Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Wild Bird Wednesday 192 - Collared Dove

Just to break the string of birds from Lord Howe, I have gone back into the archives to find some shots from my last trip to the UK.

These are Collared Doves (Streptopelia decaocto) from Bempton Cliffs RSPB reserve in Yorkshire.  If you are in the UK, I highly recommend a visit to this site - although the puffins and gannets are the stars I really liked catching up with birds like these.

The Collared Dove has undergone  a huge expansion in range in the last 100 years or so.  It was first recorded as a breeding species in the UK in 1955, but now it has spread over most of the country.  In the game of winners and losers in the game of environmental change, it would seem that the Collared Dove is a winner.

The count down to WBW continues - so for the 192nd time, click on the blue button to join in with Wild Bird Wednesday. 

Monday, 28 March 2016


As part of the 52Frames group I try to take a picture based on a provided theme each week - so far I have managed every week of this year - although not all of the pictures make it to this blog.

Last weeks theme was 'Line from a Song' - so I delved into my 'record' collection to come up with inspiration.

I have been looking for a reason to photograph this for a while. This sword is prominent on the outside on St. Marks church in Camberwell, Melbourne. I cant help but find it unsettling. The conflation of truth with belief and violence with religion seems not to be an entirely new issue.

'Bring me my broadsword and clear understanding. Bring me my cross of gold as a talisman.'

Broadsword, Jethro Tull, 1982.

Here are 3 versions of pictures I took.

Should you feel in any way included to hear the song that the line that inspired these images is from, you can hear it here.

I will be away from my desk for a few days this week, so replies will not be speedy!  SM

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Wild Bird Wednesday 191 - Brown Noddy

Yet more pictures from Lord Howe - I've been rather busy for much of the start of this year, so I'm glad I have a back catalogue to mine!

I'm just going to post these pictures today - and let them do the talking instead of me.

And now, for the 191st time, it's your turn.  Click on the blue button and off you go.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016


I seem to be behind again!

These are some reflections in buildings from the trip along the Yarra last weekend.

Hope to catch up soon.

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

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Wild Bird Wednesday 190 - White Terns (Part 2)

Of all the birds I saw in Lord Howe, the White Terns (Gygis alba) were probably the most remarkable .  Just pure white, with a blue beak, they were always stunning to watch.  And their behaviour was even more remarkable (if thats possible).

Laying an egg and raising chicks on a bare branch without the slightest hint of a nest is just so unbelievable.  When I was there first, there were no chicks really making themselves seen. (You can see the pictures here).  Six weeks later there were chick to been seen.

Adult with chick
Adult with chick
If you look closely at the two picture above you can see a chick (a grey fluffy lump!) emerging from under the feathers of the adults.  I played a waiting game for a better view, but the terns won!

White Tern Chick 
White Tern Chick 
Eventually, I visited the nest site when the adults were away and got these images.  Before people start commenting about disturbance, this 'nest' was about five feet from the edge of a road, and right next to a foot path at eye level!  It would have been hard for the bird to have laid an egg in a busier place on this rather peaceful island!

This is a slightly larger chick - this one belongs to a different pair of adults than the one above.  As you can see from the angle of my shot, this one is a little over head hight, but was right next to the road.  Unfortunately, this chick did not make it through the week while I could watch it.  I found (what was left of) its body below this branch one morning.  Given that there are no cats on the island, the key suspects in this case are probably the rats on the island.

The chicks that survive grow quickly and shed the fluff!  But they do gain ginger 'smudges' on their plumage.
Juvenile White Tern
Eventually the birds become pure white as adults.  The colour casts you can see in the images below are caused by the birds reflecting coloured light from their surroundings.  I think this is most noticeable in the image of the bird about to land on the tree - where you can see a green cast on the feathers.  The adult birds in flight are a wonder to behold!

All of these pictures - but especially the flight shots - look better bigger - so, click on the images to enlarge them.

And now, for the 190th time, it's your turn.  Click on the blue button and off you go.

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

The bridges of Melbourne City

We all took a boat trip down the Yarra yesterday - started with coffee at Southbank and ended with fish and chips at Williamson Town.  It was pretty crowed in the ferry on the way down - but much better on the way back.  Really interesting to see the city from the river, and to see parts of the city that I normally never see at all.

It was also rather good to see the Westgate and Bolte Bridges from the river.  I think I would recommend this as a day trip for Melbourners!

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

Monday, 14 March 2016

Accidental Art

Found this under a bridge near me - the brighter square is covering some graffiti of some sort - thought it made a rather nice 'minimal' art work!

You can find more macro shots at Macro Monday and I love Macro

Friday, 11 March 2016

Sooty Skies

These birds are Sooty Terns (Sterna fuscata) and the big blue thing behind them is the sky!

I like the simplicity of these pictures.

You can find more sky shots at Sky Watch Friday.  SM

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Wild Bird Wednesday 189 - Emerald Ground-dove

Back to Lord Howe this week.  For a bird that is 'often seen wandering nonchalantly about the forest and roadside' (according to the local guide book) I found it hard to get really good shots of this bird.  I think I would have replaced 'wandering nonchalantly' with 'frantically dashing' and 'often behind grass'!

Anyway, this bird is a Emerald Ground-dove (Chalcophaps indica). It is about 25cm long and you can see why it's called emerald.

I have been actively looking for new bird bloggers through twitter - so, if you see any new names on the link up could you make a big effort to hop over to their blogs and say hello!

As ever, click the blue button to join in.  SM

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Local Magpies

There seems to have been a bit of an influx of Magpies into our area of late - I often see what I take to be family groups on my morning walks.  Of course, give that I am half asleep at those times I don't tend to have a camera.

So, this Sunday I went on a Magpie safari.   Much as ever, the sight of a grown man sticking a rather large lens out of the window of his car, or balancing it on a bean-bag on top of a fire hydrant, or worse of all, laying flat on his stomach on the nature strip to get pictures did cause a bit of interest.  I say that these people need to get a hobby!

One of the birds seems very pleased to have his (or her) picture taken and I was more than happy to oblige!

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