Friday, 28 November 2008

It's raining, it's pouring!!!!

It is a major part of Australian life generally to take note of the weather. Often this is to kvetch about it (if you come from St Kilda), to whinge (if you come from Elizabeth SA) and just to bloody moan about it (if your name is Hanrahan). However, it has seemed that recently there has been a fair bit to complain about with a large drought.

Thus it is pleasing to report that we have copped 107mm of rain so far this month. The following images are one of our downpipes rejecting the inflow it was being offered during a thunderstorm and the bark on a couple of our Eucalytpus mannifera (aka Brittle Gum) after the storm was over.

Some missed photographs were: a wombat tidying up its burrow in the creek; and Tammy-the-rodent swimming across the flooded creek. The little bugger semed very keen to leap in so I found a narrow spot and - with her on a lead for security - let her dive in. She loved it.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Martins Red-backed Kingfisher and (yet more) Frogmouths

The first two images show Fairy Martins (and no back-chat about that name please) doing fly-bys at their nests in a creek at Dunlop. Nearby a pair of Red-backed Kingfishers have excavated a nest burrow and one of them was kind enough to pose for me. Finally, I have for the first time in daylight seen both of 'my' Frogmouth chicks.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Also gardening ....

That should have got your attention, unless you also rate it as 'arty-farty'. It is a Red-hot Poker, which should be blooming in Autumn.

After that burst of luridity,I begin this with a photo of what I call Banksia Rose, but I suspect it isn't. It grows on the side of our deck and is covered with blossom and usually bees. A small pick of strawberries (we have been getting a serve like this or more every day for 2 weeks) and a mutant strawberry!

The following set show some iris activity. The first image shows part of the display of irises at an open garden in Burra (NSW, not SA). The second shows Frances removing hypericum and periwinkle from a garden bed with some newly planted irises in the foreground. Finally there are a couple of the newly acquired ones in closeup.

November's natives

This set start off with a flower that has bewildered the experts. It seems to be a mutant native bluebell! That is followed with a Pultanea (one of the myriad of shrubs described as 'peas"); a fringe lily; a donkey orchid (Diuris sulphurea); and two shots of the flowers of Red Box- the first shows them on the tree and the second has them on the ground after a thunderstorm!

Friday, 14 November 2008

A day in the life

I have often tried to describe to people how we "fill in our days" when we are at home. So I thought that I would complete a time use diary for today.
0550 : hear dog whining so get up and take her outside to park a coil. This is better than getting up at 6:30 and having to remove a coil!
0600: dog is decoiled so make coffee and take it through to the somnolent one. (Somnolence ceases when dog jumps on bed!)
0615: commence checking emails and reading on-line news. Fix up a few other things on my computer; make breakfast for me.
0800: Frances and I take dog for walk around the block. Near the end go to inspect mining operations being undertaken by wombat in creek bed. Discover many thistles.
0900: Load up sprayer and go to speak sternly with thistles. Notice many dead Mullein - the spraying is working!
0930: Go and pick todays 500gms of strawberries!! Yum, yum, yum.
0940: Mow lawns.
1020: have another cup of coffee and check emails.
1030: More work on removing periwinkle and hypericum from garden bed.
1200: Lunch
1300: Notice frogmouth chicks visible so take some photographs and play with computer.
1400: Go to get compost to put in garden bed.
1415: Start installing watering system for tomatoes, cucurbits and further strawberries.
1600: Build new worm farm, relocate worms thereto.
1700: Investigate red wine.

There was more gardening in this than in winter; and some days when we go into town or for plant walk it is completely different, but that is a fair sample of about 6 months of the year.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Pollywogmouth update and other birdy things

The image above, was taken on 16 November 2008 and is the best I have got of the adult and a chick. For the background and further images, read on.

In a posting last month I mentioned the onset of a breeding event for a family of Tawny Frogmouths in a big Yellow Box tree in front of my study window. On 7 November I took Tammy-the-rat out for her final toilet break and noticed a frogmouth fly into the nest site. Putting my spotlight onto the site I discovered that this was the second adult bird present. As it flew off a downy chick was spotted sitting in the nest being fed by whatever insects the visitor had delivered.

During the day the adult is keeping the chick totally covered. This is a good idea as the Pied Currawong chicks are still in their nest just upstairs and would, I am sure, enjoy a diet of Tadpolemouth. I must be without guilt, as I am casting the first stone at the 'wongs at every opportunity. Also, when occasion presents, the second stone and the odd lump of wood! I am joined in this task by a Red Wattlebird, which must have a nest in the vicinity and definitely doesn't like the Currawong.

Breaking story is that one of the Currawong chicks has just (7:11am on 9 November) made its first flight. It was a pretty pathetic effort, but it did make to another tree. This development may explain why the adults have been particularly evil that morning.

On 14 November I noticed that the brooding bird seemed more active than usual and on going round the other side of the tree found that there were now two chicks visible from the position.
Here are a couple of photos.

The image to the left is of a Common Bronzewing, one of a pair which was spotted while on our regular walk around the boundary. Always a good bird to see, especially when showing the broze patches in the wing so nicely.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008


While having a cleansing glass of red wine in the evening of 3 November I looked out of the sun-room and saw an echidna wandering acros the hillside above the creek. So I grabbed my camera and spent a very pleasant 20 minutes peering at the little beast and taking a few happy snaps.

Some of them were even in focus! (As you will have noticed, the first one isn't, but I thought it such an amusing shot that I have wasted a bit of bandwidth on including it.)