My Garden

June 15, 2017 at 7:59 pm | Posted in Australia, Birds, Gardens, Photography | 7 Comments
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I didn’t join in the wordpress photo challenge this week because I always delete my out-of-focus photos, and we were to post a clear photo and an out=of-focus one that we like.

Instead, I thought I would share a little of my Aussie winter garden.

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Here is one of my zygocactus plants, with a jade plant behind it.

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Two varieties of bromeliad, with the green one flowering. I love the stalks of pink and blue. The purple one does not flower as far as I know.

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I have about six or seven different grevillea species in my garden. This is the flower of one of them. Grevillea are great for attracting native birds with their nectar. Most of them flower for much of the year.

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Here is a similar grevillea to the one above, with a beautiful rainbow lorikeet that has come to feed off the nectar.

I love my garden, made up mostly of Australian natives, but with various plants from other parts of the world as well.

I hope you enjoy the colour.

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Kookaburra Beats the Odds

May 3, 2014 at 10:17 pm | Posted in Australia, Gardens, Nature | 5 Comments
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Watcher!

 

We had a display of the natural world at work a week or two ago. I heard a lot of noisy miners (native birds) out in the back yard, and they were obviously upset about something. Then I heard what sounded like a muffled growl, so I went outside to see what was happening.

 

There, I saw a kookaburra hunched up against the garden terrace wall. It had something large in its beak, and the little miners were harassing it fiercely.

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Kooka with its prey, before flying into the trees.

 

I thought the kooka had a mouse and called for MOTH (the Man of the House) to bring his camera. It took a few minutes for him to find it, and I thought we’d lose our chance to catch the bird and its prey in pictures.

 

MOTH came out just as Kooka escaped the miners and flew up into the ironbark tree near the back door. However, with the bright light, and lots of branches in the way, it was hard to focus on the bird from where he was.

 

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A single noisy miner keeps up the harassment, to no avail.

I was up the slope on the lawn by then, and I could see it clearly. MOTH brought me the camera and I took several shots of it from there. What Kooka had in its beak was a dead miner bird.

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This kookaburra would like part of the spoils.

 

Three other kookas also hung around, as well as a magpie and a couple of currawongs. They were all probably hoping Kooka would drop its prey and they’d be able to snatch it away.

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Another kooka looks on with interest

 

However, the miners let up their mass attack, and Kooka flew up into the big bush mahogany tree. There, it proceeded to bash the miner bird’s body against the branch so it would be easier to devour.IMG_1502 (800x600)

 

I managed to get photos of all four of the kookaburras, but none of the currawongs, which kept their distance.

There isn't much left of the noisy miner here.

There isn’t much left of the noisy miner here.

 

 

© Linda Visman

 

Tawny Frogmouths in my Back Yard

November 28, 2013 at 12:21 pm | Posted in Australia, Gardens, Nature | 5 Comments
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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.

Two adult tawnies, lower left; two baby tawnies, higher & farther right.

Two adult tawnies, lower left; two baby tawnies, higher & farther right.

There is something special about these birds. The tawny frogmouth (Podargus strigoides) is actually not an owl, though it is usually mistaken for one.
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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.

The young of most mammals - and birds, when they get their feathers - are very appealing.

The young of most mammals – and birds, when they get their feathers – are very appealing.

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.

Tawnies, making like branch stubs.

Tawnies, making like branch stubs.

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

Rathmines – the Park at F-Jetty

August 12, 2013 at 9:58 pm | Posted in Australia, Mental Health, Nature, Tourism, Ways of Living | 4 Comments
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The park, with F-Jetty through the trees.

The park, with F-Jetty through the trees.

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.

The Birds:
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.

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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.

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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.

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The people:
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.

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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!

Do you just sometimes take time out to watch, listen and take in what is around you?
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© Linda Visman

Batty about birds

March 11, 2013 at 12:16 pm | Posted in Australia, Gardens, Nature, Tourism | 5 Comments
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I visited Parramatta Park again last week, spending over six hours alone there while my husband was otherwise engaged.

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A section of Parramatta River

I love going there, even though it is in the city and I am a country girl. It might just be that it is a large park within a large urban sprawl. It is well used, proving that if such a facility is retained or established, people will come to it. 

Ducks graze on the grass.

Ducks graze on the grass.

Drivers cruise around the 30kph-limited road that winds through and around the park. Cyclists, serious walkers, joggers, amblers and dog-exercisers follow the walking/cycle path. There are picnickers on the lawns, bird watchers, and many just enjoying the beauty and atmosphere of the place.

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Sulphur-crested cockatoos, corellas, water hens.

This early autumn day is quite warm and humid after recent good rainfall. Instead of my husband’s good camera, I only have my cheap one, not good for zooming in on things, especially animals.

Masked lapwings (plovers)

Masked lapwings (plovers)

However, I do my best to capture shots of the park’s extensive bird life. (You can click on each photo and see it in higher resolution).

Greater cormorant (slang: a big shag)

Greater cormorant (slang: a big shag)

I don’t get them all, and some shots are poor, but I have scattered a sample of them here.

 

I have mentioned before the extensive colony of “bats”. The animals are actually grey-headed flying foxes, though a lot of people call them bats due to their bat-like wings. I took a few photos of them too and sat for a while where the colony stops at the weir.

Flying foxes in the trees along the river

Flying foxes in the trees along the river

It is a little smelly there, partly due to the inevitable droppings of many hundreds of the mammals, partly from storm run-off and the mud and detritus that collects above the weir wall. Included in that detritus is a dead eel.

Dead eel

Dead eel

Parramatta means ‘place of many eels” in the language of the indigenous people who once lived here.

The flying foxes hang like ripe fruit from just about every branch in the eucalypt trees that line both sides of the river above the lower weir.

Flying foxes

Flying foxes

There is constant movment within the colony: a sleepy stirring, an itch being scratched, a wing stretched.

As it warms up, they flutter their wings to cool themselves. Occasionally, one takes off and flies from one tree to another, up or down stream, or from one side of the river to the other. There is also a constant chittering among them.

The hanging flying foxes show up against old buildings covered in creeper.

The hanging flying foxes show up against old buildings covered in creeper.

The noise of the flying foxes, of cicadas chirring in the background, and the burbling of water flowing over the weir is constant and relaxing. That changes when a flock of sulphur-crested cockatoos invades the lawn area. That’s when it really gets noisy for a while.

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Ibis

Then a few ibis arrive and the cockies rise in a screeching , circling mass and head to a more private place downstream.

 

I hope I have shown a few of the reasons why I like to wander alone through Parramatta Park.

 

Do you have a special place you like to go to relax?

 

 

Other posts you may enjoy:  Walking in Parramatta Park; Catherine Hill Bay; Mystery Bay; Down by the Lake; Kiama Blowhole; Parramatta Park

Photos by Linda Visman

© Linda Visman

 

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