Tags: Australian birds, baby animals, birds, birds in backyards, nature, owls, Podargus strigoides, tawny frogmouth
The tawny frogmouths are back!
Mum and Dad and two little ones turned up in one of the trees in our back yard the other day. My husband has been taking photos of them.
There is something special about these birds. The tawny frogmouth (Podargus strigoides) is actually not an owl, though it is usually mistaken for one.
The forward facing eyes are very owl-like, and this is one of the reasons owls are a favourite with many people. We do tend to anthropomorphise animals at times.
The babies too are very appealing with their large eyes, fluffy feathers and inquisitive nature.
Tawnies have a defence mechanism against any predators that might relish one – they elongate their body and imitate a broken-off branch. That, and their natural camouflage, makes them almost invisible in their favourite trees.
I love having the tawnies around, especially in breeding season. They add to the wildlife, especially birds, that flourish in our back yard.
(c) Linda Visman
Tags: Ben's Challenge, book review, Brenda's book reviews, Goodreads
It was lovely to receive this review from Brenda on Goodreads
4 of 5 stars
Read from August 09 to 10, 2013 — I own a copy
Ben lived with his Mum, Dad, brother Peter and sister Helen. At thirteen he was in first year high school in a small town in country Australia, where his German descent made him the butt for racist taunts and comments from a few members of the community. He was called “kraut” and “jerry” so often it bounced off him. His friend Joe fared no better, as he was a refugee along with his family. Even though they were hard workers, the common name-calling taunt was “reffo”. It hurt, but they were used to it.
The day which was to change Ben and his family’s life forever started the same as any other. But when Ben was waiting for his dad to return from work, waiting for the usual sound of his motorbike to come up the drive; the one which arrived caused him to frown in confusion – it had a completely different noise. The policeman at the front door spread terror through them all; their Dad had been hit by a car on his way home – it was a hit and run, and his Dad had not survived.
As the family struggled through their grief, Ben was frustrated by the efforts of the police. So Ben and his best friend Joe decided to take matters into their own hands. Ben started working in the small shop in town, delivering groceries and stacking shelves for Mr Fraser. As it was school holidays, the wonderful six week Christmas break, they had free time to explore, swim in the billabong and search for answers to questions that were always there.
Will Ben find the answers he is so desperate for? What will happen to the young friends in the heady days of summer in the 1950s when Elvis Presley was all the rage and racial prejudice a fact of life?
A thoroughly enjoyable novel of a young teenager’s strength, determination and courage in the face of terrible adversity. Highly recommended.
Tags: fishing, boating, relaxation, Australian birds, Lake Macquarie NSW, Rathmines, park, walking
This is the second of two posts about the morning we spent at Rathmines. The first post is here.
I sat at a picnic table in the park next to F-Jetty so I could do some writing. But the winter day was so lovely – blue sky, warm sun, gentle breeze – and the sights and sounds so engrossing, that I stopped to watch, listen and take it all in.
Galahs scratch in the grass under a shady eucalypt, searching for tender shoots.
Several kookaburras cackle loudly from nearby trees.
Butcherbirds delineate their territory with their musical calls, and one pays a visit to my table to see what I have to offer.
Brightly coloured Rosella parrots search for seeds in the longer grass and, later, race by with their distinctive bouncing flight.
A wild duck moves off the path to make way for a human pedestrian, then pretends he was just searching for bugs.
Noisy miners chase each other from tree to tree, or make assaults on other passing birds.
Swallows perform their aerial ballet, while picking off insects on the wing.
A magpie digs in the dirt next to me and finds a tasty grub; another sings a melody in the distance.
Rainbow lorikeets chatter and squawk in the treetops.
A shag (cormorant) perches on a buoy just off-shore and spreads its wings to the sun.
A corella announces its appearance with a shrill screech.
A masked lapwing (plover) scuttles across the lawn on stick legs, searching for its lunch.
Seagulls settle for a rest in a placid alcove, while others bob about out on the breeze-blown lake.
Pelicans paddle smoothly by in stately succession.
A peewee seems to say hello to a big black dog that sleeps on a cushion outside a van by the lake shore.
Pedestrians pass by on the walking path. Some walk dogs, others amble by, while several stride out to get their daily exercise.
Hopeful anglers cast their lines from the end of the jetty and wait for an elusive bite.
Two men walk down from their car to the public gas barbecue, and an enticing aroma soon drifts across on the breeze.
A white-haired man sits on a bench reading a magazine.
Two young girls roll by on skateboards; the second takes a photo of the first with her mobile phone.
All that activity in about 30 minutes – and people say that it is boring just sitting on a park bench!
© Linda Visman
Tags: 1950s, backyard dunny, children, Christmas, family singalong, family struggle, games, horse & cart, lessons, library books, memories, old time morals, polio, reading, walking to church
I remember when…
The lake shore, the farms and the local streets
were all places where children could safely roam;
And we played pirates, and cowboys and Indians
and wandered ‘til dark in the bush near our home.
The milk and bread being delivered to our door
on a cart with a horse that knew when to stop;
When it was exciting to travel on a steam train
and a penny bought four lollies at the local shop.
And I remember…
Walking three miles to church on a Sunday
With my family and wearing my best frock;
And the joy of reading a library book
or of being allowed to stay up until eight o’clock.
Aah, the memory of…
Our excitement when Christmas morning arrived
and we couldn’t wait to see what Santa had brought;
When the family came together to share a meal
and we sang the old songs that we’d all been taught.
Do I want to remember…
Going outside down the path, in sunshine or rain,
to the backyard dunny with its newspaper and pan,
in daylight or dark, with the smell all around,
hoping they’d not come when you’re sitting to pick up the can?
I also remember…
The long hard hours Dad worked to get enough
for the basics of life and a deposit on some land;
And Mum, never knowing if ends would meet
or if there’d be enough money to go around.
And the polio that changed our whole way of life
when it struck down my brother and sister – and Dad;
How Mum coped with all the worry and stress;
Her fears we’d never keep even the little we had.
But the things I remember best are these…
the love that our family had for each other
and the strength this gave us in bad times and good;
the joy we took in life’s simple things;
the hard work that was something we all understood;
the respect that we knew was earned and not bought;
and the strong moral lessons that our parents taught.
Maybe rose-coloured glasses have changed my perspective,
But I believe that our past is always subjective.
What we do with our memories shows who we’ve become -
So let’s use them to help us in times that will come.
(c) Linda Visman
First published in “I Remember When” an anthology compiled and edited by Julie Athanasiou, Legacy Books, Melbourne, Victoria, November 2006.
Tags: Australia.bush, call of nature, forest, indigenous, nature
Every time we drive past an area of bushland – especially where there are no farms or cleared land, it’s as if a strong piece of string is tied to something within me. This string pulls at me with a tug that I feel in the heart and gut. I am called to wander in that bushland, unencumbered by modern possessions, to follow the animal tracks and be guided only by the ancient lights in the sky.
I feel a strong urge to feel the earth, the fallen leaves and twigs, and the rough grass against my feet. To be sheltered among the eucalypt, grevillea and banksia of the dry forest, the paperbark melaleuca and the casuarina of the wetlands. In natural forest clearings, I want to feel the warm sun and the cool breeze on my skin.
I long to experience it all; to be at one with the plants and animals of the bush. I want to shed the trappings of civilisation, with their stresses and expectations, and go back to the primitive within me that hears the call. I have felt this call more mildly ever since I was a child but now, in my later years, it is strong and insistent.
It’s not that I want to be there forever, but I want to be immersed in nature for long enough to become connected – or re-connected – to the reality and the spirituality of nature; and I would like to do it more than once.
I know that I couldn’t live in the wild for long, as I have not learned the needed skills. But I believe I could at least come to a partial understanding of nature’s ways, and to a greater appreciation of its relevance – indeed, to its essential and continuing importance – for humanity. For if we lose that connection that it is fast becoming a tenuous one, we will also lose ourselves and all that has given us life.
© Linda Visman
Tags: 25th April, ANZAC, Anzac Cove, Anzac Day, Anzac parade, Gallipoli, memorial ceremony, remembrance, Returned Services League, RSL, two-up, Wangi Wangi
ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. The term Anzac originated in World War I, when our countries’ combined forces landed on the beaches of Gallipoli, Turkey, on the 25th April 1915.
This campaign, in which many hundreds of men lost their lives, was the first real test of the armies of these two new nations; their “Baptism of Fire”.
Nowadays, ANZAC day is celebrated by the people of Australia and New Zealand on the 25th April, the day the first forces landed on the beaches of what is now called Anzac Cove. From the beginning, they faced extremely strong opposition from the Turks, who had the high ground. They dug in and both sides endured many months of warfare under terrible conditions.
Anzac Day has come to rival Remembrance Day (11th November) as a reminder of the sacrifice that so many made in the service of their country. All wars in which Anzacs served since that initial campaign are remembered, right up to the present Afghanistan campaign that is still going on. Every city and almost every town with a population of more than a few hundred has its parade and its ceremony of remembrance.
Here are some pictures of Anzac Day in my little town, Wangi Wangi, on the shores of Lake Macquarie, New South Wales.
On Anzac Day, and only on that day, a traditional Aussie gambling game called two-up is allowed by law. It is played by tossing two old pennies off a small strip of wood, and bets are called as to how the pennies will land: two heads; two tails; or one of each. Large amounts of money can be wagered on this game, so it’s probably a good thing it is banned for the rest of the year! The crowd also becomes very noisy as the game progresses.
(c) Linda Visman (text & photos)
Tags: Australia, Classic Boatfest, Lake Macquarie NSW, Solar Sailor, Toronto, tourism
It was a fabulous autumn day for the first day of the annual Classic Boatfest at Toronto, Lake Macquarie, NSW, Australia.
Here are a few photos to show you some of the boats on display.
There were some beautifully restored and finished wooden boats of all sizes.
The Solar Sailor takes passengers on cruises of lake Macquarie – a beautiful lake with many bays, deep water and several islands.
We were fortunate to have blue skies, warm to hot sun and a light breeze.
Lake Macquarie is a lovely place to visit, with many places to see and activities to participate in. It’s even better when you live here.
Photos by Linda Visman
(c) Linda Visman 30.03.2013