Thursday, December 29, 2011

28th December 2011 - SkyWatch Friday












This is my last sky for 2011.

As you can see it’s an example of what I think is called crepuscular rays. I was up early yesterday and the picture is taken just after 6.30 am. There were other very nice skies all around me as I drove, but it’s next to impossible (and deeply unsafe!) to take pictures while driving on a freeway on your own.

When I finally stopped to be able to take a picture I could not believe my luck. There was interest in the fore ground and the sky behind. Also I like the way that there is light and dark on the horizon, and an open gate. This seems like both an invitation and a statement of reality for the New Year. There may be patches of darkness, but they lie through the same gate as the light. You really cant have one without the other.

If you don’t wish to spoil the romance of the picture I suggest you stop reading now and leave a comment, visit my other web page, but don’t read the next paragraph.

This picture was taken at Werribee Sewage Works. It’s a grassland area that was once used to process all of the waste (you know what I mean) from the eastern side of Melbourne. It’s now a fantastic (if a little smelly) place to bird watch. The sewage is still treated here, but no longer by flooding grassland with “waste water”.

I’ve had a great year and I like the irony of posting an image at the end of it which is basically a pile of sh*t!

You can be able to find other skies at Skywatch Friday.

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

Enjoy the skies, enjoy the weekend and see you in 2012

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

World Bird Wednesday - Royal Spoonbills

A walk by the Barwon River on Christmas afternoon yielded these Royal Spoonbills. These birds are about 75 cm tall and the remarkable black bill is a giveaway as to which of your two species you are looking at.

Had I not been wearing semi-smart sandals (you can tell I live in Australia – I have dress sandals!) I may have got involved in a bit more wading and mud hopping to get closer to the birds. But, as it was Christmas day I decided that discretion was the better part of valour!






You can find more birds from around the world at World Bird Wednesday.










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

Enjoy the birds.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Our World Tuesday - Barwon Heads

In the middle of Christmas morning we headed for the coast. This is the first year in many that we did not have people to our house for lunch – so the stress was exported to someone else!
With met up with other members of the family at Barwon Heads – which is about 2 hours west of us – in what can only be described as a rather impressive house. Lunch followed.

Late in the afternoon we took a walk along The Barwon river – the skies were an intense blue grey. Although we did not know it at the time huge storms were dumping 50mm + of rain and
golf ball sized hail stones on parts of Melbourne. Ah, summer!



Turns out there was no damage to our house or car, but some people got a rather unpleasant Christmas present from the weather.

Hope you had a good day!


You can find more places from around the world at Our World Tuesday.

You can find the most recent post to my other blog by clicking the Paying Ready Attention image on the RHS of the screen.
Enjoy the pictures.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Macro Monday - Number 37

This fine beast is known as ‘Number 37’ – for most of the year he lives in storage upstairs, but during December he comes out to play.


He is one of the charterers on our Advent Calendar. Each year I make up a story based around the characters on the calendar – for reasons which are lost in the mists of time this reindeer was called Number 37 in one of the stories and the name has stuck. You may be able to tell that the stories are rather daft as one of the other characters is a multi-lingual bear called Bearski – who may or may not be Polish!



You may find more close ups at Macro Monday – but given the time of year you may not!



Have a great Christmas.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Carols Sky - SkyWatch Friday


Another school event, another school sky.

In the middle of the week we had the school carol service – outside at the ending of the day. It was surprisingly chilly, but a glass of wine helped.

The kids sang in their classes and I was “asked” up on stage by the Principal!




The sky was grey for most of the night, but as the Sun was just on the horizon the sky blazed with colour. There was even a little patch of pink cloud in the sky.

The excitement of the coming weekend seemed to distract the kids and their parents from the sky – well that’s the charitable analysis anyway.


You may be able to find other festive skies at Skywatch Friday.

You can also see the most recent post on my other blog by clicking the “Paying Ready Attention” link on the RHS of the screen.
Enjoy the skies, enjoy the weekend and see you other the other side!






Tuesday, December 20, 2011

World Bird Wednesday - Osprey


I took these images on the first day of our trip to Magnetic Island. It was only when I took a look at the images later on that I realised that the Osprey had a fish in its talons – from the fishes long nose I think it’s a garfish. The ospreys were our nearly constant companions on this trip – and if you could not see one you did not have to wait too long.

You can find more birds from around the world at World Bird Wednesday.

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

Monday, December 19, 2011

Our World Tuesday - The Age - Melbourne

The Age is the broadsheet newspaper for Melbourne - I read it every day!

The weekends events were a bit of a wash out for me and I was struggling to find a recent image for today. Then I looked at the online version of the paper. Remember, I'm in Australia (ie the summer) and its almost Christmas!

So I have outlined the headlines for you - we have floods, a man was bitten on the foot by a snake he found under his own front door mat and we have a plague of spiders!

Welcome to Marvelous Melbourne!

















You can find more places from around the world at Our World Tuesday.

You can find the most recent post to my other blog by clicking the Paying Ready Attention image on the RHS of the screen.

Enjoy the pictures.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Macro Monday - Rose Chafer

I found this rather splendid Rose Chafer (Eupoecila australasiae) beetle spinning around on its back on one of our window sills this week. I have never seen one before. I popped it down on some of the slates outside the window and took these pictures. I suppose I should have put it on a flower or a bush really! After a couple of minutes it seemed to recover and flew off with a loud and impressive buzzing.
















About 25% of all known animals are beetle – so if we ever get the chance to send a representative to an intergalactic conference, an argument could be made for sending this chap (or chapess) rather than one of the naked apes.


You can find more macro shots at Macro Monday.


You can see the most recent post to my other blog by clicking on the Paying Ready Attention image on the RHS of the page.

Enjoy the close ups!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Sky Glass - SkyWatch Friday

A number of years ago while traveling in the US we met a rather over enthusiastic fellow traveler. We had spent the day near the coast and so had our new companion. We had seen some good birds, some great views and generally had a good time. She had found some beach glass and did not seem to understand how we could have overlooked such a thing.

It turns out that I don’t really remember her or the location of the beach, but I do remember the fragments of glass she held in her hand. They were frosted with age and sand and rounded where they should have been sharp. It was as if the sea had made them change.

Something about that idea – of a sea changed object – lies in this picture. Although here I tried to get a sky changed object - sky glass maybe?

The glass covers of the two lights in this image seem to have taken on a clearness and crystal quality that I had not seen before. The connection may be vague, but somewhere in the random wiring of my neurons a connection occurred.

You can find more skies from around the world at SkyWatch Friday.

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

Enjoy the skies

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

World Bird Wednesday - Bush Stone Curlew

Yet more archive mining. For some reason I did not post these images when I came back from Magnetic Island. While I was doing some “spring cleaning” of my folders I found them again!

















These are Bush Stone Curlews and they are a rather strange bird! Firstly look at the way they bend their legs to sit on the ground. Secondly they make some of the strangest noises that I have hear a bird make. You can hear them on these two clips. (These are not mine clips – just links).
















The third thing that makes these birds strange is that they have a behavior that is a “stick” mimic! When under threat they will stretch out flat and rely on camouflage – or to put it in a very unscientific way, the pretend to be a stick!
















They were common on Magnetic Island and not that hard to approach – but their calls at night still sounded strange.

















You can find more birds from around the world at World Bird Wednesday.

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

Enjoy the birds.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Our World Tuesday - Silverband Falls, The Grampians

More archive mining today.

This is the end point on one of my favourite (very) short walks in the Grampians – Silverband Falls. The last time I was there it was shut because of flooding!
















This brings a number of questions to mind, most of which are stupid – but they do have the same feel as the classic old joke : “How does the man who drives the snow plough manage to get to work?”























Would have liked to have seen the waterfall in flood. So these shot were taken about a year ago!
I like the way the water just disappears into the rocks at the foot of the falls. The water reappears a little way down the valley. I was wonderfully cool and damp, and we had hot chocolate and biscuits!

You can find more places from around the world at Our World Tuesday.

You can find the most recent post to my other blog by clicking the Paying Ready Attention image on the RHS of the screen.

Enjoy the pictures.

PS: How are the pictures Tex?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Macro Monday - Swamp Tiger

Busy week here in changeable Melbourne – so have resorted to archive mining!

This rather magnificent butterfly is a Swamp Tiger (Danaus affinus). It was common in of all places a swamp (!) on Magnetic Island. For all their commonness, it did take a while to get a half decent image. It can be found in a thin strip up the Queensland coast and a few places in the Northern Territory.


For anybody wanting a relaxed and low key holiday which is free from Theme Parks and such like I would highly recommend this island.

You can find more macro shots here at Macro Monday.

Enjoy the close ups!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

School Sky 2 - Skywatch Friday


Another school event, another evening sky. There was only the thinnest line of colour in sky when we came out of the musical evening.

But the texture in the clouds more than made up for the lack of colour.

I get the feeling anybody who says that dark clouds are grey needs to take a second look!







You can find more skies from around the world at SkyWatch Friday.



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

Enjoy the skies.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

World Bird Wednesday - Australasian Grebe (2)



On my recent trip to Perth I only really managed to get out and about once (or maybe twice!)


On the last afternoon I managed a bit of a walk around some small lake behind the convention centre – they looked like they may have been part of the Swan River once – but I could be wrong.



As you can see the pond was very green – but not green in a sticky, unhealthy sort of way. Green in a vibrant sort of way. I got the feeling that the place was making coal!

I found this Australasian Grebe fishing around the edges of the bank. Like last week’s Night Heron I think it may have been a little less scared of people than usual. If fished for a while – but did not catch anything that I saw, but them it had a really good shake to dry its feathers. I rather like this sequence. I also like the way you can see the flanged feet these birds have to help them swim. (And I know that there are people out there that notice this kind of thing!)



You can find more birds from around the world at World Bird Wednesday.

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



Enjoy the birds.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Our World Tuesday - Castlemaine

I’ve wanted to post these images for a while, so here I go!
These pictures were taken at Castlemaine in Victoria. It’s a great weekend getaway if you live in Melbourne. It owes its existence to gold – and for a town of its size it has some impressive buildings – even if they are now used as bike shops.

These shots were taken late in the afternoon on an early winters day. The sun was setting and the heavens were about to open.

We spent most of the weekend looking at art – and ending up spending more money than was prudent on pictures. But every time I see the huge owl over our fire place I know it was the right thing to do.


You can find more places from around the world at Our World Tuesday.



You can find the most recent post to my other blog by clicking the Paying Ready Attention image on the RHS of the screen.

Enjoy the pictures.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Macro Monday - Mushrooms

Although it is now officially summer in Australia the weather does not seem to know about it! Having said that it’s hardly cold either!

During the early part of spring we had some raised vegetable beds built in the garden – they are now proudly full of tomatoes, lettuce, basil, cucumbers and strawberries. There are also some sunflowers for purely ornamental reasons. We did plant so carrots, but as yet they are refusing to even germinate!

The wet spring did produce a fine ‘crop’ of small mushrooms. They would appear overnight through the straw mulch and be gone within the day. I took these pictures early in the morning, but you can see some of them are already beginning to fade away.


You can find more macro shots at Macro Monday.

You can see the most recent post to my other blog by clicking on the Paying Ready Attention image on the RHS of the page.

Enjoy the close ups!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A simple Perth Sky - SkyWatch Friday.

Although I got out and about a few times in Perth I never found any huge skies. However, on the last evening there I found this little streak of clouds being lit up by the setting sun. I decided to isolate it from any other aspects of the sky – which were all tall buildings if the truth be told – just to give it a more abstract, graphic feel. I rather like it’s rather minimalist feel.

You can find more skies from around the world at SkyWatch Friday.


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

Enjoy the skies.