Wednesday, December 19, 2018

New Life

Well, it is nice to know that not all my blogging friends have given up on me - thanks for your perseverance Pennie.

We have been swamped by birds this Spring - not always in a positive way - see my last post about the rosellas!!  Now the Lorikeets have arrived in the district and are wreaking havoc in the orchards, despite the very expensive and extensive netting program. We hardly saw a loquat this year - and the tree was loaded. Now they have started on the quinces, despite them being hard and green.

This is probably one of the reasons why the Rosellas have been hanging around this year.

On the other hand we have babies everywhere. The front garden wrens have hatched out a brood of four and they visit the lawn each day. They provide hours of laughter with their antics. The poor little mother - quite thin and scrawny after weeks on the nest' is driven mad as she is chased by four fat babies all wanting to be fed. Not easy to get good shots as they are constantly on the move

We have discovered at least four Red-browed finch nests in the trees around the front  lawn and we are waiting with anticipation for those babies. In addition the pair of resident crested pigeons appear to be nesting, but we haven't gone looking for their nest as they are very shy.

The finches make such a big messy nest for a tiny bird.

Liz Needle - linking with Our World Tuesday and Wild Bird Wednesday.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Where has the time gone????

Oh Dear!!!

I look at my last post and it was July!!  Where have all the weeks gone? What has been keeping me so busy that I can't spare the time for my blog? I really don't know - I seem to have frittered it away. 

When I was teaching full time I seemed able to achieve so much more - was so much better organised. I got all the housework done on the weekends, I found time to keep the garden neat and tidy, I quilted, I crocheted, I got projects finished, I took photos, I read,  I went out with friends.  Now I don't seem to even have the time to keep up with my blog!! Is it age catching up with me??

I do have to admit to becoming somewhat obsessed with Lawn Bowls and my garden is looking so much better and I sleep in a lot more and I waste time on my iPad!!

Christmas is almost here. Today my daughter Jo and I spent a day in the city and actually got most of the Christmas shopping done - mind you we usually have it done by the end of November!! Christmas will be here this year - the Sydney contingent is staying in Sydney this year so it will only be nine of us for lunch. Mark is cooking (he is a talented chef) so the food is out of my hands, though I dread cleaning up the kitchen after him.

I have been busy in the garden - between games of Bowls - getting it ready for Christmas visitors. We have had a mild, wet Spring, so everything is growing madly - especially the weeds!! My only hassle has been that the Rosellas have devastated the roses to such an extent that a lot of the older bushes still are without any Spring growth.  As soon as the new shoots appear, the naughty birds nip them off . I am not sure whether some of them ( the rosellas and the roses) are going to survive. 

Everything else is growing well as you can see from the pictures below.

The irises were stunning this year!!

 This old rose is a beauty and although it only flowers once in Spring, it is a delight for the eyes while it is in flower.

One of the few roses that the birds did not touch - a Persian rose - one of my favourites.

 Exhaustion has set in. I am off to bed with my iPad and my games.  More soon.

Liz Needle

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Lataringa Wetlands

My husband Don is a keen observer of birds and has been ever since he was a small boy, living on the family farm at Williamstown in the forties and fifties. These days he is a sedentary observer, having suffered a number of health issues - he spends hours sitting on our front veranda observing the antics of the many birds that share our garden. Although I am the photographer, it is his knowledge and interest that gets me going and results in the photos I post on my Blog.

Recently he has been feeling a lot better and we have ventured further afield, visiting local bird habitats. We were very disappointed a couple of weeks back when we visited the Monarto Conservation Park and saw no birds at all  - we will go back in Spring. Midwinter is probably not the ideal time to visit.

So imagine our excitement as we were driving home past the Ferries MacDonald Conservation Park when a Mallee Fowl ran across the road in front of the car. As Don said, "I nearly wet myself. I am nearly 80 and that is the first one I have seen." I had my camera on my lap, but was so astonished that I didn't have a chance to even lift it a fraction. These birds are very shy and retiring and are rarely seen by anyone, let alone two novice birders just driving home.

Last week we visited the Lataringa Wetlands at Mount Barker. This wetlands has been established with recycled water, planted with local plant species and open to the public for walking and cycling. It is a gentle, level walk with a good sealed path, skirting the lakes and is about 1.2 kms long. The lakes are home to many species birds, reptiles and small mammals. Certainly worth a visit if you are in the area..

Royal Spoonbills with the black beaks and Yellow-billed Spoonbills.

Australian White Ibis 

White-necked Heron
Chestnut Teal

Masked Lapwing
Black-fronted Dotterel (not a clear shot)
Hoary-headed Grebe
Pink-eared Duck

These next two shots were interesting. Out in the middle of the lake we came across a large group of mixed birds, all swimming in a tight huddle, feeding on something close to the surface. At one stage they were startled and moved apart quickly, but within a few seconds they were back together again. Obviously there was something in that spot, but we have no idea what.

Front left are 3 Australasian Shovelers

Hmm.  Wonder what is for dinner there.

Liz Needle

Linking with

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Melbourne Visit

As I mentioned last week, I was recently lucky enough to visit my cousins in Melbourne and as keen birdwatchers, I was taken to some of their favourite sites. 

Whenever they visit us here in the Adelaide Hills, they comment how lucky we are to have so many birds visit our garden, but after a few days with them, the boot was on the other foot. I was really envious about their proximity to so many lovely conservation areas in the nearby suburbs. I guess we are all lucky that there is so much more being done to preserve natural habitats and to provide man-made ones as well.

The first shot was taken at Mornington. I liked the identical poses of the Crested tern.  Obviously this species cannot read!!!

A walk along the coast near Mentone Beach gave us this pair of Red Wattle birds in a dead tree.

And in the same area this very pretty Fairy Wren in full plumage.

This little fellow is a Bell Miner - a honeyeater. We don't get this bird in South Australia so I was completely captivated when walking through a section of the Melbourne Botanic Gardens to hear the lovely chiming sound coming from all around me. I eventually got this not so good photo. I was quite disappointed to learn that Bell Miners are considered a bit of a pest in Victoria as they tend to take over areas. I think I could put up with their song if they lived in my area.

This little Dusky Moorhen was the only one left in the nest - the other more adventurous ones were swimming with Mum.

Purple Swamphens are very common, almost to the point of being a nuisance in parks, but I loved these two shots of mothers and sons/daughters


And my most exciting moment of the trip was to get a shot of a Golden Whistler - my first time to catch one still enough to get a reasonable photo.

Liz Needle

Linking with

Wild Bird Wednesday

Nature Notes

Camera Critters

Saturday Critters

Thursday, June 28, 2018

By the Seaside

Living as we do in the Adelaide Hills, we don't get to the seaside very often - and rarely with a chance to go birding. So, it was with great delight that I was taken by my birding cousins to Ricketts Point Marine Sanctuary on a recent trip to Melbourne.

John and Margaret are keen birders and were more than happy to drive me around Melbourne to visit some of the many suburban birdwatching areas - and Melbourne has a wealth of them. Ricketts Point was especially good because I got a chance to snap seabirds for a change. These are all pretty common sights for those of you who live near the coast, but a real treat for me.

Silver Gulls and a pair of Little Pied Cormorants

Crested Tern

I am familiar with Black Swan. We get them on the waterways in the hills, but I did not realise they were also found on the coast.

The White-faced Heron is one of our visitors and has actually nested on our property, but again I did not think of them as a coastal bird.

Australian Pelican

And finally, a bit of everything.

Liz Needle

linking with

Wild Bird Wednesday

Our World Tuesday

Nature Notes

Camera Critters

Saturday Critters

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

"Murray Magpies" in the Garden

A common bird in Australia is the Magpie-lark  -  or as it is commonly called in South Australia, the Murray Magpie. We don't see a lot of them around our garden, probably as the Australian Magpies and the Grey Currawongs are more aggressive. In fact so rarely do we see them that I do not have any images of them.

 So it was with great pleasure and some excitement  that I discovered a nest in our oak tree last Spring and was able to snap the parents feeding the nestlings. They were well hidden and very protective , so the photo was taken from my veranda, a safe distance for all concerned.

We  watched them daily for a couple of weeks until the little ones were able to fly and then they were gone!!

We haven't seen them since, but we are hoping that they may return in Spring again.

Liz Needle

linking with

Wild Bird Wednesday

Nature Notes

Our World Tuesday