Monday, December 08, 2008

Amphibian Invasion

With Summer more than a week old already, insects of all shapes and sizes have been attracted to my veranda light... and the numbers and variety are on the increase.

Large christmas beetles have arrived (25mm) and I must have seen at least 20 types of moth in all shapes and sizes.
It is these moths that have attracted a number of Emerald Spotted Tree Frogs to my doorstep.
The behaviour they exibit in capturing these moths is fasciating.

Firstly they will climb the brick wall....

Then adopt the strike position.....

It is a matter of launching at the next insect that comes within reach, and landing safely on the decking located often 1.5M below to consume their catch.

Im looking forward to getting a vid of this action, and will post it as soon as I do.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Running on honey (2), a Bell Bird, and a storm

On a walk back home today I got a few more bird shots.
Seems that the profusion of flower species laden with nectar are attracting some attention.

The parrots were a treat with their colourful forms and antics...

..and Finally... a Bell bird.
I have found these guys almost impossible to photograph..
(so if my ID is wrong..let me down easy..ok?) lol

...and just so this blog isn't all about avians (been a few posts lately :)  )'s a shot of the storm that covered a good 2/3rds of NSW last week.
This shot was taken a little out of Quaama on the far south coast of NSW as it arrived.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Little Stinker

Petra and I were on a trip the other day when we stopped, along with a lovely lady from Narooma Sawmill, to rescue some Eastern Long necked Tortoises that were crossing the road.

These ancient reptiles are out finding mates at the moment, and many have run-ins with cars as they cross roads to check out whats happening in the next know, the grass is always greener :)

...anyway Petra and I relocated these guys to a safer spot, though not before finding out why they, amongst other more poetic names, are called " Little Stinker".
Seems that, when disturbed, they emit a pungent liquid from glands and groin.
A bloke at a road stop, who was on his way back from NT, supplied some soap. (cheers)
Some tortoises also can carry a thing called "Pentasamids" .. a nasty 5 "legged" microbe linked to the formation of cysts in humans...always good to wash after handling them.

These Tortoises are upside down for the shot with Petra and I ( to capture more clearly the design of the lower shell in relation to the top). It is not recommended to hold them that way for extended periods.

In relation to calling them a "tortoise", the Australian museum has this to say:

"The terms turtle and tortoise are often used interchangeably and can cause some confusion. In the past, all freshwater turtles were called tortoises and marine turtles were called turtles. The more recent convention has been to restrict the term 'tortoise' to the purely land-dwelling species. As such, Australia has no tortoises."

More on the tortoise, and many other creatures, can be found on their site here.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Winged Hunters

The call of baby magpies wanting food have been frequent and loud around the area, and it was a repeated call the other day that annoyed me enough to grab a camera and see what was all the fuss.
I was able to get the following shots......
Looks like the dinner bell is ringing......

A quick shake to make sure its ready to eat.....

Quite a catch......a mouse!

I was not able to get a shot of the offering taken, as the supplier of that massive meal decided that a worm was a better treat for baby... and kept the catch for itself!

Looking at the size of the offspring I would imagine the message goes:
Its a big world out there...send me a postcard :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

More bird antics

Here are a few shots to follow up my earlier post "Thinking about Spring"

All this renewal has been partially fueled by a corresponding explosion in insect life...some of which is below..

Many ant nests seen recently have had winged pioneers heading out to start new colonies...

Even the arachnids have been active...with this Wolf Spider only too happy to have his photo taken...

Yes, its been all go this spring.
Summer is almost upon us as the first of the cicada began to call over the last week.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Running on Honey

Bird life is prolific at the moment and I was able to catch this Honey eater in the act today.
Not happy with a stationary shot, I decided to see what he looked like in motion.
The following shots are at around 1/600 of a an idea of how quick this guy is.

Seems a diet high in sugars is good for those on the move :)

The light was dimming as I took these, so my shutter speed was limited (I balk at using an ISO over 200).
I will attempt a faster series of shots soon, and may just get him crisp at 1/1600 sec.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Warmer waters, Warmer days

Despite fluctuations, well worn trends are being followed in regards to the weather.
Warmer ocean currents are heading south, and this can be seen by the arrival of the surfers best friend..the Bluebottle.

The beach, with an onshore wind, was covered with them.
At the shoreline I would estimate at least 20 every meter square...thank goodness the surf was nothing special :)
The sting from these creatures is not too bad, though some are affected worse than others. Considering the numbers present in the water, caution would be a good course of action.

With intermittent sun peeking through the clouds, I was able to capture a shot of one of my favorite small insects..The Hover Fly.

Always a challenge to capture well, due to its quick and erratic movements, It was a pleasure to get this of 30 taken.

My trip to Twofold Bay was not very successful, with a majority of the Whales having moved on south on their way to Antarctica. I will have to await their return around June.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Whale of a time

Whale migration has been well underway for some time now.
Yesterday I got down to the headlands to check the action.
In a 2 hour period I must have spotted 20 or more humpback Whales...many with calf.

I saw a couple of Killer Whales also...and one very carefree seal ( pictured below).

With a trip planned to Twofold Bay next weekend perhaps I will have more shots on offer...with a good breach shot on the wish list.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Bites and parasites

Many snakes have been out and about with the warm weather of late and it seems Charlie the dog may have found one of them.
Charlie was suffering from a wound on his leg, pictured 1 week after the event.

A blood test was inconclusive when taken, though showed the possible presence of venom next day.
The bite location was possibly a lucky one.
Considering snakes give "dry" bites more often than not (no venom injected), perhaps his survival was a decision of the snake.
Either way he was quite sick, though has pulled through well.
Today I found one of these guys between his toes....a tick

Using methylated spirits on the area made it back out a little, with careful removal using tweezers.
UPDATE: I have recently found out not to use metho to make the tick back out.
This old school practice has been found to make the tick deliver more toxins as it backs out.
A pen like device is available for removal of ticks that has a loop at its end that can be tightened.
Once placed around the tick ( between head and body ) removal is easier.
These devices are available at most vets and some chemists :)
A deeply embedded tick is still a task to remove though.

Seems the onset of summer can be a dogs life in Australia.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Poverty has two sides

This video is my comment for the Blog action day on poverty

Poverty is part of a two sided coin.
While some are starving, others are throwing out insane amounts of food in attempts to maintain buying contracts.
The system needs to change.
People must come before money.
Watch this video from start to end.
The system is corrupt and money hungry.

The two sides of poverty

This video is my comment for the Blog action day on poverty
If you cannot view it from the embedded link, you can see it here:"

Please watch this video from start to end.

Poverty is part of a two sided coin.
While some are starving, others are throwing out insane amounts of food in attempts to maintain buying contracts.
The system needs to change.
People must come before money.
The system is corrupt and money hungry while the people are suffering.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Orb Spider building a web

An Orb Spider uses its back legs to extract silk so as to complete a web.
The radials are in place and it is in the process of fixing down the circular sections.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Second year of blogging

Well, Its been two years of blogging.
I hope all those who have visited this site have enjoyed the photos I have uploaded... I have plans for many more to come.
I am working at getting some photos soon of the Whale migration ( on at the moment), as well as some good snake pics.

Spiders have been out and about for the last few weeks, with a variety of orb weavers including a very colourful Snt Andrews Cross.
This little spider was thoughtful enough to allow me to test my skills with a rather tricky shot....

As I have been celebrating my second year, I thought a pic of my bourbon and cola, with appropriate ice cube, would be apt. :)

Thanks to Jill for the ice cube tray ;)
Thanks to all for taking the time to visit my site.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

A Tree Frog

After a recent rainstorm I found this frog on the veranda railing.
I am reasonably sure it is Litoria peronii ( The Emerald Spotted Tree frog )

It seems this amphibian can change colour depending on the time of day, the temperament of the individual, and with temperature!
It's finger and toe pads were large, with the fingers half webbed and the toes were almost fully webbed.
It measured in at an impressive 60mm.

Its registered habitat is in line with my surrounds: forests, grasslands, and open ground.
I have a dam nearby, and It is commonly found near rivers, creeks, lagoons and flooded areas over large sections of eastern Australia.