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Showing posts from April, 2016

Psittaciformid Psensations

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I hope you are reading this in the morning as I feel you should always start the day with a couple of silent ps.

The post may well get augmented as/if I get further images of members of the Cockatoo and Parrot family in the next few days.

This group of Australian King-parrots were on a power line reserve between the Canberra suburbs of Chifley and Pearce.   Of this group I think the upper one is a juvenile male (on bill colour ) and the other two females.

Clearly an adult male.
A Sulphur-crested Cockatoo destroying a twig.
Two Galahs grazing for rhizomes.
A rear view of two Red-rumped parrots (male on left, female on right).
Anotherpair with male on right.
An Eastern Rosella apparently deciding if a 30 kilovolt power ine is edible!

"Move along, there's nothing to see here" (not)

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We were returning from a stroll in North Canberra, and as we passed the Australian War Memorial noticed a very dark plume of smoke rising into the sky.  There were no National Parks in that direction so it was unlikely to be the ACT Government caring for the environment.

The colour of the smoke made it look like a fire with some oil in it.  As it was directly in line with the airport (but at the opposite end to where the fire crews do their training) this was a worry.  However as we got on to Pialligo Avenue it was clearly beyond the airport and either:

the concrete recyclers (bad); orthe explosives magazine near the quarry (very bad).
It turned out to be the first of these.

The firies - apparently 15 units - were on the job.

My guess is the guys on the right are Mr Plod.  The body language of the bloke on the far right is almost pure channel of Dixon of Dock Green.

When we left - there were quite a few cars parked on the bike lane by then, leading me to think of the title for the pos…

ANPS rediscovers Mount Clifford Nature Reserve

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The locality we visited is named Chakola.   I have been unable to find out a meaning of the name but every time we see it on a road sign I think of 'chakula" the Kiswahili word for food.  (In practice it was a euphemism for a bribe!)  Murray is better at this sort of stuff than me and has found that "The Manaro Mercury and Cooma and Bombala Advertiser 4 February 1921 Page 2 col b states that Chakola is the native name of the lyre bird".  Many thanks Murray!  (Interestingly, the wonderful Trove service from NLA cites the name of the paper using both "Manaro" and the more usual "Monaro".)

At one stage in the day, as we visited various rubbish tips disguised as hobby farms, it seemed unlikely we would find the Reserve.  Indeed some views were expressed that we might have to flee under adverse circumstances (think banjo players and Deliverance).  However we eventually happened on the right road goat track and entered the Reserve.

En route we came acr…

A couple of birdie outings

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I had a while to fill in in South Canberra today so went to look at a new Water Quality pond in the WETO (Western Township) of Molonglo where others have found some good birds.  I didn't do that well but it is a place of great potential.

The quality of housing is not that great with much high density stuff around.  Possibly these are single units, but they are so close together they might as well be apartments.
However some land appears to have been set aside for a Reserve and the walk out to look over the Molonglo has potential.
 It was good to find several Black-fronted Plovers in attendance.
 A good bunch of finches and White-fronted Chats were investigated the grassland and Coots and Wood Ducks were on the water.
In the afternoon my mate Garry took me for a walk up a ridge to try to relocate some Southern Whitefaces he had encountered recently.  We did that and also saw a good lot of Australasian Pipits (at least 10) and Flame Robins (at least 7 brown birds).

In addition to th…

Electoral Matters

Although the Member for Wentworth is refraining from actually lighting the touchpaper, we seem to be heading for an election in July.  So I thought I'd get in early with a few thoughts.  I'll start with some humour from past elections.
At some point in the 1960s  Private Eye had two alternate images on the cover of the edition prior to a UK General Election.  Both featured Jo Grimmond the leader of the Liberals with a speech bubble saying "I don't believe it.".  One showed Jo smiling broadly with a stamp saying 'Liberals lose election'.  The other showing him in total despair with a stamp saying 'Liberals win election'.A second British joke was a bumper sticker for an election on March 14.  It said "Vote Labour March 15".In the 1980s I worked for an Independent candidate in the first ACT election for self Government and handed out "How to vote" cards for him at a local booth.   At one point Al Grassby, a former Federal Minister …

An ANZAC Day Post

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A good summary of the National ANZAC Day rituals is in this ABC item.  Wanting to do something to commemorate the day (but not wanting to get up at 4:30 to go to the Dawn Service  - although with 55,000 present I reckon it would be pretty hopeless anyway - or to battle the traffic chaos for the mid-morning event) I came up with a plan to walk up Mt Ainslie and look down at the War Memorial and ANZAC Parade.

Here is a map, courtesy of Google Earth:
The yellow line with red way-points marks our route.  Approximately 2.7km in length and gaining 240m.  When we set off we met either a large training group or a small Fun Run.  The later snaps were taken at the blue triangle with the War Memorial just above the orange circle.  Once we left the power lines and started up the Old Tip Track things got a bit rocky and also a bit steep.  I think I used to be able to run up this thing about 25 years ago! (As may be gathered from the direction of the small dog I actually took this snap on the way b…

NGA gets it together!

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It has been sometime since we have visited the National Gallery of Australia (mainly because the place has been totally rearranged so that for a fair time there was little, other than the Indigenous collection to see).  As a new exhibition showcasing the Australian Pavillion at the Venice Biennale had just opened it seemed that now was a good time to go.

The good news started before we entered the Gallery.  The ban on photography had been lifted for personal-use photographs.  So my phone got a fair workout.  One security guard chatted me about using a flash - quite reasonably as that would be a pain for other punters as well being ungood for the art - but they all seem to have got the message.

This is the entrance to the work by Fiona Hall and colleagues from Venice  ...
... and this explains what it is all about.
Various dictionaries offer "Cabinet of curiosities" as a translation of 'wunderkammer'.  However I had literally translated it as "room of wonders&quo…