Organ Pipes – Let The Music Play

I remember vividly that freezing cold day in 1991 when I went to the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland.  It was more than the cold that sent shivers down my spine.  There was no-one else there.  Just us.  We were so small next to that massive geological formation.  I thought I would never see anything like it again, especially not in my own country.

Smaller in scale, but just as awe-inpiring.  In Gamilaroi Country. Read more

Animal Farm

Once upon a time, yellow box and red gum grassy woodlands stretched from Toowoomba to Victoria (Australia), providing a continuous wildlife corridor 100-150 kilometres in width and 1,500 km in length.  Since colonisation, vast swathes of grassy woodland have been cleared for agriculture.  Now there may be as little as 1-5 percent remaining. most of which has been modified in some way by grazing.  Many birds and animals have become trapped in isolated communities, reducing valuable genetic diversity and leaving them vulnerable to threats of local habitat loss.  It is not surprising then, that yellow box and red gum grassy woodlands have been declared a critically endangered ecological community. Read more

Miracle Garden

In 2003, bush-fires ravaged the old Nil Desperandum homestead.  After the fires, the historic rammed-earth cottage was re-built to the original 1896 design.  Nil Desperandum forms part of the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve (near Canberra).   Amidst the devastation wrought by the fires, a part of a commercial camellia plantation somehow managed to survive.  Surrounded by dense bush on all sides, it truly is a miracle garden. Read more

Not So Creepy Crawly

I would like to thank Frank at Dutch Goes the Photo for his Tuesday word prompt, crawl.  It allows me to post about something near and dear to my heart.  Yes, I know.  Everything is near and dear to my heart, but that can’t be a bad thing surely?  You have probably all seen the news this week about a recent insect study review.  The review found that insect numbers have plummeted, experiencing a 2.5% loss per year.  Now one can argue about the rate of decline, whether it can be applied uniformly across the globe and to all insects, but one thing is clear, our insect population is in trouble. Read more

Strange Aquatic Creatures

Today’s post will introduce two very strange aquatic creatures found at one of Canberra’s nature reserves — the first, one very odd looking duck, and the second, quite duck-like.

Australia’s musk duck looks half-fish, half duck.  It must be the oddest looking duck I’ve ever come across.  It is so named because it is very smelly, emitting a musky smell from scent glands on its rump.  Musk ducks spend most of their time in the water.  They even sleep on the water.  They can fly, but launching from the water or ground is hard work, so they do so infrequently.  When fleeing predators, they choose a watery escape rather than take to the wing.   Read more

Camouflage Or Sabotage?

Today I have some clandestine photos to share with you, dear Readers.  Provided on a need-to-know basis.  Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.  The subjects are well camouflaged.

I recently went on a short walk with my son for the purpose of some online activity.  Suddenly I heard the unmistakable sound of a bird of prey.  “What was that?” I exclaimed.  “Oh yeah,” my son said, “two sparrow-hawks nest in those pine trees over there.”  To say I was indignant, Ladies and Gentlemen, was a total understatement.  I demanded to know why this information had been withheld from me.  Was the information top-secret, only to be disclosed to those who ‘need-to-know’?  Well, no.  He just forgot.  Can you really believe that? Read more

Keepsake

In the interests of posting more flower photos and sharing memories, I present to you some rose photos.

I have four lovely rose bushes at my house.  All but one was given to us.  One by our mum/mum-in-law — a treasured possession.  Friends gave us another (Homage to Barbara) when she (the mother-in-law, not the friend) died.  Ever practical, like the woman herself, the flower heads just drop off when they are done.  Barb would have appreciated the joke.  The third rose was also given to us by a friend.  It was one of the roses planted in the Rose Gardens at Old Parliament House (Canberra), but it was culled from the garden to make way for more healthy stock.  Their loss, our gain, don’t you think? Read more

The Changing Seasons – January

January —  the season of abundance.  It can’t help it if it so hot.  Temperature records were broken again during January, including in my little part of the world.  Our town had four consecutive days above 40ºc, a new record.  Due to the bushfire hazard, many of our nature reserves were closed to the public.  So I’ve been housebound and cabin fever has set in.  Hence, this month’s post focuses on the small haven that is my garden. Read more