Sydney’s park lands

Sydney has lots of open space. It is a city on the water with over 230 miles of coast line. It also has many open spaces. The most obvious of these is the Botanical Gardens which cover a couple hundred acres and allow easy and green access to the Sydney opera House and nice views out over the harbor toward the bridge and the aforementioned opera house down on Bennelong Point.

I walk the gardens when in town and always see numbers of Australian ibis, sulphur-crested cockatoos, rainbow lorikeets, dusky moorhens, maned ducks, pied currawongs, and noisy miners (these are all birds). There are large eels in the pond and golden-orb weavers (spiders) on super-sized webs overhead. One of the interesting displays in the gardens is the Wollemi Pine. This isn’t really a opine nor is it I. opine pine family, but it is certainly interesting. It is related to the monkey-puzzle trees in the Araucaria group. These very large trees were discovered about 100 miles west of Sydney in 1994. A ranger of a walk in a rugged and remote part of a national park in the Blue Mountains found a small group of trees ha had never seen before but reminded him of a display he had once seen in Denver Colorado. There are fewer that 100 of these trees in the wild but they are being grown and established in many locations to help ensure a future population.

Here are some images from Sydney’s down town park land.

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The Wollemi pine has flattened linear leaves not needles as the real pines have. The branches grow in whorls and the trees can reach great heights and girths.

Miners are part of the honey-eater complex. Here a Noisy Miner rests between bouts of chasing other birds (ibis, currawongs, and other minors). This particular species has a couple look-alike cousins separated more by habitat than obvious visual characteristics. For instance in Alice Springs in the hot center off Australia a very similar bird (yellow-throated miner) occurs.

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The last two images are of a pied currawong; a crow-like bird from a rather widespread group when its relatives (butcherbirds and Australian magpie) are included. Their range expansion and population increase has made them more common on the coastal edge of Australia. This puts them in a bad light as their habit of eating eggs and babies from other birds’ nests make them rather unwanted visitors of local landscapes. The one below is eating palm nuts but the earlier reference to the Noisy miner chasing currawongs relates to their undesired presence.

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