Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Backyard Views

Last post I said that the big storm that passed through here had only blown down an old bird's nest. However, a few days later while sitting in my favorite chair and looking towards the back I saw a pretty orange color on some leaves. That wasn't supposed to be there! When I wet down and investigated I found that the storm had blown out one of the trees and the leaves were gradually changing color as the tree died. I planted this tree years ago. It was well over 20 feet tall and had been blown over.
Summer time where I live means that it is now getting light just after 4am. It is very pleasant to lie in bed and listen to the bird song. One of the first birds to start calling is the little Willie Wagtail. This bird has two distinct calls.- There is a quite pleasant song and also a very scratchy sound. At this time of year when the birds are nesting the more common sound is the scratchy one and it is used to frighten away anything the Willie doesn't like. They are quite fearless. Over the last few weeks I have seen these quite small birds chasing off even Magpies. . Like lots of small birds they rarely seem to sit still and I have trouble getting good photos.  Too often they perch high in the trees or even up on the electricity wires.
When they do come down within reach it is often a rear view.
  The exception was this one up on the house roof when the birds was more interested in my cat standing beside me.
Finally I gave up and went down the back to where a White Cockie was perched far up on one of those tall bamboo shoots. I had the Cockie in focus and ignored the Willie which had now come down here. I kept my finger on the auto button - and sometimes you just get lucky! First the Willie did a dive bombing swoop and then the Cockie nearly lost balance moving to avoid the Willie.

For more scenery from around the world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Backyard Blows

When the temperature goes up to 100 degrees F - and stays there -  I find it a bit hard to take. I don't enjoy living in air conditioning all the time! Eventually the weather breaks - and often it is spectacular.  Clouds like these make great photos - but look out!
This is what hit this area on Sunday.
I had gone down to the grocery store - and didn't time it too well. By the time I got to my drive the rain had started. I got out and opened my gate and then drove to the side of the house and made a run for the back door. By the time I got inside I was soaked to the skin.  The wind was unbelievable! It picked up the rain drops, turned them into a misty cloud and then blew it all circular. I have often seen rain blown perpendicular but never until now blown in a circular cloud.  All the time there was a most spectacular lightning show. I was very lucky because the only hail I saw was very small and not too much of it.   When It all finished I went out to check what was blown over in the yard but again I was lucky. All I found was this old bird's nest.
A little further south on the coast was not so lucky. I saw pictures on the news media of shipping containers blown over and around like a pile of children's blocks; caravans in a tourist park were blown over and tossed around, and small planes at one of the airports were tossed over.
The internet went down for nearly a full day.
After all that I did not expect to see more butterflies  but they are still around and still in large numbers. I couldn't resist trying for more photos - who knows how long it will be before we have another migration event like this year.

For more scenery from around the world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Backyard Flutters

Summer has arrived with a vengeance! The temperatures all this week are predicted to be above  30degrees and the hottest day is predicted to be 38 degrees (100 F). Now I know that plenty of places don't really think it is hot below 100F but remember that this place is right on the coast so the high temperatures are also linked to high humidity. Sun rise is just before 5am and birds are busy at that hour but as soon as the sun gets higher they disappear.
While sitting at my back window in the very early morning I realized that there were lots of wings flying passed. They appeared as spots of light when they caught a ray of sunlight. Not birds!  Too small! Then I looked out the window at the other end of the kitchen. That window looks out on to some Banksia roses which I planted to give some shade over the window. There were several dozen white butterflies fluttering around the plant. Some were settling for a few minutes on leaves. I grabbed my camera and went and propped myself against the wall so I could keep the camera still. These were Caperwhite Butterflies. They breed up in the west and then come east looking for food sources and when they don't find enough they set off to sea. A friend had told me about them and there had also been an article on a news site on-line. This doesn't always happen in the numbers that have appeared this year. Fortunately they were settling on the leaves long enough for me to get some photos. As the day got hotter they disappeared again.

I needed some birds for this post but the interesting ones and the pretty ones just haven't been around. The big tall shoots out the back still have occasional birds perching on them although the white cockies have torn the tops to pieces. The other morning there was a crow perching up there. The sky was foggy and grey from a bush fire the previous day.

For more scenery from around the world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Sunshine Coast

Have you noticed that there is nothing quite perfect - and on the other side nothing absolutely unbearable? A while ago on this blog I wrote that I have been diagnosed with Macular Degeneration. I have a very good specialist and with treatment he has halted the progression and I have not lost any sight - BUT - the treatment is injections right into both eyes every eight weeks. Familiarity has not made this any easier. I am lucky to have a friend drive me to the specialist who is down on the Sunshine Coast - that is a couple of hours south of here. We go down on the freeway and then go right out to the coast. The first place we see the sea is at Mooloolabah. This is guaranteed to lift my spirits every time I see it. It is beautiful although not easy to get a glimpse because of retaining walls and coastal plantings. This time we found a parking space and stopped long enough for a few photos.This is the view looking north along the beach. The sea was very flat this morning.

At this spot the sand stops and the land rises quite abruptly to Alexandra Headland.
There are apartment blocks opposite the beach and as they climb up the headland they get taller and must have wondefull views over the ocean. (I can imagine the costs also going upwards!)
On the south side of the headland there is another beach and beautiful stretch of sand - I think this might be Maroochydore. (Taken through the car window - hence the extra streaks of light.) A good friend has just let me know that I've got the names of these different beach suburbs all wrong! I was afraid of that! I have muddled up Mooloolabah and Maroochydore and where they start and end. If you know this area well then just feel superior to me and pity my lack of knowledge! This was the first place my parents brought us for a beach holiday when we returned to Australia in the early '60's. It made a huge impression on me - great expanses of beach and sandhills behind! I still try to fit this modern Sunshine   Coast landscape into those early memories. As you can tell the result is a "hodgepodge"of names!
My specialist has rooms in a block with a number of other medical specialists. This land was originally very flat and rather swampy and all the waterways were enhanced and canals put through. It makes the area very attractive to have boats moored all along the canals. Don;t think to try swimming though - Bull Sharks think these canals are made especially for them!
 I didn't have the time or the patience to go looking for birds that morning so I have dug into my archives and found photos I took several years ago at Point Cartwright . There are shorebirds on the rocky headlands which we don't see around the Bay. Wandering Tattlers look quite similar to Grey-tailed Tattlers but only roost on rocky headlands. This area of the Sunshine Coast is known to have several pairs that return every season.

This is a Sooty Oystercatcher. I have occasionally seen them out at Inskip Point but they are not common out there - This is another shorebird which prefers rocky headlands.

For more scenery from around the world visit Our World Tuesdayhttp://ourworldtuesdaymeme.blogspot.com.au/

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday http://paying-ready-attention-gallery.blogspot.com.au/


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Birds on the Roadside

It's been a while since I posted anything on this blog and even longer since I posted regularly. I am still here and still OK apart from a body that no longer always does what I want it to do! It is astonishing to me that all those breaks, and tears and sprains from a life-time ago have come back to haunt me! I am very grateful for all the birds I can see and hear out side my windows and especially grateful for all the folks that continue to post about interesting and beautiful birds in their own areas.
I am going to try to photograph some of the birds I see and hear close around - even if they are not always in picture-perfect poses.
We are well into summer now. Along with considerably warmer weather all the usual bugs and 'bities' have come out in their millions! My house is fully screened with very fine wire in the screens but things still manage to come in. A lot doesn't get in and numbers kill themselves against the lighted windows. The other morning I looked out to discover a very cheeky Pee-Wee sauntering down the back patio  and picking at the bugs that were littering the patio.
A couple of weeks ago there were Australian Wood Ducks right outside my front fence. I decided that by the time I went inside and and got my camera they would have moved too far away for great pics. When I went outside a couple of days ago they were back and this time I went inside for the camera to at least record them there. Australian Wood Ducks (Chenonetta jubata) look so different from the birds in the USA that are also called Wood Ducks. I frequently see these ducks wandering along beside the road. I think they are finding young and tender grass and weeds. It is a perilous place to take young ones and not a lot survive. This morning a male was walking along the far side of the road and the other adult - the female - was on this side with three young ones.

For more scenery from around the world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Beach Life

Rainbow Beach is the closest sea-side beach to where I live. Although it is only two or three
kilometers from the Straits and all the bay side waterways it is totally different.
I had worn a warm track suite that morning because there was a brisk wind blowing. However, as soon as I stepped out of the car I began to feel over-dressed. Other people around me were wearing bright shorts and shirts. Then I took a second look and these same people also had significantly paler skin! Tourists! Possibly southerners that are not used to Queensland weather!
As soon as I stepped down onto the beach I noticed a group riding horses along the beach. I don't know if this is a tourist thing also or if it is one of the local pony clubs.

Down close to the water the LifeGuards had a bright canvas shelter.

There were a couple of fellows just taking out a "rubber ducky" through the surf. (Rubber ducky is the name commonly given to the small boat the lifeguards use for rescues in the surf.) I'm sure this must have been for rescue practice but it looked like lots of fun!

There were dozens of birds swooping through the air just behind the beach sand hills . There must have been considerable numbers of insects to be caught but I soon decided I had no chance of catching the action on-wing. I assumed they were swallows of some kind but when one finally came in for a rest on a log barrier at the edge of the car park I saw it was a Willie Wagtail (Rhipidura leucophrys). These little birds are very common and I have had one recently calling outside my house at daybreak.

For more scenery from around our world visit Our World Tuesday 

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Carlo

A bout of flu and associated ills left me disinclined to do anything energetic! However, it was a beautiful sunny day and I decided to get in the car and drive around the bay to Carlo. This is a popular boat anchorage with quite extensive wharves, plenty of room for launching smaller boats, and a row of small businesses and restaurants along the waterside.

One of the businesses along the waterfront advertises house boats for rent and while I was there one motored out and set off north along the Strait.

This is also where the boats leave for off-shore fishing charters. Away in the distance are the boats anchored in deep water just outside Tin Can Bay.

There were lots of birds swooping around after insects. I assumed they were swallows of some kind but I find if difficult to get any sort of in-flight shots - and I simply did not have the energy to try this day. The only ones I saw that came down and perched within reach of my lens were these ones. A knowledgeable friend tells me that they look like Tree Martins and this is where she has photographed them before.

There are always Pelicans somewhere around and when I walked north along the foreshore I found quite a group of them up in that area. Then I discovered the attraction was a group of fishermen cleaning their catch at one of the fishing tables. The Pelicans might look half asleep floating out on the water but they can move fast enough when any scraps are tossed out.

For more scenery from around the world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday.