Monday 30 June 2014

Cactus Flower

I have no idea what species of cactus this is - but I do know that it has a great flower!

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

Wednesday 25 June 2014

Wild Bird Wednesday 102 - Crested Shrike-Tit

One of the birding - and photographic - highlights of my recent trip to Phillip Island was to get great views of a pair of Crested Shrike-Tits.  This is a bird I have seen on less than half a dozen previous occasions - all of them in a pre-digital age!

The female was a lot less bold then the male, and rarely came within camera range.  On the other hand the male was as bold as brass (as my mum would have said).

As you can see the Crested Shrike-Tit is a cracking looking bird - and it's name is that classic combination of half remembered names of other birds and spurious relations to others.  There are three distinct populations of this bird, and this one is a member of the south eastern group, which is the only part of Australia where it is considered "common".  I have to say I would beg to differ on that assessment!

Its formal name - Falcunculus frontatus - actually refers to a "small falcon with a forehead", which is  due to its hooked beak and crest.

This is a robust looking bird the reaches a maximum size of 19cm - and as you can imagine I was rather excited when I saw them.

Now, once more, it's over to you!  Click on the button below and off you go!

Monday 23 June 2014

The Nobbies

Down at Phillip Island there are two islands that collectively are known as The Nobbies - apparently because the look like two islands in Scotland with the same name.

Well, I am in no position to comment on such similarities - maybe somebody out there can pas judgement!  All I know is that the sea was rough, the air crisp and that I could have stood and watched for much longer than I did!

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


I found this Preying Mantis on the inside of the fly-wire last week.  She seemed as interested in me as I did in her!

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

Thursday 19 June 2014

Phillip Island Sky

The coast is a good place for big skies - and this sky is rather big to say the least.

This was taken nr. The Nobbies, on Phillip Island last weekend. More shots from that trip to follow.

You can find more sky shots at Sky Watch Friday.  SM

Wednesday 18 June 2014

Wild Bird Wednesday 101 - Cape Barren Goose

I spent most of this Sunday down on Phillip Island - which is about 2 hours (give or take the traffic) east of Melbourne.  When I catch up, I'll do a full post about the trip over on my wordy blog - but for now, I just show some pictures.

The Cape Barren Goose (Cereopsis novaehollandiae) is a true goose - although some books describe it as "an aberrant one" - i.e. not really typical of the birds we call geese.  This is a substantial bird, weighing in at about 4 - 6 kg.  Every time I see them I am surprise they were not eaten into extinction in the early colonial period of Australian history.

The males and females are very similar - but the female sits on the nest which is a bit of a give away some times.

When ever I watch geese of any kind feeding I can't help but think of them as flying cows - large, slow moving, grass eating herbivores.

The name Cape Barren seems to have come from the Island of the same name, which lies between Tasmania and the mainland - although it only seems to have become popular as a name when sealers started to use the island.  I can only assume that was bad news for both the seals and the geese.

Female - on nest

eating grass 

Now its over to you for WBW 101!

Tuesday 17 June 2014

Phillip Island Beaches

I spent Sunday down at Phillip Island - good birds and great views!  Here are two of the views!

Near The Nobbies 
Forest Cave beach

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

Monday 16 June 2014

Spider Web

It's that time of year here - spider webs in the morning and a fire in the evening.  There is even talk of snow in the mountains.

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

Friday 13 June 2014

Evening Skies / Bright Lights

As Sunday evening approached the bright lights and dark blue skies over the centre of Melbourne looked very appealing.

There was an "interactive sculpture" in Federation Square, but it was either not working that well, or I was expecting a little too much - either way I like the contrasts in these images.

You can find more skies at Sky Watch Friday.  SM

Wednesday 11 June 2014

Wild Bird Wednesday - 100 WBW's

Hard to believe that it was almost two years ago that I took up the reins of the run-away horse that is WBW!

Dave Springman over at Pine River Review had run World Bird Wednesday for a couple of years, but had decided to hang up the telephoto and do other things - and I picked up where he left off.  With a slight rebadging we were off.

I need to say that Wild Bird Wednesday benefited greatly from the people who had already teamed up with Dave - so if anybody is still in contact with him, tell him I say "Hello!".

Somewhere in the region of 60 to 70 people link there blogs up through WBW - and normally about 200+ people visit.

These are a (slightly self indulgent) collection of images from my "header" posts for WBW - I hope you enjoy them!

Southern Cassowary - Daintree Rainforest, Queensland, Australia
Broad Billed Humming Bird - Boyce Thompson Arboretum, Superior, Arizona, USA
Crested Tern - Mud Island,Victoria, Australia
Crimson Rosella - Lorne,Victoria, Australia 
Crimson Rosella - Lambington National Park, Queensland, Australia

Eastern Spinebill, Lorne, Victoria, Australia 
Eurasian Hoopoe, Muscat, Oman
Fairy Terns - Mud Island,Victoria, Australia
Green Rosella - Burny Island,Tasmania, Australia
Pink Eared Duck - Perth, Western Australia, Australia 
Rainbow Bee-eater - Daintree, Queensland,  Australia
Red Knot - Pope's Eye,Victoria, Australia
Shy Albatross - Bruny Island,Tasmania, Australia 
Silvereye - Yarra Valley,Victoria, Australia
Banded Stilts, Point Lonsdale, Victoria, Australia
Now its over to you to post your links - as this is a birthday (or sorts) why not make an extra effort to invite new bloggers along!  Cheers.  Here's to the next 200!

Tuesday 10 June 2014

Melbourne Skylines

I was in Melbourne's city centre this weekend - I rather liked the way that the different styles of architecture formed the skyline.

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

Monday 9 June 2014

Agapanthus seed head

These plants can be a bit of a pest if they get into water ways from garden wastes, but I do like the seed heads in winter.

Its another picture where I think the stark nature of the image suits black. and white.

You can find more close up shots at Macro Monday 2 and I Heart Macro.

Cheers,  SM.

Friday 6 June 2014

Late afternoon sea sky

This sky was taken from the Cape Liptrap Lighthouse in East Gippsland.  The colours really were as rich as this picture suggests.

You can find more skies at Sky Watch Friday.  SM

Wednesday 4 June 2014

Wild Bird Wednesday 99 - Spangled Drongo

I dont suppose that there are many birds that have given rise to a term of abuse - but it would seem that the Spangled Drongo is one of them.

I certainly knew the tern Drongo as an insult as a kid - and apparently it originates from the name of a horse (which was named after the bird!) which never really manage to be that good! As my book on the origin of Australia bird names says a drongo would be used for a person who was an honest trier who never really made it.  I must admit, I always found it to be an insult tinged with a bit of affection!

Enough of this - on to the bird.  The Spangled Drongo (Dicrurus bracteatus) is about 30 cm long, with a stunning red eye.  It can be frantically active (which the horse named after it was not!) and has a fan shaped tail - its described in my field guide as a "fish tail".  These shots we're taken on Magnetic island a while ago - and it was one of the few times I saw these birds perched.

If you enlarge the images you can just start to see the "spangling" in the neck feathers.  Taking pictures of basically black birds against the sky is never the easiest of tasks.  The strange looking objects "floating" on the LHS of the pictures are seeds (I think) caught in spider webs.

Next week WBW will be 100!  So, I will be reposting a selection of my favourite images.

I assume that you all know the drill from here on - but if not, click on the button below and off you go into the wild world of WBW!

Tuesday 3 June 2014


Sunday morning was taken up with a karate competition - for H rather than me I have to add.

H did well!

Everybody (including me) was taking heaps of pictures of their own kids, but a few other things caught my eye as well!

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

Monday 2 June 2014


We have had a mild winter so far.  I would not be to bad to have some mornings like this soon.

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