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