28 November 2012

Beyond the Botanic Gardens in Sydney

walking along the foreshore, towards the Opera House

On the hillside, Australian natives in flower, Kangaroo Paws

  the iconic Opera house (coming in the back door)

Captain Cook Cruises

Ready for the ride of your life?  Want your spine rattled?

jump on board and HOLD ON!  Bet I didn't even have to tell you that ...you can feel that thunder right under your arches and he's only just backing out.  When the pilot sits down, then it gets serious, and no more laughing once G-force takes control!

Circular Quay.  Rail station is up ahead, for a train back to Central/Sydney, just a few stops away. and then to pick up a 'country train' to Newcastle for my almost two hours ride back home.  It's not quite the adrenalin-fix that's promised on the Thunderjet ride though ... have I left it all too late?

25 November 2012

Ficus macrophylla

In the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney.

a network of tree roots

aerial roots make it down into the ground again for stability, the other side of the pathway
looking like a solitary tree of its very own, but not.

Imagine that!  In 1881 it was recorded that the largest of the old trees on Lord Howe Island (about 600 klms north-east of Sydney), covered an area of about 1 hectare.

24 November 2012

Red-tailed black cockatoo

You just never know what you'll pick up on a little journey away from home, not so far either.  Yesterday was kind of a lucky day, with an unexpected birding pick-up, when coming across this delightful cockatoo.

and letting the cat out of the bag now, the end of the tale ... down at Shingle Splitters Point, by the lake

a woman was walking her two little dogs, AND her pet, red-tailed black cockatoo.  When asked if I could take some photos she offered to set him up on the tree nearby.  Too easy, and many thanks!  

21 November 2012


Decided to drive down to the conservation area this morning, a quick check to see if any birds I could capture --------- but I picked up some 'roos to share instead.

Dollar bird

Aiming up high into the angophora and with grey skies, it was hard to capture this pair with light flooding the camera lens.  Angophoras are shedding their bark at this time of year, revealing a lovely warm ochre underskin.  It was to be these pics of dollar birds or none, as they never seem to be sitting around on low territory.

Red arrow shows location of the first snapshot.  

According to Australian Birds website, the Dollar bird resides in New Guinea over the Australian winter, which means approximately 2600 klms. of flight to reach here.

Every now and then the bird on the left would take off, no doubt picking up insects, and on return it appeared perhaps to be feeding the other bird.  Not sure if it was 'the other half' or a juvenile.

Dollar bird name is derived from the single white spot (on the underside) of each wing, resembling a silver-dollar coin.

This' the bird on the go, flying about the tree while the other stayed put; and now I had a better angle for this snapshot.

I wonder if it had an injured wing ... or maybe just 'sunning'?

and here ... would this just be a propping up, bracing against the winds technique, or ....?

Sharing with Wild Bird Wednesday

Special Note:  Since this post is going through to the bird-watching community, if you missed my previous video-post, it might be of interest.  The para-gliding-hawk is here.

20 November 2012

Have you seen this Para-gliding Hawk video?

Training the Harris's hawk; wonderful filming by Lite Touch Films.  They say "the huge backpacks are actually padding to protect the pilot in case of a mishap during launch or landing.  There's rarely an issue, but the padding is way better than landing hard on your butt and can save you from getting a sore back or a broken tail bone etc."

16 November 2012


After the showers ... hydrangeas are just starting to come into flower here now. They make for great indoor floral decorating at Christmas-time.

Sharing with Floral Friday Fotos

14 November 2012

Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo

Hearing distinctive, weird, wailing 'wee-you' (aptly described in my Birds of Australia reference book), alerts me to get my camera and head outdoors. It was just after 6 p.m., and with tele-conversion lens screwed on somewhat hurriedly ... yes actually, a lot hurriedly, and settings adjusted to suit, I'm peering next from a partially-screened position wedged between the garden-room and back boundary fence.

It's far from the ideal spot for a photographer-with-a-mission at such short notice, and I stand my feet on a couple loose paving bricks for a nudge of extra height to aim the lens over the brush-fencing and into the bush-corridor beyond.  Anything (well ...almost), for a photo.  Especially of these fine cockatoos, said to be 'patchy in distribution and numbers', and heard only occasionally around here.

It's quite the buzz isn't it when you suddenly find your prize in the lens, waiting on you to get it right.  There's the challenge, how long will it stay there I wonder ...and hoping, surely out of all the attempts at a snapshot, something will be worth sharing.

ahah!  You.. little beauty.  

oh, and there's another

what next?

oh .... so it's feed time!

and it was at this point that Mum took off, with big-little-one following

Sharing with Wild Bird Wednesday