Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Black Headed Gull

Although its been a year since my return from Germany, I still have photos to process.
Its easy to push the button on a digital camera when you have over 10 Gigs of cards, though the work of processing still remains.
So, with a little time on my hands today I bit the bullet and sorted some more shots.
I found the following:

These are Black Headed Gulls that I snapped at the North Sea town of Harlesiel in Germany's north.
They are a little bigger than the Sea gulls that are common along the Eastern shores of Australia and also sport this black head.
I found the temperament the same though as I tried to eat some chips by the shore.
I doubtless will find other things to post as I wade through the Gigs of work still to do.

Monday, June 15, 2009

High charge Lows

Last night a low pressure system, accompanied by a trough, passed over NSW.
I observed what looked like summer lightning, an occurrence that sees the sky lit by sheets of lightning without clouds...discharges atmospheric as charges balance out.
Then the clouds rolled in.
They were slow moving and, initially, undetectable in a starry sky.
The following shot with stars visible...

Then the show got started.
The next shot of cloud that rolled in.

It was multi layered, with many cloud forms present at many levels.
The real dark ones on the RHS foreground were very low and very dense.
Quite ominous in their slow roll across the land.

The next day was sunny to start with, though a smaller second trough passed over around 8am giving some rain and this nice double rainbow.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Blue Ringed Octopus

Blue Ringed Octopus, I have read, can be found as far south as the Town of Bermagui on the NSW coast.....

Yesterday was family day down by the river.
Everyone was interested to see the soldier crabs marching in their thousands, so down we went.
Harry, a local lad and friend of my son Marvin, was along for the day.
As we were walking along harry said "There's a Blue Ringed Octopus!"

Please keep in mind that he had never seen one before...except in books.
A spectacular find indeed, especially considering we were nearly 1Km from the ocean on a river tidal flat in an area as far south as these creatures have been reported.

With tentacles folded underneath, it was looking like a brownish rock with a few little bright flecks...something, no doubt, that would impel small fish to have a closer look.

Once disturbed, carefully, it began to display its full " leave me alone or else" colouration.
Vivid neon blue rings embedded in a golden body.

It was not an aggressive creature and, once it had a good study of us, was happily on its way.
This last shot showing the shape of the creature under locomotion.

Blue ringed Octopus have a "Beak" under all those legs not unlike that of a parrot.
They can deliver a toxin that shuts down breathing for a time ( not a healthy thing to happen)
and so should be left alone.
Once an octopus has hold of you, even a small one such as this, you may find it hard to put down due to the suckers having such good grip over a wide variety of surface textures.
They are intelligent and inquisitive creatures who can change shape readily.
One that I heard of, on display to the public, was given "toys" to keep it amused and had the habit of pulling the plug on its aquarium.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Rip, Bust and Tear

The world is a sad place indeed when concession to green groups is feared and denied.
Especially when the content of the concession is not an issue.

I have borrowed this text and following photo from Denis's site to illustrate:
"The farmers of NSW who were threatened by coal mining had little choice in going with the Greens - even though they might not be regarded as natural Greens constituents. Many would surely be more naturally regarded as either "old-money Liberals" or Nationals supporters (remember when they were the Country Party?). However, only Lee Rhiannon (the sponsor of this Bill) and the other Greens had shown much interest at all in opposing coal mining under prime agricultural land. When the Greens proposed this Bill, it seemed the farmers' only hope of gaining Legislative support. So, naturally they supported the Bill.

But the Bill was defeated precisely because it was sponsored by The Greens.

UPDATE: Hansard Extract - part of Speech by Rev'd the Hon Fred Nile, MLC:
"That is why I cannot support this bill. It is not because of the content; it is because the bill will give the Greens greater ability to blow their trumpets and claim a great victory in this State, and give them further political oxygen. During my time in this Parliament I have been working hard to deny political oxygen to the Greens." Fred Nile - 4 May 2009.
You may go to the Hansard link above to read the full debate.
(Extract and photo courtesy of Denis Wilson)


Do greenies make a dollar from preserving wilderness or farmland from mining giants?
Who benefits from the food grown, or the clean air we breathe?
What is an economy when it ultimately leads, in its present state, to a wasteland of body, soul and mind?
These, and other, questions have been raised in Gaye's and Denis's sites this week.
Both make a thought provoking read.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Soldier Crabs revisited

The tides were low around lunch time again today, around the time I last saw the soldier crabs on the move, so I headed out to the tidal flats to take another look.
Sure enough they were marching across the sand in vast numbers.

The Ibis paid them no heed though, at my approach, they( the crabs) quickly started to dig themselves in again.
I was intent on observing behavior other than running like hell and digging a hole, so I skirted around them using some mangroves as a screen to get closer.

Dont let anyone tell you that taking nature shots is clean, dry, or in any way pleasant a majority of the time.
Sitting on the wet sand, keeping dead still, I was able to observe them at about 2 meters distance doing their regular thing...foraging, and fighting.

I found the postures they adopted rather comical, though wondered if this was a territory thing or if I was witnessing mating.
No crab came to harm during these encounters, claws held high with legs usually in matched positioning.

Considering the huge groups these strange creatures move around in, this behavior is rather sporadic and not an overly regular event.
I was not able to notice differences in the crabs performing these actions other than a slight variation of colouring on their sides (can be seen in the above shot).
All in all it was an interesting experience to be surrounded by so many of these crabs.
I made sure I didnt sit TOO still though.
They seem very efficient at cleaning up anything that does!
...and those Ibis?
Well, they could be found looking for worms brought to the surface by the recent rains.