Beautiful Bithry

Bithry Inlet, at the mouth of Wapengo Lake, on the Far South Coast of New South Wales, is another favourite beauty spot in Summer.BlogBithry20%IMG_8810 BlogBithry20%IMG_8837Its shallow waters are perfect for families with young children, as well as fishermen (who catch bream, salmon, mulloway and flathead) and birdwatchers.BlogBithry20%IMG_8815BlogBithry20%IMG_8851BlogBithry20%IMG_8881 In the photo above is a lone puffer fish, while the photos below shows a congress of Pied Oystercatchers, discussing the latest weather!BlogBithry2015-03-08 12.10.22BlogBithry2015-03-08 12.09.16 Here is a photo of our map to give you an idea of its location!BlogBithry20%IMG_8898

This area also has an interesting historical component, of which we were unaware on our first two visits. We always knew that the land adjoining Bithry Inlet, the property called Penders, had been donated by Ken Myers and Sir Roy Grounds to the New South Wales Government for incorporation into Mimosa Rocks National Park, but did not realize that it contained a number of significant structures and areas that the general public could explore, as indicated by the map on the interpretive signs at the site:BlogBithry2017-07-25 13.17.00BlogBithry2017-07-25 13.04.57 They include: the Myer House and precinct (though this is off-limits when booked out in holiday times); the Barn and Geodesic Dome; the Bum Seat, The Point, the picnic table and various sculptures and structures like the old Wind Tower; the Forest Plantation; the Orchard and Lake; and the various coastal walks, including a 2 Km walk to Middle Beach.BlogBithry2017-07-25 13.14.44BlogBithry2017-07-25 13.14.49 Each area is well-signposted with interpretive signs seen above (which were produced by The Interpretive Design Company, based on NPWS brand templates, and can also be accessed on http://interpretivedesign.com.au/portfolio/wayfinding/wayfinding-signs/. They give maps and information about the history and all the personalities involved. Here is a brief summary!

Kenneth Baillieu Myers (1921-1992) was the Director and Chairman of the famous Myer Emporium, which had been established by his father Sidney, a Russian immigrant, in Melbourne in 1911. His background and the development of this iconic business is an amazing story in itself. See: http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/myer-simcha-sidney-7721.

Like his father, Kenneth was a successful businessman, a patron of the arts, humanities and sciences and a great philanthropist, being heavily involved with and donating to a wide number of institutions, including:

The Howard Florey Institute for medical science research;

Canberra’s National Library, of which he was chairman from 1974 to 1982;

The National Capital Planning Committee;

The Australian Universities Commission;

The Australian Broadcasting Commission, of which he was chairman from 1983 to 1986; and

The National Gallery of Victoria and the Victorian Arts Centre, which he chaired from 1965 to 1989.

For more information about Kenneth, it is worth reading his biography, The Many Lives of Kenneth Myer by Sue Ebury 2008. See: https://www.mup.com.au/books/9780522855463-the-many-lives-of-kenneth-myer , as well as : http://www.theaustralian.com.au/archive/lifestyle/life-in-the-business-of-giving/news-story/89849fe8aa80c5bcc133ba4bc4e5e074.

During his time at the National Gallery of Victoria, he developed a close friendship with Sir Roy Grounds, the architect of the Victorian Arts Centre, built in 1968. They shared each other’s visions and design philosophies, as well as a love of nature, conservation and creativity.

Sir Roy Burman Grounds (1905-1981) was a pivotal figure in the development of Modernism in Australian house design. See: http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/grounds-sir-roy-burman-12571. Famous for the design of the Victorian Arts Centre, which won the Royal Australian Institute of Architecture Gold Medal in 1968, he received a knighthood in 1969. He was fascinated by idealistic geometric forms and strongly believed in nature as a central influence in his creative process, both tenets which he was able to fully explore in the building of his structures at Penders.

Roy Grounds initially purchased the 544 acre (224 hectares) property in May 1964, but he and Ken Myers became tenants in common with equal shares in 1966. The land, which stretched from Bithry Inlet south to Middle Beach, was predominantly covered in spotted gum and mahogany forest with an understorey of macrozamias, though much of it had been cleared to graze dairy cattle. For historical information about the property, see: http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/resources/parks/cmpFinalPenders02Historical.pdf. By January 1965, the Myers and Grounds families were camping at Penders.BlogBithry2017-07-25 15.27.15The first structure built at Penders was a simple slab seat at The Point, affording panoramic views over the sea and entrance to Bithry Inlet (first photo) and back over the inlet to Wapengo Lake (second photo).BlogBithry2017-07-25 17.00.52BlogBithry2017-07-25 13.33.31 The seat was built from 1964-1965 from slabs, salvaged from an enormous tree felled before their arrival at Penders, with small log rounds acting as low stools and tables.BlogBithry2517-12-27 11.32.26In 1965, Roy Grounds submitted plans for a barn,which was built with the help of locals, Bob Hunter and Nev Whittle, and which Roy and his wife, Betty, then proceeded to use as a holiday house. It’s a delightful structure and is also known locally as The Tepee!BlogBithry2017-07-25 13.34.56BlogBithry2017-07-25 13.22.20 Based on a nonagon (nine sides), The Barn was built from spotted gum logs, cut on site and treated with an early version of the Tanalith process, while the floor is made of small timber rounds from off-cuts, thus reducing waste (second photo below).BlogBithry2017-07-25 13.18.00BlogBithry2017-07-25 17.12.38The walls and ceiling are formed by bright yellow blinds, which were raised and lowered with ropes and pulleys, to control light, weather and cross-ventilation and allow a harmonious union between nature and the built environment. They billow like sails in the wind and at night were a canvas for red and gold reflections from the flickering fire!BlogBithry2017-07-25 13.22.50Originally, the barn had a sod roof of yellow daisies in amongst Kikuya grass, but unfortunately, it became a home to bush rats and the weight of the roof in wet weather caused sagging of the roof and splaying of the barn supports, threatening imminent collapse! This is a photo of the original sod roof from the interpretive board.BlogBithry2517-07-25 13.05.05 It was replaced by a corrugated yellow fibreglass roof, which acted as a permanent beacon of golden light, which could be seen from Wapengo Lake, until it too was replaced with the current roof in 1993. Below is a photo of the inside of the roof:BlogBithry2017-07-25 13.22.40Inside, there was a wood stove and hot water service; a septic system; a sunken bathroom; a battery room, housing a dozen 12 volt car batteries, storing power from an 11 metre tall wind tower beyond the Point; and even a kitchen sink!BlogBithry2517-12-27 11.27.41BlogBithry2017-07-25 17.12.51 The Wind Tower was built by Nev Whittle in 1964 from untreated stringybark poles in a tripod construction, braced at intervals, with a ladder attached and 3 wind blades on the top. A 32 volt DC generator was housed in a shed at the base of the windmill, with wires leading underground to the battery room of the Barn. Water was pumped in from tanks and dams.BlogBithry2017-07-25 13.39.01Outside the Barn is a outdoor table and bench, the Marr Bench and Table, so called because they were designed and built by Marr Grounds, Roy’s son, also an architect, sculptor and educator, being the Senior Lecturer in Environmental Design and Art in the Department of Architecture at the University of Sydney until 1985. See: http://www.marrgrounds.com.au.

BlogBithry2017-07-25 16.21.07BlogBithry2017-07-25 16.30.12 We ate our picnic there, accompanied by a rather quiet swamp wallaby.BlogBithry2017-07-25 16.30.37BlogBithry2017-07-25 16.30.47Nearby  is the Bum Seat, also designed by Marr, another wonderful spot to dream and contemplate and admire the stunning Bithry Inlet! The Bum Seat is a simple timber slab, inscribed with the imprints of two large and two smaller female and male bottoms. Marr also erected a number of statues around the grounds, as well as a few utility buildings.BlogBithry2517-12-27 11.22.41BlogBithry2017-07-25 17.12.11BlogBithry2017-07-25 13.18.48The nearby Geodesic Dome was constructed by Roy after the Barn to house his carpentry tools and then, Betty’s vegetable and herb garden.BlogBithry2017-07-25 13.17.45 Its form is based on the repetitive use of a single geometric shape, the triangle, with the three ends of tanalith-treated saplings, each meeting another 5 triangles, the hub giving the dome its structural stability and protected by galvanised Tomlin garbage tin lids. Eighty percent of the dome was enclosed using panels of yellow sail cloth, the north facing aspect glazed with clear acrylic and was heated by the battery system, allowing the cultivation of pawpaws!BlogBithry2517-12-27 11.42.12Being passionate about conservation and environment, the Myers and Grounds planted many trees to revegetate the previously logged site and  in 1966, started a small scale commercial timber production, using a Tanalith treatment process (using Copper azole). See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wood_preservation. By the mid-1970s, eucalypt plantations were established on one third of the property, being cared for and maintained by John and Mary Cremerius, who were originally employed to clean up the degraded site, with a team of seven foresters under the supervision of Lindsay Pryor, a botanist and expert in eucalyptus taxonomy, who founded the Australian National Botanic Garden. By 1982, there were 1050 trees planted to each hectare and today, there are over 60 000 trees in various stages of growth.BlogBithry2017-07-25 15.30.23BlogBithry2017-07-25 14.00.59The Myer House was designed by Sir Roy Grounds for Ken and his first wife, Prue, and their five children, and built between 1969 and 1970 by Kingsley Koellner, with the help of George Hoylands, of Bega. Below are some photos of the Myer House and Precinct, including the tennis court, outdoor table and path down to the beach.BlogBithry2017-07-25 13.07.06BlogBithry2017-07-25 13.07.21BlogBithry2017-07-25 13.09.42BlogBithry2017-07-25 17.19.29 Ken and Prue divorced in 1977, Ken remarrying a Japanese artist, Yasuko Hiraoka (1945-1992), later that year. Ken and Yasuko modified the house by adding a series of infilled spaces to the perimeter verandah. They also moved the kitchen from the entrance hall, which was refitted to allow the Japanese practice of removing one’s shoes before entering the house.BlogBithry2017-07-25 13.08.53BlogBithry2017-07-25 17.18.39Yasuko shared Ken’s passion for the natural world, working on the vegetables and herbs, while Ken pruned the fruit trees and roses.BlogBithry2017-07-25 15.42.17 I love the netted Orchard with its huge old camellias and old gnarled fruit trees,

 

although it’s all a bit the worse for wear these days, allowing previously prohibited access by kangaroos like this huge fellow!BlogBithry2517-12-27 12.08.14 While they lived there, they were virtually self-sufficient in vegetables and fruit, with supplies topped up by the produce of the Cremerius garden and the odd spot of fishing.BlogBithry2017-07-25 15.46.45BlogBithry2017-07-25 15.46.26 The orchard was watered from the nearby dam, a very peaceful spot covered in water lilies. In 1983 and 1985, Yasuko’s father, Masa Suke Hiraoka, laid out a small nine-hole golf course nearby, the first tee marked by a timber block with his initials, MH. The area is slowly regenerating since revegetation work was carried out in 1993.BlogBithry2517-12-27 12.03.50BlogBithry2517-12-27 12.06.27 Unfortunately, Ken and Yasuko died in a light airplane crash, when on a fishing expedition, in Alaska at the end of July 1992. There is a lovely memorial site to their memory up on the ridge in the forest. Joanna Baevski, Ken’s daughter, became the lessee of the Myers precinct on their death and from 1993 to 1994, added a bedroom for her daughter on the north-east corner of the house.BlogBithry2017-07-25 15.36.35BlogBithry2017-07-25 15.35.24BlogBithry2017-07-25 15.35.40Sir Roy Grounds and Kenneth Myer had offered Penders to the New South Wales State Government back in 1973, on the basis that it would be reserved as National Park. It was officially gifted to the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) in 1976, being incorporated into the 5802 hectare Mimosa Rocks National Park. Marr Grounds and his daughter became the lessees of the Ground’s precinct after Roy’s death in 1981, with Marr being the primary occupant and caretaker till 2011. The blinds of the Barn were replaced in 1984 after 20 years of gales and Marr dismantled the windmill in 1996, leaving three inclined posts as a sculptural relic and installed a series of commemorative lead plaques across the site after Ken’s death.BlogBithry2017-07-25 13.39.16BlogBithry2017-07-25 13.33.09In 1981, the Barn was placed on the Register of the National Estate. In 1991, it  was classified by the National Trust and included on its register and in 1998, the Barn, Geodesic Dome and the site of the former timber preservation works were added to the NSW State Heritage Inventory as an example of coastal forest regeneration, a plantation timber production and experimental architecture.BlogBithry2017-07-25 15.36.39The final parcel of land of 20 hectares was handed over to NPWS in 2011 on the expiry of the Myer and Grounds’ leases. In 2012, the Myer House underwent extensive renovation work, restoring the interiors to their original style, and is now available to the general public for short-term stays for up to 12 people. See: http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/camping-and-accommodation/accommodation/myer-house. In 2013, Penders was added to the State Heritage Register.

We loved exploring the history of the area, as well as doing the 2 Km walk south to Middle Beach. See: https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/things-to-do/walking-tracks/middle-lagoon-walking-track. The track follows the coast through grassland (first two photos) and into the forest with its beautiful misshapen tree trunks (3rd and 4th photos), across cliff tops, ridges and gullies, past the Middle Beach Trig (5th photo) and Stinking Bay, so called named for the dead fish which accumulate in the bay, to the lovely ocean beach (6th photo), lagoon (7th photo) and rock platforms (8th photo). Here are some photos from our walk in July 2017.BlogBithry2017-07-25 13.40.07BlogBithry2517-12-27 11.50.06BlogBithry2517-12-27 11.53.21BlogBithry2017-07-25 14.12.08BlogBithry2017-07-25 15.00.50BlogBithry2017-07-25 14.44.25BlogBithry2017-07-25 14.55.32BlogBithry2017-07-25 14.52.57 En route, we were lucky enough to see, not just one, but three echidnas! According to the National Park Ranger, who we also met along the way, echidnas mate in Winter, often forming trains of up to 10 male echidnas following a female, and their sighting often foretells rain and yes, we did indeed get rain two days later!BlogBithry2017-07-25 14.20.12 For more on Penders , see: http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/heritageapp/ViewHeritageItemDetails.aspx?ID=5053623.

There is also an audiotape on : http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2012/05/21/3507120.htm.

Next week, we return to my craft library with a post on my favourite Drawing and Art books!

 

My Love Affair With Birds: Part Two: Reasons

So, what do I love about birds? Here are a few reasons:

Their ancient lineage and evolution: I still marvel that birds evolved from dinosaurs (Archaeopteryx) and that there is so much colour and variation in the bird world! Below are photos of a mural and a model of the Miocene Thunder Bird, also known as the Demon-Duck of Doom, Bullockornis planei, a member of the Dromornithids.

Their huge diversity:

Colour: We are so lucky in Australia to have so many brightly coloured birds with amazing colour combinations : For example, the multicoloured Rainbow Lorikeets, Noisy Pittas and Eastern Rosellas (first photo); Crimson Rosellas (royal blue and deep red) (second photo); King Parrots (emerald green and bright red) (third photo);  and Galahs (pink) (fourth photo); Satin Bowerbirds (the male is a metallic blue, while the female has a combination of greens) (fifth photo); Regent Bowerbirds (the males are gold and black with a red dot on their forehead); the Scarlet Robin, Golden Whistler and Blue Wren, all named for obvious reasons; the metallic green head of the male Chestnut Teal (sixth photo); the deep blue and red of the Purple Swamphen (seventh photo); and the iridescent blue-green flash of a Black Duck’s wing (eighth photo).

BlogLoveBirds50%Image (842) - Copyblognovgarden20reszd2016-11-06-11-35-43BlogJanGarden20%ReszdIMG_5860BlogLoveBirds2013-07-10 16.48.36BlogSpringGardenReszd2017-09-01 15.27.41BlogLoveBirds20%IMG_4184BlogLoveBirds50%aug 2010 304BlogLoveBirds20%IMG_1588I also love the pink of flamingos (first photo), the blue of Azure Kingfishers (second photo), Pheasant Peacocks and Blue and Gold Macaws (third photo) and the fantastically coloured plumage of Birds of Paradise and Mandarin Ducks.BlogLoveBirds50%Image (875) - CopyBlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-15 16.56.10BlogLoveBirds50%Image (881) - CopyPattern: There is also so much diversity in pattern from the dots of Pardalotes (first photo), the chevrons on the tails of King Parrots (second photo), the herringbone pattern of the chest plumage of Wood Ducks (third photo) and the stripes of Fan-tailed Cuckoos, Hawks and Pink Eared Ducks (fourth photo). I also love the contrasts in the Red-Breasted Goose (fifth photo);BlogSummerDays20%Reszd2015-12-27 12.38.31BlogJanGarden20%ReszdIMG_5939BlogLoveBirds2014-09-22 17.47.34BlogLoveBirds2013-07-15 16.42.53BlogLoveBirds50%Image (869) - CopySize: Ranging from the large emus, ostriches, cassowaries, Wedge-Tailed Eagles, White Bellied Sea Eagles; Scrub Turkeys; Bustards; Palm Cockatoos and Black Cockatoos to tiny little SBBs (short for ‘small brown birds‘, which are notoriously difficult to identify, hence the group label!) Below are photos of a thornbill, wren and emu.BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0753BlogLoveBirds2013-06-29 13.49.30BlogLoveBirds20%IMG_4093Form: Again, there is so much variety from long and streamlined (darter) to large and chunky (eagle);BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_3507BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_2444Beak Shape: A keystone in Charles Darwin’s Natural Selection theory with his studies on the variation of beak shape in finches (photos below in order are the Red-Browed Firetail Finch, the Crimson Finch and the Double-Barred Finch) and a natural correlationblogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-19-09-55-02BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_9029BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_0268 and leadup to:

Diet and Feeding Habits:  Bill shape is directly related to diet, superbly shown by the photo below, the long curved bill of the Eastern Spinebill, perfect for accessing the nectar of the agapanthus flowers.

BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-24 12.37.58 Compare the short strong beaks of seed eating finches (photos above) to the rounded bills of dabbling ducks and mine-sweeping spoonbills (first photo), searching for fish, small crustaceans and water life; the long probing beaks of Bar-Tailed Godwits (second photo); the short hooked beaks of meat-tearing eagles and vultures and long hooked beaks of Sacred Ibis (third photo); the boat-shaped bills of Kookaburras (fourth photo); the sharp points of diving petrels and gannets; the curved slim beaks of Rainbow Bee Eaters (fifth photo); and the strong nutcracking vices of King Parrots (6th photo) and cockatoos (7th photo), which strip fruit orchards, demolish bark in search of insects and crack open sheoaks and wheat grains;

BlogLoveBirds2014-11-06 13.34.55BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_0097BlogLoveBirds50%midmay 019BlogLoveBirds30%DSCF9393BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_9654

blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-20-18-06-12BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_5596Habitats: Every niche and environment has its own particular birds from the polar penguins to the tropical birds of the equator and from mountains and forests to grasslands and farmlands, the river and the sea. BlogLoveBirds30%DSCF3925BlogLoveBirds30%DSCF0363BlogLoveBirds25%Lost City 2013 264BlogLoveBirds30%DSCF2697Birds have also adapted very successfully to urban  environments, coexisting with mankind for thousands of years. Some examples of the human-bird relationship include:

Poultry for eggs, meat, fat and feather products– they include chickens, ducks, geese, quails and turkeys;

BlogLoveBirds50%Image (847)Bird Aviaries and Companion Pets: Cockatoos, cockatiels, budgerigars and finches;BlogLoveBirds50%Image (847) - CopyBlogLoveBirds50%Image (850) - CopyOrganic Insect Control and Pollination;BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-28 19.23.45Falconry: Eagles and hawks for hunting;BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_2374BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_5638Pigeon Post;BlogLoveBirds30%DSCF4852Cormorants for catching fish;BlogLoveBirds50%late may 2011 240 and even….

Warning Bells: For example, the canary down the mine shaft to detect dangerously high carbon dioxide levels; and the dietary adaptations, changing migration patterns and extinction of bird species with climate change and habitat destruction.

Their habits:

Communication:

Where would the world be without bird song? Here in Candelo, I love waking up to the melodic trill of the resident blackbirds (first photo); the ‘Duke-Duke-Wellington’ of the Grey Thrush (second photo); the clear peal of the Crimson Rosella; the friendly warble of the magpie (third photo); and the beautiful song of the Pied Butcherbird (fourth photo).blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-19-09-54-36BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-18 14.49.08BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-14 09.21.06BlogLoveBirds25%bris2013 148Spring is heralded by the sweet call of the Striated Pardalote (first photo), Summer: the manic ascending cry of the visiting Stormbirds, the descending trill of the Fan-Tailed Cuckoo and the deafening clamour of massing Little Corellas prior to their January departure (second photo); and Winter is definitely on the way, when you hear the cold clear call of the currawongs (third photo).BlogSummerDays20%Reszd2015-12-27 12.39.01BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-25 21.14.56BlogLoveBirds30%DSCF4394I also love the calls of the bush birds:

The Eastern Yellow Robin is the first bird to wake up, giving it its scientific name: Eopsaltria australis, the Ancient Greek for ‘Dawn-Harper’;BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-06-01 15.19.08The Bowerbirds have such a distinctive whirr and the male and female Eastern Whipbirds have a combined song – the males calling first, followed by the whip of the females;BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-21 14.18.38The Lyrebirds are the consumate masters of mimicry. It is a joy to sit and listen to their full repertoire from Black Cockatoos to Grey Thrush, Eastern Whipbirds, Grey Thrushes, Currawongs, Kookaburras, Eastern Yellow Robins and a variety of parrots. See: https://wildambience.com/wildlife-sounds/superb-lyrebird/. I also love watching their courtship displays! Their tail feathers really do look like a lyre!BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-03-31 14.06.01Some bird calls are not quite so melodic! For example, the raucous squawks of our Summer party cockatoos and corellas for a start! When I was younger, our resident peacocks would often instigate police visits late at night after telephone reports of women being murdered when the poor disturbed birds would fly out of their roosting trees, straight at our peaked roof and slide inelegantly down the corrugated iron, shrieking the whole way!

BlogCockatoo80%1st June 021

On our trip to North Queensland, the loud chatter of the Red-Tailed Black Cockatoos of Old Laura and the mournful cry of the Stone Curlews, forebearers of imminent death according to local aboriginal legend, were very distinctive and prominent.BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_5250BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_0062Courtship

Birds have an amazing repertoire of ways to attract a mate from vivid bright colours (usually the male plumage!) to their mating calls and incredible courtship displays eg Peacocks (photo below) and Birds-of-Paradise.BlogLoveBirds2015-01-27 11.58.55 Bowerbirds are also fascinating, building bowers in a north-south alignment, decorated with coloured objects, to attract females to watch his courting dance. blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-25-09-50-40The Satin Bowerbird ( above) collects blue objects from blue Tobacco flowers and cornflowers to blue plastic pegs, milk bottle tops and biro lids, while the Great Bowerbird decorates its bower (below) with white bones and black river stones. They will even destroy other males’ bowers or steal their decorative objects to win ‘their bird’! Ross once timed the construction of a new bower from its demolished state- 40 minutes all up!BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_4409 Monogamy:

While Satin Bowerbirds are notoriously flashy, fickle and womanising, their cousin, the Catbirds (photo) mate for life, as do swans, geese, whooping cranes, black vultures, eagles and ospreys, some owls, ravens, scarlet macaws and Atlantic Puffins.BlogLoveBirds30%DSCF7246

Nests and Eggs:

Again, so much diversity in nests from the huge platforms of eagles and messy loose and dodgy-looking conglomerations of twigs by magpies and herons, to the neat traditional bowls and intricate hanging palaces of scrub wrens. Some birds don’t even have nests!BlogCockatoo20c 2013 104 Parrots use tree hollows (photo above) and peregrines lay their eggs on rocky cliff ledges, while cuckoos (photo below) steal other bird species’ nests, the interloper cuckoo baby turfing its host siblings out of the nest as they hatch and keeping their poor smaller and frazzled host parents constantly busy, satisfying their boundless appetites!BlogMarchGarden40%ReszdIMG_0239 - Copy - Copy Below in order are the nests of Nankeen Kestrels; a Grey Fantail; a honeyeater and Zebra Finches.

BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_1839blognovgarden20reszdimg_0435BlogLoveBirds50%Image (849) - CopyBlogLoveBirds2014-10-26 13.19.17I love all the different sizes, shapes, patterns and colours of bird eggs. Fortunately, egg collecting is a hobby of the past, but chemicals like DDT, as well as habitat destruction, not to mention feral animals, pose an enormous threat to birds like Peregrine Falcons.

Childrearing Practices:

While many birds support each other by feeding the incubating bird or sharing the feeding and guarding of the young fledglings, I love the role reversals within the bird world, where males often take on the important role of child rearing. The male scrub turkey and mallee fowl (first photo) build huge mounds, in which the female lays her eggs, then he carefully monitors and maintains the incubation temperature until the babies hatch and make their own way. They operate on the breeding strategy of ‘strength in numbers’, while male lyrebirds focus their energies on rearing one chick at a time, instructing their young in opera singing and dance performances. Male emus and cassowaries are also formidable primary carers of their young. In some bird species, rearing the next generation is a family responsibility with input from siblings form previous broods eg Superb Fairy Wrens.BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_6025BlogLoveBirds50%october 2011 359BlogLoveBirds50%late sept 131BlogLoveBirds30%DSCF3468Flight and Motion:

Is it any wonder that many people aspire to a reincarnated life as a bird?! Not only can they walk and run, but also swim, dive and fly,  completely at home in all environments! The sight of a majestic eagle soaring the thermals high in the sky; the speed of a diving peregrine off a cliff or a tern or gannet into deep water; the flash of blurred green of a flock of musk lorikeets in full flight; the amazing aeronautical displays of huge flocks of budgerigars in the desert or starlings on dusk (see: https://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/short-film-showcase/flight-of-the-starlings-watch-this-eerie-but-beautiful-phenomenon); the incessant beat of wings of hummingbirds as they sip the nectar of flowers; the crazy chase of disturbed emus, the cute slow gangly waddle of penguins or puffins; the jaunty busy hop of bowerbirds… all these amaze me and fill me with awe! Even, and especially, that huge leap of faith, when a baby bird first learns to fly!BlogSummer GardenReszd20%2017-02-09 17.40.31.jpg Below in order: a Frigatebird; three pelicans; a Black-Necked Stork (Jabiru) and a White-Bellied Sea Eagle.BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_3989BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_5695BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_4549BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_5758As do their migratory habits and patterns. The notion of a world without borders or passports is also very attractive to many humans, as exemplified in the films: Fly Away Home (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0116329/). The distances travelled are mind-blowing! The Bird Airport at Shoalhaven Heads is very illuminating on the subject and is well worth a visit. I love this flying bird sculpture overlooking Corio Bay at Geelong, Victoria.BlogLoveBirds50%IMG_4277 BlogLoveBirds2514-03-12 16.36.07The Spine-Tailed Swifts, which speckled the Summer skies at Dorrigo, flew all the way from Eastern Siberia and Northern Asia, up to10 000 km away, and we would often see long, long, black clouds on the horizon, just above seawater level, of migratory Short-Tailed Shearwaters, some of whom would not make it, their exhausted carcasses washed up on the seashore.

The highly-endangered Orange-Bellied Parrot flies from Tasmania to Geelong across the wild Bass Strait every year to feed on the samphire wetlands in Winter. The effect on bird life and migratory birds in particular, is my only reservation about wind turbines, especially on our coastline.

When we lived in Geelong, we loved visiting the Cheetham Wetlands and the Point Cook Coastal Park, a 500 hectare site on the western outskirts of Melbourne, including a 300 hectare marine sanctuary, which has been designated an Area of Importance by the Ramsar Convention of Wetlands. There have been over 200 species of birds recorded, including 34 migratory species. Every year, with peak numbers between September and March. thousands of migratory birds, from as far away as Siberia, Alaska and Japan, to feed upon the saltmarsh and wetlands here. I loved the photo below of The Tower, Bill Kelly’s Monument to Migration and Aspirations, with Melbourne, a city representing the ultimate expression of that dream with over 200 nationalities, in the background. BlogLoveBirds50%late may 2011 288BlogLoveBirds50%late may 2011 291Migration patterns are definitely changing with climate change, with many birds now over-Wintering in previously cooler areas or not travelling as far.

However, despite the fact that some birds will be driven to extinction, birds are the ultimate survivors. They are brilliant at camouflage and adapt readily to new environments, climates and different food sources. They have incorporated feral weeds like privet and duranta into their diet and have incredibly finely-tuned senses when it comes to water eg their sudden appearance when the salt Lake Eyre fills with water. Here is a final photo of The Tower, described above:

BlogLoveBirds50%late may 2011 290

I hope this post has given you an excellent idea of the reasons I love birds so much, as well as being a good introduction to the 2018 monthly posts on some of my favourite birds. Here is a general guide to the monthly roundup this year :

January: Cockatoos and Parrots: Sulphur-Crested, Blacks, Gang Gang, Corella, Galah, King, Crimson, Eastern, Rainbow, Musk, Cockatiels and Budgerigars;

February: Sea Birds: Gulls, Terns, Gannets, Oyster Catchers, Plovers and Dotterels, Turnstones, Stilts, Darters and Cormorants, Pelicans, Osprey and Sea Eagles;

March: Water Birds: Swans, Geese, Ducks, Grebes, Swamp Hens, Coots, Jacanas, Rails, Kookaburras, Kingfishers, Bee-Eaters, Dollar birds, Spoonbills, Ibis, Egrets, Herons, Brolgas and Cranes;

April: Birds of Prey: Eagles, Hawks, Goshawks, Falcons, Kites, and Kestrels;

May: Large Birds: Emus, Cassowaries, Scrub Turkeys, Coucals, Bustards and Stone Curlews

June: Medium-Sized Neutral-Coloured Birds: Magpies, Peewees, Crows, Ravens, Currawongs, Blackbirds, Thrushes, Butcherbirds, Drongoes, Choughs and Apostle Birds;

July: Rainforest Birds: Bowerbirds and Cat Birds, Rifle Birds, Fig Birds, Pittas and Chowchillas;

August: Clever Birds: Owls, Frogmouths and Cuckoos;

September: Small Birds: Robins, Wrens, Finches, Silvereyes, Thornbills and other SBBs, Pardalotes, Flycatchers and Fantails, Treecreepers, Chats, Mistletoe Birds, Swallows and Swifts;

October: Nectar Eaters: Honeyeaters, Spinebills, Wattlebirds and Friar Birds;

November: Song Birds: Lyrebirds, Whip Birds, Bell Birds and Whistlers;

December: Doves and Pigeons: Wonga, Brown, White, Topknot and Crested Pigeons; Fruit Doves; Peaceful Doves and Quails.BlogLoveBirds50%october 2011 305I have set the scene to one of my favourite Christmas songs, ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’, starting with the refrain ‘On the first day of Christmas, my true love sent to me a Cockatoo in a Gum Tree!’

Posts will concentrate more on my personal experiences with these birds, with a few interesting or random facts thrown in, rather than detailed descriptions of appearance, call, behaviour, nesting, distribution etc, which can be gleaned from any good bird book. I hope you enjoy these bird posts!

Please Note: A Change of Plans!          23rd January 2018 

Unfortunately, due to the appropriation of both my bird posts by a larger collective site without my prior consent or crediting me (in fact claiming authorship as their own!), there will be no more bird posts for the time being, although I will still be continuing on with my normal posts.

My Love Affair With Birds: Part One

I have always loved birds, ever since my childhood, when Mum used to take us along to meetings of the local birdwatching group in Hobart. We also used to go on many picnics, furthering my fledgling interest in birds, as well as having our own home menagerie of peacocks, pheasants, guinea fowl, quail, ducks and chickens.

I was so fortunate when I married that my husband was also a keen ornithologist, having grown up on a farm bordering Lamington National Park in subtropical South-East Queensland. His uncle and aunts next door had a huge aviary, full of Satin Bowerbirds, a Major Mitchell cockatoo, galahs and corellas, the latter two neither local at the time, as well as a mixture of local parrots and little ground doves, who used to follow visiting children’s trailing fingers along the netting fence. When Ross was out mustering cattle on the steeply wooded slopes, he would often come upon a group of Glossy Black Cockatoos, quietly nibbling away at she-oak nuts.

We are both keen bushwalkers and are never without a pair of binoculars (Ross) and a camera with a good zoom lens (me)- until recently that is!!! We have had so many wonderful bird watching experiences together and as a family over the years, including the following:

1994 Overseas trip with our young family to the United Kingdom and France.

Highlights included:

Peter Scott’s Wildfowl Trust at Slimbridge on the River Severn: https://www.wwt.org.uk/wetland-centres/slimbridge/.

Photos below in order are: Mandarin Duck; European Goldeneyes; a pair of European Eiders with a Hooded Merganser on the right; and a trio of Hawaiian Nene Geese.BlogLoveBirds50%Image (856) - CopyBlogLoveBirds75%Image (856)BlogLoveBirds50%Image (855) - CopyBlogLoveBirds75%Image (855)Bird Hides and Wildlife Parks in England and Edinburgh, where we saw our first woodpecker and capercaillie (below);BlogLoveBirds50%Image (857)Staying at the Fair Isle Bird Observatory (http://www.fairislebirdobs.co.uk/), where we netted and banded birds and sat with puffins on the cliffs every evening. The other photos are of a Common Sandpiper and a falcon with Nick, the Deputy Warden of the Bird Observatory at the time; as well as daughter Jenny with puffins on the cliff.

Blog Whentheking20%Reszd2015-09-04 10.15.07Visiting the Bonxies of Hermaness and the cliff bird city of the Isle of Noss, Shetlands;BlogLoveBirds50%Image (859)BlogLoveBirds50%Image (879) - CopyBlogLoveBirds50%Image (866) - CopyBlogLoveBirds50%Image (860)For the boat trip to the island, we all had to wear hats in case we accidentally became targets, so our four year old had to wear this puffin cap!

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Gerald Durrell’s Rare and Endangered Wildlife Trust on  Jersey: https://www.durrell.org/ and https://www.durrell.org/wildlife/visit/; Below in order: Chilean Flamingoes; Red-Breasted Geese; a Crowned Crane from South and East Africa; a Pink Pigeon from Mauritius; and a Palawan Pheasant from the Philippines.BlogLoveBirds50%Image (875) - CopyBlogLoveBirds50%Image (869) - CopyBlogLoveBirds50%Image (868) - CopyBlogLoveBirds50%Image (871) - CopyBlogLoveBirds50%Image (872) - CopyThe flamingos of Étang du Fangassier in the Camargue, where I disgraced myself by commandeering the lookout telescope, which I mistakenly thought was public property, to the bewilderment of the French owners, who declared in response, ‘C’est bizarre!’BlogLoveBirds50%Image (863)BlogLoveBirds75%Image (874) - Copy1996 New Zealand :

Our introduction to a totally different set of birds, many adapted to years of isolation and many now threatened with extinction with the introduction of humans and feral animals. While it was far too late to meet Alice in Wonderland’s dodo, we did see kakapos, kakas, keas, kiwis , wekas, tuis and takahes, as well as many coastal birds. We visited:

Lake Te Anau Bird Sanctuary, South Island, where we saw kakas (mountain parrot), an Antipodes Island parrot; a kereru (NZ wood pigeon), takahes (like a giant swamp hen) and wekas; Here are photos of a kaka and a kereru.

BlogLoveBirds50%Image (864)BlogLoveBirds50%Image (877) - CopyAs well as the Pukaha Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre (http://www.pukaha.org.nz/), just north of Masterton in the far south of the North Island, where they were saving highly endangered birds from extinction like the Chatham Island Robin. We saw Saddlebacks (first photo below), tuis ( a type of honeyeater), wekas (second photo below), kakas, red-capped parrots and takahes.BlogLoveBirds50%Image (863) - CopyBlogLoveBirds50%Image (862)1999 Lord Howe Island.

This World Heritage listed island off the east coast of Australia also has some very special birds, which have also experienced struggles to survive like the Lord Howe Island Wood Hen (photo below), as well as many regional variations in bird species from being isolated on an island for many years. For example, the currawong has a different call and the silver eye a different eye ring to their Australian cousins on the mainland.BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (128)For my 40th birthday, we climbed to the top of Mt Gower, where we called Providence Petrels out of the sky to land at our feet and be picked up and cuddled! We also saw Red-tailed Tropic Birds wheeling in the skies above Malabar Hill and Emerald Doves and Wood Hens foraging on the forest floor.BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (127)Armidale Years (1994-2003)

While the family was growing up, we explored and camped in a huge number of local National Parks, where we saw many birds eg Red-Rumped Parrots in our home garden; Peregrine Falcons at Kings Plains National Park; Turquoise Parrots en route to Kwiambal National Park; the Flame Robins, who visited Dangars Gorge every Winter (first photo below) and the delightful Eastern Spinebills, who revelled in the flowering heath of Wrights Lookout at New England National Park.Image (857) - Copy - CopyRoss ran guided natural history tours from the New England tableland, via the escarpment rainforests, right down to the sea at Coffs Harbour. Waterfall Way Tours introduced many guests in our self-contained cottages (Creekside Cottages), as well as Country Link visitors to the wonderful diversity of environments and bird life in our region. Here is a photo of a Red-Rumped Parrot.BlogCockatoo50%march 2 193Dorrigo Years (2003-2008)

Ross’s tour guiding experience also stood him in good stead for working as a National Park Discovery Ranger out of the World Heritage Dorrigo National Park Visitor Centre. Living on a bush block on the Dorrigo escarpment bordered by Bellinger River National Park, the link between Dorrigo National Park and New England National Park, we saw many beautiful rainforest birds on our property, including resident Wonga Pigeons (first photo below), Superb Lyrebirds, Eastern Whipbirds, Golden Whistlers (second photo below), Paradise Riflebirds, Satin and Regent Bowerbirds, Catbirds, King Parrots (third photo below) and Scrub Turkeys, who used to cadge at picnic tables at the visitor centre.BlogLoveBirds50%DSCF6508BlogLoveBirds50%Image (846)BlogLoveBirds30%DSCF4895BlogLoveBirds30%DSCF26972008 Australia Trip

After selling our farm at Dorrigo, we spent a whole six months camping and exploring our wonderful country. Here were some of the birding highlights, details of which I will elaborate in future bird posts:

Huge flocks of wild budgerigars (first photo) and cockatiels (second photo) wheeling in the outback (Mungindi and Longreach) and hot pink galahs drinking on the banks of the Thomson River.BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_2834BlogLoveBirds30%DSCF7043Townsville Bird Common: Jabiru, Comb-Crested Jacanas, Magpie Geese, Whistling Ducks, brolgas, pelicans and egrets (first photo) and Sacred Kingfishers (second photo);BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_0037BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_0042Dunk Island: In order, Beach Stone Curlews, Orange-Footed Scrubfowl and Sunbirds;BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_0886BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_0857BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_0841Cairns: Crocodile Farm: Rose-Crowned Fruit Doves and Cassowaries;BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_1450BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_1373Daintree River Cruise: Little Kingfisher (photo below); Azure Kingfisher; and Great Billed Heron;BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_1466Laura: Rainbow Bee Eaters; Red-Tailed Black Cockatoos ; Golden-Shouldered Parrots (first photo); Wedge-tailed Eagles (second photo); and Red-Winged Parrots (third photo).BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_5951BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_1935BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_1903Iron Range National Park and Portland Roads: Yellow-Bellied Sunbirds; Magnificent Riflebirds; Frilled Monarchs; Northern Brush Turkeys; Eclectus Parrots (first photo is a male); Shining Flycatchers (second photo); Double Eyed Fig parrots (third and fourth photos); and Large-Billed Gerygone;BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_2486BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_2523BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_2568BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_2569Rest of Cape York: Brown Falcons, Nankeen Night Herons and Striated Herons; Yellow Honeyeaters and White-throated Honeyeaters;  Palm Cockatoos; Red-Winged Parrots; Stone Curlews; Bustards (first photo); Sarus Cranes (secondphoto); Great Bowerbirds (third photo) and their bowers (fourth photo); and Northern Scrub Turkeys (fifth photo). BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_4119BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_6688BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_2912BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_1853BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_3491Lakefield National Park: Brolgas grazing and dancing (first photo); Green Pygmy Geese (second photo); Comb Crested Jacanas (third photo); Burdekin Ducks (Whiteheaded Shelduck); Magpie Geese feeding in the lotus lagoons (fourth photo); Azure, Forest and Sacred Kingfishers (fifth photo) and Blue-Winged Kookaburra; Golden-Headed Cisticola; White-bellied Sea Eagles and Ospreys surveying overhead; Black-Fronted Dotterels (sixth photo) at Hann Crossing and pelicans soaring high over the Nifold Plains;BlogLandmarkbirthdaysPt2 25%ReszdIMG_5500BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_5540BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_5513BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_5494BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_5563BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_5641Lotus Bird Lodge: a quiet Black-backed Butcherbird and a baby hand-reared Red-Winged Parrot on the verandah; Comb-Crested Jacanas (also known as Lotus Birds, after whom the bird lodge is named); a family of Papuan Frogmouths (photo below); and over 200 species of wading, migratory and resident wetland and grassland birds;BlogLandmarkbirthdaysPt2 25%ReszdIMG_5787BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_5801Abattoir Swamp Bird Hide: First photo below: Red-Backed Fairy Wren; and Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge, Julatten, 1.5 hours north-west of Cairns: Over 350 species of birds, including 13 Wet Tropics endemic species. We saw Noisy Pittas (second photo below) and Emerald Doves here.BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_6752BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_6770Atherton Tablelands: Victoria Riflebird and Golden-Whistlers, Lake Eacham; Hasties Swamp Bird Hide: Huge flocks of Magpie Geese (first photo), Whistling Ducks (second photo) and grebes;BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_8851BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_8596Mission Beach: Cassowary sighting on the Dreaming Trail!BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_9228

Tyto Wetlands, near Ingham : Crimson Finches (photo below); Whistling Ducks; Green Pygmy Geese; Great Egret and Peaceful Doves;BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_0179Artesian Bore at Burketown: Sarus Cranes (first photo); Jabirus (second photo), Royal Spoonbills; Richard’s Pippit; Snipes and plenty of ducks;BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_2270BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_2335Katherine: Red Goshawks;BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_3564

Kakadu National Park: Yellow Water: Magpie Geese, Burdekin Ducks, Azure Kingfishers, Green Pygmy Geese; Rainbow Bee-Eaters (first photo); Whistling Ducks (second photo); Great Egret (third photo) and other egrets and ibis; and Darters (fourth photo); and Mamukala Wetlands and Bird Hide: Whistling Ducks, Black Ducks, Darters, Pied and Black Cormorants, Magpie Geese, and Lemon-Bellied Flycatcher;BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_4818BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_5789BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_5643BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_5595Mary River: Huge flocks of Little Corellas, preyed on by Whistling Kites (first photo); Sulphur-Crested Cockatoos; Collared Rainbow Lorikeets (the northern race); and Forest Kingfishers and Blue-Winged Kookaburras (second photo).BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_5898BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_4351Corroboree, Bird and Annaburroo Billabongs and Leaning Tree Lagoon: Lots of similar Northern Territory birdlife, including a jabiru with three babies (one in photo below);BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_6026Fogg Conservation Dam: A wonderful birdwatching site, just east of Darwin; Photos below in order: a pair of Straw-Necked Ibis; Burdekin Ducks; Green Pygmy Goose; and an Australasian Darter.BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_6042BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_6090BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_6101BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_6100Ord River trip: Jabirus (now known as Black-Necked Storks) and Magpie Geese;BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_8209BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_7772Parry’s Lagoon, another birding mecca; Photos below in order: Parry’s Lagoon; Huge flotillas of pelicans; a Pied Hero ; and a Comb-Crested Jacana.BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_8367BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_8397BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_8344BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_8360Mornington Wilderness Lodge, Gibb River Road, WA : The highlight was definitely sighting the first Gouldian Finch family of the season (first photo), though we also saw Purple Crowned Wrens; Bustards; Long-Tailed and Scarlet Finches; Button Quails;  Partridge Pigeons (second photo) and Crested Pigeons (third photo).BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_0468BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_9310BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_0404Broome Bird Observatory: Double Barred Finches, Brown Honeyeaters, Great Bowerbirds and plenty of shorebirds; and further south, Deep Creek, Dampier Peninsula: Star Finches (first photo); and Ningaloo Reef: Emus (second photo).BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_1517BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_1732Skipjack Point, Francois Peron National Park (first photo): The entire beach was lined with huge flocks of Pied Cormorants (second photo), Crested Terns, Boobies and Pelicans. We also saw rare Thick-Billed Grass Wrens running across the road in and a Crimson Chat (third photo).BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_2431BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_2465BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_2255South-West Western Australia: Rock Parrots (first photo); Ringneck Parrots (second photo); Splendid Fairy-Wrens (third and fourth photos);  Common Bronzewings (fifth photo) and Carnaby’s Black Cockatoos (sixth photo).BlogCockatoo25%IMG_4087BlogCockatoo25%IMG_6556BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_6163BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_5193BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_3840BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_5596Ongerup, Western Australia: Mallee Fowl CentreBlogLoveBirds25%IMG_6020Bucket Birdwatching List

Our 2008 circumnavigation of Australia certainly was the trip of a lifetime and it was wonderful to see so many of our beautiful Australian birds in the wild, but we still have a few places we would like to visit, including:

A Desert Trip out to Broken Hill and Menindee Lakes to see the parrots;

Lake Eyre in wet season;

A bird tour of Papua New Guinea, especially to see the amazing Birds of Paradise; and an exploration of the Wallace Line, which divides the Asian birds from the Australian contingent.

Candelo  2015 – Present

Meantime, we are loving the prolific birdlife in Candelo, which have featured in former seasonal posts, as well as those of the surrounding mountain forests, farmland, national parks and coast. The noisy Little Corellas amass in huge flocks at this time of year, just prior to heading off, though we have yet to discover their destination!BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-25 21.14.56 We have a wonderful local birdwatching group, which has published two books, as well as three documented bird routes, about which I will write in a future post.BlogEnvtlBooksReszd30%Image (509)

Other great bird-related venues include the fabulous On the Perch; Potoroo Palace; and  Panboola, the Pambula Bird Sanctuary (photo below), where we saw a Gang Gang flock, grazing on the hawthorne berries.BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_2645It is great to see our youngest daughter, Caroline, following in our footsteps with our mutual love of birds! She has always loved them and has hand-reared budgies and cockatiels, as well as nursed enormous sick, though still feisty, roosters back to health with syringes of herbal concoctions. We were never allowed to get rid of any baby roosters and when we first moved to our bush block at Dorrigo, we had no chook pen and only a series of wire shelters to house our chooks and six roosters! One day, we watched a wedge-tailed eagle descending with the free range roosters in his sights and very foolishly and instinctively chased it away. Even though it may have been an effective way to reduce numbers, we would have had a challenge explaining why her roosters were dropped from the sky!!!BlogLoveBirds50%Image (865) - CopyBlogLoveBirds50%Image (864) - CopyShe is now studying a zoology degree, initially through Deakin University, Geelong, where she had some wonderful fieldwork opportunities from measuring fairy penguins for moulting studies; catching flighty red-capped dotterels; and making flycatcher nests to determine the effect of their practice of coating their nests in ultraviolet-light-emitting spiders webs. Now that she lives over here on the coast, she hopes to continue her studies through distance education with University of New England, as well as volunteering with Mogo Zoo and Potoroo Palace. There is also a wonderful postgraduate course in ornithology with Charles Sturt University, which may have future potential!BlogLoveBirds50%Image (846) - CopyBlogLoveBirds50%Image (862) - CopyBlogLoveBirds50%Image (844) - CopyBlogLoveBirds30%DSCF2277My love of birds has even translate itself into two embroidered cushions: our local birds, including many rainforest species, for Ross!BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-03 13.31.41

And seabirds for my Mum, including a sea eagle, pelican, silver gull, blackwinged stilt, pied oystercatcher, hooded and double banded plovers, a cormorant on a lichen-encrusted rock made of French knots and even a fairy prion in flight, the only bird photo that came from a bird book (!).Blog Mid Winter20%Reszd2015-07-12 11.50.33I really loved making them, even though there is a fair bit of poetic licence with their rendition!

On Thursday, I will try to explain the reasons behind my love of birds!

The Festive Season 2017

It has been a wonderful festive season with the return of my daughter from Berlin for three weeks and long-awaited visits from old friends to relaxing lunches and beach trips on the warmer days, as well as plentiful rain, resulting in a blowsy overgrown garden, full of colour!BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-15 17.43.06BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-08 08.39.13OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA While the roses are taking a break, except for the wonderfully generous Archiduc Joseph, the sunflower patch has been prolific and the honeysuckle has scaled the side fence.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABlogFestiveSeason2517-12-16 09.10.54OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe self-seeded pumpkin, tree dahlia and tree salvia are also heading to the heavens, the latter never missing a beat after its transplantation from the Moon Bed, and a remnant kiwi fruit vine hitching a ride on the tree dahlia!BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-12 08.44.18BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-13 08.42.31Here is a sample of the plants in bloom this Summer:

Roses:

Left to Right and Top to Bottom:

Heritage, Archiduc Joseph (2 photos), Ice Girl, William Morris and The Children’s Rose:

White: Gardenias; Hydrangeas; and Madonna Lilies:

Purples and Pinks: Buddleias, Poppies, Hydrangeas, Geraniums, Bergamot and Dahlias;

Golds and Reds: Dahlias and Calendulas; Meadow Lea Dahlia and Gladioli; Ladybird Poppies and Alstroemeria; Red Dahlia and Pomegranate; and Sunflowers.

Hopefully, the flowers of the pomegranate will develop into fruit! We have had a wonderful fruit season with raspberries for breakfast every morning and now strawberries and plums.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABlogFestiveSeason2517-12-08 15.45.47BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-13 08.02.43BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-02 13.00.44BlogFestiveSeason2517-11-29 11.37.43We have also been harvesting the chamomile flowers daily to dry for a relaxing tea.BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-02 15.07.20BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-08 15.46.22 We only just caught the wild plums (photo above) in time after a mini-raid by a party of hungry Sulphur-Crested Cockatoos and are now watching the ripening of the purple plums with eagle eyes, in case they suffer the same fate!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABlogFestiveSeason2517-12-12 08.55.19 We are similarly vigilant with the apples (third photo), though the cockatoos have not yet discovered our Golden Hornet crab apples (first and second photos).BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-21 11.42.30BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-07 09.09.18OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA The Elder tree (Sambucus) is also growing fast and has blossomed for the first time. I look forward to using the flowers in future years to make elderflower cordial!BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-13 08.44.36Here are some photos of the local inhabitants of the garden:

A blue-tongued lizard sunbaking; a butterfly resting and another butterfly feasting on a buddleia flower; and a happy snail exploring after rain :BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-04 09.42.27BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-04 08.53.00BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-08 15.42.58BlogFestiveSeason5017-12-02 13.02.37And the birds: Huge flocks of very noisy Little Corellas (photos 1 and 2), who wake us up every morning at 5 am (!); and a pair of Crimson Rosellas, grazing in the Soho Bed:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABlogFestiveSeason2517-12-23 18.04.09OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWith all the wonderful colour in the garden, I have been spoilt for choice and have revelled in making beautiful bouquets for the house! Here is a bucket of freshly-cut blooms, ready for arranging!BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-24 07.48.37From simple blue agapanthus to a single rose bloom (Lucetta):

Soft Pinks and Purples:BlogFestiveSeason2517-11-30 11.11.46BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-16 15.00.16BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-20 07.55.54And bright golds, oranges, reds and purples: BlogFestiveSeason2517-11-30 11.22.09BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-16 14.28.15BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-07 09.43.54BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-09 16.20.39-4BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-16 15.01.40To the vibrant colours of the Christmas table:BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-24 08.41.30BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-24 08.12.18Other creative pursuits included home-made Christmas gifts: a spectacle case for my Mum:BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-13 08.46.18 and a table runner for my friend Heather to compliment the set of Russian vintage wooden folk art spoons, which I found for her!BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-04 17.35.51 We have also been loving the musical sessions with both my daughters, who are keen musicians and composers. Here is a photo of my youngest Caro playing at Bodalla Dairy.BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-10 14.31.30I will finish with a photo of our beautiful Christmas Tree!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and enjoy your New Year!

The Spring Garden

Spring is such an exciting period with everything waking up after the long cold Winter! The garden is literally transformed from September to November, as can be seen in the photos below, one for each month:BlogSpringGardenReszd2017-09-10 18.57.32OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt just gets better and better as the days progress, especially with the recent life-giving rain!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA In fact, this seasonal post is probably the most challenging to write, as so much is now flowering that it demands complete ruthlessness when it comes to photo selection and I really don’t know that I am up to the task! Here are a few more general garden photos from mid-Spring:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABlogSpringGardenReszd2517-11-13 07.07.13BlogSpringGardenReszd2517-11-15 09.31.34and late Spring:

BlogSpringGardenReszd3017-11-26 11.16.50BlogSpringGardenReszd2517-11-26 11.17.49But back to the start of Spring and proceeding from the top down! First up, the trees…! It is just so lovely to have our tapestry of green back, especially on those sunny golden evenings when a thunderstorm is brewing.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASeptember was blossom-time, starting with the wild plums and crabapples: the Floribunda and Golden Hornet:

They were followed by the apples, quinces and pears, the maples (October) and finally, the dogwood (November).

By October, most of the trees were sporting their new foliage wardrobes and by November were in full fruit and seed production mode: plums, crabs and apples.

Next, the shrubs! September marked the end of camellia and japonica season;

and the return of old favourites like lilac and Michelia, White Caviar.

The bright sunny yellow of the broom and the Winter Jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum) always gladdens my heart!

The May Bush (Spiraea), the Viburnum x burkwoodii Anne Russell and the Beauty Bush (Kolwitzia amabilis) were spectacular this September:

and continued on into October, to be joined by the white lilac, Mme Lemoine; the choisya (Choisya ternata), Viburnum plicatum Mariesii and the Snowball Tree (Viburnum opulus).

Further colour and scent was added by the woodbine on the fence;

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Woodbine (Lonicera periclymenum)

As well as the weigela, the Carolina allspice and the red azalea, which enjoyed its move to the rainforest section of the garden.BlogSpringGardenReszd2517-10-19 10.51.59BlogSpringGardenReszd20%IMG_0571BlogSpringGardenReszd20%IMG_0602By November, the yellow honeysuckle on the fence had joined its cousin and was heading for the skies, while the blooming of the snowball tree finished with a snowfall of petals.BlogSpringGardenReszd2517-11-15 09.26.55OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABoth philadelphus were in full glorious bloom and scent, as was the Italian Lavender. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABlogSpringGardenReszd2517-11-13 06.58.18BlogSpringGardenReszd20%IMG_0618And the roses…! My beloved roses…! But first, the bulbs! The bulbs are always the first flowers of Spring! Lots of whites, golds and blues with the odd red and orange accent. My wild white bank of Actaea daffodils above the birdbath was a great success and we had a good show of the glamorous Acropolis daffodils at the entrance to the pergola below the Michelia.BlogSpringGardenReszd2017-09-20 09.46.45BlogSpringGardenReszd2017-09-14 14.34.15BlogSpringGardenReszd2017-09-14 13.47.18The bright yellow nodding heads of Winter’s miniature Tête à Tête daffodils (1st photo) were joined by these bright golden Golden Dawn tazettas (2nd photo).BlogSpringGardenReszd2017-09-03 11.04.32BlogSpringGardenReszd2017-09-14 18.37.24 The pink and blue bluebells under the crab apple and next to the mosaic birds provided a soft blue, while the masses of grape hyacinths and divinely-scented Delft Blue hyacinth turned the treasure bed into a sea of blue.BlogSpringGardenReszd2017-09-24 18.46.40BlogSpringGardenReszd2017-09-13 19.37.44BlogSpringGardenReszd2017-09-08 13.14.56  The tulips in the cutting garden also provided a wonderful show from the soft pale yellow and candy-pink-striped species tulips (Tulipa clusiana Cynthia): BlogSpringGardenReszd20%IMG_1293BlogSpringGardenReszd2017-09-25 11.31.52BlogSpringGardenReszd2017-09-25 11.33.05to the Pink Monet and Gold Bokassa tulips;BlogSpringGardenReszd2017-09-28 11.51.23BlogSpringGardenReszd2017-09-24 18.18.27 and the brightly coloured Synaeda Orange Lily Tulips and Red Bokassa tulips, all children of the original bulbs planted in 2015.BlogSpringGardenReszd2017-09-28 11.51.59BlogSpringGardenReszd20%IMG_0071BlogSpringGardenReszd2017-09-21 10.41.28BlogSpringGardenReszd2017-09-26 11.59.53A snake’s head fritillary (Fritillaria meleagris) and Jacobean lilies (Sprekelia) arrived in October, but the iris quickly stole the show.BlogSpringGardenReszd20%IMG_0059OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I love the stunning bright colours of the Dutch Iris in the cutting garden,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABlogSpringGardenReszd2017-10-18 16.18.22BlogSpringGardenReszd2017-10-18 07.49.38 but I think my heart belongs to Bearded Iris, whose soft romantic colors and forms complement the November roses so well: gold in the Soho Bed and soft mauve in the Moon Bed.BlogSpringGardenReszd2517-10-23 08.06.15BlogSpringGardenReszd2017-10-17 16.11.58BlogSpringGardenReszd2017-10-16 09.07.14 A friend has just given me a large variety of differently-coloured Bearded Iris, which we have planted above the agapanthus bank.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABlogSpringGardenReszd2017-10-16 09.14.53After the bulbs, the Spring flowers started to take over. Because there are so many, I have organised them into colour palettes.

White: Acanthus mollis; Rock Orchid and Dianthus Coconut Sundae,

Dandelion seedheads; Feverfew and Nicotiana,

and a white Foxglove, Digitalis purpurea Mirabelle, though some of them were pink:

I love the white cornflower in amongst the white foxglove and feverfew in the shady end of the cutting garden.BlogSpringGardenReszd2517-11-26 09.35.19

Yellow: Nigella orientalis Transformer, English Primrose, Geum Lady Stratheden and Wild Strawberry;

Gold: A very special gift: an Intersectional Peony and my self-sown gigantic Russian Sunflowers;

and the stunning Meadow Lea dahlia;BlogSpringGardenReszd2517-11-27 10.42.22BlogSpringGardenReszd2517-11-26 09.34.45Red: Ladybird Poppies in the Cutting Garden and Dahlias, providing jewel-like colour on the skirt of the Albertine roses, as they finish their blooming season;

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Deep Red: The last of the Double Hellebores from Winter;

Pink: Rhodohypoxis baurii and Dianthus Valda Wyatt of the treasure garden and the last of the pink violets from under the camellia; deep pink divinely-scented sweet peas; a mutated Ladybird Poppy and glamorous self-sown Peony Poppies in the sunflower bed.

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Rhodohypoxis baurii in the centre of a sea of grape hyacinths
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Dianthus Valda Wyatt

I just adore the self-sown peony poppies in the Soho Bed!BlogSpringGardenReszd2517-11-26 09.34.26

Purple: I am hoping one of my readers can identify this cute little flower adorning the steps, but the others are Perennial Wallflower and Pasque Flower (Pulsatilla);BlogSpringGardenReszd2017-09-26 19.06.34BlogSpringGardenReszd2017-08-28 13.18.12BlogSpringGardenReszd2017-09-18 13.56.21 Blue: Forget-me-nots, Borage, Blue Primrose and Cornflower;

And this last week, the Geranium Rozanne in the treasure bed!BlogSpringGardenReszd2517-11-21 08.56.43And Green: Hacquetia epipactis, a new purchase and woodland plant from Moidart Nursery (https://www.moidart.com.au/).BlogSpringGardenReszd3017-11-22 15.25.02The roses started with the white and yellow banksias on the bottom fence and the pergola over the outside dining area in late September, with the house and main pergola roses opening in early to mid-October and then, the main flush of roses in November.BlogSpringGardenReszd2017-10-18 07.12.18BlogSpringGardenReszd2017-10-19 07.27.59 I have presented the roses according to their location.

House: First up, Noisette climber, Lamarque, whose clean fragrance reminds me of Granny Smith apples:

then, Hybrid Teas, Mrs Herbert Stevens (white)and Château de Clos Vougeot (red):

Main Pergola: The climbing roses are now starting to clothe the pergola, especially on the top side, with Adam and Mme Alfred Carrière already reaching the top!BlogSpringGardenReszd2517-11-18 14.32.19 In order, top to bottom and left to right : the top side with Mme Alfred Carrière; the bottom side; Adam (2 photos); Mme Alfred Carrière (2 photos); Souvenir de St Anne and Souvenir de la Malmaison, in the middle of the top and bottom sides respectively; New Dawn and Devoniensis.

I just had to include two more photos of the beautiful Devoniensis in the late afternoon light!BlogSpringGardenReszd2517-11-21 17.15.22BlogSpringGardenReszd2517-11-21 17.09.39Arches: Cécile Brünner on the entrance arch;OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Cornelia (pink) and Sombreuil (white) on the arch at the bottom of the garden, leading into the future chookyard;

and Noisettes, Alister Stella Grey (small rose on bottom left) and Rêve d’Or (the larger rose in the other three photos) on the small arch near the shed corner.

Shed:

The Albertine frame on the back wall of the shed has been a great success, with the Albertine roses in full bloom from late October till late November and now, the jewel-like dahlias adding colour to its skirts as the roses gradually finish.