Archive for the ‘Birds’ Category

Building a Home

Down by the lake this afternoon, I discovered yet another pair of wrens who seem to be building a nest in my bonfire pile, which is still too wet to light (and obviously now will not be).  At least, she was busy collecting tiny bits of interesting stuff, while he mostly posed around the place in the setting sun, singing his heart out.  As usual, a woman’s work is never done………

Talking of building homes, that is what I shall be doing in the next year or so.  Much as I love this gorgeous place, three acres of garden, carting wood for fires in winter,  the steps into the house, and a few other things have made me decide it is all too much for this old bird, so it is to be sold at a date yet to be determined.  I had a birthday a week or so ago, and on the day committed to the purchase of a smaller block of land in this town, and will build a custom designed sustainable home on it.  I imagine the process will provide lots of fodder for this blog!


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I have never seen these magnificent large Black Cockatoos in this area before today when a flock of about 20 of them landed in very tall pine trees on the border of my property.  I was alerted to their presence initially because of the raucous noise they were making, quite different to the Sulphur Crested Cockatoos that are common here.  Of course, I grabbed the camera hoping to catch a shot, but these were the best I could do even with a 200mm lens.  Most of them were hidden by the branches, but several were right at the top, eating the new pine cones or shoots – it was hard to determine exactly what had attracted them.  I do hope they come again.

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While photography has become a major interest, I have not totally given up stitching and other crafty things.  Currently I’m knitting (!!!) a cowl or more likely a neck sock with some gorgeous Noro yarn I found in a bargain bin. Also successfully using circular needles, which is a coup as I am very much an old school traditional knitter – two or four needles if I need to knit something round.  Anyway – it’s a change and easy to do in front of the television – though Australian television these days is full of foolish politicians trying to outdo each other.  I read somewhere that the main party leaders were referred to as Dr No and the Flim-flam man.  Seemed appropriate somehow.  I’m longing for September 8th when hopefully the whole business will be over.

Back to some stitching  – I made this recently as part of a birthday gift for one of my stitching group.  A nifty little container in which to keep orts.  If you do not know what this word means, its origin is from late middle English or German meaning food remains, however in this case it is for scraps of thread.


The other item I have actually finished is a triptych made after a class at the Embroiderers Guild.  While quite pleased with it, there are a couple of things I might do differently next time.  Sadly it is not possible to post a larger image here, but this is actually more than 50 cms wide and the detail is lost in this puny picture.


Now just because the last picture is not so good, here are a couple I took today of one of the many Kookaburras that visit this garden daily.  I know someone who occasionally reads this spasmodic blog will enjoy them.



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All Melbournians know that the Spring racing season is underway, and will reach its pinnacle on November 6th when the Melbourne Cup is run at Flemington Racecourse – the “race that stops a nation” as they say!  It is a time when the ladies wear the latest fashion, and silly hats on their heads.  I think my visiting Sulphur Crested Cockatoos are planning to participate with their own feathery fascinators.

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A week or so ago I went to the Melbourne Zoo – specifically to take photographs.  I was disappointed as the place was full of long lines of chattering primary school children with their teachers, most animals were only visible through (dirty) glass, and the elephants and lions were not in their outside areas.  I took a few decent photos, but not enough to make the trip worthwhile.

In contrast my own property is full of interesting creatures, and I can always find something fill my lens.  For instance:-

This Koala was in one of my back garden trees recently, I was alerted to its presence by my dogs barking as they chased it up the tree.  I think it is a relatively young one, and in very good health.  I don’t actually see these very often, and this one did not stay long after it had a short snooze, but they do live in the surrounding forest and I have certainly heard their growling and snorts!

You have seen this bird before……….A Currawong.  There have been a pair in the garden for a while, and I sometimes feed them so they are less frightened of me than one might expect.

In the last week, they have appeared with a young one……..still fluffy although fully grown, it follows them around and squawks constantly for food.  It already has that grumpy look!

Here it is demanding to be fed a strawberry.

The parent birds are omnivorous, and obviously love berries.  Despite careful netting, the raspberries are not safe at all.

It shows no respect for a wooden bird either!

At this time of year my garden is full of young Litoria ewingi, Southern Brown Tree frogs, and a favourite place is amongst the Hydrangea which grow just outside the back door.  These were caught briefly and photographed on a flower pot of moss, which may give an idea of their size – about the size of a finger nail.  All hopped away unharmed.

And then there are the insects……more of which you can see on Fractions in Time so don’t forget to visit the photo blog.

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On Saturday last I attended the Werribee Quilters Quilt-in, along with about 200 others to have some fun and to listen to a presentation by Michele Hill, quilter extraordinaire, author and down to earth genuine person who for the past fourteen years, has been obsessed by William Morris.  She was informative, amusing, unpretentious, and generous in her willing to share her experiences along her craft journey from the 1980’s, to where she is now.   She even showed a photo of her very first quilt!  I met her a couple of years ago in Adelaide and really liked her presentation then – she is still worth seeing if you have a chance, or doing a class with her as I’m sure you would learn a lot.  I’m hopeful that our Embroiderer’s Guild will engage her to teach in 2013, I shall certainly be there if that happens.

There was a quilt shop present during the day, and I purchased a couple of William Morris repros to add to the stash.

The blue fabric seems rather topical – it features the famous Strawberry Thief design….and I was writing about birds yesterday…….

specifically Blue Wrens…….and delightedly….today I captured these shots……I had been digging in a flower bed and he came to see if any tasty morsels had been unearthed.

A Male Superb Blue Wren

Superb Blue Wren

Superb Blue Wren - male

Mrs Superb Blue Wren

Blue is a favourite colour of mine, so here are a couple more items.  A beautiful little jug, a recent gift from my daughter.

And what is it sitting on?  A table runner finished last night – just two pieces of fabric, one hand dyed by me, no batting, stitched with running stitch – my version of Kantha work, a simple mindless piece of work that takes no concentration at all.  It is about 26 X 13 inches in size.

Finally, not blue, but the flowers are – as I was taking the photo of my jug, I noticed a minute spider….not much bigger than a pinhead.  You can compare it to the size of the Forget-me-not and you will know just how tiny it was.  I think it is an Orb Weaving Spider, of which there are many in the garden.

Juvenile Orb Weaving Spider



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Backyard Birds

It has been a gorgeous day here, most of which has been spent outside with the camera.  These are today’s bird visitors to the back garden – Kookaburra, a pair of Sulphur Crested Cockatoos,  the black Currawong, Crimson Rosellas,  a female Fairy Wren, and some sparrows.  I have been trying for ages to get a photo of a Blue Wren of which there are many in the garden, but they are tiny and very fast.  The blue male was hiding in the shrubbery, but this is his missus collecting nest material.  The Currawong is beginning to expect food, appearing regularly and fixing me with that beady yellow eye – he looks quite malevolent!

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