Showing posts from September, 2018

A very resilient goose

One of the ancient fables is of killing the goose that lays the golden egg.  In the case of the ACT Government the eggs laid by the Floriade Festival have indeed been golden given the number of tourists it brings in.

The first attempt to get more gold, by charging entry fees, did not quite kill the event off.

Plans for a second attempt - moving the Festival from Commonwealth Park to various locations strewn around the CBD - appear to have come to nothing so far.  This is possibly because the ACT Government doesn't want too many people coming to Glebe Park (one of the proposed sites) as this might cause people to start questioning various property deals affecting the margins of the park.

Judging by this year they have decided that the best approach to kill the event off is to minimise the involvement of those inconvenient flower beds and maximising the number of tacky tents offering gardening experiences.

We visited on the first day of a long weekend (and following a big plug for t…

PSITTACIFORMES and vegetation

I have used that nice long word (the name of an Order within the Class Aves) to include both the family Cacatuidae (Cockatoos) and the family Psittaculidae (Old World Parrots).  There are a few other Parrot families but I won't bother you with them, as they weren't represented on our lawn yesterday morning.

The first noticed was the archetypal cockatoo, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo.  The photo is a bit blurry as it was taken through a window, but it was the closest I have got to a snap of this species with the crest erect!
 It then became a cockatwo,  Although they looked at the fallen plum blossom they didn't seem to apply the beak.
 Not so with the leaves of the snowflakes.
 I thought major havoc was going to be wreaked on the flowers but they just walked around looking , and then took off.
 The flowers still on the trees then got a visit from two Eastern Rosellas, which did appear to be munching the flowers
 Its a bit hard to tell what is blossom and what is cheek patch but…

Several natural history topics

Our dog walk this morning was very pleasant, although the Southerly was a little brisk when walking in to it.  It was very dry, giving a good display of condensation trails as punters flew from Sydney to Melbourne.
Getting back towards the house I happened to glance down and was surprised to see a reasonable supply of guano.
Looking up up, my ghast was flabbered to see Ms Tawny Frogmouth in a very scrawny tree.
There have been many days this year when I haven't been able to find them and judging by the amount of poop she and/or her mate have been sitting here.  I know it was the female as himself had, for the first time this season, assumed the position on the nest brooding the eggs.  This was exactly the date estimated by adding the average length of nest building to the date they started the process.
While going to take these photos one of the pair of Grey Currawongs that are currently resident posed nicely.  I suspect they are nesting somewhere nearby but I have not, so far bee…

2 carriages does a train make

I have always wanted to see an echidna train.  I think they can be up to 5 males pursuing a female,  Today at home we had one very randy male pursuing a female, but IMHO it still counts.  Here are a few of the photos I took.

 We were slightly puzzled by this apparent 'ear' which I have never seen before.  I'd welcome suggestion if this is really an earlobe or just some arrangement o the spines.
 I think this was the leader - assumed to be the female.  The amount of dirt in the front spines suggests it had been digging somewhere!
A close-up of nose and front claws.
 The last two are just nice images of the pair shuffling off.

I tried to be very quiet as I followed them around and it seemed to work as they showed no signs of digging in, which is their usual reaction to threats.

I put a link to this post on our Community Facebook page.  A neighbour's response include this image, which makes me laugh:

COG finds a few birds on Red Hill

16 members (I don’t think there were any guests) gathered, in some cases after experiencing the parking lot formerly known as Kent St, at the foot of Red Hill for a lap of the Western element of Red Hill Nature Reserve. The day was quite warm (already about 15oC but a vigorous wind was blowing.
Setting off up the ridge some Casuarina cones were noticed ....  ... leading to thoughts about Glossy Black-Cockatoos.  However the trees themselves did not look in great shape, and appeared to have few cones.
We followed pretty much the traditional route for exploring this area but birds were very hard to find.  Song was almost entirely absent.  We thought this could be due to a number of factors including: ·The wind causing birds to seek shelter;·Overgrazing by kangaroos resulting in there being little shelter to be had due to lack of understorey; and·The presence of quite a lot of Noisy Miners – whose presence may be explained by the lack of understorey.
The greatest diversity of birds was a…