Monday, 31 May 2010

South of the Border

No, the border in question is not the Rio Grande. Rather it is the River Murray, and this post is being created in Eltham, a lovely suburb on the North-Eastern outskirts of Melbourne. The post will also feature links to a couple of sub-pages I have created to hold photos and thus preventing this page getting too big.

Our reason for travelling to Victoria was to attend a contest of skill and science (to use the phrase Damon Runyan applied to pugilism) in the form of an Australian Rules football match between St Kilda Saints and the Adelaide Crows. It came about through my friend Rob winning a private box when he attended a breakfast before the 2009 Grand Final (which the Saints didn't win – boo-hoo).

He invited us to take up a couple of the seats in the box. This was accepted very quickly (thanks again Rob). As we had long standing invitations to stay with friends at Eltham, and to take the small dog with us, the entire trip was a done deal!

We set off in a fairly restrained way, leaving at 8am since it is only a short drive to Eltham (about 700km). My blood pressure got tested by the revolting road works around Queanbeyan and the general lousy traffic in Canberra, At one point Frances said to go up Sutton Road: as my cabbage (once known as a brain) was fixated on Canberra I thought she meant come back down the Federal Highway to Gungahlin. In fact she meant go cross country to Murrumbateman which would have been an excellent idea. We must remember to do so on the way home (hint- this is foreshadowing).

Looking at the NSWRTA website there were no road works on the Hume Highway so we expected a very swift drive. Unfortunately there were a bunch of works which leads me to the view that the road works on the Hume are permanent so they have stopped mentioning them!

(A parenthetical comment

On the subject of websites, I had also used the Metlink one to see what time the trains ran from Eltham to the Docklands. This gave me some rubbish about swapping on to trams etc. Eventually it emerged that the default thing to search for on the Metlink site is a station, and the nearest thing to a 'station' called 'Etihad Stadium' is a tram stop. Searching for a landmark called Etihad gave a far more useful result. There is some further commentary on Metlink below.)

Back to the business

The small dog enjoyed her trip down the Hume Highway We had put some extra cushions on the back seat so that she could see out without standing on the arm rest. This merely meant that she could stand and put her feet on the window sill and get an even better view. She also puts her hoof on the button which opens the windows which can be a tad disconcerting (especially if she keeps it there so the window can't be shut).

We took a brief stop in Albury. Frances went to the Regional Art Gallery (quite interesting but very small) and the Botanic Gardens (ibid). The small dog and I went for a walk in Nordeuil Park on the banks of the Murray.. It was named after a small town in France where the local diggers fought in the first unpleasantness. It also featured a tree in which Hovell (an early Australian explorer) carved his initials in the 19th century.

We were well South of Seymour, but still quite a few kms from Melbourne, before seeing signs of the 2009 bushfires. It did seem that most of the trees were reshooting from epicormic growth.

We navigated Melbourne well and arrived at our friends place a tad early, in daylight – it would have been a bit tough in the dark! It is a stunning house in a lovely setting (albeit not as quiet as Carwoola). The husband-friend is away working in Zambia so we only saw Sue (the wife-friend). She had to rush to choir practise but we'll have plenty of time to catch up over the weekend.

The start of the morning was a walk for small dog around a wetland on Diamond Creek. Many excellent Manna Gums (Eucalyptus viminalis we think) and at one point a couple of posters/boards about Walter Withers of the Heidelberg School. This gets more of a mention on Sunday.

Then to the Victoria Markets to acquire a St Kilda scarf for me to wear the following night. Frances and Sue acquired food for our lunch. I waited in the car with the small dog and was a tad intrigued when someone tapped on the window. (Yet again, it was not Raquel Welch – see previous post, not that I am fixating or anything.) It turned out I was parked close to the line in my bay and he wanted to make sure that if I opened my door I didn't ding his brand new car.

After acquiring the scarf we took off to the Mornington Peninsula. There were quite a few interesting roadside sculptures and some of the noise mitigation structures were quite cleverly designed.  Some images of these are in a separate post. Our first port of call was the Red Hill Brewery where I tried their seasonal ale. This was excellent (very fruity, hoppy and tasty) and was included in the 6 packs I acquired (1 for me and 2 for gifts).

Then to Dromana where we had lunch on the foreshore and the small dog got an early sit in the car due to bad behaviour vis a vis seagulls. Frances and Sue went in to the Diggers Club place at Heronswood while the small dog and I visited the beach down a very steep track. There were a bunch of colourful beach side shacks which are apparently referred to as beachboxes. They look more like the bathing huts of 19th Century Britain than the shacks of NSW or the Bachs of NZ.

Saturday morning we did another brief walk along the Diamond Creek track with Tammy followed after breakfast - for us: for the first time ever we forgot to feed the small dog until mid-afternoon - by a longer walk to Montsalvat Art Centre. This was designed along the lines of a Manor House but is now a function centre and art gallery. The art on display seemed to be a sales event for locals and most of it was reasonable (although I suspect the prices – not shown when we were there - would not have been).   The place also had some decorative peacocks.   We wended our way back through huge houses and huge blocks of land (and huge dogs which exchanged opinions with Tammy across the street). We then explored Eltham Lower Park which seemed to be well supplied with Lacrosse and Pony Club activities. There is also a miniature railway, but that wasn't operational when we were there.

Off to the city (or at least the Docklands) to see the football game. Our friend Sue kindly drove us to Montmorency station where there was conflicting advice and chaos occurring. Some things said there was track work going on and we'd do a lot of bus travel and other things did not mention the bus. I guess one should always go for the worst when dealing with MetLink. It was in fact train for 3 stations, then bus, then train again for about 4 stations. The end result was that this took about 20 minutes longer than expected.

Getting in to the Stadium was frustrating due to security dweets. The guy at the door we were supposed to go in wouldn't let us in because I had a back pack – and he wasn't authorised to inspect it. So we went back to a gate where there were people to inspect it, but they were allowed to open it so they just looked at it. What a waste of time and energy.

Up to the box and start on the beverages. The food was not that great, being pies and wings etc, but it was OK for a free night at the footy!  Some images are at a separate post.

The game itself started very well with the Saints kicking 5.0 to the Crows 1.0. Then life got sticky for a while with the Crows getting on top and leading just after half time. Fortunately the Saints got their act back into gear and ended up comfortable winners. There wasn't not much biff in the game and some of the free kicks looked to be given for very tame offences. But I suppose it keeps the mthers of delicate children happy

We then followed a horde back to Southern Cross station. This was quite impressive, especially as the stadium was only half full. After about 10 minutes the train arrived and it was off back to the bus business. This seemed to be quicker than the trip in, but took about 10 minutes longer. (At various stops people came along asking if the bus was going to the City as the bus in that direction hadn't been along for a long time. Seems like a stuff-up.) Then the train we caught after the bus just sat for 10 minutes . Not good, especially for Sue who was waiting for us. Home at 11:45 (instead of 11pm as it should have been.)

(Another parenthesis. Frances spotted a sign on the bus which was to the sense of : Attention Fare Evaders: the person next to you has paid their fare which covers the cost of your travel. Perhaps you should consider mowing their lawn?)

The next day we decided to check out the Heide Museum, on the site of John and Sunday Reed's house, and some of the Heidelberg Art Trail.

At Heide we found they had sculptures around the gardens so wandered around looking at them with the small dog. We were able to persuade her not to piddle on the art! She was the only dog there but nearly everyone seemed to smile at her and a kid asked if he could pat her – a common practise with Victorian children. One grumpy person scowled at her but didn't pursue the matter (possibly a good outcome for his health).

We then moved on a tad to the Yarra Flats Park where we wandered along a trail – once we had worked out which way it went – looking at the boards erected at spots near where artists from the Heidelberg School had done their stuff. There were a lot of folk using the trail for good purposes: cycling, running and dog exercising. However I didn't see anyone else pay any attention to the boards, which I felt a bit of a shame.

Tammy met a few other dogs most of which were 'sniff and pass". One couple of doormat dogs started to get excited so I hauled Tammy out of there: the owner scolded her dogs for scaring the puppy. I merely said that she wasn't scared, not pointing out that I had spotted the signs of her about to declare war. A bit later two miniature Pinschers came bounding up and they had great fun until the pinschers hurtled off. We met them on the way back and after a cursory sniff everyone got on with their lives: I guess the first episode had sorted the formalities.

On the way back we called in at a garden centre where Frances bought some stuff. This did not include some 4m high Manchurian Pear trees which could have been ours for a mere $895.00 each!

After a pleasant Sunday evening chatting to Sue we headed for home on the Monday. A surprisingly easy and stress free trip out of Melbourne and off up the Hume. I noticed that the speed check cameras gave a maximum reading of 117kph. This is presumably to stop people using them to check that their Ferrari or WRX can still get to 250kph. However if your speedo is reading low you might think 117 is OK and not realise it is actually 120 which would be expensive.

Getting towards the end of the trip we took the cross country route from Murrumbateman to avoid the traffic in Canberra. This was really good until we got to the crossing of the Molonglo about 5km from home. It was flooded so we had to backtrack and come in via Queanbeyan. Damn, damn damn.

I now retract at least one 'damn'.  Apparently the Barton Highway - the route through Canberra - is also closed due to road works to keep the voters of Gungahstly (also known as Gungahlin) happy!  So we would have been stuffed either way.

Roadside structures

This post holds some images of roadside structures noticed in the Melbourne area on our travels.  Unfortunately the best  - a twisty rusty (but new and designed that way) bridge over the Hume Freeway, with a panorama of the CBD skyline - escaped us until returning where it wasn't so exciting (but I have included the shot anyway).

Footy Pix

These are a few shots taken at a great range which might give a view of the game.  I start with the Saints coming on the field - apparently 'Linenhouse' is their sponsor!

This gives an overall view of the Stadium.

Next we have a happy moment, of the Saints kicking a goal.  As I said these shots were taken at a fair distance.

The final shot is of the Crows cheer squad: I think this was taken in the second quarter as they didn't get much of a workout after half time!

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Some Thoughts on climate

Today ( 26 May 2010) we have had some more reasonable rain.  It started about 5:30 am and went until about 10:30am totalling up to 15.5mm.  This was enough to get both our creeks running and to top up our house tank.  Compared to last year, in aggregate for 2010 we are up to 312mm which is the same amount of rain as had fallen up to 3 October 2009!

What is particularly interesting to me about this is where the rain has come from.  And I don't want any smart comments about 'the sky"!
  • About half the amount fell in a very large episode in February where the rain came from the North, as a cyclone remnant headed down the Coast.  
  • This latest lot came from the East due to a low pressure system sitting off the South Coast pumping moisture inland.
  • A fair proportion of the rest was Summer thunderstorms.
The main point being made is that very little of it is coming from the traditional source, of fronts moving through from the west of the country.  They nearly all seem to get to about Mildura and do a dive South, which is good news for Melbourne but no help to us.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

An addition to the sink list

Last evening I was doing the dinner dishes (at least the ones which don't fit in the dishwasher) and looking at the swift moths which have decided to reappear.

There then came a tap-tap on the window.  No, it was not Raquel Welch (despite my fond memories of Pete'n'Dud's sketch on this topic) but a far larger moth fluttering on the glass.  I was contemplating getting the camera for a snap, but this was going to involve logistics with removal of rubber gloves etc.

Suddenly there was an even louder tap.On looking out again, it was still not Raquel Welch. Rather, there was the male Tawny Frogmouth sitting on the window sill (perhaps 60cm from me).  No sign of the very large moth.  Getting the camera was now a matter of urgency but, alas, the Frogmouth had an appointment elsewhere and departed before a single glove could be removed.

The next evening I got a snap of a swift moth (I think) so have included it to the left.   As I went to bed I noticed a bat (of unknown species) swooping around the deck outside our bedroom so presumably some more moth munching was occurring.

The following morning I was up quite early and both species of moth were hammering their heads against the window.  This time I was able to get a picture of a large, brown species which follows.  When at rest it doesn't look as big as it does when flapping against the window.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Alert dog and leaves in a billabong

With that title you shouldn't be expecting great changes to your life as a result of reading this post!

We were in a paddock thinking about setting up a vegetation monitoring site (of which more later) when I was struck by the small dog's posture.  This is very typical of her when she can see something interesting but a little bit out of range.
 The second image is just of willow leaves that have fallen into a small billabong (fortunately deficient in swagmen, jumbucks and -particularly fortunately - troopers) in Whiskers Creek.  I suspect the areas of clear water indicate where 'roos have misjudged a leap.  They look a bit like shots of polynias in ice fields but there are no seals or polar bears in them.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

True stories from the inner back

I have chosen this title because where we live and places like it can't really be called the Outback! It could be thought of as Tales from the Urban Fringe, but that sounds like an Art Festival.

Tale 1

One night recently Frances and I were sitting in our sun-room having a cleansing glass or two of red and watching the light fade. The small dog was with us (but not having any red). Shortly after it had completely faded – say 5:40pm - there came what sounded like a VERY loud knock on the back door.

Small dog goes ballistic. I scuttled off to see who was knocking. No-one visible. So I checked various other doors and go out with the spotlight and can't find anyone.

Frances and I agree that this is most strange and puzzle about it for a while. Small dog goes back to sleep. After a while we go back to the lounge, where there is a nice warm fire. In passing Frances notices that her palette has fallen off her art-cart and the two halves have separated. This would have caused the 'knock – knock noise'. We relax, and the small dog stays asleep.

Tale 2

Some friends were heading to bed about 11pm when the husband realized a car was coming up their drive. It then blasted the horn a few times.

Husband goes out to remonstrate with this invader and rushes back indoors to tell his wife that the car driver claims he has a broken back!! Ambulance is called as the driver does seem to be in a bad way, having spasms and fading in and out of consciousness. The car is also not in good nick as it has a front tyre that has rolled off the rim - apparently as a result of whacking a wombat.

It emerges the driver broke his back some time back and the shock from the wombat incident has redone it. He had been having a few drinks with some mates before driving home. As usual the Ambulance dispatch service (in Wollongong, some hundreds of kilometres away) has trouble working out where to send their truck. That gets sorted and about midnight the ambos arrive, load in the afflicted driver and depart.

Our friends head back to bed about 12:30am.

About 2am Mr Plod turns up and works out that the car is not exactly in full compliance with various laws and says "Hrumph hrumph". Our friends get back to bed shortly thereafter.

The next day:

  • following the trail of marks from a naked rim it appears the incident occurred about 6km from our friends house; and
  • the driver fronts with his dad to say 'Thanks' and to arrange to come back with a trailer to remove the car!
Things like this rarely happen in the Big City!

(As an incidental comment, this is the first time I have managed to publish a post using the Publish Blog stream of blather in Microsoft Office!)

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Life was meant to be easy?

On our last trip to Adelaide we brought back a couple of items of furniture.  One of these was a wooden divan which Frances used to sleep on at her Grandmas (thus its probably an antique!) and on which we have slept when visiting her Mum.

Apart from maintaining this emotional linkage Frances thought it would be just diddly installed on our deck where she could sit in the sun.  So that has been done and she and the small dog were well ensconced there this afternoon while I was off doing alpha male things with my old trailer; the wood heap and my log splitter.

There is one issue.  That is, that the corner in which the bed is positioned is also the chosen roost for a White-throated Treecreeper.  We used to deal with this by putting old cut-up wine cartons on the deck to collect the guano.  With the prospect of the divan situation I put up a shelf to collect the crap.  Unfortunately Mr Treecreeper has decided to hang out below the shelf.  Bugger.  Herewith a couple of pix, one showing the long view and the other some detail of the bird.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Birds from the bike

While El Camion Real was getting a service in Fyshwick I took my bike for a stroll out to the Fyshwick poo-pits and back via Newline Quarry Rd and Molonglo Reach.

The poo-pits (which are interestingly in the ACT rather than NSW, perhaps proving that Canberra takes a lot of shyte from Queanbeyan) had a few interesting but not photogenic birds.  Getting to Newline I began by riding down the road to the Quarry where parrots and Cockatoos were the name of the game.

I found a large flock (185+ birds) of Sulphur-crested Cockatoos at the far end of the road.
 Along the way I noticed several Red-rumped Parrots exploring trees with hollows and spouts.  The image doesn't show the red rump but does give an idea of how colourful the male of this species is.  (The females are much drabber, and even the males vanish into grass due to their broken colour pattern.)

On the way back to the car I snapped this Darter hanging out in the Molonglo.  For a bird that seems so black'n'boring at a distance the patterning when seen up close is magnificent!
This is actually a parenthesis to the title of this post as the image that follows was taken from my car about three days later.  It didn't seem worthwhile doing a new post but I like this image of two Crimson Rosellas.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Plants indoors

It is a funny old season with baby Brown Quail seen running about a couple of days ago and native plants in flower all over the place.  However the weather has finally decided to get down to Winter business with our first frost on 12 May!  This nailed all the dahlias.  However we still have attractive flowers to look at indoors. 
Here are two flavours of Xygocactus, a Begonia and something unknown but pretty in blue.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Fungi of Condor Creek

Condor Creek is a small Creek in the Brindabellas to the West of Canberra.  ANPS went for a Wednesday Walk there today and I found a few fungi.  I have even been able to have a crack at identifying some of them.

Ramaria sp a coral fungus

Calocera sp: a small orange-yellow jelly fungus

Oudemansiella radicata - the Rooting Shank- Top surface on the left and underside on the right

Finally, two shots of a tiny but unknown (to me)  fungus.  Fungimap have advised it is a species of Mycena

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

The problems of modern AFL

When I arrived in Australia I was taken to an Australian Rules football match within 24 hours of touching down.  I was quite impressed with the game as it was very tough and exciting (even though this first sample was a SANFL game, Glenelg vs Woodville).  The Bays ran out winners by about 100 points with Fred Phyllis kicking 10 goals.  (Obviously it wasn't a Grand Final for Fred to kick like that.  After one (of several) despicable performance in a Final they burnt his boots: unfortunately they let him take them off first.)

But I digress.

The game has changed a lot since then.  The good old shirt-front has disappeared - apparently mothers were objecting to their Nathans and Trents getting hurt by tactics like that so were sending the poor little dears off to play soccer wheer they wouldn't get hurt.  (Obviously they've never watched any Italian or South American games.)  Many of the kicking styles used in my few games have disappeared, and there is a lot of frigging about with the ball to 'set up good structures' whatever the heck they are.

The following image is taken from the AFL Match Centre during a game between the two worst sides in the AFL in 2010. (Note: in other games in Round 7 some other clubs appear to be making a serious challenge for that rating.)
There are several things to note about this image:
  • Richmond Tigers (denoted by a yellow circle) are attacking the goal at the bottom of the screen.  Despite this they mange to shift the ball 50m away from that goal;
  • It takes them 7 transfers (from the distance per disposal, presumably mainly hand-passes)  to achieve this; 
  • The ball passes right across the goal face the Tigers are defending; and 
  • The movement starts off by a Crows player passing (again, from the distance gained, presumably a hand-pass) the gonad to a Tigers player and ends with the ball being lobbed out of bounds. (I did say they were the two worst teams.)
 In the olden days the Crows player would have given the ball a large roost into the attacking zone and if no score resulted a Tigers player would have replied in kind.  Perchance the AFL is recruiting its skills development people from netball for lack of physicality (or full-contact tiddleywinks for all the fiddling about)?

Friday, 7 May 2010

Making sawdust

As we had a few spare $s recently we decided to acquire some nice furniture.  A friend from our plant-walks had commented that her daughter's husband was well regarded in such matters ".. but he is pretty expensive."

So we took ourselves off to the showrooms of Dunstone Designs in beautiful downtown Fyshwick.  This was rather like Aladdin's cave, without 40 militants hiding in the big vases!  From glancing at a Furniture magazine they had around it seems that they have won many prizes for their stuff.  And well deserved too: after seeing their stuff, everything we saw in other shops - regardless of price -  looked bland and boring.

Evan and Fenella (the Dunstones) showed us the stuff they had on the floor and talked to us about customised things.  Eventually Evan had to go off back to the workshop (in even more beautiful East Queanbeyan - behind the Motor Registry) to, as he said ".. make some more sawdust.".

After a fair bit of measuring and thinking we put in an order for some stuff: mainly dining chairs and book cases.  Basically in jarrah and Evan came and scoped out our place to get a feel for what colours would fit.  (He also agreed to solve a small problem with the second hand jarrah table we had bought some time earlier which was a tad wobbly.)  We then thought a bit more about it and put in another order for some more stuff (lounges mainly).

An issue with buying stuff off excellent craftsmen, who are known as such, is that there is a queue.  In this case there was a huge order for an executive dining suite, in addition to the 'normal' queue which meant our stuff would not be done until May.

In early May we went - at Evan's request - to check progress, and specifically to offer an opinion about some alternative seat bases  Here are a few images of things being done.

Fotos of Pholiage (and swans)

Although the following are probably seen as a bit ho-hum by those in the Northern Hemisphere the Autumn leaves around Canberra are not bad.  I included the one of the Black Swan displaying his curly tail feathers because I thought it was pretty nifty.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Dusky Woodswallows and other aspects of Newline

This is really a schizophrenic post as it will cover two different (albeit related) things.  I guess I'll have to keep taking the medication!

The background is that I have been looking at the Canberra Ornithologists Group grid system for reporting bird sightings.  One of the difficulties of this is that in some cases well-known birding spots are cut into two (or more) chunks of very similar habitat by the arbitrary nature of latitudes and longitudes.  One of these spots is an area to the East of Canberra Airport which I have taken to calling Newline Paddocks as it is paddocks, and close to, but distinct from, Newline Quarry.  I decided to collect data from both parts of the site today to see what sense this split made expecting the answer to be 'none'.

On first starting my birding foray I was struck by the number of Dusky Woodswallows still present and took a few images.  The first shows a row of little cuties sitting on a branch: my guess is tht there were 30+ birds in the whole flock.
The other two images are clipped from bracketed images which serendipitously caught nice flight shots.

Moving on to the main business, the attached extract from Google Earth shows the paddock in question (outlined in dashed yellow) and the location of the grid line.

Doing a rough measure of the boundaries on Google Earth and multiplying the result the areas of the two areas of paddock within the two grid cells are M14,  1.65Ha and N14 7.0Ha.  Allowing some time for sorting out where the grid line went I estimate I spent about 20 minutes in M14 and 80 minutes in N14 which is reasonably close to the correct ratio.

In total I wrote down 18 species for the day.  8 of these were common to both sites and thus 10 species were only found in one square (6 in N14 and 4 in M14).  It was interesting that none of the Newline specials were found in either grid square (and a couple of other members of COG have subsequently commented about similar experiences).

Atlas code Common nameM14N14
43 Crested Pigeon
269 Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
273 Galah
282 Crimson Rosella 4 5
288 Eastern Rosella 1
295 Red-rumped Parrot 6 2
357 Welcome Swallow
364 Willie Wagtail 1
424 Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike 2 1
529 Superb Fairy-wren 3 24
547 Dusky Woodswallow 24 29
565 Spotted Pardalote
625 White-plumed Honeyeater 2 6
638 Red Wattlebird 2
705 Australian Magpie
930 Australian Raven 1
976 Striated Pardalote 2 3
999 Common Starling 1 2

It is impossible to quantify, from a sample of 1 set of observations, how significant such differences are.  The exercise did provide some interesting anecdotal evidence.

  1. The flock of Dusky Woodswallows were first detected in the SW corner of the paddock (M14) where they stayed until I had nearly completed my search in N14 at which point they all flew into N14 to hunt a flock of insects.  
    1. If an analyst merely looked at the data without the location name they might conclude that there were 53 Dusky Woodswallows observed that day rather than it basically being the same birds plus a few extras seen in N14.
    2. Had I done the search in the opposite order the birds would not have been counted in either site (unless I put in a 3rd incidental record to cover the flock being seen in N14 while I was in M14).
  2. There were 6 Red-rumped Parrots in Newline Paddocks during my period of observations.  At one point 2 of them flew into grid N14 while I was counting in that grid cell and were also counted there.  For this species such an observation is probably not important but if it had been 2 Brown Treecreepers counted in both grid cells the suggestion of 4 birds rather than two could lead to some very misleading thoughts about successful breeding.
  3. It was difficult to keep track of exactly where the boundary was, despite having placed some tags of surveyor tape on the fences at the appropriate spots.  In effect I used the point where the creek crossed the Western fence and some containers on the Southern edge as landmarks.  It was also helpful that a large concrete bunker was about 20m inside M14: this was visible from everywhere on the boundary (whereas the topography of the block meant that the Southern bounadry was not not visible from the lower point of the area..
My conclusion reinforces my belief that that the grid cells:
  1. are very difficult to operationalise as the boundary is not visible "on the ground";
  2. have no biological relevance(birds fly back and forth); and 
  3. through counting the same birds at different times in different grid cells, make it possible to generate misleading information.