Wednesday 29 April 2015

Wild Bird Wednesday 145 - Australian Pelican

These are Australian Pelicans - Pelecanus conspicillatus - which is described in my guide book as a 'huge black-and-white bird with very large bill and pink bill pouch'.  I think this is the kind of bird that goes under the heading of unmistakable in Australia!

These birds were loafing about at the end of the day near Swan Bay jetty, nr. Point Lonsdale in Victoria, Australia.

I don't think I can ever pass up the chance to photograph these birds, even if I have lots of shots already in the bank!

Now it's over to you - click on the blue button and off you go.  Cheers - SM

Monday 27 April 2015

ANZAC Day 2015

ANZAC Day is a very significant day in Australia.  ANZAC stands for  Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. On the 25th of April 1915, the ANZAC soldiers formed part of a large allied expedition that set out to capture the Gallipoli peninsula in Turkey.

Although this expedition failed in military terms, this campaign has become the central national story to many Australians.  In the old sense of the word, the Gallipoli campaign has become the stuff of myth.

I can't help but think that many current Australian politicians hope that by standing by the memorials to the now long gone ANZACs, that they themselves will be cast in a better light.  I hate to tell them, but it's not working.

These two pictures tell only a tiny part of the story of ANZAC day in Melbourne - the first a gathering of people from the military, who more than most, must feel at risk when politicians use other peoples bravery for party political purposes.  But there is somebody with a truly civilian umbrella, and a person walking past who may or may not be going for a coffee.

The second image says something rather wonderful and strange about the country I now call home - on this Australian day of days it has become traditional for two football clubs to play each other at the MCG:  Essendon in red and black and Collingwood in black and white.

Solem words in the morning and sport in the afternoon.  The sacred and the profane.  The past and the present.   The significant and the trivial.

Even after nearly two decades here, it still seems the strangest day of the year.


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

Concept Car Detail

While I was in central Melbourne this weekend, I looked at the public section of an exhibition about Australian cars.

As this car will never see the light of day as a production vehicle, I thought I'd just include a few detail shots.

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

PS: I am very behind with responding to comments - no problems, just a great deal happening in all facets of my life!!

Wednesday 22 April 2015

Wild Bird Wednesday 144 - Silver Gulls

These are some more images from my recent boat trip out on to Port Phillip Bay, if you have not caught up with the albatross from that trip, have a look here.

Silver Gulls are our default gull here and they are generally just dismissed as 'seagulls' by most people - but seeing as I saw these on the bay, are they bagels? (!)

The traditional classification of this species places it, along with most other 'gulls' within the genus Larus - and when paired with the specific name novaehollandiae its name meant Ravenous Australian Gull - which is just about perfect.  Today this bird is placed within the genus Chroicocephalus along with many other smaller gulls. This name refers to a dark or coloured head, which is only visible in this species as a juvenile.  Sometime progress is not progress at all really!

I think of these images as being in two groups - the first are the individual birds, where the thing that most strongly drew me to the images was the way that the light is passing through the primary feathers on the wings - I really like the ghost like quality of those images.

The second batch of images are group shots of gulls following our boat fighting for scraps - I have tried various crops to build balance in these pictures.  While I have cropped to remove a few wind tips and such like, the rest of the birds are as in the original images (i.e. no cut and paste!).  I really like these for the wildness they show.

Due to the pale nature of most of these images, they really do look much better bigger and with a dark surround.  So, please click on one of them to bring up the slide show!

And now it's over to you - click the blue button and off you go.  Could I also remind people that I would really like it if they could invite any (bird) bloggers they know of who may enjoy being part of WBW to come along and join in!

Tuesday 21 April 2015

Melbourne Central

A short while ago I had to go into the centre of Melbourne for a work meeting.  I paused for a coffee in Melbourne Central, a shopping centre with a preserved 'shot tower' at its heart!.

This tower used to produce lead shot.  The tower was preserved under a conical glass roof in 1981 when the shopping centre was built.  Its not a sight you see in many shopping centres!

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

Monday 20 April 2015

Red in the rain

During a rather damp walk home from work I noticed these red leaves.  I liked the bright colour and the wet rain shine surfaces.  I also wanted to find out how the camera on my phone would deal with less than perfect like; pretty well, I'd say.

I also liked the sycamore / maple (who knows) seeds in the second picture.

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

Friday 17 April 2015

Autumn sky with kayaks

Very short post today.

I found these kayaks pulled up on the beach at Point Lonsdale in Victoria.  I really liked the blue boats and the blue sky combination.

You can find more skies at SkyWatch Friday.

Wednesday 15 April 2015

Wild Bird Wednesday 143 - Shy Albatross

When you get to have a look at some of these pictures you will realise that these birds are rather inaccurately named!

Over the Easter holidays I was out in a boat doing a spot of fishing - and what a nice evening meal we had that day! - when we were joined by up sone Shy Albatross.  They gradually gradually over a couple of hours, first one, then so more and eventually we had six around the boat.  They were just loafing about hoping for some free fish - which we provided - and then they would just effortlessly follow the boat whenever it moved.  I enjoyed the fishing - but the albatross were better!

The Shy Albatross - Thalassarche cauta - is (confusingly) described as the largest of the medium sized albatrosses, which is the kind of thing that makes me weep when I see it in a guide book.

Luckily, they have a noticeable black patch in their 'armpit' which can be used to ID them.  Now, to be honest, I think all of these birds are Shy Albatross - and all the ones I saw on the wing had the black armpit.  But I am not sure I saw all of the birds on the wing - and once they are the water, I don't have much experience with this group of birds.

The truth of the matter is that they are wonderful birds regardless of whatever name we have invented for them - and it was a real pleasure having them around the boat all morning.

Now its over to you - click on the blue button and link away!  SM

Tuesday 14 April 2015

Eclipse / Two Albums

Over the Easter I tried to take some picture of the Lunar Eclipse / Blood Moon.

Unfortunately so meteorology came along and got in the way!

As I was messing about with the images I realised that they could both have been inspired by album titles.  I think the first one is obvious, any takers on the second?

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

Sunday 12 April 2015


I was down at Point Lonsdale last week - a small coastal town on the western edge of Port Phillip Bay.

There are a series of semi-saline Lakes near the town called Lake Victoria.  I went there looking for lingering waders (or which there were a few) - but I also found these patterns in the dried mud of some of the lakes.

I really liked the contrast between the sandy mud and the glasswort / samphire plant.

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

Friday 10 April 2015

Grey Sky / Black Swan Sky

While I was out and about over Easter, I saw these two Black Swans fly past.  Under a heavy,  grey cloud sky I thought the image would work well in black and white.

I seem to think I was right.

You can find more skies - and probably more colour - at SkyWatch Friday.

Wednesday 8 April 2015

Wild Bird Wednesday 142 - Grey Heron

When I was a kid the English countryside was going through what has come to be called The Locust Years.  While applied especially to Ancient Woodlands, the locusts of development were eating their way through natural habitats at an alarming rate.  Woodlands, old pasture, hedgerows and wetlands were all disappearing.  And of course the plants and animals that depended on them were disappearing too.

During that time seeing any large predator was a bit of a thrill, especially to somebody living in the rather genteel backwards of Somerset.  I think this is why I have such a fondness for Grey Herons.  Although not rare in any sense of the word, seeing one (or more) was always a good thing.  It was often a highlight.  Today, their populations have recovered somewhat (thankfully), but I was still pleased to see some when I was back in the UK last year.

These picture were taken at Leighton Moss, an RSPB reserve in the NW of England - and also one of my favourite reserves.  I used to drop in their on the way home from work in Preston - but that was last century.

Now its turn for a 21st Century activity - WBW!  Click on the blue button below and off you go!

Tuesday 7 April 2015

Lilly Pond

I found this patch of lilies in the Royal Botanic Garden - another example of a picture taken by lying on my stomach in public!  Its at times like this that my family walk away, pretending that they don't know me!

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