Friday, August 31, 2007

Cockatoos in Norfolk Pine

Sulphur Crested Cockatoos in a Norfolk Island Pine tree just off a beach we stopped at on our travels the other day. Complications arose with our fence installation yesterday, so today we are back at it. Its looking good so far, but heres hoping today yields no surprises and we can finish it!
Best wishes for your day and all you have planned!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

I'd never come down

In our travels yesterday, we ran across a parasailing club doing thier terribly groovy thing. It looked effortless. Strap yourself in, fluff out your sail, walk off the edge of the cliff - and youre soaring!

Waiting for the truck with the materials for the new fence, once its here we are going to haul. Looking forward to a proper browse tommorrow - in the meantime - Have a great day!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Lunar Eclipse last night

I fed the mozzies for you last night getting these shots of the Lunar Eclipse. They didnt come out too badly considering I was shooting directly under a street light in my front yard. The second photo is when the eclipse was nearly complete.

Wish you could see them full screen, sigh. Im away today, and tommorrow we are putting in a new fence - but I will check in as often as possible. Have a great day!

Photography Anonymous has some great moon shots, check them out!!!
Just found Megs great moons shots at Dipping into the Blogpond!!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

We've been reviewed!

How cool is this? The Birds & The Beads review at TopBlogMag written by Liz of Three Bright Stars. I appreciate Liz's effort and insight, and am tickled pink with my overall rating of...

While youre at TopBlogMag you might like to have a sticky beak (peek) at some of the other writers work there - its a great way to find more groovy blogs for your blogroll.

Have a happy day today Everyone!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Little Wattlebirds' Fledgling

I have to come to terms with the fact that I am not able to get a truly good clear shot of these birds. Which isnt to say that Im not pleased with these - because I am pleased with these! These were hard won shots.

These birds are so intelligent, they know where you are, what youre planning and whether or not you have your camera with you. On the occasions that I had laid in wait long and still enough to fool them into straying into the cameras reach, then dear friends, it was my camera that let me down.

Oh, I know, a poor workman blames his tools yadda yadda - but I swear its true with this Kodak DX6490. Do yourself a favour and dont buy this model unless you plan to only shoot outdoors at noon on the equator (otherwise, there is never enough light for it.) And have I mentioned the shutter lag? You can feel yourself growing older waiting for this thing to take a picture. But in the right conditions, I can get some great shots - just not of Little Wattlebirds!

Anyhow, high above my head this fledgling was having a rest from its flying lessons. The poor dear crashed through the gum tree from limb to limb, with both its parents cheering it on while simultaneously chasing off unrelated birds with dark intentions. (The Butcherbirds appear to be having a convention in my neighborhood this month.)

In the photo below you can see the fledgling asking its parent for a feed, or possibly complaining it wants to go back to the nest now.

Have a great day!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Budgie Sunday - Meet Secondo

Here Secondo is enjoying some celery leaves. He is a Yellow faced Recessive Pied budgie (parakeet). He is about two years old and Uno's brother. By thier names you can tell Uno hatched first, and Secondo second. These names arent my most imaginative, but using Italian makes them sound like they are.

At a glance the two look very similar, but the photo below shows you how to tell them apart. Uno's cere* has a rough texture and is very brown which shows she is a girl. All girl budgies have cere's like this, no matter what variety of budgie they are. But boy recessive pied budgies are different. Secondo's cere is smooth and pinkish, sometimes with a blush of bluey-purple. If Secondo were a 'normal' budgie, his cere would be bright blue.

Secondo also has fewer black dots around his throat, and the last way to tell these two apart: Goliath doesnt spend all day sitting next to Secondo!

He's a very laid back happy chappy that gets along great with anyone. Secondo doesnt have a girlfriend yet, and its about time I found someone for him. I think he'd be a great mate for the right gal.

He does spend alot of time preening his pretty pink feet which is probally his only quirk. His favouite treat is sprouted wheat, with corn kernels as a close second.

Happy Budgie Sunday everyone!

* cere: (pronounced 'sear') The fleshy bit above a birds beak.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

There was a fancy cat bed, once

When Aurora was a little kitten, I made this goldfish cat bed with a pattern from Simplicity. Contrary to the company name, it wasnt simple. In fact, on several occasions during its construction, I nearly took it out to the backyard where I planned to set it on fire, then stomp its ashes into oblivion.

Obviously determination prevailed, and I proudly presented it to the Little Princess. This is a picture of THE ONE TIME she napped inside.

For the next couple years, it looked like this:


Have a great saturday, see you tommorrow with Budgie Sunday.

(The Little Wattle birds threw me a curve this morning, Mr stayed up in the tallest gum tree and wasnt coming down for quids. But I did delight in his spring dawn song, and had a good chuckle at the accompanying groans from all the neighbors who were trying to sleep in.)

Friday, August 24, 2007 for Aussie Blogs, WOO HOO!

Look quick - before everyone else hears about it, joins up and knocks me off the List of Top 100 Aussie Blogs!!!

In a nutshell, is THE new directory of the best in Australian blogs. For more information, why not check out Meg's fab run-down here and/or the About page at They both say it all better than I can!

Im just going to savour being in the Top 100 Aussie Blogs - for as long as it lasts LOL!

Little Wattlebird's "Hummingbird Maneuver"

Im still trying to get a good shot of the Little Wattle birds. Shooting through my kitchen window, Im not going to get the good crisp shot Im after. So I will have to go back to carefully stalking them in the garden. But I did get these pretty cool shots of Mr Little Wattle bird doing what I have dubbed "The Hummingbird Maneuver".

This cant be easy for him, he is 26-30cm long (10-12 inches). Thats pretty big to be hovering. The nectar in this Grevillea Scarlett Sprite must have a very high energy content, otherwise it wouldnt be worth the effort it takes to gather it with this method. He does spend most of his time tasting the blossoms from the ground or branches. But once those flowers are empty, a change of tactics is in order.

Another interesting thing about these birds is, although they are nectivores (nectar eaters), each evening I see them chasing insects like a swallow does. So they are also insectivores, at least part time!

I will try to be out early for stalking on saturday morning - Im nothing it not determined. Have a great day!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

In a spot of bother...

Aurora likes to project a lady-like image. She doesnt even like to be seen playing. If she discovers anyone watching her play, she will immediately stop and resume a more dignified stance.

So I was pretending I didnt notice her playing with this plastic bag, untill she got herself into this pickle. And Im quite sure she did not feel I was being helpful at all when I snapped this picture of her, before offering her more genuine assistance.

For some reason both our kitties really enjoy playing with these bags, but dont worry, they are kept out of reach unless we are on hand to supervise. Albeit, surreptitiously.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

WW: Happy Birthday Aurora!

Happy 4th Birthday, Aurora Borealis!

Happy Wordless Wednesday Everyone - Let me know if you played!

Note Aug 23rd: Im having some system trouble, so Im being very slow getting round to everyones blog, my apologies for the delay.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Old garden shots, part 2

A view of the front garden, also taken November '04.
A clearer shot would have taken an age to download,
but this conveys the gist of it.
A sort of cottagey-meadowy beautiful mess.
Have a wonderful day!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Old garden shots, part 1

Ces asked what my garden looked like, and true to form for a gardener, I told her it looked better at some other time than now. Gardeners are forever saying things like "You should have seen it last week" or "Its at its best when the such-n-such is in bloom".

In my defense, it is still winter here in Oz, and I have lost alot of plants to the drought over the last few years. So the garden is sporting some large bare areas that want replanting. Over time I will be going from a cottage style (which works much better in the Northern Hemisphere than here), to a more 'Aussie Bush' style garden.

In this photo, we can see part of the back garden as it was in November 2004. In bloom you can see Agapanthus, Echinacea, Roses, Daylillies, and Lavender - of course!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Budgie Sunday - Meet Big Boy

A three year old normal blue budgerigar (parakeet), he is called Big Boy not because he is especially large. But because it's kinder than calling him 'Bad Boy', as in the kind of guy who will always break your heart. Although why I should have concern for his feelings is a bit of a mystery.

A couple years ago he hooked up with Verdigris. Everything was going great between them. They set up a nest, had a great clutch of eggs, were wonderful parents together. But one day about halfway to the chicks fledging - BOOM - he was outta there. The skunk! (Verdigris and I raised the chicks from there.)

This dastardly rogue had done the same thing to Darkwing the year before. As a result, Big Boy will no longer get to go to the breeding room.

He's certinally handsome, especially when he raises the feathers on his head. His song is sweet and enchanting. But I wont trust another hen's heart to this cad. He doesnt interact with me or the other birds much, and if he has a fave veg, he isnt letting on what it is.

Mostly he sits in his favourite sunny spot singing to himself, and Ive no doubt, planning his escape!

Happy Budgie Sunday everyone!

Saturday, August 18, 2007


The Little Wattle Birds are still giving me curry with trying to get a good shot of them. This morning I snapped this one through the kitchen window. Blurry as! But the best one to date.

So why on earth have I tagged this post with 'encouragement'? Because Im encouraging myself, and you, to stick with whatever youre doing untill you get the results you want.

The pic below is a blossom of the Grevillea Scarlett Sprite that they are taking nectar from. Im seeing less of her these days, so Im assuming she has a nest somewhere. Maybe I will see some fledgeling Little Wattle Birds soon, fingers crossed!

Grevillea Scarlett Sprite

Have a great day!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Early birthday present makes Butt hurt

Haha! Hows that for an attention getting headline?

Now, all you dirty minded persons out there - you see from the pic that I mean Ive got 'bike butt'. Its only been 23 years since I rode a bike, 17 for The Most DH, he got one too!

Yep, 23 years since my Japanese Aluminium Racing bike was stolen. It was a Kabuki, and I loved it like a dear friend. I still do a double take when I see an orange metal-flake coloured racing bike go by. I used to literally fly all over my hometown - and well beyond - spending entire days in the saddle.

Its true, you never forget how to ride a bike. But you do forget how much its going to hurt the parts you sit on! Funny, that. Only one thing for it, keep riding and it will all come good.

While our butts build tolerance (and my quads stop turning to jelly) we are just sticking to the neighborhood. Eventually, we are going to have wonderful days on trails in National Parks and anywhere around the countryside. A backpack with the camera and a picnic lunch - and we're off!

We are making a committment to riding these bikes daily and getting our fitness back. Its not all going to be fun, but we are determined. Do you need to make a similar change? You can if you want to! Get determined, and keep at it no matter how much your butt hurts in the process.

This is my 100th post on Blogger!
To celebrate, Im getting on my bike!

Photo Credit: Giant Bicycles Melbourne Australia

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Fantasy orchid, enjoying colour

Yesterday's WW orchid, put through Paint Shop Pro 6. I like the new flower shape and colours. In this rendition, you can see more of the flower's texture.
Hope the colours and/or form are an inspiration to the artists out there.
Everybody have a great day!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Wordless + Lensday - RED orchid at sunset

Red and velvety.
BLC George King 'Serendipity' x BLC Bryce Canyon 'Splendiferous'
Shot at sunset last september.

Happy WW, did you play?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Sulphur Crested Cockatoo visits garden

Before I arrived in Australia, I only ever saw these Cockatoos in pet shops. Now that Ive seem them in thier element, Im even more fond of them. They come through in big mobs at sunset, its quite a sight to see (and hear!). Lucky I had my camera with me in the garden last evening to get this quick shot. Just after this one was taken, one of my housecats attempted to pounce - thru a sliding glass door. Cockie took off like a rocket, leaving kitty to nurse a headache.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Questions about Budgerigars or Parakeets?

A fair number of folk find my blog when searching for information about thier pet budgerigars. If you have a question about your pet Budgie or 'Keet, go ahead and ask me! Feel free to ask about other sorts of birds as well - the worst that can happen is I wont know the answer, so fire away! Dont be shy!

Ask your question by leaving a comment on this post.

Todays picture: An old shot of a very young Magellan and Verdigris. Taken just before joining the main flock in the aviary after being handreared. I miss having them in the studio with me, they were great company!

questions so far, please see comments for:
Budgie chews wallpaper
Budgie colours: wild, sex differences

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Budgie Sunday - Meet Verdigris

Verdigris is a four year old, green Opaline parakeet and Magellan's sister. Being a few days younger than Magellan, she didnt have as many feathers emerging when thier (mother plucker!) mother decided to try to pluck them out. So you can see on her shoulders where parts of her opaline pattern is missing, but its not as pronounced as on poor Magellan.

When I discovered they were being plucked, I asked a more experienced keeper what to do. His advice was to coat the chicks in vaseline, to make plucking them more difficult and unpleasant for the mum. Of course when I returned the chicks, she just started plucking again. To make things worse, that evening she wouldnt sit on them to keep them warm. Thats when they came inside with me, and I became thier mum.

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Verdi, Magellan and I are still very good friends. Each visit to the aviary she will sit on one hand, grab my thumbnail in her beak and start 'thumb wrestling' me. She enjoys it so much, her nickname is Battle Bird! When shes had her fill, she sits on my shoulder, places her beak in my ear, and softly sings to me.

Verdi's favourite veggie is corn, and she prefers it on the cob.

Happy Sunday EveryBudgie!!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

A Lazy Saturday

So far its been an unusually lazy saturday morning. The Most DH and brother in law have taken the boat out early, so Im hoping they get some nice fish for dinner.

The weather is glorious and Im thinking today the last six rose bushes will get thier seasonal pruning. Its a little late to put in hollyhock seeds, but Im going to do that as well.

And then perhaps, between loads of laundry, I will have a long visit with everybudgie.

The photo today is of a rose hip from Mr Lincoln. These colours are near to the colours Im searching for, for the new quilt. I might have to give up that quest and dye my own. I wonder what sort of incredible mess I can make doing that....

Friday, August 10, 2007

The Cure Sydney Entertainment Centre Aug 9 '07

Im not a professional reviewer, in fact I probally suck as a reviewer - but here it is, GREAT SHOW!!!!!

Where to start? It was my first time at the Sydney Entertainment Centre, and I must say, its not a venue for music, is it? Acoustically its...terrible! Its well run and clean, the center staff know what they are doing. Its just a pity that they are a bit of a buzz kill while doing it. Id have liked to get up and dance a bit, more than I could manage in my seat. And I wish Id brought my camera! Although the tickets and many signs at the venue say 'no recording devices' I saw hundreds of them. It perplexes me that that sort of thing wasnt enforced, while major efforts were made to keep everyone tight to thier seat. (I got these shots with my camera phone.)

But I still had a fantastic time! The Cure have some unreal sound equipment - the last time every fibre of my being vibrated like that, the military was involved. Amazing! Loud to the very edge of pain - that didnt matter either! Too swept away by the passion for thier music coming from them! Even with all that great equipment, it amazes me how four individuals communicate intimately with a huge crowd...amazes me!

Who did the lighting? Ive never seen colours so clean - razor sharp pure colours, deployed very artfully. Being a colour lover - I seriously dug the lights as well as the music. They also used alot of light out over and onto the crowd, which really left me feeling like I was a part of the show. Nice bonus!

Numbers spanned thier career, and I admitt, its the old old stuff that excites me most. I guess thats to be expected after 28 years of grooving to Three Imaginary Boys. It was great to see people young enough to be there with a parent - and BOTH of them enjoying the gig! Makes me reflect on how much has changed since the first time I dyed my hair purple and learned to play the bass - amplified by the fact that I cant play the bass anymore....I guess I finally understand the value of 'nostalgia'.

Id hoped to hear 10:15 Saturday Night, and The Most DH was hoping for Killing an Arab. And in the final encore - we got our wish. I swear its like they knew what Id come for! And they played for over three hours - how cool is that?!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Five Lemurs ready for the day

While its not the best shot, its useful for confirming that there were five lemurs in the group hug. All awake now, they broke up thier hug huddle and went to sit in the sun in thier little Buddha-like pose.

I really loved these guys, they had so much personality - and the tails! Who wouldnt love to have a luxurious tail like that? We went back the next day just so I could see them again, and even then I had to be convinced to leave!

Big day ahead today, The Most DH and I are going to see The Cure tonight at the Sydney Entertainment Centre. However, theres a couple of metric tonnes of things to do before the fun begins, so I best be off - Have a Happy Day!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Wordless Wednesday - Lemur Group Hug

Ringtail Lemurs at the Dubbo Zoo.
On cold nights the Lemurs huddle together in a big group hug to keep warm. Happy WW, Did you play?

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Cymbidium "Pop Art"

Made time for play last night, with yesterdays cymbidium photos. Luminous and vivid...Im very sorry you cant see it full screen where it really comes to life. (Although you can get a larger view by clicking on the photo.)
You know, Im going to have to retire my Paint Shop Pro 6 someday, and I dont look forward to it. Do you use a graphics program? Any recomendations youd care to share?

Thank you Fiskars!

In my 10 Things I hate meme post I complained that I was unhappy with Fiskars response time to my email query. I have my answer now. They no longer make replacement blades for my old secateurs, BUT...

They sent me a new pair! Yesterday they arrived, with a bonus holster which also has a pocket for my cell phone. Marvellous, Thank you Fiskars! I look forward to remaining a loyal customer.

Well, Ive no excuse now. I have 25 rose bushes to prune, so you know where I will be today.

(This is NOT a sponsored post. Thier gardening products and scissors are very good quality, and I have used them for years.)

Monday, August 6, 2007

Tips for growing Cymbidium orchids

Australia's spring is heralded by the wattles and cymbidium orchids. Heres one from our collection, which grows in a pot under a gum tree in the backyard.

'Cymbids' are super easy to grow, and are available at most large garden centres. We bring plants in flower into the house, but when the blossoms have finished they go back outside.

  • Place your cymbid under a tree where it will recieve full morning sun, and dappled light for the rest of the day.
  • Keep moist but not wet.
  • The absolute easiest way to keep them fed is with slow release granules which are formulated for orchids.
  • We also like to use liquid blood and bone, and pretty much feed all our orchids whenever we think of it.

Cymbidiums come in a wide range of colours, and thier tall spikes of bloom are always breathtaking. If you dont find one you like at the garden centre, there are specialist growers all over the world. Find them with Google, or your local yellow pages.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Budgie Sunday - Meet Goliath

Goliath is a two year old yellow face blue budgerigar. He got his name from being the biggest and fastest growing chick in his clutch. His parents are Goldie and Freebird, and he is much bigger than both of them - together!

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Goliath is madly in love with Uno, a recessive pied green hen who also has a yellow face. Theyve been a pair since April. In May they shared a nest and had five eggs, but none hatched. Being the first time for both of them, thats not unusual or worrysome. Better luck next time now they've had some practice.

Uno's been known to treat him rather harshly, and even for todays photos I saw her be cruel to him once. But watching them closely, in the main she seems to really enjoy his companionship. I sincerely hope she stops toying with his heart. Shes not the only eligible hen in the aviary, and his loyalty and attentiveness has not escaped the attention of other hens.
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Goliath likes to be everywhere Uno is, and when he can't for whatever reason, rivals move in. (Yes, Gorgeous George is one of them!) This burly budgie sends them packing just by returning to Uno's side. The rivals may be foolish to try for her, but they are not stupid.

Besides Uno, Goliath loves fresh carrott and pumpkins. I suspect not so much for the beta carotene as the crunch.

Happy Budgie Sunday Everyone!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Anticipating Spring: Acacia Cultriformis (Wattle)

The buds on our Knife Wattle (Acacia Cultriformis) are beginning to colour up. The inset in the photo gives you a hint of what the flowers look like once they open. When the sun hits these blossoms, the whole shrub lights up as if it were electrified. Here in Australia, the Wattles are the heralds of spring.

I believe this is called the Knife Wattle due to the shape of the leaves. We purchased this one at the Mount Annan Botanical Gardens in April 2005. The day we planted it, it was a single trunk only 61cm (2 feet) tall. Today it has several trunks just over 2 meters (7 feet) tall. At maturity we expect the shrub to be 3 meters (approx 10 feet) tall and 2 meters (7 feet) wide.

The cascading branchlets bloom in profusion, calling in all manner of birds. The bees love it too. We have horrible chalky soil, and yet it has thrived. As a member of the acacia family, as it grows it will improve the soil by adding nitrogen and breaking up the chalk. A winner all round, I cant for the life of me wonder why I dont see more of these growing.

Once this shrub hits full bloom, I will take its photo again. In the meantime, try to keep warm, and remember: Spring is coming!

Friday, August 3, 2007

Now Blooming: Encyclia Cochleata

I grow this Encyclia Cochleata mounted to a section of tree branch. This branch is hung in the same Callistemon (Bottle Brush) tree that I grow my Stanhopea in.

It began blooming in May when this photo was taken, but is still blooming now with more buds yet to open. Some Encyclia growers will tell you that if you are growing them correctly, they should never be without a flower, (but between you and me, I think they are just party-poopers.)

If youd like more information on Encyclias, a good overview can be found at Orchids of the World, and more detailed info at Encyclia Enthusiasts. Have fun exloring!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

If at first you don't succeed...

Try, try again.

Its true of many things, but that old saying comes to mind today as I have once again been unable to get photos of the pair of Little Wattlebirds who have been courting each other in my gardens.

I spent about fourty minutes carefully stalking the pair around the prickly Grevillea Scarlet Sprite they were taking nectar from.

Realizing it was time to pack it in for the morning, I retreated to the kitchen to make a cuppa. While I waited for the kettle, the male perched on the faucet handle, and the female nearby him. Quickly, I picked up the camera and shot through the window. Dang! The shutter lag in my Kodak DX6490 failed me once again. Crumbs!

This afternoon when they return, I will just set up in the kitchen and try, try again.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Wordless + Lensday - Sunshine

Ringtail Lemurs at the Dubbo zoo, enjoying the winter morning sun.
Happy WW! Did you play?