Thursday 27 November 2014

Neither a sky nor a mammal - Shingleback Lizard

This is a shingleback lizard - or to use the name I first knew it by, the Stumpy Tail lizard.  Both names are good - its back does look like the shingles on a roof and it does have a stumpy tail.

This lizard was taking some spring sunshine on board when I found him (or her) and was remarkably tolerant as I stuck the lens of a camera up its nose!

There are many reptiles in Australia which which I would not be so bold!

You can find more shots of animals from around the world at Saturday Critters

Wednesday 26 November 2014

Wild Bird Wednesday 124 - Robin

When I was back in the UK one of the things I really enjoyed was catching up with the kinds of birds I used to see around my house everyday.  Nowadays I see Australian Magpies and two or threes species of parrot most days, along with a few introduced birds. So, seeing robins, tits, finches and warblers was a real treat.

What surprised me when I got back home to Australia was how few pictures I had taken of these 'domestic' species - at least part of the reason for that is that I often saw them when I was sat in a garden (beer or otherwise) and I was not in photographic mode!

So, in celebration of the common and the everyday, I give you a Robin from the UK.  This is a common, and trusting species, in the UK.  As far as I am aware this species is much less domesticated in the rest of Europe.

As you will notice if you are not from Europe this is not the bird you call a robin - presumably the robins in other parts of the world gained this name via the possession of a red breast rather than a shared evolutionary history.

Anyway - this rather obliging bird stayed still enough form me to photograph it, even if it did have a fondness for the shadows of a hedge.

And now it is over to you - click the blue button to link in with WBW and off your go!

Tuesday 25 November 2014

The Things They Left Behind 3 - Heatherlie Quarry

This post continues from yesterdays - this old quarry site was abandoned  and reopened on a number of occasions, but today its story is told mainly by the equipment that was left behind.

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

Monday 24 November 2014

Mantis Orchid

Orchids are such strange plants that they are almost irresistibly photogenic.

As far as I can tell, this is a Mantis Orchid - Caladenua tentacular  - but given the ability of these types of plants to interbreed and hybridise it could be anything.

This plant was growing at Heatherlie Quarry, one of my favourite orchid watching locations in the Grampians.

You can find more macro shots at Macro Monday2 and I Heart Macro.  SM

Friday 21 November 2014

Ancient Sky - with a flock of pigeons.

A quick thank you for all the comments over the last week - normal service is about to resume!

This is a shot I took at Stonehenge earlier in the year, and I really liked the flock of pigeons.  Unfortunately, they did just a single fly-past and headed for the horizon!

But I like it none the less.

You can find more skies and less pigeons (look at about 3 o'clock on the picture) at Skywatch Friday.

Wednesday 19 November 2014

Wild Bird Wednesday 123 - Crested Tern

I involved in a wee bit of work travel early this week, so this will be a brief post.

These birds as Crested Terns - Sterna bergii - and they are the tern I most commonly see.  In some ways these are my 'default' terns and I find others by noticing that they are not this one!

They are rather more relaxed than some other birds and give photographers a better chance to get close to them.

I am also very fond of them because I saw some on my very first day in Australia!

The flight shots were all taken near Queenscliff and the birds sitting on the jetty are at Swan bay.

Now its over to you - click the blue button and away you go.

Tuesday 18 November 2014

Surrey Hills Music Festival

I spent an hour of so at the Surrey Hills Music festival this weekend - this is a very small scale and very local event, but it was fun none the less.  There were rather too many choirs and gospel groups for my general tastes.  But that says more about me than about the music!

There were a couple of people playing in the street and one band - The Cutting - that I rather liked.  In these circumstances I have a tendency to like like music in a folk idiom most and this was a little in short supply.  These are some of the pictures I made.

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

Monday 17 November 2014

Reflections on Music

My kids were playing at their schools annual music evening this week - apart from taking the normal proud parent sort of shots I noticed these rather interesting reflections.

Believe it or not, these reflections are from the upright section of the school piano.  Not only did the clarity of the actual reflections take me by surprise, but the ability of modern digital cameras to capture such scenes continues to surprise me.

I think these just about classify as macro shots - and you can find more at Macro Monday2 and I Heart Macro.  SM

Friday 14 November 2014

Evening Light

Its been a while since I have posted a sky shot with no sky, but it's time I did!

These images were taken in the warm light of a clear evening - you don't need to see the sky to know that.

So these are my rather hurried Friday offering!  They were taken in the Southern Grampians, just a stone throw from the location of my last post.

You can find more shots of the sky - including many which probably actually show some sky - at Skywatch Friday.

Wednesday 12 November 2014

Wild Bird Wednesday 122 - Whiskered Terns

Terns are great birds to watch.  Delicate, fast moving and often unpredictable in flight.  This of course makes them rather challenging to photograph on the wing!

Last weekend I noticed this Whiskered tern being a little more predictable in flight than normal - so I set up to try and get some inflight images.  The bird was hunting back and forth over an area of surface weed in Swan Bay, near Queenscliff where we were staying for the weekend.

It was still very hard to keep the bird in frame and in focus, and the ability to take a large number of shots with the punitive costs of the past was a real joy. (If you never shot slide film, this may not mean much to you - but trust me, it was expensive!)

Although I still have a long way to go in this area, I was pleased with a few on the shots - and have learnt enough to hope that the next batch in similar circumstances will have a higher hit rate!

The Whiskered Tern (Chlidonias hybrida) is a summer breeding visitor to southern Australia, so it was a marker of the changing seasons that I was able to find this bird.  The scientific name is some form of grammatical statement about the gender of the genus name - if you could explain this to me, that would be great, as such things are beyond me!

One of the things I like about these pictures is the way that the light is reflected up from the water onto the underside of the birds.  It gives a remarkable pattern.  I could see it in the field through binoculars, but I was surprised how clear it is in the pictures.  As ever, these picture look much better larger.

And now, equally as ever, its over to you:  click on the blue button and off you go.

Tuesday 11 November 2014

11th November

As long as politicians send other peoples children to war I assume we will still need monuments like these.

Both of these monuments are in Whitehall, London.  Just up the road from the seat of government.

'It is the doom of men that they forget'

More images from around the world at Our World Tuesday

Monday 10 November 2014

Five Days of Black and White

My brother recently suggested that I put up a black and white image on Facebook each day for five days.

After a bit of thought I said 'Well, why not?'

These are the five images:
Self Portrait; Camberwell
Grand Canyon, Arizona
Past its best, Camberwell
Federation Square, Melbourne
Crested Tern, Mud Island
These images are all reworkings of colour images, but its a fun project to look at images and find ones that 'work' in black and white.

Comments please!

Friday 7 November 2014

Pelican sky

Minimalist picture, and minimal text today!

Pelicans over Queenscliff this weekend.

This picture needs to be clicked on!

More sky images at SkyWatch Friday.

Wednesday 5 November 2014

Wild Bird Wednesday 121 - Jacky Winter

The Jacky Winter is a small, active and not unattractive Australian Robin.  This is a special group of birds found largely in the Australian region, and despite being called 'Robins' they are not closely rested to the Robins of Europe or America.

Its common name - Jacky Winter - may well have been derived from its habit of singing all winter, even when most other birds have become silent - but the book where I find out this kind of stuff suggests that 'the precise origin of the name is unlikely to be resolved".  Some of its other common names relate to this species habit of sitting on open branches - or their human replacements, posts - these include Post-Boy, Post-Sitter and Stump-bird.

Its scientific name - Microeca fascinans - means 'bewitching similar small bird'.  I like this because I think its gives a bit of an insight into how hard it must have been to name some of these closely related birds when they were first recorded by European Scientists.

The birds I photographed were doing there best to sit in the open, while still remain hidden behind leaf buds and metal wires!

So, here we have a Jacky Winter - a symphony in grey!

And now its over to you - click on the blue button below and off you go.  If you are new here, all the joining in needs is a copy of the URL of your blog post and away you go.  Please feel free to invite new bloggers along - we used to get 70 - now we get 50!   SM

Tuesday 4 November 2014

Seaside / sea wracked / sea weekend

A rather late post due to dodgy internet access, long beach walks, rain, clear blue skies, chill winds and slow mornings.  The weather part being typical of Victoria in the spring!

This is the pier at Queenscliff - I had hopped that there would be waders feeding in the beach wrecked seaweed - but alas that was not the case.

So, here is a view!

More shots from around the world at Our World Tuesday.  SM

Monday 3 November 2014

It's all physics

During a bit of a tidy up I managed to clear out a rather large pile of unwanted CDs - old backup discs and such like.

It came as no surprise that they were claimed by 'Craft Women' who started work on a project with them.  When they were laid out on the table, waiting for the glue to dry,  I noticed the rather good interference patterns being caused by a combination of daylight from the windows and LEDs from above.

I don't need to be asked twice!

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