Every ending has within it the seeds of a new beginning. Look forward to what will be, while remembering what has gone by, but don't dwell in the past. The brightness of the future depends on how well we nurture the candle of the present moment. Cherish the present while acknowledging that it has as its foundation the past, and build solidly now that you may dwell securely on the tall towers of tomorrow.
The sulphur-crested cockatoo (Cacatua galerita) is a relatively large white cockatoo found in wooded habitats in Australia, and New Guinea and some of the islands of Indonesia. They can be locally very numerous, leading to them sometimes being considered pests. A highly intelligent bird, they are well known in aviculture, although they can be demanding pets.
In Australia, sulphur-crested cockatoos can be found widely in the north and east, ranging from the Kimberley to as far south as Tasmania, but avoiding arid inland areas with few trees. They are numerous in suburban habitats in cities such as Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney and Brisbane. Except for highland areas, they occur throughout most of New Guinea and on nearby smaller islands such as Waigeo, Misool and Aru, and various islands in the Cenderawasih Bay and Milne Bay.
It has a total length of 44–55 cm, with the Australian subspecies larger than subspecies from New Guinea and nearby islands. The plumage is overall white, while the underwing and -tail are tinged yellow. The expressive crest is yellow. The bill is black, the legs are grey, and the eye-ring is whitish. Males typically have almost black eyes, whereas the females have a more red or brown eye, but this requires optimum viewing conditions to be seen.
Their distinctive raucous call can be very loud; it is adapted to travel through the forest environments in which they live, including tropical and subtropical rainforests. These birds are naturally curious, as well as very intelligent. They have adapted very well to European settlement in Australia and live in many urban areas.
Our strange weather continues with a heatwave after the cooler and wet weather we had about a week or so ago. The sunsets have been quite spectacular and very photogenic. This is our street with a rather dramatic light show put on by the setting sun. This post is part of the Skywatch Friday meme, and also part of the Friday Photo Journal meme.
Ochna serrulata (commonly known as the small-leaved plane, carnival ochna, bird's eye bush, Mickey mouse plant or Mickey Mouse bush due to the plant's bright-red sepals, which resemble the face of Mickey Mouse) is an ornamental garden plant of the Ochnaceae family which is indigenous to South Africa. It is planted in southern African gardens and is an invasive species in Australia and New Zealand.
Ochna serrulata is a small shrub growing between 1 and 2 m high, although it may occasionally become a small tree up to 6 m high. The narrow leaves are oblong to elliptic and measure 30–60 mm in length by 8–15 mm wide, and are shiny green with fine toothed serrations along the leaf edges. During the spring, the shrub's fragrant yellow blossoms that appear are usually around 2 cm (0.79 in) in diameter. Though, the petals tend to drop soon after they bloom. Five or six fruits grow from the plant, which are attached to the sepals. While the fruit is developing, the sepals enlarge and turn bright red, in most cases turning the whole plant red. The 5 mm diameter fruit are initially pale green and turn black. In places including Kirstenbosch, the fruits on the plant start ripening in the early summer, while the red sepals last until around late summer. The flowers usually attract bees and butterflies, while the birds tend to eat the fruits from the plant. The seeds can be released by birds and water.
The plant is native to the forest areas of South Africa. It occurs throughout the country, from Cape Town in the south, along the east coast as far as Kwazulu-Natal, and inland through Swaziland and Gauteng. This tough, adaptable shrub grows in sunny, open positions as well as in the shade of deep forest. It has been widely cultivated outside of South Africa as an ornamental garden plant, and has become a weed in New South Wales and southern Queensland in eastern Australia, where it is found near human habitation in and around large towns and cities. In New Zealand it is listed on the National Pest Plant Accord prohibiting its sale, commercial propagation and distribution.
Yarra Bend Park
has been one of Melbourne’s largest expanses of inner suburban parkland
for nearly 150 years. Yarra Bend Park and neighbouring Studley Park
were reserved in 1877. Both park areas and several reserves were
combined in 1929 to create one large park. The combined area became
known as Yarra Bend National Park despite never being raised to formal
national park status.
the 1930’s additions included picnic and sporting grounds, toilet
facilities and a public golf course. The Yarra Bend Golf Club House,
officially opened in May 1936, is an original example of American
‘Country Club’ type architecture. The Park provides a great open space
for walking, bike riding, riverside cafes, golf, boating, BBQs,
picnicking and a host of other leisure activities.
We had a perfect Summer's day for Christmas this year and many people chose the great outdoors for the Christmas lunch. Beaches, parks, nature reserves, barbecue areas were all popular spots for the festive fare spread. And after lunch of course, nothing better than a quiet lie down on the green lawn to digest... This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme, and also part of the Travel Tuesday meme, and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme.
Happy Christmas to all who celebrate this festive day. May you have a joyful, jolly and delightful day close to those you love! The detail of the nativity is from a stained glass window in the Our Lady Help Of Christians Catholic Church in 49 Nicholson St, Brunswick East VIC 3057. This post is part of the Mosaic Monday meme, and also part of the Macro Monday meme, and also part of the Through my Lens meme, and also part of the Seasons meme.
The Australian wood duck, maned duck or maned goose (Chenonetta jubata) is a dabbling duck found throughout much of Australia. It is the only living species in the genus Chenonetta. Traditionally placed in the subfamily Anatinae (dabbling ducks), it might belong to the subfamily Tadorninae (shelducks); the ringed teal may be its closest living relative.
This 45–51 cm duck looks like a small goose, and feeds mostly by grazing in flocks. The male is grey with a dark brown head and mottled breast. The female has white stripes above and below the eye and mottled underparts. Both sexes have grey wings with black primaries and a white speculum. Juveniles are similar to adult females, but lighter and with a more streaky breast.
The Australian wood duck is widespread in Australia, including Tasmania. The Australian wood duck is found in grasslands, open woodlands, wetlands, flooded pastures and along the coast in inlets and bays. It is also common on farmland with dams, as well as around rice fields, sewage ponds and in urban parks. It will often be found around deeper lakes that may be unsuitable for other waterbirds' foraging, as it prefers to forage on land. It is classified as a game bird, and killed by licensed hunters. This species is not threatened, and numbers are stable.
Australian wood duck nests in cavities in trees or in nest-boxes above or near water. Nests are made with a pile of down. This duck nests in a tree cavity laying 9–11 cream-white eggs, similar to the Mandarin ducks. The female incubates them while the male stands guard. Once the ducklings are ready to leave the nest, the female flies to the ground and the duckling will leap to the ground and follow their parents. Like Mandarin drakes, the males also secure their ducklings closely along with the females.
A sunset in a deserted park after heavy unseasonable rain. Quiet, cleanly-washed air. As the sun sets, a little creature pops up, pricks its ears, stops just enough to have its photo taken and then scurries off. I walk away.
Despite our rather strange, cool and wet weather, Summer is progressing and in the garden the flowers are blooming. Here is a small sample: Blue agapanthus; red flowering gum tree; 'Norita' rose; Leucadendron; and two colours of marvel of Peru. This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.
Xenia Food Store is a local Greek-inspired Brunswick restaurant & cafe that opened its doors in December 2017. I have been there a couple of times and enjoyed the atmosphere and the food. The website of the restaurant is here.
Xenia (Greek: ξενία, translit. xenía, meaning "guest-friendship") is the ancient Greek concept of hospitality, the generosity and courtesy shown to those who are far from home and/or associates of the person bestowing guest-friendship.
The rituals of hospitality created and expressed a reciprocal relationship between guest and host expressed in both material benefits (such as the giving of gifts to each party) as well as non-material ones (such as protection, shelter, favours, or certain normative rights).
The Greek god Zeus is sometimes called Zeus Xenios in his role as a protector of guests. He thus embodied the religious obligation to be hospitable to travellers.
The Old England Hotel in suburban Melbourne was established in 1848. Celebrating its 170th birthday this year the Old England is an iconic part of Heidelberg’s rich and vibrant history. The hotel with its warmth and historical significance has been engrained in the traditions and social landscape of Heidelberg since its foundation. For the last century the old England hotel has attracted Melburnians as a fashionable place to dine, drink and socialise.
Some of the most notable patrons of the day included Heidelberg School of Arts founders: Arthur Streeton, Fredrick McCubbin, Tom Roberts and Charles Conder who as young struggling artists would frequent the hotel during the years they were painting the Heidelberg area around 1888. During this time they would meet regularly to share their dreams, stories, struggles and achievements.
We often go there to dine or have a quiet drink in the cosy lounge. The quality is consistently good and the service efficient.
The eastern long-necked turtle (Chelodina longicollis) is an east Australian species of snake-necked turtle that inhabits a wide variety of water bodies and is an opportunistic feeder. It is a side-necked turtle (Pleurodire), meaning that it bends its head sideways into its shell rather than pulling it directly back. This specimen sighted in the Darebin Parklands in suburban Melbourne. A close-up of the head shows off the resemblance to a snake!
The species is found throughout south eastern Australia where it is found west of Adelaide (South Australia) eastwards throughout Victoria and New South Wales, and northwards to the Fitzroy River of Queensland. Where the species comes in contact with Chelodina canni they freely hybridise exhibiting hybrid vigour in the Styx River Drainage of Queensland.
The carapace is generally black in colour though some may be brown, it is broad and flattened with a deep medial groove. The scutes are edged in black in those individuals with a lighter background colour. The plastron is also very broad and is cream to yellow in colour with sutures edged in black. The neck is long and narrow, typical of the subgenus Chelodina, and reaches a length of approximately 60% of the carapace length. The neck has numerous small pointed tubercles and is grey to black in colour dorsally, cream below, as is the narrow head.
Females tend to grow to larger sizes and have deeper bodies. The maximum sizes recorded for females and males varies throughout the range, in river environments of the Murray it is 28.2 cm and 24.9 cm respectively, whereas in the Latrobe Valley it is 21.6 cm and 18.8 cm respectively. It is thought this is linked to productivity of the local environment.
When it feels threatened, this turtle will emit an offensive smelling fluid from its musk glands. This trait gives the turtle one of its other common names, "stinker". The eastern long-necked turtle is carnivorous, eating a variety of animals. This includes insects, worms, tadpoles, frogs, small fish, crustaceans, and molluscs.
In early summer, the female will lay between 2 and 10 eggs in the banks of her aquatic habitat. Three to five months later the hatchlings break out of their shells. These young turtles often fall prey to predators such as fish and birds. Females will lay 1 to 3 clutches of eggs per year.
Severe thunderstorms and wild weather batter the eastern side of Australia as cyclone 'Owen' hits the north. In Melbourne, the CBD recorded more than 32mm of rain yesterday, which led to flash flooding. Today, rainfalls were not as extreme in the morning, but in the afternoon the heavens opened again! Melbourne copped another soaking of rain, as workers ended the working week. Heavy rain, lightning and thunder rolled through the city at about 5pm, with persistent rain continuing into the evening. That's about a whole month's of rain in two days!
Lomandra (also known as mat rushes) is a genus of perennial herbs in the family Asparagaceae, subfamily Lomandroideae. There are 51 species, all of which are native to Australia; two of them also extend into New Guinea and New Caledonia. It has formerly been assigned to the family Dasypogonaceae, Xanthorrhoeaceae or Liliaceae. They are generally tufted deciduous perennials with long narrow blade-like leaves that arise from a central stemless base and have thick woody rhizomes and fibrous roots.
The plant is often used for revegetation and erosion control. The starchy, fleshy bases of the leaves are edible, tasting of raw peas. Even when the roots are exposed it will cling tenaciously in poor soils. Indigenous Australians ground the seeds for use in damper, and the long, flat, fibrous leaves were used for weaving. The base of the leaves contains water, and was chewed by those in danger of dehydration.