Undoubtedly this has been one of the mildest winters on record in this area it’s been shorter and spring has come upon us early . You might ask what are signs of this around the river other than the obvious warmer days and increasing water temperatures other natural indicators tell us the season has turned early.
The wild aerial orchids that live on the she oak trunks, on the side of the inlet have been in flower for 3 or 4 weeks.( see pic.) They usually flower closer to the end of August but this year burst into flower in the first week of August and are nearly finished flowering now. They can hardly be seen any other time of the year except for this short spectacular display, and are not common mainly living on old trees . We have a few examples near our sheds in Barlow’s Bay.
The Flat Oysters are really beginning to fatten and build up condition to commence reproduction. They are a colder water species and begin gamete production earlier than Rock Oysters. They generally produce larvae in this lake from October to November and again in late Autumn when water temperatures start dropping. I think it is a little earlier this season.
In dry winters, with higher salinities, and which warm early some oysters on the south coast can contract a disease called Winter Mortality. Older stock, which looks healthy up until the early warm spring temperatures occur can die for no apparent reason this is happening now. It varies from lease to lease and with the age of the stock. The disease doesn’t affect humans and stock that is alive is OK to sell. Again this situation often occurs in association with early warmer temperatures. Most growers try to sell a fair percentage of their marketable older stock before this situation arises so they don’t get too badly affected.
All in all it has been a beautiful time to be on the river. Calm warm days, fish beginning to become active again and birds ( terns, pelicans and shags) hunting bait fish in packs of 100 or more in the early morning.