Sulphur-crested cockatoos

Picture taken by my 11-year-old granddaughter.

Surveying the world from the branches of a Melaleuca quinquenervia, commonly known as the broad-leaved paperbark, are these Sulphur-crested cockatoos.
A common sight in suburbia on the central coast of New South Wales, the Sulphur-crested cockatoo is a large white parrot. It has a dark grey-black bill, a distinctive sulphur-yellow crest and a yellow wash on the underside of the wings. This is a noisy, conspicuous and highly intelligent cockatoo.  Its diet consists of berries, seeds, nuts and roots.
This beautiful 40 year old paperbark has grown to a medium-sized tree of about 20metres – large for the front garden of a suburban block. It has provided shade and amusement for the children who love climbing on the sturdy branches, swinging from an attached swing and writing messages on the peeling bark.

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Strangler Figs at Sea Acres Rainforest Centre

The strangler fig starts life as a tiny seed in the rainforest canopy.  It begins to grow on the forest floor and as it grows, the fig gradually wraps itself  around a host tree.
These strangler figs we viewed from the boardwalk at the Sea Acres Rainforest Centre near Port Macquarie, make an interesting pattern on their host trees as they grow and widen, their size and strength evident as they slowly surround the host’s trunk.

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Epiphytes at Sea Acres Rainforest Centre

Look up into the canopy as you walk on the boardwalk at Sea Acres Rainforest centre, and you can see the Staghorns, Elkhorns, Birds Nest Ferns and Ribbon Ferns growing high up on the tree branches.  These plants are called Epiphytes and grow on host trees but are not parasitic.
The long leaves of a Ribbon Fern in my photo are growing from an Elkhorn, while another tree is supporting a Birds Nest Fern.

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Ninox – at Sea Acres Rainforest Centre

Apart from the wonderful rainforest to be seen from the boardwalk, there are some amazing sculptures at the Sea Acres National Park.
A sculpture by Stephen King of Ninox, the powerful owl, is part of a memorial to Boyd Laut, who was a senior national park ranger.  The owl, larger than life, greets you in an open-air classroom on the boardwalk.
I couldn’t resist including this photo I took of a curled frond on the branch of a Tree Fern, which reminds me of an owl with its large eyes and head slightly turned.

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Sea Acres Rainforest Centre

Close to Port Macquarie is the Sea Acres National Park.  This 76 hectare park has an easy 1.3km boardwalk through the subtropical rainforest canopy.
Majestic cabbage tree palms growing beside the walkway and vibrant birds nest ferns deep in the undergrowth made this walk a photographers paradise.
After our walk we enjoyed a delicious lunch on the deck at the Rainforest Cafe, which is surrounded by trees and palms.

 

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More from Mt. Penang Gardens

These cream and orange grevilleas are a delight to find as you stroll along the pathways at the Mt. Penang gardens.
The scribbly gums, displaying their zigzag tracks – which are tunnels made by the larvae of the scribbly gum moth – are Australian eucalypt trees, and are a feature of the parklands.
A lovely stand of Kangaroo Paws lines a pathway with their orange and yellow flowers swaying in the breeze.

 

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Mt. Penang Gardens

Over 8 hectares of native gardens with meandering pathways and  water features, makes a visit to the Mt Penang parklands at Kariong a rewarding experience.  We were lucky to visit the garden, take a few photos and enjoy morning tea at the Waterfall Cafe.
Featured above, are the beautiful yellow Grevilleas, Illawarra flame trees with their amazing seed pods, the huge leaves of the Lotus flower, a pretty branch on the pink flowering gum tree and some unique Queensland bottle trees.

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Christmas Bells

I photographed this beautiful cluster of bell-shaped flowers in the Tilligerry Peninsula at Port Stephens.   Christmas bells flower at the end of long, straight stems which extend up from the base of the grass-like plant.  Usually growing in coastal heath or swampy ground, the flowers appear in December or January.

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Waratah

This beautiful Waratah was photographed in bushland at Strickland State Forest near the picnic area. The forest has a wide range of vegetation, including patches of rainforest along the creeks. There are many  walking tracks which take in some beautiful scenery and are maintained by the friends of Strickland, a volunteer group.

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Illawarra Flame Tree

A view from the Awaba House Cafe

Awaba House, a cafe and art gallery on Lake Macquarie, is surrounded by a lovely garden and sculpture park.  I couldn’t resist photographing these appealing flowers on an Illawarra Flame tree.  This is one of the most spectacular Australian native trees, and brings back memories of school playgrounds in summer. We used to collect Illawarra flame tree flowers and put them on the tips of our fingers.

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