Thursday, 31 October 2013

I may be cheating here!

As you may have gathered, I'm a bit of a science geek really.  There its public!

Recently I obtained some UV sensitive beads - these beads change from a pale cream to a range of bright colours when they are exposed to UV light.  In bright sunshine this only takes a few seconds.  Over the next few minutes the beads turn back to there ghostly original colour.

Given that the UV comes from the Sun and the Sun is up in the sky (!) I'm posting this today for Skywatch Friday!

You can find pictures that are actually of the sky at  SkyWatch Friday.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Wild Bird Wednesday 68 - Sulphur-crested Cockatoo

If the truth be told, this post should really be called "Rather Acclimated Bird Wednesday" - but that does lack a certain rhythm.

Why I say that is because this weeks bird was a regular at a rather good riverside cafe during our trip to Lorne.  As you can see from the pictures, this bird was at home on a fence rail as it was in the tree tops.

Sulphur-crested Cockatoos are not always welcome guests around human habitation as they have a serious tendency to eat your house!  I know of no nutrient that can only be gained from treated timber and gutters, but it seems essential to some of these birds!

For all their destructive tendencies, I always like watching them.  Like most parrots they are intelligent, "talkative", active birds.  This one kept a very keen eye on our plates, but unlike some birds in similar places it was polite enough to wait until we were leaving before it investigated our table.

For all that this may not be a truly wild bird, watching them around a cafe is infinitely preferable to seeing them bored and caged in pet shops.  (I think I may have expressed an opinion there!)

I have to say that the bird looks rather pleased with itself in the picture after the yawn!

Now its over to you - you probably know what to do!
And if not, well, just click the link below and follow the instructions.
Invite, share, +1 and generally enjoy.  SM

Monday, 28 October 2013


Waterfalls are wonderfully photogenic - even if they can become rather over done at times.

As you may have gathered from other posts, my last trip away was marked by more than a bit of rain.  This is, of course, very good for water falls.

The first here is Erskine Falls.  This is a very well known waterfall just behind Lorne.  It takes less than 10 or 15 minutes to walk to the base of the falls, and is very popular. I can see why!

Erskine Falls
Erskine Falls
Erskine Falls
 While I like the "grand" shots of the waterfalls - I think I like the last one best.  I took a number of shots of this scene, and this is the one where I most like the balance between movement and clarity.

We also encountered some unnamed water falls, where recent rain was running off the cliffs around the 12 Apostles and London Bridge.  Somehow, these transient falls seemed more interesting than the named and well known ones with the well beaten paths.

You can find more shots from around the world at Our World Tuesday.  SM

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Spring Butterflies

While spring has sprung here, the weather is changeable enough for Melbourne to live up to its reputation of having four seasons in one day!

During a brief sunny spell when we were at Lorne - in fact I was packing the car for the day when the sun came out - I noticed that there were a few butterflies about.

Closer inspection showed them to be Yellow Admirals and Australian Painted Lady.  Most of them looked a little battered, as if they had suffered during the winter.  I don't know if this is the case, but it feels like it could be true.

Australian Painted Lady
Yellow Admiral
Yellow Admiral
Yellow Admiral
Although the light in the last image was really hard - the pale patches on the wings of the butterfly were hard to keep under control - I like the way that the detail of the flowers show up as a corona around the flower spike.

You can find more macro shots at Macro Monday 2 and I Heart Macro.  SM

Friday, 25 October 2013

Flying a kite? A kite flying!

Very short post again - one of a my rare shots of a bird of prey in an Australian blue sky!

This is a Whistling Kite.

You can find more sky shots at SkyWatch Friday.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Wild Bird Wednesday 67 - Red Wattlebird

The Red Wattlebird is a common enough garden bird in the leafy suburbs of Melbourne.  As a result it came as a bit of a shock to realise that I did not have any pictures of them.  That they are lovers of undergrowth and the middle of bushes may go some way to explain there absence from my catalogue!

The bird in these pictures was a little more accommodating than most, not only did it sit out in the open for a while it also sat still as well.  Thank you bird!

If you have a look at the images in larger view (ie click on them!) you should be able to see the red flap of skin that gives these birds their name - the red wattle.

These birds feed on the nectar of flowering plants, mainly gum trees.  It is this flower fetish that gives the bird part of its scientific name - Anthochaera carunculata.  This means (and I'm not making this up!)  "Flower fancier with little fleshy bits"!  I'm going to have difficulty finding a better snippet of taxonomic wisdom than that!

At 35 cm long these are one of the largest of the honeyeaters.  At best its voice could be described as harshly metallic, and it worst simply awful.  And loud!

The young birds are an older picture I took a year or so back.

Now it's over to you.

Click on the link and off you go.  Feel free to invite bloggers from near and far, frequent and irregular to join in.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Just like the song said

A short drive from the 12 Apostles you can see another feature carved from the soft rock of Victoria - this one is called London Bridge.  And, just like the one in the song this bridge has fallen down.

On the 15th January 1990 this geological version of London Bridge did in fact fall down.  The used to a rock arch that linked the now isolated pillar to the coast.  Two tourists were trapped on the still standing section, and were rescued by helicopter.  They must still be telling that story!

It takes almost no imagination to see why this coast is changing so quickly - the waves surge all over the rock and the water swarms at the base of the pillar.  You leave the viewpoints without any doubt about the power of the ocean.

You can find more shots from around the world at Our World Tuesday.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

An oak on a beach.

This is the kind of micro-landscape I like.  As we were wandering along the beach at Lorne we found this oak leaf sitting at the top of the wave wash.

I like the contrast between the sand and the leaf.

Part of me wishes it was a beech - then we would have a beech on a beach!

You can find more macro shots at Macro Monday 2 and I Heart Macro.

Enjoy the pictures.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Port Campbell Sky

Another short post today - just because I think I need an evening by the fire as winter has one last blast!

This is a shot of the harbour at Port Campbell in the west of Victoria.  As you can see it was one of those days where you could be stood in bright sunshine, watching the storm clouds roll towards you.  Luckily, we were back in the car by the time it started raining!

You can find more skies from around the world at Skywatch Friday.

Enjoy the skies.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Wild Bird Wednesday 66 - Crimson Rosella

One of the many wonderful things about the last holiday was being woken by the silver, bell-like calls of parrots.  There are few better sounds in the world.

We were under strict instructions from the owner of the house not to feed the parrots, and although we were visited on occasions, it was clear this was more in hope than anticipation.  So these birds were a little more timid than many holiday house birds - and I have to say I rather liked that.

Just a few strides from the front door there was a collection of fruit trees - an orchard no less - and this is where the parrots could be found in the mornings.  With their clever feet and cleaver beaks they were feasting on the newly emerged buds.  Their appetites did not bode well for an autumn harvest.

The more I looked at these images, the more I liked the fact that parts of the birds are obscured and hidden with the tree.  I gives a better feel for the slightly secretive behaviour of these birds.

The birds are Crimson Rosellas - and there are two birds.  There is a tiny touch of green on the back of the bird in the third picture suggests that it may be a young male - the green being the last hint of immature plumage.  Telling adult males from females is not task for me!  For the technical minded this bird is also know as Platycercus elgans.   The name "rosella" is thought to be a corruption of "Rose Hill" the place where these types of bird (although not this species) was first given an English name.  This story may even be true.

Now its your turn - click on the link below and off you go into the wild world that is Wild Bird Wednesday.    

Monday, 14 October 2013

12 Apostles.

I'm pleased to announce that my immune system seems to have gained a upper hand over the hell virus that has been doing it best to reduce me to a shivering heap over the last four or five days. As a result I am back on line - if still  feeling a little more like dial up than broadband!

When we were away in the last school holidays we visited the 12 Apostles, which are a set of sea stacks in Port Campbell National Park.  These stack are a bit of an icon of this stretch of the coast and as a result are very well known and photographed.  Such places pose a challenge - because a access is limited and the viewpoints are, well, viewpoints.

This is a very active landscape - with lots of erosion. One of the larger stacks collapsed in 2005 - now that would have beeb a photograph!  As far as I know there were never 12 stacks here at the time it was given its biblically flavoured name - either somebody had skipped a few too many maths classes or they got over excited!

The two piles of rock in the foreground of the picture above are all thats left of the stack that collapsed in 2005!

You can see that the rock in this area is being eroded from top and bottom.

You can find more shots around the world at Our World Tuesday.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

All life?

Another brief post today as I try to throw off this virus thing - thanks for the encouragement and recommendations of fluids and chicken broth!

I found this street sign in Wells in Somerset in the UK a couple of years ago and it made me laugh.

I suspect the sign has been edited in some way to add the upper line - but I still think its funny!

As a came to understand when I no longer lived there, things are different in Somerset!

You can find more macro shots at Macro Monday 2 and I Heart Macro.

Enjoy.  I'm off for some chicken broth!

Thursday, 10 October 2013


If spring showers bring forth flowers, they also forth rainbows!

These are some of the rainbows I encountered last week around Lorne.

near Forest
As well as flowers and rainbows, spring seems to be prime time to catch some ugly flu like virus - I'm not happy and I going back to bed!  Responses to comments will be slow!  Sorry.

You can find more skies here at Sky Watch Friday.

Cheers, SM.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Wild Bird Wednesday 65 - Eastern Spinebill.

The Eastern Spinebill may be the closest I get to seeing a humming bird in a while.  A member of the large group of birds known as Honeyeaters, the Eastern Spinebill is not closely related to Hummers - but they are nectar sippers.

The garden of the house we stayed in at Lorne last week had a very active pair in the garden - and it times it seemed that there were more than two of these distinctive little birds darting from flower to flower.  The plants within the fenced vegetable garden seemed very popular - but they often could be seen snatching insects from fence posts.

At about 15 cm long and possessing a highly distinctive curved bill that adults are pretty hard to miss.  I hear this bird in the bushes around my house - it sounds like a squeaky wheel - but this was my first chance to get any picture of it.

Hovering Eastern Spinebill

Eastern Spinebill - with Silvereye 

For those of you missing the shoals and backwaters of taxonomy - this bird also goes by the name of Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris which refers to the birds thin bill (apparently!)

Now its over to you - click on the link below and off you go.  Don't forget to link back to WBW, to encourage any bloggers you know to join in and to visit the many and varied blogs that make up the world of WBWers!

Monday, 7 October 2013


The house we stayed in last week had a small orchard - and a rather good vegetable garden - around the based of the trees, which I think were apples, but could have been pears, was a garland of forget-me-nots.

I was a wonderful place to stay.  Pretty much the only noise was the rain on the roof, the wind in the trees and a crackle settling of logs on the fire.  I got a bit a damp lying on the grass to take this image.

You can find more images from around the world at Our World Tuesday.