Trip to Darwin

It’s already been a couple of weeks since our return but Judy and I visited Darwin for a wedding. The bride is my niece Stephanie and the groom is Matt. They live in Darwin, hence the need for us to travel north. My other niece Cheryl is in the background wearing purple.

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Darwin is a great place. Despite the heat being a bit excessive, there are some great tropical plants, most of them with huge leaves and the best flowers.

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And then there is the Mindil Market. Yes it’s full of tourists but at the time we were also tourists so that makes it OK.

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For those of you who know me, Darwin is also a great place for birding. Especially if you don’t visit Darwin often. It makes the birding feel new on each visit.

I attended a birding tour to Fog Dam, East Point and some other good areas. The guide, (Mike) knew is stuff and the birding was great, especially Fog Dam.

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Above is tour guide Mike on a trail with the late afternoon light throwing long shadows.

PS   Check out the latest song I’ve purchased. I don’t know how it happened but I’ve become a lady Gaga fan!

Getting rid of Pittosporum

Whilst Sweet Pittosporum (Pittosporum undulatum) is a native to Australia, it’s considered by most to be a weed in the Dandenongs.

In the last few years I’ve been associated with a site in the Dandenongs where someone has been working at getting rid of Sweet Pittosporum on his property.

It’s been a long, hard, expensive, leech infested slog but improvement is possible. If it’s worth doing you need to stick it out for the long term. The area in the photograph below was suffering from Sweet Pittosporum.

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Windfarms . . . . safe?

Once again I’m counting birds at Oaklands wind farm.

It’s funny but usually I spend more time watching the sheep on the farms rather than the birds, mostly to avoid running over them.  However, the guy below was easy to photograph.

Sorry for those of you who are young. . . but. . . . I’ve spent a lot of time on farms in my life and today I thought, not many people “these days” would see the skulls of animals.

Anyway, you must agree, this is different from my usual picture of a sunrise over a wind turbine.

 

Sheep skull at Oaklands April 2013

 

Up close with an Ant

I have always liked ants. As a child I would frequently establish an ant farm and watch the ants dig holes and move their eggs about their tiny tunnels.

Now as an adult I still find ants interesting, so it’ only natural that with the advent of new technology in microscopes, I have once again turned my eyes to ants.

The photograph below was taken by me with my new Digital Microscope. The ant is in the Genus Myrmecia, (Bull Ant). I have yet to identify the species.

Isn’t it cute!

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Walk to the beach at Byron Bay

Judy and I are currently staying at Byron Bay. As one would expect, something I do on a regular basis in walk to the beach from our unit. Following are a series of photographs I took of the walk to the beach.

On the way to the beach is a small reserve with some remnant vegetation. The following shot is pretty much in the centre of this small reserve. It’s very tropical compared to Rye.

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On the trip to the beach you have to cross an old rail line. We actually caught the train up from Melbourne many years ago but the line was closed in 2004

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Close to the end of the track is an easy climb over the fore dune to the beach. 

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And on the beach looking south to the main CBD of Byron.Image

 

The vegetation on this fore dune has lots of scope for improvement. 

 

 

Cats are nice but

A friend of mine, (Sarah Maclagan) is carrying out research involving Southern Brown Bandicoots. Sarah has found that Bandicoots may live in Blackberry or quality remnant vegetation but more recently, Sarah has confirmed a suspected limiting factor to the survival of Bandicoots that is not surprising.  Makes you wonder what the future is for our native animals.

ABC article

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-02-05/cats-threatening-endangered-souther-brown-bandicoot/4499548?section=vic

youtube clip

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1SIVirQ8Iyw

Cat with baby Bandicoot

another wind turbine photograph

 

Yes, I’m spending another week at Oaklands counting birds and I must admit, I’m still very impressed with the turbines. They are enormous and I love it when the sun is rising behind these monsters.

It makes me wonder, for those of us born pre 1990, wind farms are still a novelty and we look in wonder at the spectacle of them.  But how will people view them in 20 – 50 years from now?   Will wind farms still be around then?

My lucky photograph taken this morning

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Summer 2013 Oaklands

 

I do love digital cameras.

Flinders Street Melbourne, 2013

My father is from a very small town in north central Victoria called Mitiamo.

His first trip to Melbourne was around 1940, after he had just enlisted in the airforce and was about to be shipped off to Darwin to help repair planes that were damaged.

One interesting comment he makes about his first trip to Melbourne was his amazement at the the number of rail lines leading into Flinders Street Station.

Below is a photograph of that area taken yesterday (16th January 2013).

The rail lines are still there, most likely with a few additions but there would no doubt be more additions to the skyline. The Tennis Centre was not there and the MCG was 16 years away from the 1956 Olympics and glass hotels and apartments would be considered impossible to make. The Citilink tollway, (right) running across the rail lines would have been considered science fiction.

I live south of Melbourne on the Mornington Peninsula and whilst I seldom venture into Melbourne, when I do, even I am reminded of it’s changes over time.

Pano_MCG & Tennis centre 1

And now . . . . it’s a dusty failure

From time to time I drive past Martha Cove Marina at Safety Beach.

It wasn’t all that long ago a bunch of environmentalists were complaining how Martha Cove Marina would ruin this region of the Mornington Peninsula. They complained about the loss of the little creek that ran through this floodplain and how it would be better off planted out with swamp scrub. Then it could have returned to it’s former glory as a productive estuary.

Now,  it’s a dusty failure.

 

Pano_Safety Beach Mariner 1 (Jan 2013)

 

 

 

 

Toby has cut our hay

The hay has been cut on our little block at Nyora. It’s not a big block and most hay cutters wouldn’t be interested in doing it but Toby is and he has. Baling will take place in a day or so, (I guess).

Toby doesn’t provide a great deal of feed back or indeed, say much but he does drive his friend to the eye specialist on a regular basis in an attempt to avoid his becoming blind. He also cuts our hay and has been doing so for more than 15 years.  Thanks Toby.

 

Hay cut at Nyora dec 2012