by Paul Alessi
Windellama Records. Here are a few of Windellama's claims to fame in the record stakes, if you can think of others please let me know.
World's Rarest Gum Tree Windellama is home to two specimens of the only five known Ice Age Gums (Eucalyptus recurva) which is one of the world's rarest species of tree and the world's rarest species of Gum Tree.
Worlds Oldest Tree Scientists believe our two Ice Age Gums may in fact have originated from the one individual as each stem died and a new one formed on it's epicormic roots, gradually spread to two locations around 50 metres apart, this may have taken up to 13,000 years to happen which would make it four times older than the famous Bristlecone Pines in the USA long recognised as the world's oldest living trees, and this would mean our Ice Age Gum has continued to live while 500 generations of humans have come and gone.
Rare Species of Shrubs. The world's largest population of three rare species, Dillwynia glaucula, Bossiaea oligosperma, and Pultenaea pedunculata are in Windellama.
Iconic Australian Animals Windellama is home to most of the animals on the original decimal coins, Platypus, Echidna, Lyrebird and Feather Tail Glider. We have our fair share of Kangaroos and Wallabies and the odd emu has been seen around here too (they must have escaped their owners) and of course Koalas are the most well known of our Australian animals.
Big Jumps An Eastern Grey Kangaroo holds both the high and long jump record for Kangaroos at 3.2 m high (10' 6") and 13.5 m (44' 8 1/2") long repectively, some of our Grey Kangaroos are also as big as the inland Red Kangaroos.
World's Most Dangerous Snake. As reported in last month's Wild Windellama the second most venomous land snake in the world and because of it's venom and aggressive nature, the Eastern Brown Snake is regarded as the world's most dangerous snake and is common in Windellama.
Australias largest Gorge ? Not sure on this one, maybe someone can let us know but I've heard the Shoalhaven River Gorge holds an Australian record for one of it's dimensions, it's length and depth combined to make it Australia's largest gorge by volume perhaps.
World's Most Deadly Ant. The Australian Bulldog Ants are from a genus with many species, at least three of these species are common here, some of our Bulldog Ants are red in colour, some are black and the smaller black ones are also able to jump, they are the most deadly ant in the world, they don't bite but sting with their rear end while holding on with their pincers. Just one sting can make you sick, multiple stings a real worry and if you are allergic to the poison it can be fatal.
World's Most Deadly Spiders. Amongst the world's most venomous spiders is the male Sydney Funnel Web and yes we have these too, not so deadly is the Red Back Spider, related to the American Black Widow Spider, but a bite is still cause for concern and probably medical treatment. Surprisingly the spider with arguably the world's most deadly venom is the Australian Daddy Longlegs. Fortunately it's fangs aren't strong enough to penetrate human skin and it only has a small quantity of the very toxic venom, about the only way to be poisoned would be to squash one and accidently have the juices squirt in your eye, Daddy Long Leg spiders are common in Windellama.
World's longest living marsupial.. A Wombat in London Zoo lived to the ripe old age of 26 years 0 months and 22 days making it the longest lived marsupial known.
World's only Monotremes. Every schoolboy knows the Echidna and Platypus are the world's only Monotremes, the only type of mammal that lays eggs to reproduce, both species live in Windellama. The Platypus is also one of the only 3 venomous mammals known, it has a poisonous spurs on it's hind legs, said to cause extreme pain and immobilising swelling to the affected limb.
Temperature Extremes. Windellama, along with other parts of the Southern Tablelands must have one of the greatest temperature variations in Australia with minus 12 degrees and plus 43 degrees Celcius being recorded here at our home in different seasons (a total of 55 degrees), and on a daily basis variations of over 30 degrees are not that uncommon.
The scrubbier parts of Windellama are home to Satin Bowerbirds (Ptilonorhynchus violaceous), they are named Bowerbirds after the neatly stacked twin walls of sticks that the male bird builds to impress the female, it's called a bower and is decorated with anything of bright colours preferably blue that the male can carry there, before european settlement it was probably just shells and blue feathers but now the preferred items are blue plastic including sheep ear tags, clothes pegs, lolly wrappers, electrical tape etc. In fact the removeable ring off our plastic milk bottles was changed in colour to discourage Bowerbirds from taking them out into the bush as these things can get caught around the necks of other animals.
Last spring I sowed down my seedling trays with native tree seed and carefully separated each section and labelled it with texta written on tags of plastic cut from an old ice cream container, unfortunately for me I used a blue container and the Bower Birds nicked off with all the tags leaving me with trays full of unknown species of trees.
The male bird is shiny purple/ black about the size of a starling but a bit more stocky and the females are a completely different colour being a mottled green and yellow. I once had to catch a male Bowerbird that had got into our chook house giving me the chance to have a close up look at one, their eyes are very unusual in that the pupils are bright purple, I found it a little disturbing having something with purple eyes looking at me.
Bowerbirds are also clever fruit and vegetables thieves, we've netted in our entire vegetable garden for this reason but our fruit trees are not protected and the Bowerbirds stole all our nectarines, peaches, plums and most of the apples and are now attacking our bumper crop of quince. If you'd like some Bowerbirds on your property you can have ours.
Windellama on-line has moved, it is now at www.wild.windellama.com
where it has room to grow, Thanks to David Edworthy of Many Hats Web Designs for
his kind donation of the the webspace.
Paul Alessi 2006
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