Friday 30 November 2012

SkyWatch Friday - Omani Sunset (with no sun)

This is another of my occasional series of shots with no sky - this one is bending the rules a bit as I can see some sky, but the main action is off screen.

I really liked the way that the sun was catching on the building.  I gradually underexposed the shot to get the balance between the grey of the beach and the gold of the reflection.

You can find more sky shots at SkyWatch Friday.

Enjoy the pictures.

Wednesday 28 November 2012

Wild Bird Wednesday 20 - Grey Francolin

I had the good fortune to meet another birder when I was at the conference in Oman - he pointed me in the direction of a good, birdy walk between the ocean and some mangrove swamps.

Although the light was fading the birding was good.  Working on "information supplied" I sneaked up on a large patch of open, dusty, soil and as promised there were three Grey Francolins (Francolinus pondicerianus).  These birds are in the same family as partridge and pheasants.  Grey Francolins are about 30 cm long and while the guide book calls them "rather drab" I think thats a bit harsh!

This bird was rather easily disturbed, and rushed off as soon as it saw me - I was glad that I had my camera on "fast drive" - these were the only three images I managed to get.

So, now its your turn to join in with Wild Bird Wednesday.  Click on the link below and follow the instructions - its as simple as that.

Visits to WBW were down a bit last week, so if you know anybody who would be interested feel free to pass on the link!  The more birds (and visitors!) the better!  SM

Monday 26 November 2012

Our World Tuesday - Omani Cat

I often wonder why we have to have the end of the year at such a busy time!  If we put the end of the year off for a couple of months things would be much easier!!

This is another shot from Oman.  As I was walking along the shore line I noticed that I had not seen a single cat (or dog for that matter) wandering about the streets of Musact - this struck me as unusual.  Of course that thought summoned up a cat that strolled across the road and looked at me from the safety of a pile of rocks.

I always had a cat as a kid - but I dont have one at
present, so I'll have to make do with this one.  I have to say that for an out and about, beach cat, it does look rather splendid!

You can find more cats 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 screen.

Enjoy the pictures.

Sunday 25 November 2012

Macro Monday - A frog on the road.

This is a rather old shot of a frog - species Unknownus frogus (!).

It was jumping across the road as we went back to our accommodation in the Daintree Rainforest.  I'd seen a few shapes jumping across the road and I assumed they were frogs, but it was only when one landed in the middle of the road that I was able stop and have a look at it.

So, here it is - a frog!

You  can find more macro shots at Macro Monday.

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

Enjoy the close ups.

Friday 23 November 2012

SkyWatch Friday - Oman Sunset 2

A quick post today due to late night yesterday.  Late night caused by new James Bond film - I would have to say I think its the best one I've seen!

Anyway, back to skies!

This image was taken a little earlier in the evening that last Fridays image.

You can find more skies at SkyWatch Friday.


PS: there's a new post over on my "Other Blog" for those of you who are interested!

Tuesday 20 November 2012

Wild Bird Wednesday 19 - Green Bee-eater

I was pleased to find another species of bee-eater during my trip to Oman.  They would feed on the overhead wires by the side of the road which made it difficult (ie impossible!) to get any images.  I also watched them in the near darkness of the setting sun.  Its at times like that that you realised how much like your binoculars can gather compared to the lens of your camera.

Eventually I found some out in the open, a reasonable distance from the ground and not too flighty! So this is a Green Bee-eater (Merops orientalis).  This is a small bee-eater, only about 24 cm long.  If you want to see a different species of bee-eater  - the Rainbow Bee-eater click here.

This image is cropped a bit more then normal as I could not get very close to the bird - but I really like the wires in the image as well.  Something about captivity and freedom maybe?

Now it your turn to get involved in World Bird Wednesday.

Click on the link below and follow the instructions - dont forget to link to you bird post rather tha just your blog and visit as many other bird sites as possible!  Have fun!

Monday 19 November 2012

Our world Tuesday - Open Garden

I think it will be a lie to say that "My World" was not dominated by the 600 or so people we had visit our garden over the weekend.............. Now, before you assume I live in some form of palatial, sweeping lawn and full time gardener type of house I need to tell you thats not the case.  The blocks of land on which houses sit are not small in Australia - but there are much larger ones next door to us!

The whole event was organised as fund raiser for a range of charities - and the company that did the landscape work get to have lots (and lots!) of people look at their work.  We also got to have our garden looked after for a few weeks before the weekend by people who actually know what that are doing!

You can see that the garden is not formal (neither am I),  it has some shade for the summer, 3 raised vegetable beds (the tomatoes are already doing well!), a cubby house for the kids (although that part of childhood may be passing), a shed (a man needs a shed), a large compost bin and last and by no means least a trampoline.

So, these picture don't have much artistic merit - but they do show the main features of our back garden.  Maybe next year I'll show you the  front!

So, if you happen to enjoy gardens - I hope you see something here to you liking!

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

Sunday 18 November 2012

Macro Monday - Hibiscus.

A quick post today - we had almost 600 people come and view our garden over the weekend as part of a garden design festival and fund raiser.  Its strange to have so many people wandering about in your garden, taking pictures and generally having a good look about!

I need a sit down and a glass of wine!

This hibiscus was a flower on the bush under which I first saw the Hoopoe (see last post!)

I dont post too many flowers, but I rather like this!

Enjoy the other close ups!

(PS: if you follow my other blog, a new post will pop up within the next day!)  SM

Thursday 15 November 2012

SkyWatch Friday - Muscat Sunset

No need for cryptic post titles here - this is a sun set at Muscat, Oman.

I took this about an hour after my baggage finally caught up with me - that and this sunset just about put the day into the positive!!

You can find more sky shots at SkyWatch Friday.

Enjoy the pictures.

Wednesday 14 November 2012

Wild Bird Wednesday 18 - Eurasian Hoopoe

The first day in Oman was not going well - my luggage was taking a short break in Dubai without me, I had been wearing the same clothes for well over 24 hours and the information about registration for the conference was rather misleading.  I was feeling glum!

Then, wandering under the bushes, was a bird that I had wanted to see for as long as I have actually wanted to see birds!  It was a Eurasian Hoopoe (Upupa epops) - 28 cm of pinkish, black and white striped remarkableness!  Long down turned bill, a half cocked crest and long, rounded wings.

It was rushing about, pocking the grass with its long bill, looking for food.  I was rushing about camera in hand , looking for the best angle.  My work colleagues were looking at me like I was a mad man!  I was looking at the bird and not really caring what they thought!

I can remember looking at pictures of Hoopoe in my first bird books - the I Spy and Observers books for those of you with roots in the UK - and knowing that I would probably never see one!  It may as well have been a Roc or a Phoenix for all the likelihood that I would see one.  I was half convinced that they were mythical!  Later I met people who had seen them, but they were dedicated beyond my level of commitment, or travellers to far flung and exotic places.

But here it was, being reasonably cooperative on the grass verge around a hotel car park - it felt I bit like finding a unicorn in a shopping centre! After about 2 minutes it flew off into the traffic (!) and suddenly the day did not seem so bad at all.  In fact I dont think I stopped grinning for a long while.  The general feeling was only surpassed by that caused by the eventual arrival of my luggage!

Now it you turn to get involved in Wild Bird Wednesday.

Click on the link below, follow the instructions and off you go!  Don't forget to link back to this page - and its best if you link to a specific post on your own blog rather than just to the blog itself.

Monday 12 November 2012

Our World Tuesday - Inside....

Once you pass through the main doors of the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque you are greeted by the most extraordinary sight.  Not only is the main hall large enough to hold 6000 people at prayer, all kneeling on a hand knotted carpet, it contains the words largest chandelier.  The statistics of this chandelier are only outdone by the way that it looks;

Its 14 m tall, weights 8 tons and has a diameter of 8m.  It contains 1122 lamps which are surrounded by 600,000 (thats not a misprint!) Swarovski crystals.  It one of the most remarkable things I have seen.

I have no idea how you would plan to build this!

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

Enjoy the pictures.

Sunday 11 November 2012

Macro Monday - The Main Door

This is a detail from the door that leads into the main chamber of the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Muscat, Oman.  It really is a remarkable building - and like almost all of the grand religious buildings I have been in, it seems to generate its own quiet atmosphere.  I am rather jet lagged (oh, poor me I hear you cry!), so I will leave more details of Oman for the coming posts.

The quality of all of the workmanship in these buildings is stunning, and while this one is modern (it opened in 2001) the time, effort and money needed to produce such a building is still remarkable.

You can find more macro shots at Macro Monday.

Enjoy the close ups.

Tuesday 6 November 2012

Wild Bird Wednesday 17 - Long-billed Corella

As I mentioned in my last WBW post I have been spending a bit of time in a newish area of bushland near my house.

On this walk I bumped into two Long-Billed Corellas (Cactua tenirostris). The were walking through the long grass by the side of the path, eating the seeds from the newly set seeds.  At first they were very shy and would not let me get very close at all.  In the end they seemed to work out that I was not a threat and they settled down.  A few minutes after they let me get in range they were threatened by a pair of magpies and they flew off!

They were great birds to watch - they have a stiff legged walking style - and kind of parrot goose-step really.  For a bird of there size (about 40cm) they seemed to be very delicate in the way they harvested the seeds.

Now its your turn to be involved in Wild Bird Wednesday.

Click the link below, follow the instructions and off you go!   Dont forget to link back to this page and to visit WBWers from around the world.  

Monday 5 November 2012

Our World Tuesday - Motor Classica

My son has a real interest in cars - not very unusual I suppose, but it does give me an excuse to go to car shows and such like.  I can pretend I'm only going because of H - but I don't think anybody really believes me!

Last weekend we went to Motor Classica - a display of cars of all ages, styles and vintages - although (and unsurprisingly) there is a bit of a focus on rocket ships and sports cars!

A number of car clubs also put on dispalys in the area outside the hall.

So, here are some decidedly not natural history shots!

You can have any colour ...... as long as it's red!
You can find more pictures from around the wold at Our World Tuesday.

Enjoy the pictures.

Sunday 4 November 2012

Macro Monday - Hand Print

I dont know how this has been formed, but I noticed this hand print on one of the pillars outside Melbourne Museum last week.  However it was done I was drawn to the similarity with the hand prints that are seen in ancient cave paintings and more recent Aboriginal stencils here in Australia.

I doubt these have the same level of significance, but there is a clear link between them.

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.

Thursday 1 November 2012

SkyWatch Friday - Side door sky

This is the view from the side door our our house.  Its not very scenic I have to say.  However, at this time of year the late afternoon sun lights up our next door neighbours chimney and roof with a very warm light.

I may be a long stretch, but this combination of colours always reminds me of central Australia - the clear blue skies and the orange red soil.

You can find more skies at SkyWatch Friday.

I'll be all over the place next week - so replies may be not be as prompt as I would like!