Sunday, June 26, 2011

I like this to howl to

This is a great song to howl to on a full moon...Simon got me the whole CD 'cause I liked it that much, but then I found the singer sounds like he has a cold all the time, and so I chewed the CD up!! ( And I am Blue not yellow!!!!)


Thursday, June 23, 2011

My friend Blue who is Red.

My best friend is "Blue". He is a Red Cattle dog and lives across the road from me. We get into barking competitions, which drives Simon crazy. Here we call anyone with red hair "Blue."

This is Blue. One pup in a litter will be red, all others blue,(like me!)

Both Blue and I like legs because we are bred the bite them. That is why I am called Nip.

I like Sylvie Guillem. She has nice legs which move really well!


Friday, June 17, 2011

Wheeny Creek.

Down the bottom is Wheeny creek.

The week was a disaster. I have the flu, I have been told I have osteoporosis and the treatment to strengthen the bones "kills" the jaw bone, I have to have my ankle fused and a hip replacement (both on the right leg)- the ankle alone is 16 weeks to recover and I may have to swap pedals in the car. Stop work as I cannot drive too. I have a tumor and it needs to be removed and I have to send a camera down my throat to see why its sore- probably because I have been on anti- inflamitories for 10 years.

So, seeing that I am totally "fucked", I thought "self" " Will I sit here in the house and stare at the walls?" OR will I get out and go for a walk and say "Fuck the blood disorder." So I chose the latter.

Yellow Robin ( not my photo)

No contest- I went to Wheeny creek. A popular and lovely spot to the north of where I live. The creek flows into the Colo River and swamps and there is a good variety of birds and wildlife. In the past I have seen Rock Warbler here, as well as LyreBird. I have been told Brush turkey can be seen as well.

Spotted Quail Thrush (not my photo)

I was delighted to see a Spotted Quail-thrush. A shy bird that flies quickly away and hides in the lower growth , again a chance sighting. Also delightful was a Yellow Robin and a beautiful White-bellied Sea eagle. Probably the one I saw a week or so ago at the polo fields.

It was a nice sunny day, with a warm breeze although I got plenty of leeches on me in the three hours I was there. I think we are at a turning point in the midst of the winter solstice. I felt refreshed and relaxed after my time in the national park and all it has to offer.

Swampy bits..

Birds included:-Buff-rumped Thornbill, Grey Fantail, Laughing Kookabura, Wee bill, Lewins Honeyeater, Australian Magpie, Red-browed Finch, Bell Miner, Superb Fairy Wren, Yellow Robin, Masked Lapwing, White-bellied Sea Eagle, Royal Spoonbill, Welcome Swallow, Pied Currawong, Australian Black Swan, Eastern Rosella, Purple Swamp Hen, Pacific Black Duck, Willy Wagtail, Hard Head, Little Pied Cormorant, Crimson Rosella, Rufus Whistler, Spotted Quail-thrush, Cattle Egret.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Willandra and the Plains Wanderer.

The Willandra Plains, Me, my truck and a sunset.. Photo Susanna Cotter
Willandra June 2011

Hi to all. My children suggested we return to Willandra, to light a candle and say goodbye to Jim in our own way, to bring closure to a remarkable friends life.

Willandra is home to the Plains Wanderer, a lovely small bird that looks like a quail but with yellow legs. It was great to see and rare. It requires very specific terrain to survive. The herbage must be sparce enough for it to wander. the soil must be red, and the height of the herbage must be high enough to provide shelter but not too high. Jim explained a few weeks ago that its unlikly we would see it. I also saw Spotted Bowerbird, again a great bird to see, that we did not see last time.

Plains Wanderer. Note the long yellow legs.

I not only enjoy the wildlife, but also its pastoral history. The park is about one eigth the size of the original station, and contains the original 1920's shearing 1/4s, the restored homestead and 1950s shearing 1/4s.

This weekend we stayed in the managers cottage which is small, comfortable and clean. The nights were cold , crisp and clear and the days were bright and sunny with a cold breeze from the south. At night we had a roaring log fire and played guitar.

The Restored Homestead, palm trees, tennis court and water views

With my new binoculars I recorded more than 50 species including the trip there and back, there are more but I do not have the exeprience yet to identify them. Duirng the day I walked and drove the tracks. At night David and I went looking for owls and wandered the shearing sheds, (thats interesting in the dark!! Let me tell you).
The park is looking healthy thanks to the rain and the salt bush is certanly in better contition than whats on the working Willandra Station which you have to drive about 30km through the staion to get to the national park. Cattle do a lot of damage.

Here is what I wrote in May:-

Willandra April 2011

Willandra sunset. ( photo Dr Jim Fowler)

Some posts ago I talked about Willandra. We have visited the park three times. It is a park of National significance as it was the home of some of Australias finest Marino Sheep. It was with pleasure that I took my mate, Jim and my family to experience the shearers quarters, and the grand homestead.

Dave Fishing. (photo Dr Jim Fowler)

Situated west of Hillston and east of Ivanhoe, Willandra is home to a wide variety of birds, mammals, and reptiles. With all the rain we have had the Willandra creek was full and home to a variety of fish too. The nice thing about this park is- you can stay in the shearers 1/4's or stay in the managers 1/4's or, ( if you prefer), use the camping grounds. Wood is provided and the amenities are clean and functional. The roads in are "dry weather" roads only and whilst the road will take an average sedan, there are rocks and corrugations that would test it. A four wheels drive is recommended. Once a centermetre of rain has fallen.. you must wait for the roads to dry.. or you will have to pay for the repairs!

The office.

A self guided tour of the grand homestead is recommended as too is use of the BBQ near the tennis court and grape vine. It is truly remarkable to cook and look at the beautiful surroundings whilst relaxing on the Buffalo grass lawn. In walking through the rooms of the homestead, with some of the furniture and photos still hanging, it was not hard to feel that the owners were still present. built in the shape of a 'U" the centre has a magnificent rose garden, cellar and the kitchen, whilst being under the same roof was away from the rest of the house so as to avoid the cooking smells. The womens lodgings was also at the other end- So as to avoid any runcible behaviour from the traveling wool buyers!

1920s Shearers 1/4s

About a km back along the main dirt road is the shearing shed and the early shearers quarters. It is easy to compare the conditions of the 1920's with the 1950's as both quarters remain. The boys did it tough as too the ladies in the kitchens.

Beautiful Galahs

A drive tour is also recommended taking you along the creek, and through the grasslands where, if you are lucky you will see a Plains Wanderer (we did not). Magnificent kangaroos, birds of prey, and sunsets are all on offer.

Western Red Kangaroo

This is an opportunity not to be missed, and one all of us will never forget.

Bird list ( please note this includes birds on the drive to and from Willandra):- Australian Pelican, Wedge tailed Eagle, Sulphur crested cockatoo, Galah, Australian Magpie, Pee Wee, White Winged coughs, Apostle Bird, Willy Wagtail, Grey fantail, White faced Heron, Australian Wood Duck, Pacific Black Duck, Plains Wanderer, Black Shouldered Kite, Black Kite, Whistling Kite, Spotted Harrier, Sacred Kingfisher, Barn Owl, Australasian Grebe, Mallie Ringneck, Red-rumped Parrot, Black faced Cuckoo-shrike, Red capped Robin, Superb Fairy Wren, Brown Thornbill, Rufus Whistler, Yellow Throated Miner, Richards Pipit, Little Eagle, Crested Pigeon, Blue Bonnet, Hard Head, White Necked Heron, Welcome Swallow, Swamp Harrier,Grey Butcherbird, Pied Butcherbird, Straw-necked Ibis, Pied Cormorant, Spotted Bowerbird, Silvereye, Australian Rave, Little Raven, Little Corella, White Ibis, Eastern Rosella, White Headed Pigeon, House sparrow, Red Wattlebird, Common Starling, Black native Hens, Yellow Tailed Cockatoos, Laughing Kookaburra, Owlet Nightjar

Willandra Station and the Plains wanderers

I needed a well deserved weekend away in my favorite place- the outback. Details soon!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Pughs Lagoon

White-bellied Sea Eagle (not my photo).

With the weather cold and crisp and a few hours to kill before a doctors appointment I decided to do some more birding. Pughs lagoon is located in the historic town of Richmond NSW. It is excellent habitat for birds. I also wandered down the lowlands roads to do some spotting there as well. The highlights for me were Azure Kingfisher and a really superb White Bellied Sea Eagle.

Azure Kingfisher.

These are tiny little birds that make a nest in the side of a river bank. Very effective at catching fish and their colours are stunning.

The Sea Eagle was mature and in excellent condition.

Other Birds spotted included:- Pacific Black Duck, Black Swan, Willy Wagtail, Dusky Moorhen, Eurasian Coot,Purple Swamphen, Mallard, Little Pied Cormorant, Red Browed Firetail,Rainbow Lorekeet, Red Wattlebird, Pee Wee, Hoary Headed Grebe, Masked Lapwing, Great Cormorant, Australasian Little Grebe, House Sparrow, Superb Fairy Wren, Azure Kingfisher, White Bellied Sea Eagle, Cattle Egret, Grey Fantail, Buff Rumped Thornbill, Chestnut Teal, White Faced Heron, Little Raven, Australian Raven, Welcome Swallow, Restless Flycatcher, Black-faced Cuckoo Shrike, Common Bronzewing, Spotted Turtledove, Bell Minor and Currawong.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Penrith Lakes

I needed to get out of the house, so with new binoculars at hand, and a sunny winters day, it was time to head back to Penrith Lakes that we did 8 weeks ago.

Penrith lakes is a man made system of lakes, some still under construction. Earlier sections were used for our 2000 Olympics for rowing and kayaking. It is fast becoming a haven for water birds as well as others.

My binoculars certainly improve my ability to identify water birds. I found ducks difficult with the other pair as their range was not as good. what I did fine was, that you have to keep perfectly still. As some friends know I shake and this was evident using these bins. I had to concentrate very hard to try and relax and reduce it.

This is what I saw:- Hoary-headed Grebe, Australian Raven, Australian Magpie, Hard Head, (its a duck), Pacific Black Duck, Australian Wood Duck, Little Black Cormorant, Australian Black Swan, Purple Swamp hen, Australasian Grebe, White-faced heron, Cattle Egret, Intermediate Egret, Pee Wee, Willy Wagtail, Welcome Swallow, Black- Shouldered Kite, Crested Pigeon, Fan-Tailed Cuckoo, Superb Fairy Wren, White Plumed Honey Eater, Red Wattle Bird, House Sparrow, Australian Pelican, Common Starling, Indian Miner, Little Raven, Black-Faced Cuckoo Shrike, Bul Bul, Red Rumped Parrot, Masked Lapwing, Little pied Cormorant, Little Corella, Button Quail.

It was a pleasant walk in the countryside