Thursday, December 24, 2009

Wollemi Pine Christmas Trees

Its Christmas morning. And it's beginning to rain here at The Drip, serious rain after one of the driest and hottest years on record. Today a new Wollemi Pine, Wollemia nobilis, joins the others we have planted here. We aim to plant another Wollemi Pine in the grove every Christmas.

The Wollemi Pine is one of the oldest and rarest trees on the planet. With less than 100 adult trees known to exist in the wild, the Wollemi Pine is now the focus of extensive research to safeguard its survival. It was discovered in the nearby Wollemi National Park in 1994 and was one of the reasons the Park was recently granted World Heritage status. Wollemi Pine seems to thrive here at The Drip, no doubt feeling right at home.

The photo shows the first Wollemi Pines that we planted here in 2006. These were part of the first worldwide release of Wollemi Pines. Royalties from sales of the Wollemi Pine go to support the conservation of the Wollemi Pine and other rare and endangered plant species.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Birdwatching at "The Drip"

These Powerful Owl chicks were photographed at "The Drip" by the Mudgee Bird Watchers group on Sunday December 13. 

The Munghorn Gap Nature Reserve, adjoining "The Drip",  straddles three distinct eco-systems and as a result is home to a truly remarkable diversity of species of flora and fauna, with more than 160 native bird species recorded.  This environmental richness has made the Munghorn Gap a significant destination for Australian and international birdwatchers. The local bird watching group now visits "The Drip" regularly and is compiling a valuable list of the many species seen here at different seasons. We will post all sightings as they occur, plus additional information on some of our special residents, such as the magnificent Lyrebirds and the endangered Regent Honey Eater.

Other species spotted on November 13, 2009  included:

Black Faced Cuckoo Shrike
Common Blackbird
Common Bronzewing
Eastern Rosella
Noisy Friarbird
Yellow Faced Honeyeater
White Eared Honeyeater
Yellow Tufted Honeyeater
Eastern Spinebill
Spotted Pardalote
King Parrot
Leaden Flycatcher
Pheasant Coucal
Red Browed Finch
Double Bar Finch
Red Wattlebird
Rock Warbler
Rufous Fantail
Rufous Whistler
Sacred Kingfisher
Straw Necked Ibis
Sulphur Crested Cockatoo
Wedge Tailed Eagle
White Throated Tree Creeper
Yellow Rumped Thornbill

What is "The Drip"?

"The Drip", named after a permanent spring that emerges from the sandstone cliffs of the Great Dividing Range, is a 60 acre privately-owned property 30 kms northeast of the renowned Australian wine-growing township of Mudgee and adjoins the environmentally significant Munghorn Gap Nature Reserve. The World Heritage listed Wollemi National Park, home of the Wollemi Pine,  is nearby.

Settled in the early nineteenth century by descendants of James Blackman, one of the first Europeans to enter the Mudgee valley, "The Drip" was purchased by Clive Poolman and Michael Creighton in 1992 and is being developed as a private eco-retreat for family and friends.  The property comprises a rich mix of natural bushland, including sandstone cliffs and ridges,  grazing paddocks, extensive gardens, orchards and cultivated parkland.  "The Drip" is being developed along green, sustainable, organic principles with a strong  emphasis on minimizing the carbon footprint through use of renewable energy sources and the design of energy-efficient twenty-first century architecture.  Areas of degraded farmland are being regenerated with native vegetation. The restoration of habitat for the local fauna of the Munghorn Gap, particularly the endangered Regent Honey Eater,  is a priority.