Showing posts from December, 2009

More Lily

I posted in this page about our Asiatic lilies in the garden.  They are continuing to provide pleasure as the dahlias slowly get their act together.  In addition to the garden bed ones, Frances put some in a pot.  One of them flowered today: it is 8inches across the flower.  (OK, I'm old: for those with no Imperial background that is about 20cm!)

This is a nice bit of detail of the naughty bits of the flower.  And also some raindrops, as we got a small (1.5mm) shower!
 And here we have all three blooms out!

Plumed Whistling Ducks at Bungendore

At about 11:30 on New Year's Eve I was rung by another birder to say that 15 Plumed Whistling Ducks were on a small dam just outside Bungendore.  I was there with my camera rather smartly.

The plumes are clearly visible on the sitting duck.  The second image shows the whole flock.

This one provides a context by showing the farmyard in the background. Plus note that the birds are not worried by the cow and thus unlikely to be escapes from an urban yard.

Finally an example of the hazards of rural photography: trying to get the snap before a cow upstages the ducks.

Wet bark

We got a nice Christmas present in the form of 35mm of rain on the 25th.  Apart from the general 'goodness' of the event it makes the bark on some of our Eucalyptus mannifera show really nicely.  Enjoy the red and orange glows.

Climate change: another brick in the wall?

For the first time ever we have got some ripe tomatoes before Christmas Day.  Clearly an effect of the hot air spouted by the Liberal Party!  (Thus proving sub-human intervention.)

It being Christmas we need some snow on the site.  In addition, I note the comment on this post referring to the Mad Monk (thanks Denis).  Combining the two, here is a You-Tube of Boney M in Moscow.

The spirit of Christmas?


End of year report

Much of what will follow has probably already been wittered about in one way or another, and when I think the boredom is likely to be too egregious I'll just bung in a link to the relevant page of the year's Proceedings.

In view of my interests it seemed a good idea to have a wildlife focus for the card.  The background is of Kunzea ericoides which blossoms at this time of year turning the Carwoola countryside white.    Going around the outside of the card and starting at the bottom left we have a Hyacinth Orchid Dipodium roseum, Blue Devil Eryngium rostratum, Golden Everlasting Xerochrysum viscosum,  and a stroppy Bearded Dragon Pogona barbata.  The middle image is of course our resident Tawny frogmouth Podargus strigoides family who again raised two chicks.

It is with some astonishment that I realise we have been living in Carwoola for very close to 3 years.  There are two aspects to this: on the one hand it seems like very little time has elapsed since we left New York, while…

Some thoughts on bushfires and Emergency Services

By way of background, I rate myself as fairly risk tolerant with respect to bushfires.  I certainly loathe, with a passion:
the anal-retentive panic-merchants who seem to populate the Bush fire mob in Canberra, and the politicians who use bush fires to keep the population terrified and thus under control.It is interesting that the enquiry into the bushfires in Victoria earlier in 2009 have brought out a lot of issues about incompetence for the State Fire people.  I had thought that this was stuff being dug out by folk who wouldn't appreciate that things get done in an emergency in less than ideal ways.  However, I have been paying a bit of attention to fire warnings in our area (mainly because the weather is hot, dry and windy, and the area is covered with a lot of dry grass - as a result of good rain in September and October and very little in November).  I now wonder if an IQ above 90 disqualifies people from serving in bushfire administration.

My key resource is a map put out b…

Spider imitates Pardalote

I consider this to be one of my better photographs, because I have got enough of it n focus to actually show the little appendages organising the web.  When I say 'little' this beast was about 5mm across the carapace!

A friend with much  more knowledge of Arthropods (than myself) has advised that "Its a spiny spider possibly in the genus Gasteracantha, family Araneidae.  They often occur in large colonies with the webs strung among shrubbery."

The reference to pardalote is to the Spotted Pardalote one of the small jewels of the Australian avifauna!

Another day in the life

Several months back I put up a post about how we filled in our days now that we are no longer wage slaves.  Here is another one of those.

We got up at 6am and had a cup of coffee:
me sitting at my 'pooter checking emails and what has gone on in the world; Frances sitting up in bed reading an art book; andsmall dog (without a cup of coffee) sitting with Frances.About 7am it is time to go for a patrol of the premises.  This also gives all of us a small amount of exercise.  Especially the small dog who has to rush about a fair bit keeping the local 'roo population on their toes.

Back to the house (close to 8am) and my immediate task is to give the small dog her food for the day.  Frances has meanwhile started her daily foray into weeding the periwinkle from the garden bed on the Eastern end of the house.  This gives my second job of emptying the barrow full of periwinkle from yesterday onto my bonfire heap.  (For those not familiar with periwinkle, count your blessings: it is an i…

Consider ye the lilies of the .....

.. garden.  It only feels like a field (or in Australia 'paddock') when digging this stuff, or removing the Periwinkle and Hypericum that previous owners were careful enough to plant.

Enough with the negative vibrations.  The Asiatic Lilies in what we term the sunroom bed ('cos it is outside our sunniest room) are flowering - magnificently.

I have always had a soft spot for these since doing a Frank Muir impersonation in telling the tale of the real meaning of the biblical phrase alluded to in the title of this post.  It involved Dennis Lillee not selling oil.  Even by my standards it got obscure!

Superb Superb Parrots

I was every surprised (very pleasantly so) to get a phone call from a resident of Hoskinstown to say that he had seen Superb Parrots (Polytelis swainsonii) on his patch.

As shown by the red spot in this image, appended to a map produced from the Birds Australia Birdata  database this represents a reasonable extension to the range of the species.
I visited the site a couple of times before spotting the birds.  Two males and a female (distinguished from juvenile males by the blue 'wash' on the face were present.  They seemed very happy munching on Acacia dealbata!  I didn't manage to get a snap of the female so here are some of the males.