What do you do for a crust?

Among the trees of Matong State Forest are areas with cryptogamic crust.

This is a specialised community of cyanobacteria, mosses, and lichens.

It works to improve soil stability, as well as offering increased resistance to wind and water erosion.

Crusts are often a feature of arid and semi-arid areas, where their sponge-y texture might also catch seed from nearby plants.

They have adapted to severe growing conditions but can easily be disturbed.

Disruption of the crusts brings decreased organism diversity, soil nutrients and stability.

Full recovery of crust from disturbance is a slow process, particularly for mosses and lichens.

Visual recovery can be complete in as little as one to five years, given average climate conditions.

However, recovering crust thickness can take up to 50 years, and mosses and lichens can take up to 250 years to recover.

Hollows As Homes

Local Landcare Coordinator Jason Richardson has been visiting schools in the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area to promote the role of tree hollows as habitat.

Did you know that it takes around 300 years for nature to provide a home for an owl? It’s even longer for possums.

There are no animals that are able to create tree hollows, such as the woodpecker in North America, so hollow creation is a slow process that relies on fungus to eat away at the tree.

In urban and agricultural areas throughout Australia, hollow-bearing trees are in decline.

In New South Wales, species that rely on tree hollows for shelter and nesting include at least 46 mammals, 81 birds, 31 reptiles and 16 frogs.

Forty of these species are listed as threatened with extinction in New South Wales and the loss of hollows has been listed as a key threatening process.

As part of Landcare’s visits primary school students learned how contested hollows can be, particularly in urban settings where hollows can be considered a public risk.

Jason spoke of his experience observing ringneck parrots intimidate grass parrots from returning to their nest.

The children were fascinated to handle the skull of a grass parrot chick.

The students then had an opportunity to assess school grounds and the surrounding area for hollows and observe local bird life using binoculars.

Burning Seed



Only a bit over a week away now!

Four plot structures

I. The Babadook
II. The Big Lebowski
III. Thelma and Louise
IV. Barton Fink

Is it OK?

My friend Alex posted this chart on Facebook and asked if the RU OK? suicide prevention campaign might be ineffective.

The RU OK? day has been running since 2009 and the chart doesn't seem to make a conclusive link.

However there are plenty of studies that show copycat suicides are a phenomena.

Does talking about suicide contribute to it?

Safe

Match wildlife to a hollow

Tree hollows are valued as habitat for many Australian birds, reptiles and animals.

Recently I've visited Riverina primary schools to raise awareness for the role of hollows.

It surprised me to learn that it can take 300 years to make a home for an owl.

Sow what?

English can be tricky when similar sounding words mean different things.

So I was curious when I read this headline and wondered if agricultural fashion had become an area of academic research?

No, it's a a typo and illustrates the need for subeditors.

Sowing seeds is planting them and often used as a metaphor, like the quote from the article here shows.

Game of chicken

Noticed the personalised number plate on this Steggles van at the lights.

Threatened Species Day

Today is Threatened Species Day.

I've been promoting the day with this photo of a Superb Parrot, which is considered vulnerable due to loss of habitat.

It's an older photo that was first published on my Shot Wildlife blog.

Three beer bottles

Saw this trio advertising clothes on Facebook this week and couldn't help but wonder if they were blowing on their beer bottles.

Could they be covering Billie Jean like the Bottle Boys below?

Sounds of (not so) silence

A friend shared this beaut version of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel singing 'The Sounds of Silence' live.



For me this song often prompts one of those 'what if?' moments.

Originally it was recorded without the electric instruments accompanying it, so I sometimes wonder how Paul Simon felt after hearing what happened to it.

After Bob Dylan went electric in 1965, Columbia Records' producer Tom Wilson decided this was now the fashion for folk music:

By June 1965, folk-rock had its first number one hit with The Byrds’ amped-up version of Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man.” That month Wilson produced “Like a Rolling Stone,” Dylan’s landmark electric rocker… Without the knowledge of Simon or Garfunkel, Wilson hired session players – bassist Joe Mack, drummer Buddy Salzman and guitarists Vinnie Bell and Al Gorgoni – to overdub an electric backing track onto “The Sounds of Silence.”

Gorgoni later said he regretted the decision:

“I love the song – but those guitars ... they’re just awful. I really can’t listen to it now. ... Of course, all the things that are wrong with the recording didn’t stop it from becoming a huge success. So there you go.”

It's difficult to imagine the song without those backing parts now, but I wonder if it would've still found an audience.

I guess Simon and Garfunkel have accepted the electric instruments, or are they included in the live performance above to meet the expectations of the audience?

These days a producer would make it sound like the version below!