Gentle ripples ruffle reflections of surrounding bushland on the far side of the Randwick Environment Park’s ephemeral wetland as winter draws to an end.
It was one of those mild days of still air and bright blue sky, a fine day to walk down to the wetland. The final flowering of the Sydney golden wattle — what the botanically-minded know as Acacia longifolia — was in progress and, every so often, one of those white-faced native ducks paddled out across the surface leaving a spreading V-shaped wake behind to make the reflections undulate. Over in the tea tree scrub on the far side, the bright white blaze of ibis betrayed their location in the branches.
Every August the acacia comes into flower to turn coastal bushland into a bright yellow carpet that attracts bees from places unknown to harvest the nectar. Then, the colour fades, the flowers fall to carpet the ground and the bush returns to the olive green that is its colouration for the rest of the year.
But not quite — for the flowering of the tea tree, the Malaleuca, will bring a temporary brightness to the scrubland. The bees will return to harvest the nectar as they do every year and then those white blossomms, like the acacia, will fade and fall and cover the ground as the bush awaits a repeat of the show next year.
Unlike those flowers, the reflections that turn the waters of the wetland into a mirror will come and go through the year, appearing on windless days when the waters are calm and going when the southerlies start to ripple the surface🐝