(and sometimes the beast!)

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27.8.16

WHAT'S BUGGING ME LATELY...

 My love affair with bees continues.  No blue and brown banded bees to be seen lately but that's possibly because I pulled out all the comfry so none of those little blue flowers they loved so much.
 The bees have been busy pollinating my Brazilian cherry so am hopeful of lots of fruit soon.
 Found this very colourful guy in the garden the other day. Didn't make a move even though I was close to it with the camera.  I was happy to leave him because he was on a weed.
 Now this guy was at the Ginger Factory in Yandina yesterday.  His body was about 6cm long so imagine how long those front and back legs are.  The small legs at the front are bright red.  Ugh.
 I watched this wasp or hornet busily flying around from an old box to the garden wall and tracked her down inside a pipe building a mud hut.
I haven't been able to identify it either as none of the images on Google for wasp/hornets included this particular shape.  Possibly a potter wasp.

21.8.16

A WALK IN THE SUNSHINE...

We had quite a bit of rain last night but today the sky was blue and cloudless. I decided I'd take a walk in the Maroochy Botanic Gardens to see what I could see. It's a great spot for a picnic with many seating areas. The 82 hectare site is broken down into different areas like wetlands, sculpture gardens, moss garden with marked walks. Lots of flowers and greenery of course there. Lots of people too. Note to self, next time go much earlier and during the week if you want peace and quiet.
 Away from the screaming kids, shrieking girls and loud cricketers & golfers (next door to the gardens) I did manage a couple of snaps of birds.  In the gloom of the rainforest area they haven't turned out as well as I'd like. The first is a turtle dove of some sort which looks very different to the ones I see around home. Top right is a tiny wee little bird which was leaping around in the undergrowth and generally being uncooperative (no idea what it is).  A small yellow wren or similar flitted around tantalisingly close sometimes but managed to avoid my lens. At least the  wicker whipbird sculpture sat still for me. 
Of course, there are lots and lots of sculptures scattered throughout. There's also a python which can give you a fright the first time you set eyes on it. You'll have to go see them all for yourself.
 On the left is Phaius tancarvilleae, a large swamp orchid which is almost ready to flower. They are quite beautiful and well worth the trek out there to see them (in my opinion anyway). Top right is the Rusty Kurrajong and a pretty little ground cover which is probably a weed.  :) 
I think the top white flower is a geraldton wax but I could be wrong. Same shape but different colour. The bees didn't care. On the right is hardenbergia which is out everywhere in the bush at the moment.  Below are violets, on the right is the native violet which doesn't have a fragrance and I thought the one on the right was some exotic, endangered plant but apparently I was looking at the wrong label.  That's one thing I was disappointed in;  lots of plants not labelled.

28.7.16

IT'S A BIRD'S LIFE...

I decided on a quick stroll around the Noosa Botanic Gardens in Cooroy yesterday after work. I was feeling very pleased with myself, initiating a walk on my own and was rewarded with these two tawny frogmouths, waiting for evening. They looked so sweet sitting there together and I think I know which end is up.
[edit 30/7/16: went back yesterday with a different camera and managed a closeup of the beak and they looked to be sitting straighter although it was as if they hadn't moved for 24 hours)
I continued along and hear a bit of noise high up in a nearby gum tree to see this little miss galah dragging foliage into what I presume is a nesting area.  
She disappeared into the nest and this chap followed shortly after. Perhaps on an inspection tour... They both looked quite cheeky I thought.
The place is alive with birds and this is a corella I snapped on another walk there, getting stuck into some seed pods.  There is a flock I've seen often around the area but on that day I could only see this one.
The Gardens are on Lake MacDonald so there are large numbers of water birds of all types around the place, including this little water hen (not sure what sort it is). Look at the size of those feet!
 Lots of ducks and pelicans too.  These two are usually found in this spot snoozing despite the fact that several others are still out and about.



12.7.16

FARM STAY...

I recently headed out to Stanthorpe to celebrate a family birthday and stayed overnight at their farm. It's a long drive from the Sunshine Coast so I was happy not to have to turn around and drive straight home. And of course, shared the driving with one of my daughters. The scenery through The Scenic Rim and The Granite Belt is... well, scenic!
As well as the usual farm animals we were treated to lots of crimson rosellas who flock there to feed on the "leftovers" from the pigs and horses.The one sitting on the fence is a juvenile I think as the plumage hasn't quite come in to the brilliant red of the adults. 
These colourful eastern rosellas gave me a front and rear view and were happy to pick through the horse manure for tidbits...
The horses were very friendly, especially if you had a handful of grass.
A sample of the farm babies.  Firstly, a sweet black lamb with one white foot and white tail tip.  And a week old piglet with funny curled back ears. It will grow into a huge pig, if mum and dad are anything to go by.
 A couple of the pretty chooks that run around the place.  The silky is particularly attractive I think.
 I loved this Jersey cow's expressive face.
And here is Xena, much loved family pet and Queen of all she surveys. She's getting on now and much prefers to lie beside the fire.  This photo was taken in the afternoon so she'd been up for a couple of hours.
We practically needed a second car for all the winter woollies and "just in case" clothes and although it was supposed to be 2 degrees overnight, I didn't think it was too bad in the morning. My hands weren't at all cold and they are my personal thermometre.  However, if I'd put my hand in this frosty glove I found left outside overnight, it might have been a different story.

“Farming is a profession of hope” ― Brian Brett

12.6.16

FLOCKING (AND FEEDING) TOGETHER....

 I've been taking lots of shots of birds of late and because it's about time I blogged again, decided a bevy of feathered beauties might do the trick.  These corellas are frequent visitors to my current workplace at Cooroy and love the pine cones in our tree.  They were in a flock of about 50. 
Currawongs are also frequent visitors and a group of 7 were outside our kitchen window, serenading me while they fed on the red berries of an unidentified shrub (the boss said what it was but I can only remember it is a pest). They really are wonderful song birds.
This cute drongo was snacking on a grasshopper as I walked under his tree in Mooloolaba one day. 
During a walk at Kingscliff recently, I spotted this osprey feeding on a fish high up on a pole. 
I love ospreys and I'm always trying to shoot them flying.... with varying degrees of success.  This one was taken at Coolum Beach.
Lots of figbirds in my suburb (this one is a male)... they are also great little songsters.
I took this shot of a yellow-tailed black cockatoo in a neighbour's tree the other day because he was making such a mournful sound.  He was there quite a long time, moaning and chirping, (not their usual raucous call) so I think he was on his own and waiting for his mates.  As I was putting this post together I heard the usual call and rushed out to see two fly over but I had cunningly forgotten to turn on the camera and they were gone!  Aaaaargh!  Hopefully, one of them was this fellow, reunited.
I love photos of birds taken front on because they look so funny. "Are you, lookin' at me?" This is a noisy friarbird and I have to say, they are not the most handsome of birds. In fact, they look a little like a throwback to their dinosaur days with their featherless heads and knobby beaks.  But I like them.  This one is feeding on yellow grevillea
Lastly, a black kite sat prettily for me in the waning daylight the other day in Bli Bli. An unexpected surprise.