the real characters
All of the creatures and most of the stories in the Alcheringa Series are real. Only the names of some things and places have been changed to protect the brave, scared, endangered, or the innocent.
For example: Francine the brave and caring Pyrenean Mountain Dog is really Molly, who lives here at Alcheringa. Here is what Francine really looks like:
And her best friend, Banjo the great frog dreamer, is an endangered species of frog called a Green and Golden Bell frog. Not many people have seen one of these isolated amphibians, including the author, but a few of them do live here, scattered around the Snowy Monaro region. However, most frogs at Alcheringa are your normal average everyday common froglet. Here is Banjo, the Green & Golden Bell Frog.
Some of the other friends who are reptilian characters that feature in the first book, “Alcheringa Snow” and in the second book “Alcheringa Flowers”, are: Colin the Alpine Copperhead snake who sleeps throughout the winter season and wakes up in spring, and Arnie with his friend Bella; two Cunningham’s Skinks who live in large granite boulder outcrops around the property.
There are other creatures that “sleep” through winter as well. One of them is a small family of Echidnas that we call Anna and her puggle, Amy:
In winter the Snowy Mountains Brumbies are always searching for food on which to graze. They come to visit Alcheringa in spring when they often come back with their foals.
Amongst Francine’s closest pals here is Morris, the magpie who actually does play with her when it is feeding time:
In mid to late winter Morris and his extended family of ten spend most of their time around the property. They mingle with the cockatoos, crimson rosellas, ravens, chooks, occasionally the alpine hares, and sometimes, galahs when they all come to feed on Alcheringa seed each morning.
The other birds that have made Alcheringa their home are: Around twenty Sulphur Crested Cockatoos heralded by Kelly, the one-legged cockatoo; ten Crimson Rosellas, six Galahs, some occasional Pied Currawongs, very occasionally a rare and shy single Grey Currawong known as “Rainbird” along with a myriad of small birds; Blue and Jenny Superb Fairy-Wrens, European Goldfinches, European Greenfinches, Tree Sparrows, Flame Robins and every now and then, the Scarlet Robin; Eastern Yellow Robins, Grey Fantails, Brown-headed Honeyeaters, Silvereyes; nearly every day we see the gleaming black Australian Raven and often the Little Raven; Welcome Swallows come to nest in spring along with Willie Wagtails, the Golden Whistler and the White Winged Choughs visit here in winter. We also spy the odd Thornbill and small Treecreeper.
Laughing Kookaburras are a feature here at Alcheringa and reside in its surrounds all year round. The Southern Boobook has been heard occasionally on a still spring or summer night. And in spring, summer and autumn, the Gang-Gang Cockatoo makes a quiet entrance to the tops of gum trees. There is quite a large distribution of them at Thredbo. Also the huge Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo lopes across the sky, usually before the rain comes, to forage for cones in amongst the tops of tall pine trees. Alcheringa and Wild Wood often have Wonga Pigeons visiting as well. Wonga Pigeons rarely fly and prefer to walk from place to place to find fallen fruit, seeds and berries on low bushes.
During some days in winter and many days throughout spring, the Reedy Pond is visited by a Pacific Heron, White-faced Herons who are searching for frog food; Pacific Black Ducks (usually just one or two) and sometimes the Maned Goose aka the Wood Duck, bring their goslings to Alcheringa to learn to swim and fly. One rare day around two years ago, a Little Black Cormorant made a landing on the large boulder by the edge of Reedy Pond. Everyone was surprised by that!
And, in the sky Kestrels, Brown Falcons and Wedge-tailed Eagles fly. Up the back paddock you sometimes spy Egbert the Emu!
Choo-Choo the young Kookaburra
White-winged Choughs perched on Egg Manor’s big gate
Choughs snuggling together on a branch
Tuppence and Talita. Superb Fairy-Wren pair who sang continually throughout spring to the occupants of Alcheringa
European Goldfinch, Franc.
Sulphur Crested Cockatoos are frequent visitors and also reside in the “Big Tree” in Snow-Gum Woods on the property
Izzie, the little Flame Robin
Molly (aka Francine) has other special friends as well who visit the property from time to time. Once on a dramatically cold and stormy night in Spring she found and befriended a frightened lost Kelpie named Gypsy, who actually wound up living with our human friends in Wild Wood, just over Wild and Woolly Hill. Here is Gypsy on the right.
Sambar Deer and two of Molly’s friends Daisy and Button, who are young Fallow Deer.
Wanda and her small joey, Winkle. Red-Necked Wallabies frequent Alcheringa every day and evening as well as deer and wombats.
A pair of young joeys peeping out of the grass.
A mob of Grey Kangaroos live nearby and occasionally come to visit. Here is Mr Grey posing by the Reedy Pond:
Wanda in the snow.
Molly spends most of her day taking care of our chooks, the wallabies, various birdlife as well as Alpine Hares that reside here
Molly with Grumblebum.
Amber with Molly and Crimson Rosellas.
Female Alpine Hare eating birdseed.