Monday, August 29, 2011

A Tuesday / Wednesday Post - The Magpies of Spring.




A sure sign that spring is on the way is that some of our Magpies start to act up a bit. Male magpies can get very possessive of their patch and if they take a dislike to you they will swoop down at you – and in some cases hit you on the head with their beaks. I’m told this can be quite disconcerting!


H was out on his bike this weekend and was swooped in a half hearted kind of way by one of the local magpies. H being a brave and courageous soul just kept on riding his bike!
The magpies can become a real pest if they happen to take a dislike to the mail man!


Many of our posties extend their helmets with cable ties to keep the birds at bay!




So to celebrate the changing of the seasons, a rather splendid bird and the first post on Our World Tuesday I thought I put up a combined post.


You can find more splendid Tuesday things here.


You can find more Wednesday birds here.


If you want to read more about the Magpies you can look here.


Have a great Tuesday and Wednesday!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

I'll be back! (Friday Skies)

Heard the news this week that Wilsons Prom National Park will reopen soon. In March of this year they 25% of the normal annual rainfall in 24 hours! And the Prom can be pretty wet anyway. So there was a lot of damage and the park was closed. We had to change a holiday plan – and if you have enjoyed any of the pictures from Magnetic Island you can thank the rain at the Prom!

These are some pictures from my last trip just to get anybody who has the chance fired up! I just need to find a weekend free from school fund raisers, kids parties, karate competitions etc, etc, etc and I’ll be back to one of my favourite places.




You can find more images of the sky here at Skywatch Friday.

You can find the post that first used these images here.

You can also find my other blog by clicking on the Paying Ready Attention link on the RHS or by looking at the “My Other Blog” tab at the top of the page.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

World Bird Wednesday - Flame Robin

I managed to track down this Flame Robin over the weekend. I had hoped to find one after all the talk that has been generated about blue birds and bluebirds and such like.

There are robins in many parts of the world – and pretty much the only thing that they have in common is the red on the breast. In terms of the English names for these birds I have to assume that the European bird came first – although of course the name “Robin” may be based on some older language than modern English. I can only assume that as British colonists moved over the globe they took the names with them. Of course that’s not really a good way to develop taxonomy – and the American Robin is a type of Thrush more closely related to Blackbirds and other Thrushes than Robins.

I wonder have much of a barrier this as had been to understanding the true nature of these birds – probably not that much. But I think its an interesting idea.

So here is a Flame Robin in all it’s splendor.


You can find more world birds here, and you can see the latest post on my other blog by clicking the Paying Ready Attention link on the RHS of the page. Enjoy the birds.

Monday, August 22, 2011

A Tuesday Post - Exhibition Building and the Range of Light.

Went to the museum over the weekend to see a Tutankhamun exhibition – really very interesting, although it was a shame that the famous death mask was still in Egypt! If you happen to be in Melbourne you should go – but you need to go early!



The museum is opposite the Royal Exhibition Building – which as far as I know is the last of the huge Victoria ear display buildings. As has become normal we had has some rain, and I found this reflection of the building. The exposure was a bit of a nightmare, but I got a shot I was happy with in the end. As you can see – there is “normal” light on the building, the reflection is a deep shade and the sun is flaring a highlight off the spire of the building. I think I took about 25 variations of exposure to get one I was happy with.





You can see my most recent post on my other blog by clicking the Paying Ready Attention button on the RHS of the screen.



This post was originally intended to be for MWT - but the meme has been closed down due to the untimely death of one of its hosts. Hope people will stay in touch and keep visiting each other.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Hobart Skies (Friday Skies)

Simple sky -views today.

Hobart sits below Mt. Wellington and here you can see clouds forming over and around it.














I also noticed that the clouds were being reflected in the harbor. I rather like the way that the reflection shots brings out the detail in the cloud.



Hope you like them.




You can find more images of the sky here at Skywatch Friday.


You can find my other blog by clicking on the Paying Ready Attention link on the RHS or by looking at the “My Other Blog” tab at the top of the page.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

World Bird Wednesday - Purple Swamphen

Despite its name – the Purple Swamphen – this is clearly another blue –bird.


I found this rather large bird – it’s about 48cm tall – on our local pond, sandwiched between the bike path and the free way.

It’s an aggressive beast, and can often be found lording it over other birds from the heights of a reed patch. When something offends it in any way they start changing about in a madly aggressive fashion. Its favourite targets seem to be small children and smaller ducks.




Having said all that it’s a rather splendid looking bird and in bright light the blue of its feathers is something to be seen.


You can find more world birds here, and you can see the latest post on my other blog by clicking the Paying Ready Attention link on the RHS of the page.




Enjoy the birds.

Monday, August 15, 2011

My World Tuesday - Hobart town and a wind from the south.


My busy weekend was caused by a trip to Hobart. It was cold, but clear, with a wind straight off the Southern Ocean, straight out of Antarctica. It made your face sting, it made your nose drip. It made wearing a scarf a matter of function not fashion. As far as it goes it was real winter weather. I loved it.





The antarctic feel was enhanced by the presence of the L’Astrolabe and the Aurora Australis – Antarctic research ships from France and Australia – in the harbor. Both of their hulls showed the tell tale signs of battering and ice. They both seemed so tiny, too small to travel over an ocean so large.


We visited galleries – including the new and remarkable MONA, with its art buried into three deep floors of caverns – we visited museums and drank coffee. We walked until we wanted to stop.















Not all the art I saw was to my taste – that is only to be expected. Some I disliked intensely – which may have been the intention. The falling words made of water drops that stretched and blurred as they fell was my favourite - if I’d seen it in a film I would have assumed it was a digital effect.







We walked and walked and walked. We noticed that we were not the only ones with a scarf. In the evening we felt as if we had earned a glass or red wine or two.




The harbour with its boats and the chill wind off the water kept pulling us back. I admit it could also have been the smell of the many fine fish and chip shops in the area! The cold, the sea, the chill and the fish reminded me of where we were and for how long this town had looked to the south.

I can only recommend that you pay Hobart a visit, although I understand that some of you may need more than a weekend to make it worthwhile.
You can find lots of other good things to see here or by clicking on the My World Tuesday button on the RHS of the screen.

You can also see my most recent post on my other blog by clicking the Paying Ready Attention button on the RHS of the screen.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Suburban Skies 2 (Friday Skies)

Posting a little early this week - I have a busy weekend ahead. Hope I am not in violation of some important rule by putting a Friday Meme post up on a Wednesday!






















We have had more late afternoon / early evening cloud this week. It must be the time of year! This time I found of combination of low angle light, sun light grey clouds and a rainbow. Not a bad combination all in all.















When I look at some of the other images that get posted I do feel more than a little envious of the views of mountains, lakes. But then I walk out into my inconsequential suburban street and find skies like these. So, here's to looking local, as well as dreaming international!



You can find more images of the sky here at Skywatch Friday. You can find my other blog by clicking on the Paying Ready Attention link on the RHS or by looking at the “My Other Blog” tab at the top of the page.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

World Bird Wednesday - Satin Bowerbird

A number of bloggers from the US of A have put up images of Bluebirds - so I thought I'd put up some images of an Australian blue bird














This is a Satin Bowerbird, seen in a typical Australian habitat, the outdoor barbecue! Its found around the SE corner of Australia, from the middle of Victoria to Southern Queensland.

There is also a sub-species found in a small patch of Queensland much further north).



The male bird has wonderful glossy blue -black metallic plumage, that can be a real pig to photograph!


The female is green with a splendid fine scaly pattern in the breast. Think set and chunky they really are good looking birds.



The male builds a bower (hence the name!) to attract a mate. Here the males show their fondness for blue items (or at least items we see as blue). The bower is decorated with found objects - fruit, flowers, berries, feathers and in this case milk bottle lids and straws!

You can find more world birds here, and you can see the latest post on my other blog by clicking the Paying Ready Attention link on the RHS of the page.



Enjoy the birds.

Monday, August 8, 2011

My World Tuesday - A Whale of a time

I’ve mentioned this before but I have a fondness for found objects and chance encounters. I don’t really like the experience of organized tours, where people talk about guarantees of seeing things, or offer refunds if the “insert target animals here” do not show up. (But to be honest here, if I got the chance to go look at the big game in Africa I’d go, misgivings or not!)




When we were on Magnetic Island we hired a boat (and a driver!) for the day, for a round the island trip. It was great. Beaches you don’t normally get to. Different views of beaches you can get to. As we were leaving one beach we had the classic “there she blows” experience as a whale and her calf hit the surface a few 100 metres away. The mother then did the classic fluke wave and both whales moved towards us.









This was wonderful. The whales, which were almost certainly Humpback Whales, were not due to be around the island for another month or so. It would be fair to say that there was a bit of excitement on the boat! Both of my small people got really good views. After a short while the whales swam straight towards the boat – I had to stop taking pictures because they were too close! The idea of a wide angle shot of a whale was a bit too much for my brain to deal with. Both mother and calf swam under the boat – and although we were in no danger at all the phrase “were going to need a bigger boat!” came to mind.





In the end the whales moved off down the coast. It was just the five of us in a smallish boat, with two whales and the ocean. As found objects go, that’s a pretty rare find.


You can find lots of other good things to see here or by clicking on the My World Tuesday button on the RHS of the screen.




You can also see my most recent post on my other blog by clicking the Paying Ready Attention button on the RHS of the screen.


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Suburban Skies (Friday Skies)

Light can play tricks on you. Last week I looked out of the window into a deep lead sky. I thought it would rain again soon. I hurried to put out the bins - dont you just love that chore! There on the horizon was a strip of wonderful colour and light. The sun was low in the sky, and the last light of the day was sneaking under the clouds. The road was still wet from earlier rain and the road shone in the end of day glow. The sky above my head was solid with cloud. Cant say I've seen this sort of light before.



You can find more images of the sky here at Skywatch Friday.

You can find my other blog by clicking on the Paying Ready Attention link on the RHS or by looking at the “My Other Blog” tab at the top of the page.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

World Bird Wednesday - Red-Tailed Black Cockatoos

I’ve been wanted to get a really good look at these cockatoos for a while – I’d seen then before, but only from a distance, or when they flushed from the roadside. So seeing Red-Tailed Black Cockatoos close up, most days for a week was a real treat.

The first one I saw landed on a cable of some kind as we were having an ice-cream. People actually stopped to look at me, rather than look at the bird. I’ve seen myself in the mirror enough to know they were making a mistake.



Back to the bird! The birds with the pale beaks and stripped tails are females. The dark bill and solid red patch are the males. They have a wing span of well over 1m and they are very talkative! Standing under a tree with a flock of these birds feeding in it is like being outside in a hail storm. There is a constant rain of seeds, bits of bark and other trashed plant parts constantly falling from the trees. I have to say, it worth putting up with!


You can find more world birds here, and you can see the latest post on my other blog by clicking the Paying Ready Attention link on the RHS of the page.

Enjoy the birds.

Monday, August 1, 2011

My World Tuesday - Watery World

These pictures may not really look that remarkable – and in some ways they aren’t. But what is remarkable is that this is about the first time in over 15 years that I have seen water standing in these paddocks. As I have mentioned in the past we have just come out of drought that lasted many, many years. Some parts of Victoria had only 3% of capacity in the water catchments. At times it felt like it may never rain again. But it has.

So, for all of you suffering in the heat, I know what you have been though. Keep a bucket in the shower, and save the plants you love the most. Cant offer much more advice. But I thought I’d put up some shots of paddocks that I have only really know as sun-burnt brown dust patches full of green grass and new growth.











Some of the short grass was speckled with small pink flowers – weeds I’m told, but pretty none the less. I also rather liked the fence post.




You can find lots of other good things to see here or by clicking on the My World Tuesday button on the RHS of the screen. You can also see my most recent post on my other blog by clicking the Paying Ready Attention button on the RHS of the screen.