Thursday, 11 June 2009

Preparing the Airstrip Paddock for Grazing

In two of the paddocks we have some Skeleton Weed plants dying off, a legacy of past cropping activity and a reflection of plant community succession. These plants are not liked by croppers as they get caught in the header comb. They are, however, a forb with a deep taproot, which will help us in our endeavours to address compacted soils. Some of the plants look abnormal, like the one you can see in this photograph. 'Cousin James' when he was here a month or two ago when seeing these plants commented that the cause is generally residual 'nasty' chemicals, such as DDT. I don't know if this is correct, but it does sound plausible. It is many years since chemicals such as these would have been used here.
In getting the paddock ready for grazing (not planned for a few days yet) I decided to place a guard around a Kurrajong Tree seedling, evident in this photograph. What stuck me was the comparative richness of the green vegetation at the base of the tree, between the rocks we placed around it quite some time ago. Maybe the distinctly deeper green is due to protection from wind provided by the rocks, or increased biodiversity resulting from the habitat the rocks provide, or minerals brought to the surface by the Kurrajong Tree with its deep taproot, or improved water cycling due to the protection from the rocks. Who knows!
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While walking across this paddock we startled about 6 or so Quails. Within moments an Australian Hobby appeared from nowhere, ready to catch the next Quail. A Quail did fly up but was sufficiently fast enough to land and find cover before the Hobby could get to it. The acceleration of the Hobby in the pursuit process was something to be seen.

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