Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Wild Bird Wednesday 167 - New Holland Honeyeater

This is a bird I have been trying to get some pictures of for a long while - it's not that its rare, it's just that I don't seem to see them up close very often.  The garden in the house at Apollo Bay had a resident pair of these birds (as far as I could tell) and while they were still a bit nervous, I did get some shots by waiting (and waiting) on the verhadna overlooking the garden until the bids started to ignore me.

New Holland Honeyeaters are a smart little bird about 18 cm long.  I tend to associate them with places close to coast, but in reality they can be found further inland.  That being said, their distribution does hug the south coast of the country.

Unless you happen to live in the Australian region - i.e. Australia, NZ, New Guinea or a few small Pacific Islands (specific Pacifics I suppose!) you will not see many Honeyeaters as they are restricted to this area.

They don't really eat honey, but do eat nectar and other sweet fluids produced by plants.  Because this diet is very low in protein, many of the Honeyeaters will also eat insect.

So, enough of this - I give you Phyidonyris novaehollandiae - the New Holland Honeyeater.

Now its your turn - and once more, I would invite you to tell fellow bloggers you know who may be interested in such things about the wonder that is WBW!  So, off you go!

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Across the river and into the trees

The Otways are both a range of hills and an area of cool, termperate rainforest.  Apollo Bay, where we stayed in the school holidays is one of the larger settlements on the coast of the Otways.

Given that the area supports rains forest is hardly surprising that it get a decent amount of rain - and where you have rain and hills, you get waterfalls.

This waterfall is called Hopetoun Falls and it is only a short - but steep - walk to the base of the falls from the carpark.  The whole area is wonderfully cool and green.

 In many ways that Otways are similar to the forests of the Pacific Northwest of the USA - and there is another American connection just down the road for these falls.

In the 1930 a number of plantations of Californian Redwoods were planted in the Otways - and some of been left more or less undisturbed since then.  Many of them have reached a height of 60 m and some people think that given time (and a bit of luck) they may one day be has tall as the trees in their native lands. Now that would be a sight to see.

I have converted one of the images into black and white. In the final image you can see the 'ghosts' of people moving between the trees - this is what happens when you use a 2 second exposure.  I have to say it was pretty dark under those trees.

You can find more shots from around the world at Our World Tuesday.  SM

Friday, 2 October 2015

Just a hint of sky

I may be cheating a bit here, but as I can see the sky in these pictures I post them today!

When I was down at Apollo Bay I was playing with the camera on my phone - some of the things that these cameras can do are remarkable.  Although I don't feel any imminent need to sell my DSLRs!

These do need to be clicked on to see them at their best.

You will find lots more shots of the sky, and probably lots more sky at SkyWatch Friday.  SM

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Wild Bird Wednesday 166 - Satin Bowerbirds

The house I stayed in last week at Apollo Bay had a wonderful garden, full of hidden places, tall flowering plants and Satin Bowerbirds.  The hidden places and plants were pretty much what I had expected, the Bowerbirds were a wonderful surprise.

However, the Bowerbirds were also frustratingly shy - especially the males.

The Satin Bowerbird - Ptilonorhynchus violaceus - is a rather chunky, thick-set bird about about 30 long.  The male is a wonderful glossy blue-black and the females (and juveniles) are an attractive grey-green with delicate scaly markings.  Both sexes have rather startlingly blue eyes.

I think there was a lot of pre-breeding feeding going on in the garden, and I was unable to find any bowers.  The species has a real fondness for blue objects and the bower, which is built to impress the female, often contains dozens of blue objects.  These must have been in short supply in the past,  but today the bowers are often full of pen tops, milk carton lids and other bits of human rubbish.

I have included a few 'atmosphere' shots of the males, hidden in bushes and basically always just out of sight.  For a very brief period of time one female was willing to pose on a branch for me.

Next time, I'll paint myself blue and see if the birds come over to check me out!

Regular visitors here will not be surprised that I rather like this last image - as it sums up the frustration I had when I was trying to get some picture of the male bird - always a little bit hidden.

Now it's your turn to click the blue button and join in with WBW.  SM