The shadows upon the sand Never ending circles The rings of a sculptor Wonderful – not bland Sitting high in a tree A Golden Whistler sings For you and me WPC – Shadow
Black and White Sunday: Darkness and Light
Black and white images have always been part of my photographic life. When I was in my early teens my first cameras, (one was called a Snappy Camera) were always loaded with black and white film as we couldn’t afford to buy and process colour film. I wish I knew where those photos are now.
I sometimes switch my camera into monochrome when I find a subject that I feel would be great in black and white, especially photographing subjects from the past. Other times I take a colour photo and manipulate it, such as my silhouettes of birds in a previous blog.
I love the moon. It gives me a good feeling when it is full and bright.
I also love taking photos of flowers, their colour, their shape, their form but flowers can also look stunning in black and white.
The photo of the old letterbox is one of my favourites. I must admit that I manipulated the photograph to get the effect I wanted.
I am enjoying the photo challenges.
THE HOT SUMMERS DAYS are here and the lack of consistent rainfall has sapped my energy causing me to be indoors more often than out in the biting rays of the Sun.
However I did get out and about and went to the Bangalow Markets hoping for some photographic inspiration. There was a bit of action but on the whole my mojo wasn’t there.
The colours did grab my attention.
In some part of my besties garden, the flowers are always around. There is more rainfall and cooler weather there. I was taken by the red flower buds getting ready to burst forth.
Back in my garden the storms gave relief to the plants with a Murraya sending out its perfumed blossoms.
I love the Hibiscus schizopetalus. The flowers hang down from the long stems and dance in the breeze.
The small amounts of rain and a bit of hot weather has made a fungi or two pop out of the soil. This one was the biggest I have seen for a long while. I didn’t know what to use to show its size but a brick came in handy
It looked just as amazing from beneath as well.
It may be Summer but the Teak Tree has decided that it is time to lose its leaves making the garden have a temporary Autumn feel.
Summer time and the wasps are constructing their nests from chewed wood giving them a papery look, hence the name Paper Wasps. Unfortunately these are under the gutter at my besties and will have to go. When I had a bloke doing some building work at my place, he managed to disturb a nest and was stung on his ear and back. They chased him as he ran away from the nest. Paper Wasps in the bush are OK but around the house they have to move on.
Even though it is hot, early morning and late in the day, the butterflies are about. I think this is a Skipper whose wings have seen better days.
The Caper Whites are still around but no where near the numbers of late Spring.
Here is a large horse fly Triclista singularis’ These fly slowly with a loud buzzing and we gave them the nickname of B52s. When they do land and bite you really know it. This is the biggest fly around my place, around 25mm. It is rather pretty for a fly.
I noticed movement in the kitchen on a potted begonia I found a Praying Mantis. He hung around the kitchen for a few days before going outside. Fearsome looking but quite friendly.
The Yellow-faced Honeyeater looked pleased with itself as it puffed out its chest.
The constant calls of the Bar-shouldered Dove ring around the garden as they sit high among the trees.
They have a pink ring around their eyes which I hadn’t noticed before.
I love the feather patterns on the Little Wattlebird
There is a queue at the bird bath waiting for their turn.
A return visitor to the garden is a lovely little Forest Kingfisher. The orange spots stand out as does the wonderful white chest.
He was so obliging to turn around to show the striking blue feathers. When flying about the garden the flashes of blue catch the eye.
I hope the hot weather soon abates and February brings more things for me to share with you.
It was late in the afternoon when I heard a Kookaburra ruckus. The usual cackling but also the sound of a young Kookaburra trying to make the adult sounds. It became a raspy sound of a young bird making demands of its parents. Here is a short photo story of the Kookaburras at dinner time.
“Hey Mum, What’s Dad doing down there?”
Just then Dad flew up into the tree with a stick. No its not, it is a Stick Insect.
A bit of adjusting to make sure the Stick Insect didn’t fall again as it did once before.
“Here you go young one……catch”
“Thanks Dad. This looks like a good dinner.”
“I’m not sure if I should let go. What should I do?”
“OK. Here goes. Down the hatch!”
Dad basks in the glow of the afternoon sun, another lesson and dinner over for the evening.
PS I did feel sorry for the Stick Insect as there aren’t as many around as there were years ago. This series of photos were taken from my veranda. Do you see birds feeding around your place?
A few years ago I looked at some of my photos and thought they would be good as silhouettes. I remade some of the best ones that I thought would be good to frame and sell at hand-made markets or other markets that abound here on the north coast of NSW. I only managed to get a stall at a couple of markets, no where near as many as I would have liked to attend, over the past year or two.
There has been some good sales and some where not one photo sold. Perhaps this year I may get to more markets as a stallholder and see if anyone enjoys my photos.
I don’t just convert from colour to black and white, in some cases I have taken the photo in monochrome, I actually trace around the photo to get a bit of a better definition. This takes time and sometimes I think I have spent more time than necessary but I enjoy doing the work.
This first silhouette is the photo that I took that started the process. I came home late in the afternoon and as I drove down the driveway, I disturbed the White-faced Heron on the dam who flew onto a branch near the house. I was just getting excited in capturing birds with my new digital camera, this was an ideal opportunity. The original photo late in the afternoon was almost in black and white with the sky blue and the Heron without any detail, just a dark image. The bark of the Yellow Stringybark was a challenge!!!
I have always like to outline of birds against the sky. An Osprey wheeling above the water looking for a fish provided a nice silhouette.
The Cormorant sitting on a branch on the edge of the dam also looking for a fish or yabbie obliged by sitting still for quite some time.
The Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos with their almost slow-motion flying as they flew overhead to their roost for the night were a delight to watch and photograph. The wing tips were hard to get right.
The New Holland Honeyeater sitting atop of a Banksia isn’t really a silhouette but the conversion into black and white was so striking that I decided to leave it as a monochrome. I included this one in my silhouette series as it is a popular photo at the markets.
Some birds are so distinctive in their shape, they are just right for silhouettes. Even a brightly coloured Rainbow Bee Eater is recognisable in black and white.
As is a Spangled Drongo.
The Golden Whistler photo has taken me the most time to convert into a silhouette. I didn’t realise that when there are branches in the background that they are ever so slightly out of focus and need a lot of attention. I even left a small patch of the bright yellow colour on the neck as neither black or white to add a bit of definition of this wonderful small bird.
I have posted lots of brightly coloured birds on my blogs over the years. I hope you have enjoyed something different.
When was the last time you encounted an endangered bird in an art gallery or any live bird for that matter. A recent visit to the Queensland GOMA (Gallery of Modern Art) in the Cultural Precinct at Brisbane’s South Bank, we waited in line to go through the hanging lengths of steel making a curtain. Behind the steel curtain were coat hangers, finches and music playing.
From Here to Ear is a musical installation by French artist Céleste Boursier-Mougenot with live finches. There was a variety of finches, Zebra, black-throated and crimson finches and, the first time I have seen these finches, the endangered Gouldian Finch.
The finches flew about the room and settled on an array of coat hangers and harpsichord strings that tinkled combining the sounds of the finches and the music was activated like the finches own musical instrument.
It was certainly a treat to see the finches, to hear the music and be embraced in the art.
Sitting among the coat hangers.
The Zebra Finches were playing with a strand of grass plucked from the floor.
The most colourful Gouldian Finch.The Gouldian Finch a native of northern Australia used to be counted in the millions. Now there is around 2,500. See more about Gouldian Finches here
The finches didn’t sit still for very long so getting a good photo in the limited time we had inside the room was difficult.
If you get a chance, go to the GOMA as the art on display is incredible. Have a look at what’s on at the GOMA I am sure there would be something that would interest you.
The last photos of December 2016 are nearly all birds. The weather was still hot and the bird baths proved to be a winner with all the birds who are staying around here. The cool of the forest also helps. The birds come into the garden from the forest in the cool of the morning and in the cool of the evening.
Sometimes you just have to fully immerse to get the benefits of cool water. I think this was a female Scarlet Honeyeater diving in deep into the very popular hanging pot.
This bloke was thinking about the bird bath and whether it was worth going in.
The Brown Honeyeater contemplates his dive into the bird bath.
And in he goes. What a splash for a small bird.
Not to be outdone, the tiny Striated Thornbill took the plunge and created a big splash.
The group shot of the Striated Thornbills after their bath. One of my cutest photos ever don’t you think?
On a hot day everyone arrives to get a drink. It’s heads down, bums up for the Rainbow Lorikeets.
The Rainbow Lorikeets are a noisy lot, always having something to say, even if a mate lands on your branch.
The Grey-crowned Babbler seems to defy gravity as it hopped up the Tallowwood.
Once the Grey-crowned Babblers found a good spot to get a feed, the project started. There is always someone ready to give a hand.
They almost have a large piece of bark ripped from the tree.
Every morning I am woken to the beautiful song of a Rufous Whistler. As I walked around the garden watering those plants who were in need the most, the Whistler seemed to follow me.
I bought a Hydrangea last year and have kept it in a pot on the verandah. In December I was rewarded with a beautiful pink flower. You can just see the flower of a White Hydrangea which I bought this year with flowers already on the small bush.
That is the last of 2016. Now to start to sort the first photos of 2017. Happy New Year everyone.
December has been quite warm to hot and I wish it would rain. The birds are coming into the garden for the watering places I have set out for them. The garden is getting drier but most of the plants are hanging on.
The Red-necked Wallabies are hanging around the house. Some have taken to the cool under the house or in the shade offered by the house and sheds.This bloke just hopped into the garden and lay down for a rest.
The Pink Lilli Pilli had a fantastic flowering this year, and the insects and birds made the most of what was on offer. The bees were buzzing around and sampling the Lilli Pillis wares.
I never get tired of watching Blue-banded Bees scrunch into the Blue Ginger flowers so their blue bums are on show.
When the Crocus flower, the Stingless Native Bees come flying in the early morning when the flowers first open for the day. How much more pollen can a bee fit into its pollen sac?
First off, I must apologise for the poor photo of this Planthopper. It was in the kitchen late one night and I have never seen one at my place before. It wouldn’t sit still enough to get a good photo. The black with stunning orange spots and those eyes!!!!
On a hot day the Australian Painted Lady came onto the verandah. The colours are far more prominent than the other Australian Painted Lady butterflies I have found.
The hanging pot bird bath, the subject of so many bird photos, also hosts insects as well as birds looking for a drink.
Yes it is hot. The little White-throated Honeyeater does look he needs a drink doesn’t he?
“Well George, do you come here often?”
On a hot day, everyone has to share. The Scarlet Honeyeater and White-throated Honeyeater both enjoyed a drink.
The female Scarlet Honeyeater thought it was a good time for a bath. A quick dunk in and out.
Meanwhile at the other bird bath, the King Parrot enjoyed the bird bath to himself.
At my besties bird bath, the birds who arrive in the afternoon for a quick bath and drink are different to the ones at my place, although the Eastern Yellow Robins are at my place too.
A very fluffy Eastern Yellow Robin after a number of dives into the water.
A view from the back shows the yellow feathers aren’t just on the chest of the Eastern Yellow Robin.
The Eastern Whipbirds always look at their legs and feet when they get out of the water!!! Remember this blog
The Red-browed Finches come to the bird bath in a large flock. Some have better eyebrows than others lol
The Superb Fairy Wrens arrive at the same time as the Finches. They are such delightful birds.
The males are so different to the females. I like the Jenny’s eye make-up.
It’s the same with the Scarlet Honeyeaters. The females are so different.
I think this one may be a juvenile male just starting to get his scarlet colours.
Soon he will be as striking as this Scarlet Honeyeater male.
Meanwhile, from high atop the gum tree, a Peaceful Dove watched what was going on in and around the chook yard.
My poor Flame Tree gave it its best shot this year. The dry resulted in sparse flowers but the Little Friarbird still enjoyed what was on offer.
The Satin Flycatcher likes to visit as you saw in my last blog. Here is his lady who was peeping out from the bushes.
For the first time a gang of Grey-crowned Babblers came into the garden and had a quick snack in the fig tree. They are normally in the forest away from the house and in the semi-open country under the power lines. It was lovely to see them forage around the garden with their constant chatter..
The last full moon, my bestie and I were lucky to be home to see the Moon Flower bloom. In the afternoon she said that the bud looked like it was ready to open so late that night we went into the garden to see this amazing flower.
We used torch light to get the photos.
The Moon Flower is so alien looking when you look deep inside the bloom.
Thanks for stopping by and looking at what I have found this December. I love taking photos and sharing.
See you next year
Another hot day has made me think it will be better being inside rather than the baking sun out there. At the moment there is thunder rumbling about. But that happened last night and didn’t result in rain. I hope this lot will as it is dry as anything here.
This is the third year of lower than average rainfall. There has been enough to keep the water tanks topped up but the dams are either empty or very low. The main dam I use for watering the house gardens is about one third full so it is rationing the water to the plants in pots first and then the new plantings (planted in the hope of rain).
From there I feel like the bad parent and water the plants that look like they need water more and the others are left to fend for themselves. Most are OK and I have only lost one or two plants although they may surprise and send out shoots when the rains come.
I am always putting water into the bird baths which is appreciated by the birds who come to my garden for a drink. The hanging pot is usually a favourite for the small birds. Once when I was watering the plants, a White-throated Honeyeater sat in a branch near the hanging pot and almost seemed to say “How about you top up the hanging pot so we can get a drink.” After putting some water into the pot, about 4 or 5 of its mates went to the pot for a drink.
Sometimes a bigger bird will also like to have a drink like this Little Friarbird.
The hanging pot is the best place to get a drink. The female Scarlet Honeyeaters are regular visitors.
The male Scarlet Honeyeaters seem to get on when there’s a drink involved.
This young one waited until everyone else had gone before venturing in for a drink.
Another place to get a drink is an old wheelbarrow which collects water from the car port roof when it rains. Some of the birds love it as it is in shade in the afternoon. You may have seen previous photos of the Spangled Drongos and Friarbirds over there. This time the Lewins Honyeater and the White-throated Honeyeater had a bit of a squabble about who should drink and bathe in the wheelbarrow bird bath.
In early December the lovely Satin Flycatchers drop in for a few days.
The Square-tailed Kites are often harassed by the nearby nesting Friarbirds when they take off from their nest to go and get food for the young ones. I haven’t been able to see the young ones yet but both parents have been busting getting food and coming back to the nest. This Friarbird got very up close and personal.
But eventually the Kite wheeled around and headed off on its mission.
Soon it was circling around getting higher and higher showing its wonderful wing feathers.
Meanwhile, back at my besties bird bath the normally sleek looking Red-browed Finch was looking rather ruffled.
The sounds of Summer in Australia are the Cicadas. There are Cicada shells on most tree trunks or posts and like this one, under the leaf of a Frangipanni.
The Dragonflies are constantly zipping about the garden. This dragonfly seemed to really like the stick and sat there for quite a while.
Everyday there is the buzz of the Blue-banded Bees as the source out the meager flower offerings in the garden.
A new visitor to the garden at the end of November was the Common Albatross Butterfly. There was only 1 or 2, nowhere as many as the Caper Whites.
I have fallen in love with photographing the Caper White Butterflies as they feed on the Pentas. Knowing they will soon be gone, I have been getting some nice photographs while I can.
In this close-up, you can almost see the scales on the wings.
I saw a Painted lady on the road as I walked down the drive to the house and suddenly she flew up and disappeared. It took a while to find where she had taken refuge in the rough bark of the Red Ironbark.
Even butterflies have to do it. These little Lineblue Butterflies even flew about the garden locked together.
Perhaps because it has been so dry, the Agapanthus bloomed so well this year. Spots of blues and whites are dotting the garden.
The Frangipannis are just starting to bloom so this year I am going to take notice of the colours I have planted in the garden.
The shed down the back has these frosted glass casement window I bought when I first moved onto the bush block. They were used in the first shed/house I built and now are in another shed that is underway. As I walked about the garden, it seemed as though someone was watching me. I saw this “face” in the window.
Remember the last blog. I said I was going to try and get a photo of the verandah skinks face. Well he sat long enough in the morning sunshine for me to get a photo. Always try to deliver lol.
A bit has been happening in November. First of all my new domain has been registered and I am now a .blog and just a bushboy writing from bushboy.blog
A new sign for the property so any of my Airbnb guests can find me a bit easier. Thank you to my bestie, not only a fabulous artist but a great signwriter as well. Over the next few weeks the old orange “post” will have a bit of a make over as well.
Some of the photos are repeats of subjects that have been in and around my place for the past few months. There is always room for a butterfly or two, a dragonfly and some birds who have been showing off this month. So off we go – have you got your cuppa and are ready to see what I have found in November….
The Square-tailed Kites are still on the nest and I am anxious to see some small heads appear above the nest. Maybe the next blog will have some little Kites for you.
It was a warm day so she was sitting on the edge of the nest with her wings out to help cool her down.
And then see spotted me.
The Caper White Butterflies have started to lessen in numbers but there was a flurry of butterflies earlier in the month.
This is my favourite Caper White Butterfly photo
I am fascinated that some butterflies like sitting on the ground. Australian Painted Ladies seem to enjoy life at ground level even if the ground is bone dry.
I was waiting for ages to get a photo of an Australian Painted Lady with its wings open as I saw the flash of green as it was flying about. An amazing green colour isn’t it?
I always have the little Lineblues flitting around the garden. I noticed that this one seemed different to the others. When I looked in my butterfly book, I found it was still a Lineblue but couldn’t really discover which one it is. Funnily, when I put Lineblue into a search engine for images, there were some of my own photos which didn’t help much at all.
The Orange Grass Dart almost matched the colours of the Dietis Bicolor.
The doors are closed but the Robber Fly seemed determined to get inside out of the heat. It was sitting on the door jamb waiting for me to go inside.
Of course there are dragonflies about the garden especially after I have watered the plants. Their wings are wonderful to look at and the more you look, the more you see the lines and shapes.
With this Dietis iridioides, the little Native Stingless Bees have to venture down inside the flower to fill up their pollen sacks.
As I sit at my desk this Copper-headed Skink is always busy doing his Skink business around the verandah. He moves so fast when he wants that it is so hard to get a photo. One day I’ll be able to show you his face….one day.
I put the bird bath in the old dead tea tree a while ago but it’s not much of a favourite as the terracotta one. One day the King Parrots came in for a drink. Drinking at the terracotta bird bath rises the ire of the Friarbirds who have claimed the garden as their own. Their battles in the garden with the Blue-faced Honeyeaters have been epic. Have a look at this video from my You Tube Channel
All the birds sit on the edge of the bird bath but the White-throated Treecreeper has its own unique way.
Bird number 92 in my list of birds who I have identified (with help of others when I cannot find them) was the Brown Pigeon. Not the Brown Pigeons best side but these colours and markings that you don’t always see.
I was wondering why the leaves and flowers of this plant were on the verandah and the plant looked a bit scrappy. One morning while I was at my desk, along came a Friarbird who started plucking leaves and flowers. The Satin Bowerbirds were also having a go a while ago too.
The Yellow-faced Honeyeater was enjoying the morning sun. Another photo from my desk.
This year has been dry but the conditions have suited the Crinums. They have had 2 or 3 flower spikes so far this Spring. Such an amazing flower.
The Lilli Pilli has also had a good flowering. The small tree was just bursting with red flowers which the Native Stingless Bees have been enjoying too. Check out the pollen sack on this bloke and wonder how it can still fly let alone gather more.
Of course, the flowering of the Lilli Pilli has made the tiny Scarlet Honeyeaters sing. Listen to the song in this video. My apologise for some bad camera work but I had to get the song
The Scarlet Honeyeaters also look good from the back don’t you think?
They are lucky to be able to have almost exclusive rights to the Lilli Pilli flowers as the other honeyeaters are too big to land and eat. It certainly takes a bit of acrobatics to utilise the flowers nectar.
It’s almost time to turn on the lights, think about dinner and wash up my cup. Have you finished you cuppa too?
November had the Super Moon. Well it wasn’t very super at my place but still is a lovely sight in our night sky.
Good night…..see you next time.
I love it when I have a mixed lot of photos I have taken. This blog does contain a lot of birds and things that have been previously in past blogs but they keep doing things that are different or I just like the photo and hope you do too. There is one photo that has something different from the usual photos, can you spot it?
The weather over winter and early spring has been dry with some hot days and some windy days. Since 1 August to end of October there only a couple of days where there was good rainfall, but only 14 days of rain over 3 months. Some of the flowering plants have enjoyed the dry. This year the bottlebrushes and paperbarks have had the best flowering ever.
One of the things I like to photograph is when I can see faces in things. These are a couple I have seen lately. Can you see the faces too? The first on was taken at the beach during a walk after a North Coast Landcare get together.
Can you see a dog?
Sometimes the faces can seem rather scary. I had a feeling that someone was watching me.
The Red-necked Wallabies have had a bumper Joey season this year, so it may indicate that the grass in the paddocks will soon turn green and there will be a good summer. These two were eating beside the veranda where there are patches of feed. The Joey may be too big for the pouch but still likes to get a drink from Mum.
One plant that has had a fabulous flowering this year has been the Native Frangipanni. The birds and insects are always around the tree in the early morning and late evening.
My besties garden always has flowers as the rainfall there is much better than at my place. I love the way that this flower seems to explode towards you.
The colours of this small flower are stunning adding a splash of colour throughout the garden.
My hanging pot of bromeliads have never had so many of these striking red flowers. I counted six flowers around the hanging pot. Yes that is a bird’s nest I found on the ground and was placed in the pot.
I wanted a few flowers around and planted some Alyssum seeds and they all came up giving cascades of white flowers from the many pots they were planted in. There were bees and this Hover Fly (I think) buzzing around. What a golden coloured fly!!!
Other visitors to the Alyssum flowers were small butterflies. I managed to get a photo of the Ochre Butterfly before is zoomed off to another flower in the garden.
You can see how dry the ground was when I took a photo of a Meadow Argus. They prefer to land on the ground. The underside of their wings seem fluffy and dull…..
….but the inside wings are very colourful.
In late October the Caper White Butterflies started to fly through my place on their migration to SE Queensland. They have been constantly been in the garden since then. The Pentas is a great butterfly attracting bush.
While walking around Grafton we spied some bee activity around a large Camphor Laurel. I am glad they were too busy to notice me trying to get some photos. When we went back a couple of weeks later there weren’t many bees around at all. Sadly I suspect the Council may have sprayed the nest.
The coming of warm days brings out the insects. There are a good number of varieties of flys at the moment. This brown fly spent some time walking around the rim of the jug on the window sill.
While this insect preferred the window to walk about.
The garden also has its share of insects and bugs. I love the colours on this beetle, don’t you?.
The Dragonflies are swooping around the garden and the dams. This is the blue variety. I think will do a blog just on Dragonflies as I have some other varieties.
I just had to include another White-throated Honeyeater and the hanging watering come small bird birdbath pot. He looks to be saying “Ok mate, where’s my water!!!”
On the walk along the beach I spotted some birds sitting on some rock off the shore. The Pied Cormorants were doing their washing.
Here is bird number 91 I have identified on my place. (I say “I” but has been a team effort from lots of people in my network.) The Common Bronzewing was just strolling along but I managed to get a not very good photo.
Back at the beach walk, on the way down to the beach through the dune I saw a New Holland Honeyeater gathering material for the nest.I’m sure the spider didn’t mind a bit of web taken.
Isn’t it funny how birds can have their heads looking back. The Brown Pigeon was certainly keeping an eye on me.
Amongst the vegetation, chit chatting away the Eastern Whipbird foraged for insects. Their distinctive whip crack call (from You Tube by Linda Hansbauer) many people know but when they are on the ground bustling about the have an insane cackle going on.
The most elusive bird at my besties is the Green Catbird and I am always excited when I find a Catbird amongst the foliage.
In Spring, the Figbirds arrive at my place. Late one afternoon I found this pair cosying up for the night among the branches of the fig tree.
Of course you have seen lots of Blue-faced Honeyeaters on the Honey Gem Grevillea in my previous blogs but the way they can have a snack upside down always fascinates me.
The Yellow-faced Honeyeater is contemplating the first flower on a Grevillea I planted a few years ago. I will have to try to find out the name of this Grevillea.
The Tawny Frogmouth (or it may be a Marbled Frogmouth) has the most basic of nests. Just a few twigs thrown onto a flattish spot in a tree. This bird hatched two babies.
Late in the evening, a walk along the shore at Ballina saw many pelicans coming in to roost. First stopping on the light post to make sure the fishermen weren’t cleaning their catch. It’s almost time to go….
…..the moon is up casting a glow so I must be off. See you next time.