Friday 30 May 2014

Up through the trees...

Alpine Ash forest, near Healsville.

And a rather fine blue sky!

You can find more skies at Sky Watch Friday.

Wednesday 28 May 2014

Wild Bird Wednesday 98 - Orange-footed Scrubfowl

Many people have commented on the colourful nature of Australian birds - and in a number of cases I have to say they were correct.  I have to say that it does make me smile when such comments come from bloggers who post pictures of Northern Cardinals and Humming birds!

So, just to prove that not all Australian birds are incandescently bright, I give you the Orange-Footed Scrubfowl.  It's one of the few birds I know of that have more brightly coloured feet than feathers!

This bird was feeding in a garden on Magnetic Island, Queensland, when I saw it.  The adult normally have a small, stiff, crest.  But even that is missing on this individual - I suspect it may be a well grown juvenile.  The scientific name for this species - Megapodius reinwardt - makes reference to its large feet.  ("Mega" as in large, and "pod" as in foot).

For all of this birds lack of colour, it still does have a trick or two up its feathered sleeve to keep us interested.  This bird belongs to a group called the "Mound Builders" - and that is exactly what they do.  They scrape together large piles of leaf litter to form natural compost piles, and into those piles they place their eggs.  The heat released as decomposition occurs incubates the eggs.  Some Mound Builders add or remove material during the incubation period to regulate the temperature of the eggs, but the Orange-Footed Scrubfowl seems to rely on getting the eggs buried in an appropriate location in the first place.  Some of the mounds they build are huge - maybe even a big as 150m in circumference!

Just to finish off the story, this bird roosts in trees, which seem a good idea for a roast sized bird!

Now it's over to you - and I'm sure your birds will have brighter colours, but maybe smaller feet!
Don't forget to visit as many other WBWers are you can, and (as ever) feel free to invite along new bloggers.

Tuesday 27 May 2014

Mont Albert Railway Lines

Another Saturday walk - more pictures.

I liked the perspective in these shots, and thought black and white would be good for industrial landscapes!  SM

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

Monday 26 May 2014

Post Boxes.

No junk mail?  Well maybe not.

A face?  Well possibly.

A face, with a stick in one eye?  Possible again!

You can find more macro shots at Macro Monday 2 and I Heart Macro.  SM

Friday 23 May 2014

A Saturday Walk - A ginko sky

The yellow leaves of a Ginko tree against the pale morning sky caught my eye.

You can find more skis at Sky Watch Friday.

Wednesday 21 May 2014

Wild Bird Wednesday 97 - Red-Capped Plover

The Red-Capped plover is another bird I associate with sandy beaches - although it does not seem to have the appetite for the same rough ocean swells as the Hooded plover from last week.

Having said this, these images were taken on the edge of a partially tidal lake - not really an estuary, but not far enough up into the freshwater to be a river - a real half way house.

For once, the scientific name of this bird makes obvious sense - Charadrius ruficapillus - even if "ruficapillus" actually does mean "red-haired".  (Given the sort of hair my family have, this bird has just moved up a few places in my favourites list!)

This bird is in the same genus Ringed and Little-Ringed Plovers which are more widespread around the world.

At  14-16cm long this is not a large bird - but its fast running habits make it rather conspicuous at times.  As you can see from the foot marks in the sand around this birds feet, there has been a lot of running in this area.

This chap is a male - the dark line at the "shoulder" and the clear black lines around the "fox red" cap separate him from the female.

Now its over to you - click on the link button below and off you go.  Get your "editing heads" on as I think I'm going to use WBW 100 (in 3 weeks) as a chance for people to repost their favourite shot that they have shared through the first 100 WBWs.  Cheers SM

Monday 19 May 2014

A Saturday Walk - local things

I often wonder why some things catch my eye - but these did on my Saturday walk.

Waiting times.
The Joy of Public Transport
The Joy of Public Transport 2
 Cafe Mural
No autumn on this drive
Fence Sentinel
You can find shots from around the world at Our World Tuesday.

Sunday 18 May 2014

Thursday 15 May 2014

A Silver (Gull) Sky

Noisy they may be, striking they certainly are.  A summer, Silver Gull sky.

More skies can be found to SkyWAtch Friday.  SM

Wednesday 14 May 2014

Wild Bird Wednesday 96 - Hooded Plover (and a squeaky explanation)

As I was sitting on the Squeaky Beach photographing a wombat (!)  I noticed some movement in the plants just off to my right.

I turns out that all the time I had been watching the wombat, a family of Hooded Plovers had been watching me.  These are normally very shy birds that shoot along the beach as soon as you arrive, but these seemed a little more content to stay put.  Another alternative idea is that the other five or six people who were watching the wombat had confused the birds, and they had nowhere else to go.

When the wombat left the beach the people left as well, leaving me with the Hooded Plovers.   Knowing that they are a flighty bird I just sat still and hoped they would  move towards me - well that did not happen, so I have had to crop these images a little more than I would like.

The Hooded Plover (Thinornis rubricollis) normally lives on sandy ocean beaches on the West and East corners of Australia - and that is why this bird is struggling and is considered 'vulnerable' in Victoria. Ocean beaches are a favourite location for holiday makers (like me) and the disturbance often means that the birds fail to breed.  However, a number of the breeding beaches now have protected zones, and this summer was one of the better breeding years of late.

Given the bright sunshine, the very pale sand and the distance the birds were away, I'm happy with the images.

On a different note - a number of people have asked why Squeaky Beach squeaks -  as far as I am able to tell it squeaks because all the grains of sand are very similar in size, so when you scuff your feet in the sand they all roll over each other and that makes the squeak.

Now its over to you - and in case you are new here, all you have to do is click the "InLinkz" button and do a little bit of cutting and pasting of your blog posts URL and you are a member of the fine group of WBWers.  SM

Tuesday 13 May 2014

Wilsons Prom

Wilsons Prom (Promontory) is about a 3 hours drive from Melbourne - and at any time of the year, and in almost any weather, it's worth the drive.

The views here are from the top of Mt. Wilson, nr. Tidal River.  The beach is called Squeaky Beach, because it does.

If you visit Victoria, this place really should be on your list.

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

Sunday 11 May 2014

Barrel Cactus

These grown wild in Arizona - but this one is in the Botanical Gardens in Melbourne.

You can find more macro shots at Macro Monday 2 and I Heart Macro.  SM

Thursday 8 May 2014

Sea Sky 2

Rain on the horizon.  Thankfully it never reached us.

You can find more skies at Sky Watch Friday.  SM

Tuesday 6 May 2014

Wild Bird Wednesday 95 - Scarlet Robin

Those of you with a memory for such things will remember this wire fence from my recent Welcome Swallow post, it was a great little location for the birds.

In case you missed that post, this fence is one a dairy property nr. Walkerville in East Gippsland, about 3 hours from Melbourne.  It was a great place to spend a week.

Today the fence is playing host to a male and female Scarlet Robin - Petroica multicolour.  There are a number of these "robin" species in SE Australia, and I always like seeing them.  As is often the case with names like this, these birds are not closely related to either the American or European robins - it's just that they all have red chest feathers.

Some books consider that there are seasonal movements of these birds at the end of the breeding seasons, but others suggest that they just become more conspicuous once breeding is over as they spend more time in the open. However,  I do tend to associate seeing them with autumn.  Sounds like a PhD in the waiting!

Female Scarlet Robin

Female Scarlet Robin

Male Scarlet Robin
Now it's over to you - click on the link below and off you go.  We have been getting over 60 links in recent weeks, which is great - however, please feel free to invite anybody else you know to join in.  The more the merrier.  SM


The world is large, yet I am so small.

Or something like that.

Lone fisherman.

Walkerville, Victoria, Australia.

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

Monday 5 May 2014

Preying Mantis

I found this preying mantis laying eggs on a brick fence just outside our house.

You can find more macro shots at Macro Monday 2 and I Heart Macro.  SM

Friday 2 May 2014

A sea sky

This may be the first of a bit of a run of quick posts.  I need to find some time to write for my longer blog - so this one will be a little neglected for a while.

I'm still going to post (and of course run WBW on Wednesdays), but there may not be much text for  while!

Hope you keep visiting.

This image of the sea / sky was taken at Walkerville, east of Melbourne.

You can find more skies from around the world at Sky Watch Friday.  SM