Monday, July 28, 2014

Bymien Picnic Area

Last week I took visitors from New Zealand out to the Bymien Picnic Area. This place is about 3 kms down the Freshwater Road which is reached from the road to Rainbow Beach. There is a magnificent area of rainforest here with trails through the forest and signage at intervals along the trails naming and describing many of the rainforest species.

This is tropical rainforest so there are many beautiful palms through the forest.

All plants struggle to reach the light above the highest trees. The Strangler Fig starts as an epiphyte high in a host tree. The roots then start downwards and eventually completely cover and surround the host tree until it is dead and the Strangler Fig stands by itself.

I heard quite a number of birds in the forest but they were high in the canopy and impossible to photograph. As we sat eating our picnic lunch this Brush-turkey came and checked us out.

I thought it was being very obliging to sit down in the sun where I could get a good photo. I should have known better!

We were sitting and eating beside the picnic table. The bird first came and tried for crumbs in front of us - then it went away! The next thing I knew, it had flown onto the table where the rest of the food was sitting and picked up a pack of sandwiches. I chased after it but there was no way that bird was going to let me get near. I didn't want the sandwiches after the bird had taken them - but I didn't like the idea of the plastic wrapping being taken away!

For more scenery from around the world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Inskip Point - 2

This post follows on from last week. I decided I couldn't adequately describe tiny birds of about 150mm (6 inches) - such as Stints -  and birds at least 10 times their size - Pelicans.
As I walked out onto the sand at the point I saw a group of pelicans and Terns right out on the end.

I looked over towards the sand island to see if there were large numbers of birds over there but again I saw mainly Pelicans at one end.

A little later I looked over again and there was another large group of Pelicans. From this view I could also see brown lines beside the Pelicans - shorebirds which were too far away for ID. (Click on photos to enlarge to see details.)

The Terns out at the end of the point were mainly Crested Terns looking rather scruffy in their non-breeding plumage. In this photo there is one Gull-billed Tern on the left and a Silver Gull in the rear at the right.

As well as the Crested Terns this photo has a Caspian Tern in the center (with the red bill) some Pied Cormorants, and more Silver Gulls. The Gull on the left next to the Cormorant is a juvenile still showing brown flecks on the plumage.

Suddenly all the Terns took flight - then slowly settled down again. At first I thought they had been frightened by the sail boat  which was beginning to move from where it had anchored over-night.

However, when I looked further to the left I saw that the Pelicans had been disturbed by the rising tide.

They had decided to move out to the little sand island where the Terns had been roosting. A bird of this size coming in to share your space means you must move!

Eventually the pelicans occupied all of one end of the little island.

For more scenery from around the world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Inskip Point

Thanks to all who sent me good wishes on my last post. I appreciated all your kind thoughts!

Yesterday morning was beautiful and it was even more beautiful out at Inskip Point. The hint of frost on the dry grass in my yard was nowhere to be found out on the sea coast. It was sunny and very still - and because I was out early there were not too many people around to frighten off the birds.
As usual there were lots of boats around. This one looked as if it had been anchored on the other side of the sand island all night.

The Coast Guard boat was going out along the channel at quite a speed.

The barge to Fraser Island had already made one trip over to the island.

There was very still water over at Bullock Point and the barge and other boats anchored over there seemed to almost float on air.

As I walked out along the sand I only saw some pelicans and terns roosting right out at the end. However, a 4 wheel drive vehicle was going out towards the barge and it disturbed some little shorebirds that I had not even seen until they flew up. I watched carefully to see where they landed - it is a very big expanse of sand and these little birds have a habit of hiding down in car wheel marks.
At first the only ones I saw were Double Banded Plovers that are getting ready to migrate back to New Zealand at the end of our winter. Some were already showing quite a lot of breeding plumage.

A second vehicle going towards the barge made an even bigger flock of little shorebirds fly up and along the sand at the edge of the water. At this time of the year a flock like this will usually include Red-capped Plovers and Red-necked Stints as well as the Double-banded Plovers. They all seem to flock quite happily together and I have to look carefully to ID them all. Red-capped Plovers are year round residents in Australia. Red-necked Stints migrate to Siberia and northern Asia to breed in the northern summer. The ones here now will be juveniles not yet old enough to migrate.

The birds in the front of this photo are all Double-banded Plovers. There are 3 Red-necked Stints out of focus in the middle back.

 Two Double-banded Plovers in the front of this photo and two Red-necked Stints behind them.

Another two Double-banded Plovers and two Red-capped plovers with them - a male and a female.

Walking back to the car park it was not quite 8:30am and the sun was still low enough to wash the sea with silver and to turn the fisherman at the edge of the channel into a silhouette.

For more scenery from around the world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday

Monday, June 30, 2014

Around My House

When I looked out my back window the other day I saw something red high among the palm fronds. It wasn't a bird and palms fronds are not that color! When I went closer I saw that one of my Gymea Lilies (Doryanthes excelsa) had pushed a tall flower stem and flower head high among the palms. These plants are indigenous to the Sydney region down in New South Wales. The ones I have growing here are not as big and lush as the ones down in the Sydney area but are still very beautiful.
The Gymea Lily plant is the plant low to the ground with the long strappy leaves. There is a Sable Palmetto Palm in front of it and behind is a Golden Cane Palm which has grown more vigorously than I expected. 
No matter where I stood the flower was still partly shadowed by palm fronds.

These are Australian Wood Ducks (Chenonetta jubata)  and they often wander along the edges of the roads around my house. These ones were right outside my front gate. The male let me get some good photos but the female turned and walked off before I could get a really good photo. This is the male finding some tender leaves to eat.

 And the female walking off too soon for good photos!

My posts have become quite intermittent over the last few months. Because I get a bit annoyed with other bloggers who suddenly do the same or even simply disappear - I decided to explain that I have been diagnosed with Macular Degeneration in my eyes. I have a very good specialist and am getting injections in both eyes which have halted the degeneration. However, most things seem to have side effects, and I have become very sensitive to light!  This makes my favorite places along the shore and out on the bay rather difficult for me most of the time. However, I am NOT going blind! A few years ago (before these injections were available) I watched my Dad go blind from the same thing, so I think I am pretty lucky!

For more scenery from around the world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday

Monday, June 9, 2014


Food cooked over an open fire is a happy memory going back to childhood. Back then it was one of the lovely things we did whenever my family and I were camping out in the bush. When my friends Sarah and Graham suggested a backyard fire and food cooked over the coals I was delighted. They have a big open backyard and a fire pit which they use quite regularly.  They are also fun people to be with!

Graham's business uses outback timber and he had lots of little offcuts that would burn very hot and make good coals for cooking in. (To see more about the timber he uses here is his web site.) Of course there were lots of little branches from the gum trees. There is nothing quite like the smell of gum leaves burning on your fire!
We kept the menu simple - potatoes and onions wrapped in foil and cooked in the coals.

I also "dug out" my old jaffle irons from where I had put them in amongst camping equipment that I haven't used for years! Jaffle irons have lots of different names - we used to call them "toast-rights" when we were small.

The only thing I did wrong was the fire was too hot for the jaffles. I remember the bread outside the iron cooking slowly and just browning. Ours this time burnt! We cut off the burnt edges and the inside was perfect - bread nicely crisp and browned and the egg inside just right! The veges were perfectly cooked and only needed a little topping of butter and salt!

All the while we were enjoying our food there was a Tawny Frogmouth (Podargus strigoides)  sitting up in a nearby tree and watching everything we did. These birds are active from dusk to dawn so this one was sleeping - but with its eyes cracked open enough to watch us. Every time I walked over that way for a better photo it lifted its head and pretended to be a piece of broken off branch. Very good camouflage!

For more scenery from around the world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

View From Below

About 4 weeks ago I showed photos of the Callistemon that were in bloom in my back yard. This week the photo is of a Melaleuca. According to the web site of the Australian Native Plants Society, recent research has shown the Melaleucas and Callistemons are more closely related than was previously thought and in future Callistemons may be regarded as Melaleucas. Some State herbaria have already adopted this change. The common name for the Melaleuca which I have photographed this week is Paperbark because the bark comes off in thin multi-layered pieces like paper.

These trees grow to 25 meters - and that was my problem in trying to get photos of the birds. All the birds were feeding on the blossom which was way up above my head. Stepping back to get a view of the bird from the side put branches and other trees in front of the camera. A view from below was the best I could manage.

The view from below made the birds look different. Lots of birds have a stripey look underneath. However, the bill was a typical honeyeater bill and there was a little bit of yellow color fading into a splash of white visible below the eye. I eventually decided that these birds were Mangrove Honeyeaters - sometimes called Variable Honeyeaters. Hopefully, I will recognize the underneath view better next time!

For more scenery from around the world visit Our World Tuesday

and from more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Morning Walk

  I really had nothing to post about this week until I went for an early morning walk this morning. It was beautiful and well worth the effort. Once again - I walked along the Mullens foreshore.

Although the scenery was beautiful the only birds I had seen were one flying past which I could not identify

and a whole tree full of Little Egrets in the distance.

Of course, there was always my Stumpy-tailed Blue Healer - Misty - to try and coax into a photo!

Then just as I was close to the car park this beautiful little bird flew down not far ahead of me. My hand was shaking - I forgot to change the camera settings to compensate for the low light  - and the resulting photos are not as sharp as I could wish! But - an Eastern Yellow Robin is always beautiful!

For more photos from around the world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more bird photos visit Wild Bird Wednesday