Wednesday 30 September 2015

Wild Bird Wednesday 166 - Satin Bowerbirds

The house I stayed in last week at Apollo Bay had a wonderful garden, full of hidden places, tall flowering plants and Satin Bowerbirds.  The hidden places and plants were pretty much what I had expected, the Bowerbirds were a wonderful surprise.

However, the Bowerbirds were also frustratingly shy - especially the males.

The Satin Bowerbird - Ptilonorhynchus violaceus - is a rather chunky, thick-set bird about about 30 long.  The male is a wonderful glossy blue-black and the females (and juveniles) are an attractive grey-green with delicate scaly markings.  Both sexes have rather startlingly blue eyes.

I think there was a lot of pre-breeding feeding going on in the garden, and I was unable to find any bowers.  The species has a real fondness for blue objects and the bower, which is built to impress the female, often contains dozens of blue objects.  These must have been in short supply in the past,  but today the bowers are often full of pen tops, milk carton lids and other bits of human rubbish.

I have included a few 'atmosphere' shots of the males, hidden in bushes and basically always just out of sight.  For a very brief period of time one female was willing to pose on a branch for me.

Next time, I'll paint myself blue and see if the birds come over to check me out!

Regular visitors here will not be surprised that I rather like this last image - as it sums up the frustration I had when I was trying to get some picture of the male bird - always a little bit hidden.

Now it's your turn to click the blue button and join in with WBW.  SM

Tuesday 29 September 2015

On the beach

I spent most of last week at Apollo Bay, a small coastal town about 3 hours west of Melbourne.  The town itself sits on the Great Ocean Road, a justifiably famous scenic coastal road.  In reality, all of the family needed some down time and we spent a lot of the week in wonderfully low key activities, like wandering rather aimlessly along beaches and going to look at waterfalls - all in all it was just what the doctor ordered.

One of our beach 'routines' is the building of rock towers, with the aim of getting as many balanced on top of each other as possible.  I really like doing this with the kids as there are a vast amount of things going on inside your head as you try to get the most stones in one tower.

I also can't help but think of some of the sculptures done by Andy Goldsworthy when I make these towers - stones telling stories, bringing (brief) order to otherwise disordered things and the transience of human construction.  And I also just plain enjoy building them!

I think that there are 23 stones in this tower - I tried for 25 but it collapsed!

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

Wednesday 23 September 2015

Wild Bird Wednesday 165 - Galah

Just to carry on with the bright colours for WBW, this week I have some shots of Galahs.  Here is my attempt to explain how that word sounds!  The 'Ga' at the start makes the same sound as the 'G' at the start of 'gull' and 'lah' is the same as in do, rae, me! Which get you to G-lah!

Anyway, enough of such things.  The Galah is found over almost all of Australia, with it only being absent from a small part of Tasmania.  Its formal name Eolophus roseicapillus references its 'rosy haired' crest, which makes it somewhat more appropriate than last week bird where the name overlooks the fact that the bird is bright red!

The combination of greys and pinks on this bird is, to say the least, attractive.  These birds seem to be feeding on the roots or possible new germinated grass seeds.

Although these pictures were taken at (wait for it!) Wilsons Promontory National Park, these birds were a lot less acclimated to people than the Rosellas from last week.  In fact, they were a little bit flighty and it took a good while to get close to them.  This set of pictures resulted in muddy knees, although I am unsure why I feel the need to tell you this!

Once more it comes to the part of the post where I invite you to click on the blue button and join in with WBW - so, over to you!  SM

Tuesday 22 September 2015

Wilson's Animals

You may be pleased to know that I am just about out of images from my recent trip to Wilson's Prom.  - although there will be some Prom Birds along later! While the scenery is great, its also a place where you can have some seriously good views of classic Australia wildlife.

Tidal River, which is the 'hub' of the Park has a large population of resident wombats, and in the winter its not that hard to find one trundling about.  Common Wombats are the world largest hole dwelling herbivore, which is not the kind of fact you find on most blogs!

Wombats are rather chunky animals - with large animals being over a meter long and weighing in excess of 30 kg!  (which is over 3 feet long and 60 pounds in old money!)

These are picture of a Swamp Wallaby - he (or she) seemed pretty relaxed about me taking her photograph in the winter sunshine.  In the end he just sat down and disappeared from view.

You can find more shots from around the world (but probably not too many more marsupials) at Our World Tuesday.  SM

Friday 18 September 2015

A Prom Sky

My internet connection is back in the land of the living - all I need now is to spend a few hours in deep meditation to offset the stress it caused!

Part of the solution will be to look at peaceful images;  here are two as a place to start!

These two images show the hills at the south end of Norman Bay, taken from Tidal Overlook.   They are just catching the last light of the day.

You can find more skies here at Sky Watch Friday.  SM

Thursday 17 September 2015

A Thursday Night Problem

My internet connection has just collapsed in a rather spectacular fashion - I may be off line for a while.  Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible!


Wednesday 16 September 2015

Wild Bird Wednesday 164 - Crimson Rosella

I think I have have a chance at taking out the 'most insanely colourful bird on this weeks WBW' award this week.

These birds are Crimson Rosellas - Platycercus elegans - which means Elegant Broad-tail, which does seem to miss the point somewhat!

These birds are about 35 cm long and the male and females have very simulate plumages.  The multi-coloured birds here are all juveniles of one sex or another.  I wont make a fool of myself by trying to sex either the adult birds or the juvs!

These pictures were taken very close to the accommodation we stayed in at Wilsons Prom (yes this post is from there again!) and although there are clear instructions all over the place not to feed the birds it was clear they were looking for a meal.  These chaps are cleaning up the mess left behind after cutting up some explosively crusty burger buns!

You may be able to tell that it was a little damp just before I took these shots!

Now it's over to you and that big blue button!  Remember to visit as many WBWers as you can and to invite new bloggers to join in!  Cheers SM

Monday 14 September 2015

Norman Bay Beach, Wilsons Prom National Park

This set of images was taken on the same day as the Sooty Oystercatchers from last week - in some shots you may even be able to see the drip marks from my wet trousers!

Its clear I had my 'smaller detail' head on for these pictures.  Nice light and an abundance of small detail.

Wombat foot print
Reflections and tide mark on boulders
Classic Prom - granite boulder, green and Forest Raven

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

Sunday 13 September 2015

Urban Spring

This combination of life and colour caught my eye as I was on and about in the week.

The beginning of spring is in full swing here - actually had the front door open for a good part of Sunday.  Whatever next!

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

Thursday 10 September 2015

A view from a window

I held my phone up to the window of the plane and hoped for the best.

Not bad all in all.

Cloudscapes somewhere off the coast of Western Australia on the way to Indonesian.

I wonder where I was.

You can find more shots, and more certainty of location here at Sky Watch Friday.

You could also pop over to my wordy blog and read what happened once I arrived in Indonesia.


Wednesday 9 September 2015

Wild Bird Wednesday 163 - Reflecting on Sooty Oystercatchers

Although I have some images from my trip to the UK left to deal with, I thought I'd base this post a little closer to home.

These are one of my favourite birds - Sooty Oystercatchers.  These shots were taken on Norman Bay Beach at Wilsons Prom the week after I got back from the UK.

I'm not going to say much this week as I am busy with life and stuff!

So, I hope you enjoy these pictures - not only are they of a bird I really like, I am also pleased with the way I was able to capture the bird and its reflection.

My trousers got rather wet and sandy taking these pictures - oh, the lengths I will to!  Let me know which one you like most.

Now it's your turn - click on the blue button and off you go.  SM

Monday 7 September 2015

Brighton 3

More shots from the UK this week.  On an early morning walk I was struck by these empty chairs.  I don't know why.  Something about missing my family I think.  Maybe it's something about the way that the chairs are arranged in pairs - just waiting for couples.

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

PS: It's school production week this week, so my attention will be else where - hence replies will be slow.

PPS: If you fancy a trip to Australia, why not have a look at my post from yesterday for an opportunity!

Sunday 6 September 2015

A different kind of post.

Greetings bloggers!

Have you ever thought about visiting Australia?  If so, read on.  If not, read on as well.

I am trying to gather together people who like photography, birds, nature, remarkable landscapes and all the other fine things in life.

Why do I do this?  Well - between 14th and 21st of August 2016 there is a photographic tour being organised in the Northern Territory of Australia.  Starting and ending in Darwin it will go through some of this areas iconic National Parks - Kakadu and Lichfield - and take in some of the more remarkable landscapes to be seen.

The tour will only run if it reaches a minimum number - and we are not at that number yet.

So, if this sounds good, why not visit this site to find out more information.

Go on, you know you want to.

On another issue - I would like to point out that the Australia dollar is not strong at present - so for some people this may be a very good time to visit!

Wednesday 2 September 2015

Wild Bird Wednesday 162 - Herring Gull

Herring Gulls and Black-Headed Gulls are the classic British 'sea-gulls' (a phrase that makes me shudder even as I type it!).

But what I think makes the Herring Gull the classic of classics is its laughing call, beloved of seaside sound tracks even in countries where the gull is not found!  If the smell of cut grass means the first weekends of spring, then the sound of this gull means time by the sea.

Somewhat predictably most of these images come from the cliffs at Bempton - where WBW has been based for the last six weeks!  But just for variety there are also some shots of the same species from the seafront at Brighton.

More formally know as Larus argentatus this species can cause a few ID headaches especially in juvenile plumage, and in fact forms part of a group of gulls known as a 'ring species' that occur around the North Pole - this is neither the time nor place for a biology lesson, but Google 'Gull Ring Species' for more information.

Bempton Cliffs

Bempton Cliffs

Bempton Cliffs

Brighton Seafront

Brighton Seafront
Now it's your turn to get in on the WBW action - so click on that blue button and off you go.  SM