Wednesday, 10 November 2010

The Bowerbird's Bower

Yesterday I went to the gardens for lunch without my camera and I'd never been more frustrated at not having it with me... I had found the Satin Bowerbird's Ptilonorhynchus violaceus bower! I first discovered the mature male Satin Bowerbird in the gardens over a month ago now, and managed to get a picture of him for this blog in early October.  So I rushed back to the gardens as soon as I could at lunchtime today and took some pictures of this amazing structure.  It is about a foot (30cm) high and is a little hidden within some bushes.  The range of blue objects he has found to decorate it are amazing, all the same shade of blue too!  You can see a close up of a peg below.  There was also a couple of pretty yellow flowers I think he might have also put there.  Incredible.

I wonder what the Satin Bowerbird would have used before blue plastic was invented?
In my rush to get to the gardens I hadn't really noted what the weather was looking like and as soon as I had taken the pictures of the bower the heavens opened.  Its been so wet in Canberra recently, though now its heating up its starting to feel more like tropical than English rain, but there is plenty of it!  So I made a dash for a shelter nearby and ate my lunch there, amusing myself by taking pictures of raindrops falling on the shelter and on some leaves. 

Once the rain stopped I carried on wandering in the gardens.  The water dragons appeared again after the rain and nearby I noticed the huge Gymea Lily Doryanthes excelsa is starting to flower, it will be spectacular in a few days or so when it is in full bloom.  I also noticed there seems to be a new trail through the gardens that must alter weekly, called the 'In flower this week walk', what a great idea!

There was a little sign about the Aboriginal use of the Gymea flower next to it in the garden: The Gymea flowering stem grows up to 4 metres high, but it was roasted and eaten when it is only about 0.5 metres high and as thick as a man's arm.  The roots were also roasted and made into a sort of cake.  The name 'Gymea' comes from the Wodi Wodi tribe of the Illawarrra district near Sydney.  

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