Monday 30 January 2017

Black Sand Beaches

One of the things I was looking forward to seeing in New Zealand were the black sand beaches.  These beaches are produced from dark volcanic rocks and are rich in iron.   If you have not seen pictures of this beach before, you may have seen them in the 1993 film The Piano.

It took me a little while to work out that the beach was in fact clean, and you could kneel in the sand and just brush it off, just like normal sand.  It was a rather strange and beautiful place.

These pictures were taken at Karekare, which is on the west coast of North Island, less than an hour from Aukland.

I have added two versions of the final image - taken a few seconds apart as my family wandered into the picture.  I think I like the second version more, because of the sense of scale the people give the picture.

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

Wednesday 25 January 2017

Wild Bird Wednesday 235 - Apostlebird

When I started this post I realised that was the second bird in a few posts where the common name has religious overtones - just a coincidence!

These are Apostlebirds (Struthidea cinerea).  We were stopped in Katherine in the Northern Territory when I saw a flock of about 20 or 30 of these birds feeding in a small park.  I quick dash over the road was in order.

The Apostlebird is common in some place on the eastern side of Australia - but you tend to find lots, or none at all.  Katherine must be a 'lots' place.  These birds were feeding in an area of grass that went from deep shade to bright sunshine in a few paces, which made photographing groups of them a bit of a challenge!  The speed at which they move did not help either!

Apostlebirds are one of a number of species in Australia that breed in groups built around one breeding pair.  Most of the other birds in the group are termed 'helpers' and are normally either the offspring of the pair, or closely related kin.  Interestingly, some birds that are unrelated to the breeding pair are sometimes found in the group.

Most of you will know what to do now - click on the blue button and off you go.

Monday 23 January 2017

Just hanging around!

I gave myself a new toy for Christmas - a trail-cam.  After a few false starts I got some footage of this  chap hanging around in the garden!

This is Brush-Tailed Possum. They are about the same size as most cats - although smaller than ours!

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

Wednesday 18 January 2017

Wild Bird Wednesday 234 - Plumed Whistling-duck

Any of you who have followed at my blog for a while now cannot have escaped noticing that I rather like ducks.  To misquote Winnie the Pooh, nobody can be uncherred by a duck.

These ducks are Plumed Whistling-ducks, which were great to see and made even better by the golden hour light in which they were standing. They are most common in the north of Australia, but they do get further south - especially after heavy rains.

Its scientific name is Dendrocygna eytoni, which means Eyton's Tree-Swan - with Mr. Eton being a famous English ornithologist.  (Who I have never heard of!)

I rather like the picture with the duck looking up to the sky - either looking for predators or expressing despair at the number of photographers about.

Most of you will know what to do now - click on the blue button and off you go.

Tuesday 17 January 2017

Never Smile .........

As I was working on some of the many pictures I took 'up north' I found these crocodile images  I had overlooked.

I thought I would share them, just to remind people that Australia is not all colourful birds and big spiders, there are crocs too!

I'm not really sure how big this croc is - big enough I would say!

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

Wednesday 11 January 2017

Wild Bird Wednesday 233 - Blue-faced Honeyeater

The Blue-faced Honeyeater (Entomyzon cyanotis) is a large honeyeater that is found along the north and east coast of Australia.  It is not found in the southeast coastal area - i.e. where I live - so I was looking forward to seeing some on my trip to the Northern Territory.

At first they proved to be a little illusive, but when we were have a cool drink one afternoon we found some that were clearly used to people.  These birds would hop on and under that table looking for food scraps - generally successfully.

The pictures here show at least two birds - the one with the blue face is an adult, while the one with the green face is a juvenile.

It makes a change for the birds to come and see you rather than the other way around.

The new year is proving just as busy as the old one!  But please spread the word about WBW.

Click the blue button and off you go.

Tuesday 10 January 2017

Taggerty River

These are some shots from the series of small waterfalls on the Taggerty River, which is just outside of Marysville, Victoria.

Although not a long walk from the car - just a couple of kilometres, the falls were very peaceful and we (more or less) had them to ourselves when we were there.

Not a bad little walk to start the year.

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

Wednesday 4 January 2017

Wild Bird Wednesday 232 - Comb-crested Jacana

The Comb-crested Jacana (Irediparra gallinacea) is a remarkable bird that lives on and around lily pads.  This habit and habitat also gives rise to a couple of other 'common names' - Lily Trotter and Jesus bird - this last one due to its apparent ability to walk on water!

Lily-trotter is a wonderfully descriptive (and accurate) name for this bird which uses its huge feet (best seen in the pictures of the chick below) to spread its load over floating water plants.  These pictures were taken just as the sun was setting on Yellow Water in Kakadu National Park.

As you can see, the adult bird was rather inactive - and as far as I can recall it never moved from the shelter of its clump of plants.  The chicks on the other hand were very active.  Just as we were about to leave, one of the chicks walked into a patch of sunlight - it was a wonderful thing to see.

Just to prove that I did not spend my entire trip 'up north' in Kakadu, I have also added a group shot of this species from Fog Dam, which is less than two hours from Darwin.

Well, this is the first WBW for 2017 - so lets make an effort to make as big as possible!  Pass on the link, encourage friends and relative to visit and link up and lets see how it goes.  I took a week off over the holidays, so I'll visit everyone soon!  SM