Tuesday 31 October 2017

Around Grindelwald

More images from our time in Switzerland.  We stayed in part of an old farm house - and from the garden you could look at the The Nordwand (North Face) of the Eiger.  At 3,970 m high it's a rather impressive looking mountain.  In the past I had read many story of adventure and often misadventure on this mountain it felt really strange to sit below it, glass of wine in hand and to wonder how the hell people climb it.

As you can see, the whole area is pretty spectacular.  I'd love to go back.

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

Wednesday 25 October 2017

Wild Bird Wednesday 274 - Ruddy Turnstone

While we were down on the beach at Apollo Bay we happened upon a small group of waders on the rocks in the waves.  There were some Red-Necked Stints, Knot (which I think were Great Knot, but they were very flightly) and some Ruddy Turnstone.  I was not geared up for photography on that walk, so I returned a couple of days later and managed to relocate the Ruddy Turnstones, but the other waders were less accommodating.

The Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres) is a distinctive and plump little bird - which breeds in the high arctic and returns to Australia for our summer.  I take great delight is seeing them.

The shots here show almost classic habitat - tidal reef and rock pools.

To join in with WBW (as if you did not already know!), you just click on the blue button below the thumbnails.  Have fun and share as you feel fit!  SM

Tuesday 24 October 2017

Alpine Marmot

One of the animals I wanted to see on our recent trip to Switzerland was the Alpine Marmot, or just Marmot as I called them at the time.

I was able to get some good information from our Air BandB host, and as a result we got some pretty good views of them.

The Alpine Marmot (Marmota marmota) is a ground squirrel, in the same genus the American Groundhog.  We heard the Alpine Marmot before we saw them as they communicate with short, sharp whistles that seem to travel a long way in the alpine air.  These pictures were taken on the mountains near Grindelwald, when we were doing a walk from the First (pronounced to sound like 'fear', rather the the position in a race!) cable car station.   It was a truly wonderful part of the world - and there will be picture to follow!

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

Wednesday 18 October 2017

Wild Bird Wednesday 273 - Satin Bowerbird

I don't have much time this week - so this week's WBW will be much shorter than normal!

These are some pictures of a male Satin Bowerbird (Ptilonorhynchus violaceus) from the week we spent at Apollo Bay.

There were often a dozen of more of these birds in the garden - but they were very flighty, and it was rather hard to get pictures of them.  I think the best way would have been to have used a hide on the verandah of the house - but as I dont have a hide that was not possible!

The blue males seemed a little braver than the 'green' birds - which are females and immature birds.  However, I was rather pleased with the shots of the male in the tree.

Also - I have added some video footage of a 'foraging party' that was on the lawn for one of the afternoons.  This footage was taken with a Trail Cam, which was left in garden all day.

As ever, to join in just click the blue button and off you go!

Tuesday 17 October 2017


Here are some shots of that classic Australia - the Koala.  Just to be clear, this is not any sort of bear, and it's closest relative happens to be the wombat!

These chaps were sitting in the road side trees on the way to Cape Otway.  In the past this habitat has been damaged by the numbers of Koala in the trees.  We did not see as many as in the past - but they were hardly scarce.

The animal in the first image has a really messy eye, and as conjunctivitis is one of the symptoms of a  chlamydia infection, this animal may be sick.  The chlamydia infection is common in Koala, but it only becomes a health issue of the population (or habit damage) cause high levels of stress.

However, as the second picture shows, Koalas do spend a lot of time being inactive (and this is nothing to do with 'drugs' from the leaves) its hard to tell between a sickness and natural lassitude.  The Koala spends some much time immobile because it's gut is basically a large fermenter, and the animal is waiting for the bacteria in its gut to work their chemical magic on otherwise indigestible food.  Once the bacteria have broken done the food - bought gum leaves in this case - the koala either digests the waste  produced by the bacteria, or the bacteria themselves!   Charming!

The last set of pictures show a female - and at times you could get a glimpse of a young koala with her - but I was not able to capture an image of that.

So, here is a Koala, and if you could get there name right it would be good - as they already have enough to bear!

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

Wednesday 11 October 2017

Wild Bird Wednesday 272 - Superb Fairy-wren

There seemed to be a small resident group of Superb Fairy-wrens (Malurus cyaneus) in the garden in the house we stayed in at Apollo Bay.

These are tiny, fast moving birds - and as such were a bit of challenge.  The adult male (and sometimes others as well) objected very strongly to presence of 'alien' birds in the wing mirrors of our car and they would display and attack the reflection.  This at least give me a chance to know where the birds would be!

So, here are some Superb Fairy-wrens in a variety of locations from the garden.

As ever, you can join in with WBW by clicking on the blue button below - and why not spread the word about this little group to friends and fellow bloggers alike.  (Hard to believe this in week 272!)   Cheers SM.

Tuesday 10 October 2017

Rainbow at Gwinganna

When we were at Apollo Bay it seemed that the clouds would build up most afternoon, and we would often have a couple of rumbles of thunder.  On one day we had thunder in our ears, but sunlight on the horizon - which is a good recipe for rainbows.  And that's what we got!

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

Wednesday 4 October 2017

Wild Bird Wednesday 271 - Bassian Thrush

This is the first of a series of pictures I managed to take while we were away last week at Apollo Bay.  We had stayed in this house before, but this time - possibly due to a closer than normal spring - there were not as many flowers as in the past, and this meant that the birds were rather spread out - without a nice focal point to concentrate on.  As as I was trying to work out what to do, a Bassian Thrush (Zoothera lunulata) started feeding on a small patch of lawn to my right.

So, focal point found!

The Bassian Thrush is generally found in wet forests, and as one of those backed on to the block of land the house was on, it was no real surprise to find one on the lawn.  This bird looks a rather similar to the Song Thrush, and this was made more so by its lawn feeding.  However, the Song Thrush and Bassian Thrush are not in the same genus.

The Bassian Thrush feeds with a rapid stop start motion - dashing forward and then seeming to stop to listen.  I'm not sure if this is really what it is doing - but it does look like.  This individual bird was a lot 'braver' than some I have seen - in fact it got too close to focus on at one stage!

Close examination of some of the pictures shows that this bird has some form of lump in front of its left eye.  I only noticed it when I was processing the pictures.

As ever you can join in with WBW by clicking on the blue button below. SM