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.