Tuesday, June 23, 2015

In My Yard

I have a large house block - 2100 sq M. (which is just over half an acre). When I first came here the immediate need was for a fence that would keep my dog and cat at home with me! The easiest and cheapest was a good high wire fence which I then proceeded to hide with a lot of perimeter plantings. After 12 years here I now have lovely green walls that keep growing. One side is now a hedge of Lilly Pillies (Syzygium smithii) which has to be trimmed regularly! I liked the look of palms and in this climate they grow well. I now have three sides covered with palms. Most have grown well but some few have not survived. When I checked the names of these palms I see that most of them can be grown in pots but they love the outdoors and grow to heights never seen with little pot plantings!
The easiest to grow have been the Golden Cane Palms (Dypsis Lutescens). These are clumping palms and keep on spreading unless you cut back the new small ones. Most of mine are now between 2-3 meters high.

The palm that I like the best is a beautiful silver green color (Bismarkia Noblis). It has a single trunk and can eventually grow to 12 meters. This was the most expensive palm to buy so I only have a few scattered around the garden.

Another palm which has grown very well is the Sabal Palmetto. I planted these among other types of palms to give the effect of a palm grove. It was in this area that some of the other palms did not survive. I think the Sabal Palmettos just choked the growth of the others. However, all the higher growing palms did survive and now give an interesting height variation to this area.

The only problem with palms is that there are few things to attract the birds. The white Cockies (Sulphur Crested Cockatoos) are the exception as they come in and cling to the highest fronds and then proceed to tear them apart!

(If you expected to see some new and exciting bird photos  - go somewhere else! I am going to post some from the archives! It is the story that is new and very different!) 
Blue-faced Honeyeaters are regular visitors in my yard. They are noisy and inquisitive and occasionally quite aggressive. From the time I first came here they have chased -  and ganged up! - on my cat. Late the other afternoon I heard a cat wail! which meant "Come and rescue me". I went out on to the back verandah and discovered the poor cat cringing against the house wall while Blue-faced Honeyeaters swooped at it. Nothing new in that but their loud cries brought all their family and friends to help. They were not worried about me - they just retreated to the guttering and screamed at me! By the time they decided to leave there were at least two dozen of them all lined up just above me and screaming! I have never seen so many of them all together before. Just imagine a line of these birds all eying you with those bright eyes! (Photos from the archives - who would have the presence of mind to grab a camera in a situation like this??)

For more scenery from around the world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday.

Dypsis Lutescens
Dypsis Lutescens
Dypsis Lutescens

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

A Grey Day

The only day I had free last week to go looking for birds the weather was less than perfect.I do like bright sunshine and blue skies! However, there was some interesting lighting over the water. This is Norman Point looking east.

Looking south the sun was shining on the boats moored at that end of the bay.

Norman Point usually has some birds roosting at the end of the sand. The birds had already been disturbed as there were fresh dog paw prints going out on the sand. These birds had returned - a Pelican, a number of Silver Gulls and a Gull-billed Tern with a full black breeding cap.

I drove to the other end of the point and looked out over Snapper Creek. A Pelican and a Little Black Cormorant were sharing this light post.

These two Silver Gulls were resting on the boat ramp. They are juveniles with some brown spots left on their plumage and dark legs, bill and eyes. Have a look at the coloring on the adult in the previous post.

I then drove down to the southern end of Tin Can Bay to Crab Creek. Looking east over the bay.

A small group of Galahs were busily pecking at grass seeds.

For more scenery from around the world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday

Tuesday, June 2, 2015


Last week I showed photos of the beach at Rainbow. The land here becomes quite a narrow peninsular. Just 3 kms west is the bay - part of the Great Sandy Strait. This is a very different environment from the open ocean. It is a safe and usually quiet anchorage. The off-shore charter fishing boats start from here. There is also a boat ramp that is popular for smaller boats. There are also a variety of birds that usually wait around such places.
This is a view from close to the boat ramp. Tin Can Bay is just out of view around the left bank.

The bay is ringed with mangrove trees and even at high tide there are some sand banks for the birds to use. This one had a couple of Pied Oystercatchers, a Silver Gull, and a Little Black Cormorant.

Silver Gulls always make a good photo against a blue sky.

These are Tree Martins which can usually be found here swooping over the water catching insects and perching on any empty fences or mooring ropes.

There was a Great Egret perched on the edge of the bank and watching carefully for any fish that might be down in the water - or any fish that it might be able to take from a couple of people fishing close by on the boat ramp.

 This close view of the bird's head shows the gape of the yellow bill extending beyond the eye. This is one way to distinguish this egret from some of the others. 

I thought that there were no more birds close-by for me to photograph until I looked up! Pelicans often use these big lights to rest on.

For more scenery from around the world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Rainbow Beach

I live very close to the southern end of the Great Sandy Strait and enjoy walking around the beaches on the bay and of course kayaking whenever possible. However, every now and again I want to go and walk on sand and put my feet in ocean water where the nearest land is thousands of kilometers to the east. My nearest ocean beach like this is Rainbow Beach - about 25kms down the road to the north-east. The other morning was perfect for a walk along the sand. It was very close to high tide with almost no wind and a small swell with some nice clean looking waves. There were quite a few surfers taking advantage of the conditions.

The flags were still out to mark the safest place for people to swim but I didn't see too many people swimming. There were quite a few lying out on the sand and working on their tans - but I am pretty sure they were visitors - locals would prefer it a bit warmer!

Way out on the edge of the horizon there was a sail boat moving slowly south.

The coast curves around to the south- east from here and the sand cliffs with the colored sand are what gave this place the name of "Rainbow Beach".

These rocks are just south of the town and are called Mudlo Rocks. Because it was close to high tide most of the rocks had water around them. 

As the waves came in the water splashed over them. These rocks have quite a reputation. The beach is very popular with 4-wheel drive vehicles. At low tide there is a good wide expanse of sand. Every tide changes conditions a little bit and sometimes the rocks are very close to the water even at low tide. There are an astonishing number of people who seem to think that their big expensive vehicles can get them out of any trouble! Just google "Mudlo Rocks" to see photos and videos of any number of vehicles that didn't make it!

I could hear birds way up in the trees on the top of the hill above the beach but nothing was close enough for a photo. I had to go up on the cliff above the beach to see any bird at all!

This is a Spotted Turtle-Dove (Streptopelia chinersis). It is a pretty bird but is not an Australian native. It is common around cities and towns but is now spreading out into natural bushland. When this happens it displaces native species.  I think this one was used to getting a hand-out from tourists.

For more scenery from around the world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Unsuitable For Birds

The sky yesterday morning was very beautiful but when the day starts like this you know it can only get worse! And it did! Strong winds and rain showers!

It was certainly not the day to go photographing birds so I went into the archives for photos that I had not previously posted. Masked Lapwing are always somewhere around but I seldom photograph them. This group was in my yard the other day and looked as if they were having a meeting.

Even though they are quite beautiful birds they are not favorites of mine! When they have young ones - or are just thinking about having young - they are very aggressive! With that spur on their wings they are a fearsome sight if they decide to dive bomb anyone walking too close to them!

For more scenery from around our world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Unexpected Birding

Inskip Point is beautiful and I enjoy a trip out there even if I don't expect to see many birds.
Looking across the channel to Fraser Island

The sand island in the middle of the Strait is a good place for birds to roost away from people.

A flock of shorebirds had been disturbed from somewhere. They looked to be mainly Eastern Curlews.

Before I even got out to the sand spit at the end of the Point I saw Beach Stone-curlews. There are usually two birds somewhere out there - and once I saw three birds - one a juvenile - BUT 4 birds all together were completely unexpected. Even here in Queensland this bird is listed as vulnerable and in New South Wales it is critically endangered. It will be interesting to see if all these birds stay in the area or if a pair of them are just passing through.

The second surprise came when I got out to the sand at the end of the point. There were people, cars and a few Silver Gulls. Then I saw a small dark bird flying over the shallow water and every now and again dropping down to pick something out of the water. It took me ages and multiple photos before I could get some clear views. (I seldom have to photograph flying birds! They usually sit nice and quietly at the roost sites!) I finally saw that the bird was a Noddy (Anous)- a bird I have never seen at Inskip before. Common Noddies (Anous tenuirostris) and White-headed Noddies (Anous minutus) look very similar but I think this one is a Common Noddy -  if I am wrong I will be happy to be corrected! I have just received a very helpful comment re the ID of this bird. It seems that it is more likely to be a White-headed Noddy. Go read the comment itself for the fine points of ID. Thanks to Martin for taking the time for all the details.

For more scenery from around the world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

House Hunting

I had no birds for my posts this week so phoned up my friends Sarah and Graham. Of course I was invited to morning tea - good conversation and good company - and birds to photograph afterwards!
Their yard has lots of big old gum trees which the birds love. This morning there were numbers of parrots all inspecting possible nesting holes. All these big trees seem to have numbers of holes. It's just a matter of finding the right one!

Some of the holes are a little harder to see than others.

It seemed that the Rainbow Lorikeets were investigating the possibilities of this one.

I could just imagine their deliberations!
"Get involved! You know it needs to be a joint decision!"

"Preening is hardly relevant when we are house hunting!"

"Shouldn't we get a closer look?"

"Would the inside be big enough for a family?"
In the end they both flew off. I don't know it they didn't like the possibilities or they didn't like me photographing them from all angles. There were plenty more options to choose from!

For more scenery from around the world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday.