's backyard just down the street from where I live. 'Cockie' is an Australian slang term for farmer, especially one on poor ground. Here is slang in action! The ground is the Vermont Primary School grounds, and the cockies were completely oblivious to the noisy morning run of innumerable school children just metres away. The trees in the grounds include oaks, various gums, but I think this is an old fruit tree-I haven't looked closely-as this area was once orchards and farms, highly productive ones at that.

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Wednesday, 9 May 2007

casually 4...


This is a fruit of a casuarina species which I know not. I used small digital camera for the closeup. It shows the vavles opening, exposing the winged seeds. When the valves open it appears to move the seed outwards, exposing the wing membrane to the winds. This fruit is quite large, about 2.5cm.

Same seed, different coloured background, so we can see the wing membrane better?

Seeds against a millimetre rule. Had a little fiddle in Photoshop etc., as I took the snap without flash, under house light.

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'Tis the season to be...

We city slickers find this season somewhat contrary. We have enormous plantings of deciduous trees in our urban woodlands. So in our autumn their leaves turn, while the native trees are often flowering. The contrast will later become stronger, as some trees will be leafless, the rest will be putting on new growth, full of noisy lorikeets after nectar, and dripping raindrops. The large tree in the background is a haven for a local flock of white cockatoos.
This tree is on the street parallel and immediately north of where I live.
Here, on another street, on the way to my children's school is another sign of the season.

Nearby, is this beautiful sapling.
In Melbourne it isn't cold enough to snow, although the occasional flake may hit the ground, and light is the factor controlling seasonality. We don't have the great differences of day length found further north or south-Stockholm's day length varies between 5.5 hours and 18.5 hours, which means about 5 minutes a day. Here it is a few hours, but it is nice to see the burning bush.

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