Showing posts from April, 2009

More lizzid

ANZAC Day was its traditional drizzly cold self. Quite appropriate for a day commemorating the folk who died in the mud of Flanders.

It did however seem a bit strange to find an Eastern Blue-tongued Lizard clambering about beside our drive.

The reptile was found by Tammy, who was quite keen to play with it. We were not keen for this to happen at all and were pleased a chicken wire fence was between them. Apart from the principle of not damaging the wildlife when possible, anything that eats bugs is to be encouraged.

For those of an inquisitive mind, this is a good site about the species and its relatives. For those wondering about the word "More" in the title of this post see, which also includes an image of the closely related Blotched Blue-tongued Lizard.

Are Dusky Woodswallows migrants?

This question has been raised recently on the chatline. The information available from the Garden Bird Survey (GBS) is too much to fit in my Gang-Gang (see articles, but not complete enough for a CBN article. So I have stuck it here.

HANZAB (v1A p19) defines ‘migratory’ as “all or most individuals moving between breeding and non-breeding ranges”. Wikipedia has a few more words under 'Bird migration":

"Bird migration refers to the regular seasonal journeys undertaken by many species of birds. Bird movements include those made in response to changes in food availability, habitat or weather. These however are usually irregular or in only one direction and are termed variously as nomadism, invasions, dispersal or irruptions. Migration is marked by its annual seasonality. (emphasis added MB) In contrast, birds that are non-migratory are known as resident birds. "
Reading the HANZAB species account (v7A p456) shows that the debate…

The season of mellow fruitfulness

Thus far Autumn (or Fall as some misguided countries call it) has not been very misty. This is actually a major change for Canberra, where, in the past, there was always a fair chance that the airport would be closed early in the morning.

After that unbracketed parenthesis, let us get back to the remainder of the cliche with some photographs of the grapes from the garden.

Here are a couple of images of some of our apples. They have been quite successful as a result of a) pruning; b) netting the trees to keep the parrots off; and c) relocation of the arboreal marsupials aka possums.

The image to the left is not of apples, as many of you will have noticed. These (except for the strawberries) are in fact butternut pumpkins which we have picked to avoid the frost. This is a change from previous thinking in which the frost was seen as desirable to harden them off. Old thinking does apply to Queensland blues so they are still on the vine, an an image will be posted in due course.

Autumn i…

The N(S)FF - Music

It is pleasing to report that there was some good music to be had at the Festival. Here follow some comments on the various acts that we saw.
The Fagans: Judging by the number of times members of this family appeared on the program it is possible to hypothesise that the first 'F' in NFF stands for Fagan. All excellent musicians but very, very earnest.Old Man Luedecke: A Canadian banjo player. Good player, good singer and a nice line in chat.Alan Kelly Band. A 4 piece outfit from Ireland . Rather good: we saw their act twice and Frances bought three CDs!
Bluestone Junction: A bluegrass band of the single Microphone persuasion, and quite good at their work. I saw them in the ABC concert (and we tried to get into a workshop but it was already full).

Charlie McMahon and the Rhythm Organism: Charlie is a one armed (note the metalwork holding the didgeribone) white didgeridoo player, and was accompanied by a cellist and a violin player. very different and rather good.

Nano Stern:…

The N(S)FF - Humour

Given the garbage of administration it is good there was some humour around. It is a pity that many of the performers were deadly earnest in promoting their causes, but possibly the humour of the Spookies explained their popularity?

They continued their practise of putting up small signs with pun ridden philosophies all round the place. Some samples:
SpookyBreakfast Convention toasts cereal offenders.Spooky choir rejects enhancement claims "Manboobs are all our own work".Spooky tenor claims are bass less.Some photos:

A good line by the Head Spooky in one of their gigs, where he mentioned things that could muck up a romantic getaway. His killer was ".. finding that every other room in your resort has been allocated to the 250 members of Morris Dancers for Jesus."

Warren Fahey -the founder of Larrikin records and a stalwart of the Australian folk scene - did a song and chat session of bush music. It included a grizzle about the rising cost of sheep in Australia. He …

The N(S)FF Adminstrative stuff

I'll begin this with a few images of events around the Festival that don't really fit under the topics of music or Humour.

Given that many folk songs are based upon the down-trodden of society it is not surprising that there is a fair element of socialism in the genre. Indeed, those who know me would say this is part of why I like it.

It is also the case that the event now held in Canberra each Easter is the National Folk Festival of Australia.

However, the administrators of the event seem to have worked over many years to combine these two attributes.
Thus in the past one used to be able to park across the road and just walk in. Now you have to drive past the event and walk back quite a bit. And that has been changed this year to make it less convenient and in fact more dangerous. This was made even worse on the first day of the Festival when there were three Stewards - We are here to help you - on the entrance gate. They did nothing, as far as I could see, but if someone as…

Guard dog on patrol

The image shows a fierce rocket-propelled rodent giving the eye to a couple of 'roos taking some green pick off our lawn on 5 April. Had sound been connected to the image you would be going a bit deaf by now, as she was also giving it some mouth.

There was nearly a repeat performance on 6 April. To protect our ear-drums I went on to the deck to throw a small branch (kept there for the purpose) at the roo. Not only did this not scare the roo away but the miserable marsupial hopped over to the branch - which had landed about 3m in front of it and sniffed it to see if it was edible!

The resultant roars of laughter scared it off.

A brief report on the Hinterbliitz

As mentioned in a number of emails to the chatline and I decided to try to undertake a version of the Blitz technique for the areas of the COGAOI outside the ACT for the period around the 21st of March 2009. This is a brief summary of the outcome of the event and contains a few thoughts for the future. A more detailed analysis, including an assessment of the extent to which the objectives were met, will be compiled and submitted to the Editor of Canberra Bird Notes in due course.

41 data sheets were compiled during the Hinterblitz covering 34 Grid squares. 579 observations of birds were recorded covering 102 species.

The location of the Grid squares covered by the Hinterblitz, and the number of records for each of the squares are shown in the image.

The Northern and Southern extremes of the COGAOI were not covered so those rows have been omitted.

Observers undertook a range of counts, mainly 2Ha or 500m radius sites. Times in site…

An excuse vanishes

Not having had my eyes tested for many years (possibly 15) I decided - following some guidance from Frances - to do so. I went to an optometrist in Canberra - Andrew Watkins - who gets good reviews to see what he could find out. In essence my long vision was much the same as before but my short vision (eg reading) could be improved.

This was taken to indicate multifocal lenses. I had previously been wary of these because I couldn't believe they worked. Anyway I ordered a pair of Zeiss lenses - apparently the best one can get which include a sunglass function (now called 'transitions' -presumably because the average bogan, like the Blogger spellchecker, can't spell photochromatic).

They are fantastic. So I have now lost an excuse for all the gross typos in my emails and these posts!