Black & White Sunday – Maternal

The Fig Bird tending her nest among the Jacaranda blossoms

Checking on the nest before she settles down

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Keeping an eye on me

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Time to sit

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This is the colour version with the male Fig Bird on the nest

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See more great photos on Lost in Translations Black & White Sunday

Birds. Bugs, Flowers and Things

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?

dog-rock_named_coffs-harbour_oct-2016

Sometimes the faces can seem rather scary. I had a feeling that someone was watching me.

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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.

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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.

native-frangapanni_named_home_oct-2016

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.

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The colours of this small flower are stunning adding a splash of colour throughout the garden.

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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.

bromiliad-red-flowers_named_home_oct-2016

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!!!

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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.

ochre_named_home_oct-2016

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…..

meadow-argus02_named_home_oct-2016

….but the inside wings are very colourful.

meadow-argus03_named_home_oct-2016

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.

caper-white-butterfly05_named_home_oct-2016

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.

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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.

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While this insect preferred the window to walk about.

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The garden also has its share of insects and bugs. I love the colours on this beetle, don’t you?.

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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.

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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!!!”

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On the walk along the beach I spotted some birds sitting on some rock off the shore. The Pied Cormorants were doing their washing.

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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.

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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.

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Isn’t it funny how birds can have their heads looking back. The Brown Pigeon was certainly keeping an eye on me.

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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.

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The most elusive bird at my besties is the Green Catbird and I am always excited when I find a Catbird amongst the foliage.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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….

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…..the moon is up casting a glow so I must be off. See you next time.

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Novembers discoveries

I love this time of year. The warmth starts everything growing, flowers bloom in the garden, many birds arrive to spend the end of the year and life just abounds. It also gives me a chance to find things at my place, at my besties, in town and everywhere I am wandering.

This year, the Hippeastrums were spectacular. The red ones were full of life and colour. Remember the native bees? The other colours bloomed after the reds and I found this little grasshopper while I was admiring the flowers. The grasshopper was inside the flowers trumpet but tended to be camera shy and started to get away from the lens.

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I have no idea what this bug is! Maybe a grasshopper?  I was standing in the garden when it decided to walk onto my foot. This bloke wasn’t camera shy at all and kept walking towards me. Just after I took this photo, he jumped onto the camera.

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On my besties place, a farm for more than one hundred years, I came across this concrete pier from a building long since gone. This is the only pier I have found, covered in moss, laying in what is now a young rainforest.

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Also down among the leaf litter are the fungi. This one looks like it has been tied up by the grass.

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There is lots of this type of fungi. It seems to grow on rotting wood especially bits of the fig trees which have tumbled from the big old trees, the remnants of the original Big Scrub rainforest.

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Now back to my place. I have found a couple of this grass species throughout the bush. The stem has a lot of purple fruit which really catch the eye when walking in the bush. This plant is growing beside the track to the house.

purple fruit_home_named_nov 2015

I love Gerberas, don’t you? They come in so many colours adding a splash of colour to the garden.

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Enough of bugs and plants. The Bar-shouldered Doves have taken to walking around the garden in the mornings, examining the bits of bark and grass to find their breakfast.

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We went to Ballina and came across these fluffy plover chicks who were in constant movement as the walked across the field, closely followed by the parents. Yes I was a chicken and stayed on the other side of the road as the parents didn’t like me getting too close.

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My besties birdbath is a constant source of photo opportunities. The Little Wattlebirds have become a fixture in the garden over the past 3 years. This one looks like it saw me hiding on the verandah.

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This year the Jacarandas in Grafton were amazing. The large tree near the building where I work had an extra surprise this year. A Figbird pair decided to make their nest close to the building. Here is mum coming back to the nest to feed the young one. I think she saw me at the window don’t you?

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But she soon settled down the sit on the nest among the Jacaranda blooms.

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A few days later, the wind was blowing when dad turned up to give the little feller a snack, blowing the blossoms away allowing a sneak peak at the young one.

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Then he took over the nest sitting duties.

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Late in the evening at my besties, the Green Catbirds start making their strange calls from high among the trees.

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Yes it is getting dark. The flowers in the garden still shine in the encroaching darkness.

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Well the sun is setting, so I must say goodnight and a goodnight from the Kookaburra too.

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See you next time. What did you enjoy the most, the bugs, the fungi, the flowers or the birds?

An assortment of things I found around here

This is a quick look at some things I have discovered in January. I have a lot of photos from last weekend but I haven’t had time to sort through them yet, so the final “Things of January” will have to wait for a while. It is amazing what you can find when you stop on the way home, mainly to check out the clouds and mist that was hovering over the Ranges after the storms. I have seen these flowers growing on the side of the road and in the bush around home but have never looked at them closely as they were just purple flowers on a long stalk that seemed to grow everywhere.
February 2017 – New information came in that the flower is a Veined Verbena from South America. Someone doing a search found my blog and the purple flower and let me know what it is, thanks Chris.

This is what the flower, Veined Verbena, by the side of the road looks like close up.

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At the back door an industrious wasp set about building a mud tube. I waited for a couple of hours but it never came back to finish the construction.

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I am always looking for interesting shapes and patterns in nature. This moth is rather incredible even though it is a bit damaged.

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On a drive down to the Clarence River, I came across this Bearded Dragon hanging onto the fence post. I am sure it wanted to run off but sat very still while I took some photos. The left hand side back leg was just hanging free. When I got back into the car, I looked around and he was gone lol.

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The Fig Birds have been hanging around for longer than they have in past years. The fig tree in the garden had lots of figs this year but they had already gone when I took this photo. The Euodia hadn’t flowered yet let alone have berries.

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This year the Little Friarbirds have been around when the bigger Friarbirds have not been in the garden as often.

little friarbird_named_home_jan 2015

While doing a bit of bush regeneration at my besties place we came upon a bush under a large pine tree after we cleared away an abundance of Lantana. Thanks to Dr Dave Watson (@DOCTOR_Dave) who let me know it is a Caper Berry flower. The seed was probably dropped by a bird as there aren’t any other large or flowering bushes nearby. There are some surrounding properties that have planted rainforest plants as well as the thousands planted on my besties property.  Beautiful flower isn’t it?

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When I went down to feed the chooks, I came across this Cicada emerging from its shell. They are rather prehistoric looking aren’t they?

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That’s all for this blog of January’s “item of interest”. Stand by or actually have a seat until the next blog of January’s photos and stuff.

December discoveries

It’s been a while since I have shared some of my discoveries. The last was in Spring so here are the December discoveries. There has been an abundance of flowers since the rain started. Only a few mls here and there with one big storm that put water into the dam. Actually at the moment the sky has darkened and thunder is rumbling so maybe some rain for a Christmas present. Wouldn’t that be nice? Decembers discoveries are a mixed bag of flowers, birds and all sorts of things that have caught my eye. I hope you enjoy this bit of my December.

Lets start with some flowers. I love it when the garden just bursts into bloom after the first summer rain. The Agapanthus look a treat scattered throughout the garden. I have white ones

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and blue Agapanthus.

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The Bauhinia is a bit rambling but when the flowers are out it provides a splash of colour.

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The Dietes border some gardens and are in clumps here and there. Only downside is the are taking over almost weed like.

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The yellow Dietes is a favourite of the Satin Bowerbirds. They harvest the flowers as quick as they appear. This one has a bonus small grasshopper!

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Native flowers are always around. This little yellow flower is about 5mms across.

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The Black Bean flowers come in a range of yellows and oranges and reds.

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The Grevillea flowers are yet to come back. The dry weather certainly decreased the flowers so the Friar birds make do with the Hibiscus flowers, even if you have to be upside-down to get a snack.

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The fig tree had an abundance of fruit this year and the Fig Birds have been hanging around the garden since the start of winter. I love their calls which ring out around my place early in the morning and late in the afternoon.

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The Kookaburra was hiding in the garden waiting for an unsuspecting insect or lizard.

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This year, the Spangled Drongo stayed a bit longer than usual and I found their nest. It is well tied on to the branch.

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One hot day, 40 degrees plus, many of the birds were quite thirsty and hot. I have a number of water points around the garden for the birds. You have seen the new bird bath but this is an old wheelbarrow that get drips off the roof where some birds like to drop in for a bit of a splash and drink. This poor Drongo was very hot.

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He was joined by a Friarbird and they had a bit of a discussion who was allowed to drink here.

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Once the rain started, all around fungi seemed to sprout up anywhere. This little puff-ball was in the middle of a small grassed area.

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Whereas this fungi grew out from the exposed root of a tree.

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I love dragonflies. They are always zooming around the garden, either here or at my besties. This one was high in a tree watching us remove some weeds in the paddock. Their wings are amazing don’t you think?

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This small dragonfly was almost invisible on the ground.

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On a hot day a Green Tree Snake went for a dip in the pool, which is a frog pond now. It had a hard time trying to get out and did panic a bit when we came outside. It found a place to hide in the skimmer box. I put some palm branches around it so the poor little bloke could get out easily.

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On a walk to Killen Falls we came across the Sandpaper figs fruiting. They are rather fuzzy.

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This one comes with a bonus grasshopper too.

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The sunsets have been amazing. Here is a selection of just one sunset.

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This one has a bit of blue as the sun set.

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I love the sunset when it looks like the sky is on fire.

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Well, it’s almost Christmas. I found this nativity scene in a market. It’s made of wood and is from Thailand. I am not particularly religious but I love things that are well made and interesting. The elephant is missing as he is under the Christmas tree.

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My Christmas tree. This years theme is elephants. As you may have guessed, I collect elephants.

christmas tree_dec 2014

Unless I get inspired to write before the end of the year, have a great 2015 and I’ll “see” you next year.

Spring – more wonders discovered

Oh yeah, it is Spring. So much is happening, the weather is great for wandering around the north coast and there are so many things to see and do. One drive about took us to Clarrie Hall Dam at the Crams Farm end of the storage. Tweed Council have done a great job making it a great place to visit. Just the view as you drive in is spectacular.

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The water is covered in water lilies and water birds are everywhere. The Cape Waterlilies make a stunning sight as they stand tall.

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The Yellow Waterlilies are dotted here and there around the dam.

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It is so crowded that the leaves curl making it hard for the lilies to push their way skyward.

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Unfortunately, under the water’s surface is a good amount of Cabomba, an introduced plant from America, usually a fish tank escapee. At the moment it is flowering which makes a good resting spot for dragonflies.

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This flower was partly submerged and made great patterns on the water.

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In the trees, as well on the water, were many birds enjoying the late afternoon spring weather. The Brown pigeons were always wary of the bloke with the camera.

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The Darters took off when someone ventured into the water

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While the Eurasian Coots just paddled around looking for something to eat before it was dark.

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The Purple Swamp Hens were always walking about, flicking their tails and squarking in general.

purple swamphen_clarrie hall dam_named_oct 2014

High in one tree the young Willie Wagtails were practising being big birds, flapping wings and generally making a racket.

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The adults were telling them to be quiet, I think.

willie wagtail01_calling_clarrie hall dam_named_oct 2014

Just sitting and looking at the water was very relaxing but it was time to head home.

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When we got home, there was Badger, who had found a shady spot to lay down on the warm spring day.

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Going down to the creek there were birds staying cool among the trees and shrubs. The Emerald Dove kept moving around the tree, all the while watching where I was going.

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The Cunjivoi is flourishing.

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Scattered through the bush are little native gardenia plants with their amazing looking flowers.

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I just had to see what was inside the purple flower growing on the fence around the house.

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It wouldn’t be Spring if there weren’t birds nesting. The Fantails nest is held together with spider web.

fantail nest_binna burra_named_oct 2014

She sat there watching me as I watched her.

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I was waiting for the change over of the egg sitters so I could see how many eggs were in the nest. Two small lovely eggs.

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Looking up, the splashes of green and orange of the Silky Oak made wonderful abstract patterns.

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The warmer weather also had a few blow flies whizzing about. This one seemed to like the pelargonium leaves more than me.

fly_binna burra_crop_named_oct 2014

Late in the afternoon, near dark, the Figbirds were singing their wonderful song.

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In the front yard, the wallaby wondered if the joey was at home.

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And there he was.

red necked wallaby01_joey_home_named_oct 2014

A bit of a long one but thanks for getting to the end. I have so much more, so I better get started on the next installment of my Spring.

What happens on a weekend

Some weekends turn up the most amazing things. I like to wander about, discovering…finding that special thing that almost asks for my attention. Well, not all like the limelight….you know – their 15 minutes – in some cases thats probably a life span – so they make things difficult. While others are quite content to show their best sides….or some just pop up at the right moment.

So off we go….as usual if any one know the name for anything in any photo, please let me know.

First, I found this bug who was hard to convince that it was a star. The bug, I call a shield bug, who said “no way I am in too much of a hurry…

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The bug even thought that getting up somewhere high would be a good deterrent from all the attention….

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Did you notice the little photo bomber….that miniscule beetle had three yellow spots on the head area.

The the shield bug decided that if it sat on the lens, it wouldn’t get its photo taken….

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Thought, probably, that a bit of colour to splash around would just be the way to be seen….

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A final close up and it was off to see what was else where around the place….didn’t see it again all day.

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While we are looking at bugs, it is amazing what could be in a flower….a flower as weird-looking as a ginger plant harbours many an insect….remember that little spider in the ginger flower? I couldn’t find anyone in the flower but there has been a very small spider living in here who more than likely has been snatched by a wasp and taken off for “an adventure with the family”….

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There are plenty of insects about at the moment…..so there are quite a number of birds enjoying a morsel or two.

Some of the birds are quite obvious with a sweet melody like the Fig Bird…..

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Other remain in the background

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Others, like the Wonga Pigeon just strut about on their daily ritual

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A bug must have been struggling in the long grass and a Lewins Honeyeater came along, offering the bug a lift…..off he flew…helping the bug. The bug had a great view from the birds beak….the bird is just ready to pick the bug up…

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Amongst the grasses were some quaint little fungi….this mushroom is about the size of a 20c piece….

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I love how birds fluff themselves up…..thats all….

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One of the best things about this time of year, flowers are appearing for summer. You saw the shield bug on the frangipani earlier but I love this hibiscus…the colours and blend of shapes…the colours….

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Hope you enjoyed some of the things I see when I am out and about….

Wandering on the Weekend

Most weekends I can be found roaming around with my camera whether around my property or somewhere on the north coast of New South Wales. There is nearly always something that I see that needs to be photographed as I wander around the bush or in my besties garden. Her garden has so many interesting things happening. The huge variety of birds and insects plus the flowers has me out there whenever I get the chance. There is sometimes a chance to happen upon a bit of sex as well…..

On the way, I cross a causeway which on the occasion has a bird or something that makes me stop and, hopefully, I am able to get a photo. Last time there was a Long Necked Tortoise on a rock that is known locally as Turtle Rock. You will see why…

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The hipeastrums are in flower at the moment, the orange ones are quite lovely

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The variety of flowers and colours are fantastic…some are in the garden…

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Some are in pots…..

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But the colours sometimes just burst out…

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While we were sitting outside, doing a bit of chook watching, two of her chooks disappeared recently – I suspect an eagle as the Wedgetailed Eagles often ride the currents in the valley, I spied so many things around the yard. Anyway everyone should do a bit of chook watching in their life as chooks are quite comical as the go about their busy lives with their fluffy pants…

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She spotted Mr Tawny Frogmouth keeping a close eye on us from a shrub close to where we were sitting

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Looking around, I found Mrs Tawny Frogmouth sitting on the nest. Nest is an exaggeration of the word as it is just a pile of twigs stacked in its precarious location

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And as for the Magpies nest….a rather ramshackle affair. Notice the embarrassed lift off…didn’t want her face on the internet…

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Something was fluttering about us so I decided to see what it was. Of course as soon as I got close off it went again so I had to make do with the Lacewing hidden among the greenery of the garden

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The ant was doing everything it could to not get photographed but walking into the wall soon stopped him

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Luckily the butterfly, a Common Ringlet, was quite content to sit around

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Did I say there was a possibility of a bit of outdoor sex…..

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Some weird bug was walking around flicking its orange antenna

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Inside of a pretty yellow flower, I found someone looking back at me

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The bird bath has its usual Scrub Wren splashing about or just sitting to cool down its little butt

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I heard a knocking in the trees above. Looking up I saw a Fig Bird

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But he wasn’t doing the knocking….it was his mate with something in her beak

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We wondered what she had. A bit of a walk over the other side of the hill the answer was quite obvious why the Fig Birds were hanging around

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The best way to finish of a great day of discovery

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I hope everyone’s weekends are as fabulous as mine….wandering about making great discoveries with my  bestie

A Birds Eye View

I have always believed the eyes are the windows to the soul. But with birds and animals it appears to be different, sometimes I wonder if anyone is in there and at other times I can see the intent or what I perceive to be intent. What do you feel when looking into the eyes of a bird?

Some of these photos are small but the difference in the eye and the eye ring is quite distinctive.

I guess I’ll start with a Silver Eye –  a bird whose name is its feature.

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Galahs seem to have old eyes

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There are some birds who have a mask like appearance like this finch

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and this duck

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the Fig Bird’s red mask really stands out

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The Noisy Miner only has a small bit of eye decoration

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whereas the Blue Faced Honeyeater’s covers a lot of their head

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A Kookaburras eye is just among its feathers

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A King Parrots eye with a yellow ring stands out in its bright red head

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which is much the same for a Rainbow Lorikeet with a red circle in a sea of blue

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The Black Necked Stork is a spot of yellow in black

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The osprey has an alertness about it

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Many birds eyes have different colours like the Koel

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and White Headed Pigeon

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and Satin Bower Bird

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The Peaceful Dove has blue as well but it’s around the eye

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but sometimes they can look a bit sceptical

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Tawny Frogmouths eyes aren’t open much during the day and are quite squinty

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But the bird with a huge eye is the Pelican….a bit vacant but rather big nevertheless!!

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Thats the journey through the eyes of birds

Sunday I saw stuff

I really enjoy walking around my besties garden or just sitting on the verandah with a cuppa watching birds just popping in…..sometimes to take a bath…..see some of the older posts to see what I mean…..maybe a bird bath selection will be next!!!!

The morning sun on the garden is quite spectacular at times….enhancing the colours of flowers, leaves, bark and berries.

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The flowers looked so different to when I have photographed them before….this is a small flower and of course being on a longish stalk….any breeeze…

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Near the chook yard…on a tree…..its a moth….very art deco my bestie reckons…..I love the texture on the bark….

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The trees are filled with birdsong all day……the fig birds are the latest arrivals……they are getting the fruit from the tobacco bush….this one was high in the trees….

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This while the wattle bird watched from a nearby tree…..

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In the afternoon…..while having a cuppa on the verandah….mr and mrs golden whistler popped in for a quick tub….

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He stayed in the shrub nearby to make sure it was safe while she had her bath…..

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A quick shake and she whooshed up into the bottlebrush to dry off and to keep an eye out so mr could take a dip….

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He was so quick in and out……..when he had his shake at the edge of the bird bath he did become rather befuzzled from his normal neat and tidy self……I love the water drops on his head….

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It’s so lovely to be able to sit and watch the world go about its business isn’t it?