Monday, September 1, 2014

Mullens

I was lucky enough to enjoy a walk in perfect weather for a couple of mornings last week at Mullens. I really enjoy this place because there are so few people and such wide open spaces. The first morning the tide was quite high.

The next morning I was down there the tide was not quite as high  -  but the water was very still again.

At this time of year the sand flats are almost empty. In a month or so there will be migratory shorebirds probing for food in all the shallow puddles. All that I could see right now were Eastern Curlews in the distance or else flying off well before I got near them. I have found it is only possible to get near an Eastern Curlew when it is surrounded by other migratory shorebirds. I think the ones I saw that morning might be early migrants that have returned from the northern hemisphere.

For more scenery from around the world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Backyard Happenings

Time and patience are required for most things - but some definitely more than others. Back in the end of June I posted photos of the Gymea Lily that was flowering in my garden. This is a re-post of one of the photos from then.

A little more than a week ago the flower head started to open.

Between then and now we have had 3 days over the last week-end of high winds and a lot of rain - 123mm (nearly 5 inches) in all. The flowers that were opening definitely got a bit of a battering!

This morning I saw a Blue-faced Honeyeater checking the flowers for any nectar.


Do viruses cycle between the hemispheres? If so all you people in the northern hemisphere are facing quite a nasty time next winter! There are severe colds and flues going round out here right now and I managed to pick up the cold somewhere. Runny nose, chills and difficulty breathing -  all this kept me miserable and unable to do anything much outside for several weeks! The only interesting birds I managed to photograph were a couple of Galahs that came down onto the grass in the backyard. If this was nicely mowed then it would look like lawn - but then again there would be no dandelions for the Galahs to enjoy! The birds came down for a munch on the flowers and seed heads in a break between the rain storms. There are rain drops on the grass and the birds look a bit damp as well!

For more photos from around the world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday.

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

Nostalgia

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