Thursday, 30 March 2017

Great weather for the Ducks

Cyclone Debbie crossed the coast on Tuesday afternoon bringing devastation to the beautiful tropical Whitsunday Coastline. Down graded to a tropical low, Debbie still wasn't going to say goodbye quickly. Her torrential rains are being dumped as far south as the Victorian border, a distance of 2500 kms.
Since 9pm last night to 5 pm today, 128 mms [ 5inches] has fallen here, just outside Brisbane. At 7am the State Government closed schools for the next 2 days and businesses were asked to send staff home at midday to get people off the roads and safe, before the worst fell. The hinterland, [where we often hike] would have had double that amount, so many of our rivers are now breaking their banks.

In a lull this morning, I headed out with my camera, across the golf fairways, which were rapidly being inundated. I had a lovely time splashing through the rivulets of water rushing to join the 3 ponds that were now one big lake.

I discovered some unusual fungi.

Ducks rushing to join their friends.

The meeting point.

Looking a little drenched.

Time for a change of view.

Top arrow is where Cyclone Debbie crossed the coast.
Second arrow is where I live.
Third arrow is the Victorian border.
That's a lot of rain falling and the system is not moving quickly.

It is still raining. Tomorrow morning should bring sunshine, but I fear that for many it will also bring more heartbreak.

I would love to read your comment. 

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Nature's Beauty and Fury

Our summer has been long, hot and steamy. Until 2 weeks ago, rainfall was scarce. Thankfully we have seen some wonderful deluges and all is green again.

My sunset view of one set of clouds retreating after dropping their load.

A night later we watched the full moon rise, only to see it quickly engulfed by dense cloud.

Many early morning walks had to be cancelled, but on this morning it was a joy to see fresh raindrops  still clinging to leaves and spider webs.

We have a garden bed of azaleas immediately outside our bedroom . Several mornings ago I woke to see these pure white fungi, emerging from the mulch.

24 hours ago, a low off the north Queensland coast developed into cyclone Debbie. It is slow moving and as a result gathering strength, with the possibility of being a category 5 event. 

Our Queensland newspaper - the Courier Mail, wrote:
"Up to 300,000 people from Townsville to the Whitsundays are in the line of the monster storm as it tracks towards the coast with destructive winds possible as early as today.
Disaster experts warn the cyclone, predicted to be a category 5 or even the highest rating of a category 5, looms as a catastrophic event capable of destroying homes, buildings and power lines in the 400km-long stretch of coast."

My brother lives to the north of its landfall. Top arrow.
Our neighbours are staying with family right in its path. Middle arrow.
The bottom arrow is where I live.

Cyclone Debbie isn't expected to cross the coast until tomorrow or Tuesday. The waiting must be harrowing. I just hope the predictions will not be realised.

I would love to read your comment.

Monday, 20 March 2017

The Birdlife of No 16

The past 3 weeks has seen me itching to get out and about, but the removal of 2 more skin cancers [leg and arm] put paid to that. It has however freed up some time to sort and tidy my photos. Time has been wasted revisiting favourite places, but overall, progress made. In the process, I came across this video of kookaburras laughing on the power line on the footpath. Then, this morning's dawn chorus was particularly loud and beautiful, hence the decision to share the variety of birdlife we see and listen to regularly, in or near our garden. Some of the photos you may have seen previously.

Laughing kookaburra - a large member of the kingfisher family.

Small blue kingfisher - not a regular visitor, but such a delight when he does.

The blue faced honeyeater regularly visits our native grevillea trees to feast on their nectar.

The rainbow lorikeet is also a nectar and pollen lover, along with fruit, seeds and small insects. They are daily visitors to our garden. Living near the golf course, we constantly hear their continuous, sharp, screeching call to one another, as they flock to feed in the eucalyptus trees, especially in the early morning and late afternoon. 

The pink galah being a seed feeder, is more often found in rural areas, but it is not unusual to see them grazing in the 'rough' of the golf course.

These two are saying, "What's your problem?" 
No 1 - they raucously arrive at dawn, in our cypress tree.
No 2 - enjoying the seed pods, they manage to decimate the foliage. 
No 3 - These 2 are alone, [unusual], but the golf course is the haunt of a flock of 100's. At times the din they make is tiresome, but watching them swarm, especially at dusk, is fascinating.

A small flock.

The pelican is one of my favourite birds. About 3 years ago, large numbers suddenly appeared on the golf ponds, below our home. Their uniform feeding motion was like watching ballet. We are now back to only seeing one or two.

The blue wren, or suburb fairy wren, has decided to frequent our garden regularly. They flit about in the dense, leaf cover of our shrubs, announcing their presence with their repetitious melodic chirping. Their sound constantly draws me outside with the camera, but rarely do I have any success in spotting them.

Female wrens - thank goodness for the 30X zoom on my point and shoot.

We have lived here almost 10 years and only twice have we had the black swans visit. Interesting to see the tag attached to their leg.

The very regal looking cuckoo-shrike is neither a cuckoo nor a shrike. They are so named because their feathers have similar patterns to cuckoos and their beak shape is similar to that of a shrike.
Sadly not a regular visitor.

These are the male and female storm birds or Eastern Koel. I have just discovered that this bird is migratory and arrive back in Australia in September, which is the beginning of our storm season. They are rarely seen, but their short haunting call is heard often. When I took this photo, I had no idea what these birds were. And of course I now understand why their song isn't heard all year.

The ducks are almost daily visitors to No 6 green, in front of our home. I just love watching them as they earnestly go about their business of foraging for worms, as if they have not a care in the world.

Yes, even when the floods had all but engulfed the sixth green, [immediately in front of our house] in 2013.

Now to share nature's magical ability to recover. This has been our view for most of our long hot summer. As you can see the ponds were rapidly evaporating.

A week ago the summer rains finally remembered how to fall. Over the week we have had 183 mm 
[7 1/2 inches] fall, with 100 mm [4 inches]in the past 24 hours. As you can see below, the result is the magical return of a sea of green and the ponds overflowing.

I would love to read your comment.