(and sometimes the beast!)

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9.9.17

NEWBIES AND OLD FAVOURITES...

After last post where I was thrilled with a new (to me) bird, I must have been subconsciously on the lookout because I have been visited by a couple of Scarlet honeyeaters.  I'd never noticed them before and had never actually heard of them to be honest.  But what beauties they are (the males anyway).
I just happened to look out the window and saw a couple of very tiny birds in my crepe myrtle tree. The first one was a female of the species I realise now, but didn't twig (pardon the pun) to it until I noticed the brilliant red on the male. I nearly tripped over myself running for the camera and trying to open the screen door quietly. 
They are also surprisingly fast so all I managed was a couple of shots.
When they're so tiny, it's difficult for me to focus on them and the plethora of branches didn't help. The next time I saw them, I didn't even manage the press the shutter before he nipped off!  So, I'm grateful for what I got.
 
Even though I have hundreds of shots of these jolly fellows (Yellow tailed Black Cockatoo), I can't resist them and the minute I hear them calling, I go running to see if I can add to my collection.
Just a tad annoyed that I've missed the top of his wing in this shot...
...but got the whole wingspan in this one, lovely morning sun shining through his feathers. 
Hopefully, I'll have more newbies soon...

3.9.17

RAINBOW, DRAGONS AND FROGS AT COOROY...

I visited Noosa Botanic Gardens again for the first time in 6 months since retiring. I was absolutely thrilled to spot a bird I'd never seen before and managed to get a few snaps of it.  Mind you, birds I haven't seen before would number in the millions and a few fairly clear snaps from the 40 or so I took is probably nothing to brag about but I couldn't wait to get home and find out what bird it was.  Meet one of the Rainbow Pittas...
"Are you lookin' at me?" it seems to be saying...
 I used a bit of patience and then stalked it around a dry creek bed as it hopped around, carefully avoiding crunching on leaves and twigs, so as not to startle it.  Low light in the forest area meant I got lots of blurred shots and perfect shots of where it had been a split second before. It was very interested in fallen quandongs but normally feeds on insects. Maybe there was some hiding in the fruit.
 This shot shows the chestnut stripes on its head nicely and what looks like a bit of weed clinging there as well.
"Are you still here?"
I took the hint and moved on to the pond... 
... where it was apparently dragonfly time.  I'd never thought about what dragonflies (or damselflies) ate and hadn't even noticed that this one was chowing down on something when I took the shot. The bug it's eating is more colourful than it is.
 This one (no more than 4cm long) is a male dragonfly I gather after watching the large numbers of them mating. Of course they could be damselflies. After reading up on them, I am confused as these look like damselflies with the closed wings.
The males all had the bright blue bottoms and they grab the females by the back of the head to start the process. 
It's up to her to curl her tail around to find the penis. A very complicated mating dance and I've since read somewhere that the females will often pretend to be dead to avoid having to mate.  I'm sure we can human females can relate to that! 
I only found two tiny, wee frogs at the pond and this be them. They sat very still and were not frightened off by my lens shoved in their faces.
Hopefully, I won't leave it so long to return.

26.8.17

LIFE EXTENDING "HERB" IS WORTH A TRY...

 A former neighbour of my mother's came to visit us the other day and reminded Mum of a wonder herb she'd planted on their fence line some years before.  Sambung or Moluccan Spinach are a few of its names in Asia where it is well known for its health benefits.  I was charmed by the pretty flowers of course. 
She had purchased the plant at Shippards Herb Farm here in Nambour and was pleased to see it had virtually taken over the fence since she'd moved.  She said it was just about anti- everything and could be eaten fresh straight from the vine/bush and urged me to try it. I've since read up a bit about it and am giving it a go as a general tonic, taking a couple of leaves every day (for the past 2 days anyway :D).  It doesn't have an offensive taste so I will see if my very ill mother can stomach some as tea.  Can't hurt I'm thinking.
I'm told the plant can be struck from cuttings or grown from seed so am also trying to strike some myself, one in water and one in a pot.  I'm interested to see just how easy (or not) it is and whether it helps Mum.
Stay tuned...

5.8.17

STRUGGLE STREET...

Life is a real struggle for some and these are a couple of examples I've noticed of late...
I noticed a tiny umbrella tree with a stranglehold on a palm tree, at least 5 metres up. Who will be the victor I wonder and how long will it take? 
When I first saw this wasp, I was seeing him from the back as he walked up a door and it  looked like some intestines had come out or something.  
By the time I returned with the camera he'd moved and the true story was revealed.  These photos are not as clear as I'd hoped due to low light and a moving subject. So I rushed out to see if the murder was over with a view to getting a better shot, but he's now moved on with his meal and no sign of a green grub on the deck. I think the wasp was the victor here.

... to the victor belongs the spoils.

22.7.17

THE END IS HERE...

3 months after noticing the start (left) of an agave flower spike, the end is here, both for the spike and the plant.
Farewell Spike. You've brought me joy, through the happy buzzing of bees and insects (like this sweet native bee) and from watching various birds chow down. I'll miss you. :(