Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Wild Bird Wednesday 16 - Kookaburra

I don't live in one of the more wildlife rich areas of Australia - my area is suburban through and through . So when I find a new patch of natural (or at least not concreted) bushland I get little bit more excited that somebody of my age ought to!

Over the last few weeks I have been taking some walks along a ribbon of bushland that runs along one of our local creeks.  It backs onto peoples gardens, is flanked by cricket and football ovals and has more than it's fair share of invasive weeds.  But it's not a car park, a shopping centre or a housing estate.

So, I was pleased to find this icon of Australianness the Laughing Kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae). In fact I found three!

I really like these birds.  If you dont already know they are the worlds largest kingfisher, and while this one was hunting by a river they feed on lizards and other animals small enough to feet into their beak.


Now, it's your turn to join in with Wild Bird Wednesday.

Click the link below, follow the instructions and off you go!

Dont forget to link add a link to this page to your post, and possibly more important, don't forget to visit the other WBWers.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Our World Tuesday - Australian Nightlife.....

When I was away in the Grampians a couple of weeks ago I took the kids on a bit of a night walk - we had a guide to provide red-lens torches (flash-lights to some!).  These have the advantage of letting us see, but not really disturbing the wildlife.

While not thick on the ground there was enough to be seen to keep even the grasshopper minds of kids interested.

I managed to get these images of Ring-Tailed Possums (Pseudocheirus peregrines) which is a common species - in fact I often see it running about on the phone and power cables outside my house!






As we were turning for home a Tawny Frogmouth (Podargus strigoides) flashed across the path in front of us and took up residence on a dead stump.  I was a very nice bird to see.



You can read more about my trip to the Grampians here.

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

Enjoy the pictures.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Macro Monday - Crab Apples

I generally don't post flower images on Mondays - admittedly I take lots of flower images, many of which end up on my main blog, but I try not to post them here.  Absolutely nothing better than really good flower pictures - but lots of other people post them so I generally leave it to them.

However, the crab-apple trees outside our front door have been gorgeous this year, so here are a couple of shots.



The wind, rain and a fall in temperature have not done the flowers any favours and after a week of unremitting beauty they are now starting of fade.  We have a litter of brown petals on the ground below the trees and the bees are starting to look elsewhere.  The world turns.  The clock hands keep moving.

You can find more macro shots at the logically named Marco Monday.

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

Enjoy the close ups.

Friday, October 26, 2012

SkyWatch Friday - Melbourne

Melbourne is famous for having changeable weather - it's the old "if you don't like it just wait twenty minutes" sort of place.

I've also been thinking about how we (or at least me) always look for perfection in nature - the perfect sky, bird, butterfly or flower - and tend to overlook the beauty that can be found in the ordinary or the everyday.

So, I combined these two ideas and gave my self five minutes to get some pictures of a changeable, but otherwise seeming ordinary sky.

This is what I came up with:





I mat not have been able to do this if there had been no clouds - and true to form it rained within 10 minutes of me getting inside.  Ah, Melbourne!

You can find more skies at SkyWatch Friday.

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

Enjoy the pictures.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Wild Bird Wednesday 15 - Whistling Kite.

This is another addition to my small collection of images if birds of prey.  This Whistling Kite was hunting over the open paddocks - thats "fields' to some people! - near Point Lonsdale on the Bellarine Peninsula near Point Lonsdale.  Its been a regular holiday destination for us over the last few years, but following the death of Sal's mum we now have less reason to go.  Pictures like this remind me that we need to find a reason.

This bird is probably a juvenile and it was happily giving its classic sliding down the scale whistle.  I watched the bird for at least 20 minutes as it quartered the paddocks around me.  I suppose I was hoping that it would catch something - but it did not even seem to find a small possible meal!




Now its your turn to be involved in the 15th week of Wild Bird Wednesday.

Click the link below, follow the instructions and thats it - you're in!  Dont forget to include a link to WBW on your post and visit as many of the links as possible.  SM

Monday, October 22, 2012

Our World Tuesday - The Lizard of Oz

One of the (many) remarkable things about the wildlife of Australia is the number of different species of lizards and other reptiles we have.  At present the count stands at 840 species.  Its frequently said that a typical back garden in Sydney, Melbourne or Perth is likely to hold more species of lizard that the whole of the UK!  I don't know if thats completely true, but I've seen at least 3 types of small lizard in my own garden.

This picture is not of a small lizard!   This is a Shingleback - sometimes called a Sleepy Lizard or a Stump Tailed Lizard.

As you can see this nice specimen was very relaxed and allowed me to get very near him (her?) with a wide angle lens.  I found this lizard on the path to Mt. Zero in the grampians.  There were a number of other smaller lizards out in the spring sunshine - but they were faster on their feet that this one.



The lizards may not get as much press as the kangaroos and such like, but they are just as Australian.

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

Enjoy the pictures.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Macro Monday - The green, green glass of home...

Just on the outskirts of Halls Gap is a little white weather board house that looks like it could do with some TLC.

I was taken by the way the light was catching this sheet of green glass.  I'm not sure if there was any light coming from inside the building, but I like the way it seemed to glow.


You can find more macro images at Macro Monday.

Enjoy the close ups!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

SkyWatch Friday - Melbourne Sky

Just a short sharp post today - back from a late night at the Melbourne Festival - splendid  crazy circus stuff.

This was the scene over the Yarra just after we had dinner - for all I like my DSLR, knowing I have a point and shot in the bag will often save the day!


You find more sky shots from around the world at SkyWatch Friday.

Enjoy the pictures.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Wild Bird Wednesday 14 - Rainbow Lorikeet

One of the things I like about early morning walks is the people you meet.  If you get the timing right the only people you meet are bird watchers, joggers, photographers (and on Sundays) people going to church.  None of these are likely to harass you too much!

Far form harassing me the church going couple I met gave me very clear directions to a Rainbow Lorikeets nest.  Their directions placed me without about 10 meters of the nest hole. They rest was up to me!

The light on the morning was coming almost directly from behind the tree (you can have everything!) - so I add just a touch of fill-in flash to compensate.

These birds are common in my neck of the woods, but their ludicrously bright plumage and engaging behaviours always make them fun to watch.  They seemed to be feeding something in the nest hole - chicks no doubt - and at one time they were both in the nest cavity at the same time.  This produced some strange noises from the hole!  I may to to make some return journeys to the nest.



I find it hard to  believe just how bright these birds are - but also how hard they can be to see when they are in the canopy of a tall tree.  Its much easier when they just over head height next to a footpath!

Now its your turn to post to Wild Bird Wednesday.  Click on the link below, follow the instructions and link away!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Our World Tuesday - Blackburn

I was gripped by the crazy idea that I should get early on Sunday and go for a walk.  I normally lie down until such madness goes away, but this time I gave in got up!

The day was a picture perfect early spring morning - dew on apple blossom and that kind of thing.  I wanted to get something a little different.

This is what I came up with:




You can find more pictures from around the world (and possible not one taken while waving the camera about!) at Our World Tuesday.

Enjoy the pictures.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Macro Monday - Bees

A swarm of bees formed on a garden fence just down the road from our house this weekend.  The same thing happened a couple of years ago as well.  There is a long tern hive in a concrete light post at almost the same spot, so I think this must be a group of bees striking out to make a new colony.

There were a large number of bees in the air around the swarm, but I was surprised at how many people managed to walk to almost level with the swarm before they notice!  Once they noticed they normally fled in panic.  I was stood there camera in hand - and I think most people thought I was crazy.  The bees seemed more relaxed than most of the people.



You could see a number of the bees doing their figure of eight waggle dance on the surface of the swarm - which is the first time I've seen this happen.


You can find more macro shots at Macro Monday.

Enjoy the close ups.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

SkyWatch Friday - Spring on a cold day

I have the great pleasure of announcing that today was the coldest October day in Melbourne since 1972!  So, it seems more than appropriate that I should be posting about spring!

This is another picture in a series I took of oak leaves while I was in the Grampians - (you can see the first here).  I'm trying to do something just a wee bit different to what I normally do here, so bear with me!





I used two different colour balances in these images - I'm not sure which one I prefer.

Comments appreciated!

You can find more skies at SkyWatch Friday.

Enjoy the pictures.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wild Bird Wednesday 13 - Pied Currawong

This rather magnificent bird is a Pied Currawong (Strepera graculina).  Although they look a little like long thin crows, they are in a different family.  As you may guess from the impressive beak they feed on small mammals, reptiles and nestlings.  Its the tendency of this bird to feed on young birds in the nest that makes it rather unpopular in some quarters.  In urban areas they can be a major cause of mortlaity in smaller birds.  This is of course not a problem for a currawong - it's just a marker that somewhere along the line the balance has tipped in favour of this bird.

The calls of these birds are remarkable in the range of sound produced and for its ability to carry over long distances.  I start to hear these birds around my house in the autumn, but as spring comes they move away to higher ground - in this case The Grampians.

I like the shape of these birds, the shear size of the beak and that yellow eye.






The slight variation in the feathers suggest that this may be an old juvenile (if you see what I mean).

Now its your turn to link up to Wild Bird Wednesday.

Click on the link below and follow the instructions - visit the other WBWers and generally enjoy the birds!


Monday, October 8, 2012

Our World Tuesday - The Grampians

If just come back from a week in the Grampians - a wonderful, rocky and interesting place in the west of Victoria.  The region has suffered more than its fare share of climate driven problems over the last few years - drought, fire and then, as if to add insult to injury, flooding rain.  This may account for why the whole place seemed a little quiet compared to other years.  Now quiet is good as far as I am concerned - but the people who live here need to earn a living.

We had a some great spring weather - and that Australian ritual of wrestling with the kids to put on the sun-block began for the first time in a long time!

I love the sense of space and distance you can get here - even if the flat blue skies make exposure a bit tricky.




Many of the roads in the area are not sealed - so dust is the order of the day when the sun shines, and mud and slipperiness when it rains.  Thankfully we had more sun than rain.

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

Enjoy the pictures.


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Macro Monday - Ghost of a Leaf

I just come back from a week away in the Grampians - a national park about 3 hours to the west of Melbourne.  Spring sunshine, cool nights and lots of walks.  It was great week.

This image is of the pattern that a small twig and leaves made when it was covered by the white paint in the middle of a bike track. I don't know how old the paint was, but the whole thing looked crisp.  Once we noticed this one, we found a few others, but none were as complex as this.



I'll post more Grampians images as the week goes on - but you can find more macro shots at Macro Monday.

Enjoy the close ups!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

SkyWatch Friday - Spring Sky

Greetings - another week away from the comforts and technology of home!  So, just a rapid post today.

We have had the first real week of spring - this image was an attempt to capture that feeling of spring.  The unaccustomed sunshine, the brightness of a blue sky and the flare of new leaves.  Clearly this is a picture that was better in the conception than the execution!

 Its not great - but I does sum up what's happening here in the sky!

You can find more sky shots by clicking the Sky Watch Friday link on the RHS of the page.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Wild Bird Wednesday 12 - Black-Shouldered Kite

I have mentioned in my comments on other peoples post that I seem to find it hard to get shots of birds of prey.  That last time I visited Wilson Prom National Park I was able to start the slow process of putting that problem to bed.

As we were walking through a path of heathland a Black-Shouldered Kite popped up onto the upper branches of a tree.  A few minutes of slow movement brought it within range of my lens.  There have been times when I have mentioned the rain in a negative sort of way - but on this occasion the heavy great sky was a real bonus. In the flat bright light of a full sun light this bird would have been a real pain to photograph - with its white feather blowing out into over-expossed highlights.  But the grey scle sky was a perfect back drop.



So, for once I'm able to post a bird of prey.  Now its your turn to link to Wild Bird Wednesday.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Our World Tuesday - Water in the Desert

One of the strangest things about Dubai was the way that water was used.

This is a country that has very little water.  Much of what it does used is produced by de-slaination, which is not an energy poor process.  Yet in the Dubai mall there was a huge aquarium containing a vast amount of water and an artificial waterfall complete with metallic divers.  You could either see it as a form of madness, or more charitably as a sign of the "can do" attitude that has built the city.

Which ever way you choose to see it, there is no denying that both uses of the water are pretty remarkable.



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

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

Enjoy the pictures.