Tuesday, January 31, 2012

World Bird Wednesday - Australian Gannets

During our Christmas holidays (in a land with dodgy internet access!) we all went out on a ‘Marine Biology Cruise’ run by the Marine and Freshwater Discovery Centre at Queenscliff. One of the highlights of the trip was a visit to an Australian Gannet colony on an artificial rock platform called the Popes Eye. The birds were thick on the ground (well rocks) and we could get close to them on the boat.


You can see that the birds have chicks - and as far as I remember, this is the only place in the world where gannets nest on a man made structure.



These are well studied birds – you can see metal bands on their legs, and some have a patch of green dye on them which may be a mark of some kind.

Getting this close to birds this big is great, although when we were down wind it was a bit smelly – although not as smelly as the seals!

If you ever get the chance you should drop in at the Discovery Centre and go out on some of their trips.



You can find more birds at World Bird Wednesday.




You can find the latest post to my other blog by clicking the Paying Ready Attention link on the RHS of the screen. This post is about waders, so it may be of interest to birding types.

Enjoy the birds.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Our World Tuesday - Wilsons Prom


Was away this weekend on my annual trip to Wilsons Prom with the kids. The weather was unkindly hot, and the March Flies persistent. For those of you not blessed with March Flies they are large biting flies with fearsome mouth parts and a tendency to drill into unprotected flesh. Luckily for us, and deeply unluckily for the flies, they are slow flying, clumsy and rather easy to swat.

The Prom has had a bit of a rough trot in the last few years with natural disasters – fire and floods mainly. And I could make a case for the March Flies being considered a plague! For all of this you could almost hear the place growing.
The rock slides are still bare, but even the upturned trees knocked near the sides of the slides are alive, if not completely well. Australian plants are well adapted to fire, and leaves were growing from burnt stumps and frazzled branches.
If you have never been there you need to jump on a plane / boat / bus and pay the place a visit.

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

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

Enjoy the pictures.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Macro Monday - Liverwort.

These little umbrellas are part of a mat of liverworts I found at Wilsons Promontory this weekend. I’ve never seen so many of these in one place before. Although considered a simple plant, the exact nature of their reproductive cycle is more complex than would be expected. However, this is neither the time nor place for a biology lesson!

I think (and there’s a pretty emphasis on ‘think’ here) that the species is Marchantia berteroana – given their lowly status they don’t get common names!

But the name ‘liverwort’ is interesting in itself. Many plants named in English contain ‘wort’ in their common name. It normally identifies that the plant was considered to have medicinal properties. The first part of the name of the plant was based on the ‘target’ organ or illness. So, liverwort is good for the liver. Another aspect of this is the belief that the structure of the plant could be used to identify its healing properties. Some species of liverwort have shapes on their surface that look like the sections of a liver – so, clearly it must be good for that! I have no idea if liverworts are any good for the liver, but it’s a good story whatever the truth of its medical properties!

You can find more macro images – and less guff about the origins of plant names – at Macro Monday.

You can find the latest post from my other blog by clicking on the Paying Ready Attention link on the RHS of the page.

Enjoy the close ups.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

With just a hint - SkyWatch Friday

As some of you may know I am involved with a bird banding group. One of the things I like most about banding is the opportunity to seem common birds very close up. In almost all cases a beauty is revealed that exceeds the bird’s mundane reputation (keep going this does have something to do with the sky).

I’ve been thinking about the sky over the last few weeks – I’ve not been at work, so such things are possible, even encouraged during such times. And I’ve come to the conclusion that I may have missed the beauty in the more common, everyday skies that surround us. So, with this in mind I took this picture. The blue is an Australian sky to a tee, and the hint of cloud is there to remind us that the sky is full of water as well as light.

I still love the big showy skies of dusk and dawn, the drama of thunder clouds and sword rays of light. But where would we be without simple sky blue skies like this?

You can find more (and probably more spectacular) skies at SkyWatch Friday.

You can find the latest post to my other blog by clicking the Paying Ready Attention link on the RHS of the screen.

Enjoy the skies.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

World Bird Wednesday - A walk on the beach

During the holiday I took a walk on the beach in that magic hour when the day is just about over, but the evening has not yet taken hold.

None of the birds I saw were really unexpected, but none the less they were very welcome. They become my constant companions during my time away.


So, with no more fuss or fanfare here they are – Silver Gull, Pacific Gull and Pied Oystercatcher.


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

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

Enjoy the birds.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Our World Tuesday - Point Lonsdale Rookpools


After being dumped around like a sock in the washer last time it was great to be able to do some snorkelling without wind, waves and the threat of hypothermia!



These wonderful rock pools are at one of my regular haunts, Point Lonsdale. Some of you may recognise the pier and lighthouse.





These pools were surprisingly deep in places, but at times I did feel (and probably looked) like a beached whale. They were also teeming with life.

If you ever get a chance to explore them you should! All you need to do is visit this place at low tide and it you go!

You can find more great places at Our World Tuesday.

You can find the latest post to my other blog by clicking the Paying Ready Attention image on the RHS of the page.

Enjoy the pictures.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Macro Monday - Red Spotted Jazabel.

I found this Red Spotted Jezebel (Delias aganippe) on a recent walk. I had seen this species before – but only at long range! This one was far more cooperative and actually landed for short periods of time. I was a windy day – which has been a bit of a theme for the last week, so was glad of the near limitless photo opportunities that digital brings.

One of the interesting things about this butterfly is that the lower surface of the wings are far more colourful than the upper surface. The upper surface is largely black and white, but as you can see the underwings are far more attractive.

You can find more macro shots at Macro Monday at: http://lisaschaos.com/

You can find the latest post to my other blog by clicking the Paying Ready Attention link on the RHS of the screen.

Enjoy the close ups.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Skywatch Friday - Big Skies at Mannerim

Noticed this sky when I was (of all things) waiting to be allowed through some road works today. I thought it was a great “big sky” kind of image. I parked the car just down the road and walked back up to take the picture. I got as close to the ground as I could in an attempt to make the sky look as big as I could.

The people working on the road must have thought I was crazy. See – I’m willing to suffer for my art!


The sky is on the Bellarine Peninsula near Mannerim for those who need to know that sort of thing.

You can find more skies at SkyWatch Friday at: http://skyley.blogspot.com/

You can find the latest post to my other blog by clicking on the Paying Ready Attention link on the RHS of the page.

Enjoy the skies

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

World Bird Wednesday - Eastern Rosella

I’ve been wanting to get some pictures of this bird for a while. This is an Eastern Rosella – or as it is called in our house a Tomato Sauce Rosella because of brand of sauce we have here.

This bird was one of a group that were much more cooperative than normal – in other words they did not just dash off into the distance as soon as humans approach.

This is not exactly a perfect example of this bird – the males on full plumage are a sight to see, but it’s still a good bird. The group of rosellas did not hang around for very long – I have not seen them for a few days, so they may have just been passing though.

You can find more birds from around the world at World Bird Wednesday - at (http://pineriverreview.blogspot.com/)

You can find the latest post on my other blog by clicking the Paying Ready Attention link on the RHS of the screen.

Enjoy the birds.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Our World Tuesday - Ocean Grove


Agreed to me some friends for a quiet morning stroll on the beach at Ocean Grove. The fact that it took us almost 20 minutes to find a park in the normally spacious car park alerted me to the fact that this may have been a bad plan.


It turns out that there was a surf carnival being held on the beach that day.


There were hundreds of people on the beach, some to watch, some to compete and some organise the hundreds of fit and near naked teenagers milling around.



These are a few of the pictures I took. I had intended to spend the morning looking for gifts from the sea. In the end that did not happen, but the alternative was not too bad at all.

You can see more pictures here at Our World Tuesday.

You can find the latest post on my other blog by clicking on the Paying Ready Attention image on the RHS of the page.

Enjoy the pictures.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Macro Monday - Tail Feather.

This is a feather from (I think) the tail of a Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoo. They have splendid yellow panel in their tail and I assume this is one of the feathers that make up that panel. Its not as yellow as it could be, and its got spots, so I think its from a young bird.



You can find more close ups as Lisaschaos (http://lisaschaos.com/)



You can see the most recent post to my other blog by clicking on the Paying Ready




Attention link on the RHS of the page.



Enjoy the close ups.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Queenscliff - SkyWatch Friday

We have has some wild and woolly weather in Victoria. High winds, rain and (believe it or not) snow on the high peaks. Ah, summer under the influence of Antarctica, what a treat!

Anyway – these two pictures are taken from exactly the same spot on the beach at Queenscliff.


One is looking into the weather that is passing, and the second is looking towards the weather that was yet to come. Thankfully the blue sky image is the ‘weather yet to come’ image!

With a bit of luck the weather my become more settled from now on – but that does limit the scope for sky pictures!

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

You can find the latest post to my other blog by clicking the Paying Ready Attention link on the RHS of the screen.

Enjoy the skies.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Our World Tuesday / World Bird Wednesday - Red-Headed Avocets


I don’t normally combine posts for different memes (or put the posts up this early!), but this seems to make sense here.



I was lucky enough to be involved in the banded (that’s ‘ringing’ in some parts of the world) of a large flock of Red-Headed Avocets a week or so ago. We trapped 174, which is the largest number ever caught in Australia. The birds were wonderful in the hand. The bills were incredibly delicate – the ends are much, much thinner than a grain of sand!


These birds are opportunist breeders – Australia does not always have the most reliable of seasons, so these birds can breed whenever the conditions are favourable. As a result there were all ages of birds in the flock, which lead to a bit of head scratching by the banders.





As you can see the birds are quiet relaxed in the hand – and in case you are wondering, the bird in the yellow tube is being weighed!

We place the standard metal rings on the birds, but also engraved leg ‘flags’ that can be read with a ‘scope. These birds are not easy to catch so with a bit of luck the flags will increase the amount of reported sightings of these birds.

Although the day was very hot, it was really rather remarkable.





You can see more sights from around the world at Our World Tuesday.


And you can see more birds from around the world at World Bird Wednesday.

You can also see the latest post to my other blog by clicking on the Paying Ready Attention link on the RHS of the screen.

Macro Monday - an early bee

The sunflowers on our raised beds are doing well and are starting to have regualr visits from bees and butterflies. This picture was taken early in the morning in a rather nice light.

You can find more close up and macro shots at Lisas Chaos.

You can find the most recent post from my other blog by clicking on the Paying Ready Attention link on the RHS of the page.


Enjoy the close ups!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Sunflower Sky - SkyWatch Friday












During another hot day I found this field of sunflowers. I’ve not seen them growing here before. I was not really able to get close enough to them or high enough above them to do a classic looking shot. But this is another picture with a crystal clear Australian summer sky.

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

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

Enjoy the skies!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

World Bird Wednesday - Australian Spotted Crake


Between Christmas and New Year I normally go banding at Werribee Sewage works – it’s nowhere as bad as it sounds! In fact it can even become rather picturesque.


While waiting for the waders we were hoping to band to arrive in the catching area this rather brave Australian Spotted Crake was showing very well. Normally a bird that you only see dashing from one dark corner of a weed bed to another, today they put on a real show. They were everywhere! I think I must have seen at least six different birds – and at times we could see two feeding in the same pool. It certainly passed the times as we waited for the waders.

You can find more birds here at World Bird Wednesday.



You can also find my most recent post on my other blog by clicking the Paying Ready Attention link on the RHS of the page.

Enjoy the birds.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Our World Tuesday - Hot

Today was the first 40 degree day in our part of the world. Anything over about 38 is 100 degrees in the old money. So, if you are sitting in your house looking out at snow and frost, your are very lucky. I’m sitting in my house watching the pavement melt!

This morning (when it was a bit cooler!) I was out banding birds, and I took this image while we were waiting. The colours are pure Australian summer.

I was back in the car on the way home by about 11.00 am – and the temperature at already reached the 36 mark! Enjoy the snow if you have any!

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

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

Enjoy the pictures.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Macro Monday - Buried Treasure.

I took this picture on the afternoon of Christmas day – I was drawn to the range of textures in the scene. It’s rough, smooth, hard, shiny and soft all at the same time.


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 and welcome to 2012.