Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Close to Home

Yesterday I had a look around the Mullens picnic area. This is the closest part of the bay from where I live. The tide was good and high and there was almost no wind. It would have been a perfect day for a kayak. (Maybe sometime I will be able to get out there again!) The one thing I had forgotten was how bad the small biting insects are after some rain!
The sky was grey towards the east so the sea was also grey in that direction.

I went around to the boat ramp where the creek goes west and such a difference!

I hoped to see some birds in my own backyard but they were not around. I got up very early this morning hoping to catch some as they flew over at that time.
The light was beautiful and as the sun rose there were even more beautiful patterns on the palm leaves.
Unfortunately, this was one morning when the birds had decided to fly over elsewhere. The only ones I saw flocks of where Rainbow Lorikeets but they are too fast to get good in-flight photos I find. Some came down and roosted in the pine tree next door but I only got glimpses of the color up high.

This Kookaburra saved the morning for me. It sat up on the electricity wires and blinked at me but the early morning sun made its plumage very beautiful.

For more scenery  from around the world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Back to a Routine

Before I start on my personal tale of woe I want to thank all of you who keep blogging and write such interesting posts! You are much appreciated even though I have not commented on your posts for quite a while 😊
It has been hot, hot, hot! I have lived up here for more than 13 years but I don't ever remember it being quite this hot before. It was often quite pleasant before sun-rise but soon after that even sitting at the computer would make the sweat start dipping and the clothes unpleasantly damp. I put in a couple of wall mounted air-conditioners when I had the house built but they are noisy and I found I could not live comfortably with them on all day. Added to all that I am still having trouble with my eyes. I am very grateful that my vision has been saved but constant head-aches are not easy to put up with! It has finally cooled down and we missed the extreme weather brought in by cyclone Debbie!
Here are some good things in my yard over the last couple of months. Some of the trees flowered more prolifically than they have for several years. This is an Ivory Curl Tree (Buckinghamia celissima). The flowers have quite a strong perfume.
This the top of my Leopard Tree(Caesalpinea ferrea).This year it had more flowers than it usually has and there must have been a  good amount of nectar because the birds came over in flocks and perched up in the top. Unfortunately the tree is now so tall that the birds up in the top are well hidden and I didn't get any good photos.
The flowers I am most pleased about are the Gymea Lilies. There are more of them flowering than ever before. However, they are very slow to come into flower and I have been waiting for months for some of them to come right out in flowers. This is one of the smaller plants and the flower stem is only a couple of meters tall. That green top will eventually come out in a spectacular red bloom.
The really tall ones are up in the tops of the palms - I am guessing 3-4 meters tall.This year the big flowers are not quite as red.
I wonder if they will get a darker color as they come out more.
There are always birds around somewhere. In the worst of the heat even the birds disappeared a couple of hours after sunrise. Crows can look quite beautiful against a bright sky.
I heard a bit of noise from the local birds one morning and counted 20 of these Common Myna. They are not native birds and are quite aggressive and can eventually displace many of the native species. I knew they had come into this district a couple of years ago and I have seen a couple at a time. But with a group this big they must have been breeding locally. 

For more scenery  from around the world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Very High Tide

Which did not happen!
I should have posted this more than a week ago but I have been hibernating! - which for a Queenslander has meant staying out of the extreme heat! Here in the SE of the state the temperatures went up to 38 degrees C (about 100F)and stayed up there for more than 4 days. Then we had a respite when the temperature fell a couple of degrees - and now it is going up again but not quite so high - only 35 or 36. Of course it could be worse but with high humidity as well it is not comfortable so I have been stating inside with the air-con going!
Now about that very high tide. Every New Year there are some every high tides. Often the news media will make quite a story out of them because they can be very eye catching at times. However, just as frequently, the extreme tides just don't happen. The Bureau of Meteorology always gives predicted tide heights - but these are also not always accurate. I understand about monthly tide heights but these extreme tides are a bit more difficult and can be changed by systems of high or low pressure lying off the coast and other systems that don't always show up on the charts I consult. Each year I go out to take photos - sometimes it is worth it and other times it is a waste of time! This year was one of those wastes!  Here is the photo from that place at Crab Creek that I usually photograph and the water is no where near the concrete walkway.

 I posted about it back in 2013 Here and also showed a series of high tides taken from the same place. Anyway it was a beautiful summer day and there were lots of people out and enjoying the sunshine and the water. This photo is at the Mullens Picnic place and
here is the water just coming over on to the sand
and also flooding the track down to the boat launch

I thought I could just go out in my back yard to get some bird photos but I guess the birds aren't silly and it has been too hot for anything - including birds - to be out if they don't have to!The only birds I could find down close enough to photograph were some Masked Lapwings.
These are not my favorite birds! They can be very aggressive and want to take over the yard for their own purposes and chase me right out.  When I had my little dog she loved them! She knew they were the one kind of bird I didn't mind her chasing and she took full advantage of it!
For more scenery  from around the world visit Our World Tuesday
and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Carlo and Rainbow

I decided the easiest way to see different birds from those I see in my backyard was to go to a different environment. I can usually find something different at Carlo on the other side of the bay or at Rainbow Beach which is right on the coast. Both are interesting places. There are boats of all kinds for rent at Carlo, plus interesting ones used as charter boats to take people up the Strait or out deep sea fishing.

Usually I see Pelicans somewhere there but not this time! I saw few birds around anywhere until I realized there were numbers of swallows swooping around. There is one piece of fence where they usually come and rest but when I didn't see any there I walked over close and just waited. Because I was very still they eventually flew in and perched in their usual place and I was closer than ever before to them These are Tree Martins.
There is a very large caravan park with some cabins for rent right at Carlo. During school holidays it is 'packed out'! - but that will be a few weeks yet. I was going very slowly past and thought I caught a glimpse of a Bush Stone Curlew. I found parking 50 meters of so down the road and then slowly walked back. Both birds had simply disappeared! However, there was still a little brown 'bump' on the ground among the leaf litter. I walked slowly and carefully closer - and the bird never moved! It was only when I looked at the photos at home that I realized the big eye had been watching me closely all the time. I backed off and there was still no movement. The second bird was a little way off and all I got was a blurred image at a distance. When I went closer that bird had disappeared also. It must have been hiding among the leaf litter as well.
A few kilometers away at Rainbow Beach it is a fery different environment - still lots of tourists but rather different activities!
Often there are birds just behind the beach in the plantings on the sand hills - but not this time. I went up the hill where the shops and rental apartments look over another picnic place and a great view over the sea. The trees planted beside the road are some kind of native fig and the fruit was just perfect for birds.
So many of them flew into the tree close beside me but the birds took one look at me and immediately disappeared in the leaves. These birds are female Fig Birds - and they too  moved out of sight very quickly.

For more scenery from around the would visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Backyard Views

Last post I said that the big storm that passed through here had only blown down an old bird's nest. However, a few days later while sitting in my favorite chair and looking towards the back I saw a pretty orange color on some leaves. That wasn't supposed to be there! When I wet down and investigated I found that the storm had blown out one of the trees and the leaves were gradually changing color as the tree died. I planted this tree years ago. It was well over 20 feet tall and had been blown over.
Summer time where I live means that it is now getting light just after 4am. It is very pleasant to lie in bed and listen to the bird song. One of the first birds to start calling is the little Willie Wagtail. This bird has two distinct calls.- There is a quite pleasant song and also a very scratchy sound. At this time of year when the birds are nesting the more common sound is the scratchy one and it is used to frighten away anything the Willie doesn't like. They are quite fearless. Over the last few weeks I have seen these quite small birds chasing off even Magpies. . Like lots of small birds they rarely seem to sit still and I have trouble getting good photos.  Too often they perch high in the trees or even up on the electricity wires.
When they do come down within reach it is often a rear view.
  The exception was this one up on the house roof when the birds was more interested in my cat standing beside me.
Finally I gave up and went down the back to where a White Cockie was perched far up on one of those tall bamboo shoots. I had the Cockie in focus and ignored the Willie which had now come down here. I kept my finger on the auto button - and sometimes you just get lucky! First the Willie did a dive bombing swoop and then the Cockie nearly lost balance moving to avoid the Willie.

For more scenery from around the world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Backyard Blows

When the temperature goes up to 100 degrees F - and stays there -  I find it a bit hard to take. I don't enjoy living in air conditioning all the time! Eventually the weather breaks - and often it is spectacular.  Clouds like these make great photos - but look out!
This is what hit this area on Sunday.
I had gone down to the grocery store - and didn't time it too well. By the time I got to my drive the rain had started. I got out and opened my gate and then drove to the side of the house and made a run for the back door. By the time I got inside I was soaked to the skin.  The wind was unbelievable! It picked up the rain drops, turned them into a misty cloud and then blew it all circular. I have often seen rain blown perpendicular but never until now blown in a circular cloud.  All the time there was a most spectacular lightning show. I was very lucky because the only hail I saw was very small and not too much of it.   When It all finished I went out to check what was blown over in the yard but again I was lucky. All I found was this old bird's nest.
A little further south on the coast was not so lucky. I saw pictures on the news media of shipping containers blown over and around like a pile of children's blocks; caravans in a tourist park were blown over and tossed around, and small planes at one of the airports were tossed over.
The internet went down for nearly a full day.
After all that I did not expect to see more butterflies  but they are still around and still in large numbers. I couldn't resist trying for more photos - who knows how long it will be before we have another migration event like this year.

For more scenery from around the world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Backyard Flutters

Summer has arrived with a vengeance! The temperatures all this week are predicted to be above  30degrees and the hottest day is predicted to be 38 degrees (100 F). Now I know that plenty of places don't really think it is hot below 100F but remember that this place is right on the coast so the high temperatures are also linked to high humidity. Sun rise is just before 5am and birds are busy at that hour but as soon as the sun gets higher they disappear.
While sitting at my back window in the very early morning I realized that there were lots of wings flying passed. They appeared as spots of light when they caught a ray of sunlight. Not birds!  Too small! Then I looked out the window at the other end of the kitchen. That window looks out on to some Banksia roses which I planted to give some shade over the window. There were several dozen white butterflies fluttering around the plant. Some were settling for a few minutes on leaves. I grabbed my camera and went and propped myself against the wall so I could keep the camera still. These were Caperwhite Butterflies. They breed up in the west and then come east looking for food sources and when they don't find enough they set off to sea. A friend had told me about them and there had also been an article on a news site on-line. This doesn't always happen in the numbers that have appeared this year. Fortunately they were settling on the leaves long enough for me to get some photos. As the day got hotter they disappeared again.

I needed some birds for this post but the interesting ones and the pretty ones just haven't been around. The big tall shoots out the back still have occasional birds perching on them although the white cockies have torn the tops to pieces. The other morning there was a crow perching up there. The sky was foggy and grey from a bush fire the previous day.

For more scenery from around the world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday