Monday 31 May 2021


As we progress towards Winter on this last day of Autumn, I need a little more colour in my world... A little help from the archives and Photoshop obliges!

This post is part of the Mosaic Monday meme,
and also part of the Blue Monday meme,
and also part of the Seasons meme.

Sunday 30 May 2021


Since Friday morning, Melbourne has been in a snap COVID Lockdown for seven days. I wish I could say we are used to it by now, but that's not true. It seems that people's irresponsible behaviour, inept public health measures, poor government leadership, bungled vaccination rollouts and petty political games between state and federal governments have once again caused an outbreak of COVID cases in the community.

Once again, businesses are closed in Melbourne, people are confined at home, children are not going to school, and we can only go out of the house for five reasons:
1) Shopping for food and supplies;
2) Authorised work and education;
3) Care and caregiving;
4) Exercise (for up to two hours and with one other person), and:
5) Getting vaccinated.

So here we are in our local shopping centre, doing our grocery shopping (no, we did not need any toilet paper) and feeling sad seeing the deserted aisles, the closed shops and the melancholy prospect of seeing an extension of the Lockdown next Friday...

This post is part of the My Sunday Best meme

Saturday 29 May 2021


The Torresian crow (Corvus orru), also called the Australian crow or Papuan crow, is a passerine bird in the crow family native to the north and west of Australia and nearby islands in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. The species has a black plumage, beak and mouth with white irises. The base of the feathers on the head and neck are white. The Torresian crow is slightly larger with a more robust bill than the morphologically similar little crow.

This post is part of the Saturday Critters meme.

Thursday 27 May 2021


At the end of Autumn, as we prepare to go into Winter, the leaves are still turning on the deciduous trees as you can see on the right on this Callery Pear. Meanwhile, at the same time, on the left a wattle tree is in full bloom with its cheery yellow flowers. Up to a third of Australia's 960 species of wattle will flower in winter. This winter blooming means that somewhere in Australia, no matter what time of year, a wattle is flowering, because they also flower in spring, summer and autumn!

Wattles growing nearest the coast are generally the earliest in the year to flower, followed by those further inland. Similarly, the tide of yellow sweeps from north to south, as the wattles in the northerly parts of Australia flower first, followed by the more southerly species.

The Acacia genus, which includes all the wattles, is the biggest group of trees and shrubs in Australia, topping even the eucalypts in diversity. They were part of the original Gondwana vegetation, which is why, today, acacias are also found in Africa, South America and India.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme

Wednesday 26 May 2021


A lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon moves into the Earth's shadow. This can occur only when the Sun, Earth, and Moon are exactly or very closely aligned (in syzygy) with Earth between the other two, and only on the night of a full moon. The type and length of a lunar eclipse depend on the Moon's proximity to either node of its orbit.

A totally eclipsed Moon is sometimes called a blood moon for its reddish colour, which is caused by Earth completely blocking direct sunlight from reaching the Moon. The only light reflected from the lunar surface has been refracted by Earth's atmosphere. This light appears reddish for the same reason that a sunset or sunrise does: the Rayleigh scattering of bluer light.

Unlike a solar eclipse, which can only be viewed from a relatively small area of the world, a lunar eclipse may be viewed from anywhere on the night side of Earth. A total lunar eclipse can last up to nearly 2 hours, while a total solar eclipse lasts only up to a few minutes at any given place, because the Moon's shadow is smaller. Also unlike solar eclipses, lunar eclipses are safe to view without any eye protection or special precautions, as they are dimmer than the full Moon.

This post is part of the Wordless Wednesday meme,
and also part of the My Corner of the World meme,
and also part of the Nature Notes meme.

Tuesday 25 May 2021


Phillip Island is an Australian island about 140 km south-southeast of Melbourne, Victoria. Named after Arthur Phillip, the first Governor of New South Wales, Phillip Island forms a natural breakwater for the shallow waters of the Western Port. It is 26 km long and 9 km wide, with an area of about 100 km2. It has 97 km of coastline and is part of the Bass Coast Shire. A 640 m concrete bridge (originally a wooden bridge) connects the mainland town San Remo with the island town Newhaven.

In the 2011 census the island's permanent population was 9,406, compared to 7,071 in 2001. During the summer, the population swells to 40,000. 60% of the island is farmland devoted to grazing of sheep and cattle.

Seal Rocks, seen here, is a group of rocky inlets along Phillip island's coastline. They are home to Australia's largest fur seal population, numbering around 16,000. The population peaks between late October to December, but it is possible to view seals at all times of the year. Seals eat squid, cuttlefish and small fish. They can dive up to 100m and have excellent underwater vision.

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.

Saturday 22 May 2021


Moorhens—sometimes called marsh hens—are medium-sized water birds that are members of the rail family (Rallidae). Most species are placed in the genus Gallinula, Latin for "little hen". They are close relatives of coots. They are often referred to as (black) gallinules.

This post is part of the Saturday Critters meme,
and also part of the Weekend Reflections meme.

Thursday 20 May 2021


Aloe maculata (synonym Aloe saponaria; commonly known as the soap aloe or zebra aloe) is a Southern African species of aloe in the Asphodelaceae family. Local people in South Africa know it informally as the "Bontaalwyn" in Afrikaans, or "Lekhala" in the Sesotho language. It is a very variable species and hybridises easily with other similar aloes, sometimes making it difficult to identify.

The leaves range in colour from red to green, but always have distinctive "H-shaped" spots. The flowers are similarly variable in colour, ranging from bright red to yellow, but are always bunched in a distinctively flat-topped raceme. The inflorescence is borne on the top of a tall, multi-branched stalk and the seeds are reputedly poisonous.

This species was previously known as Aloe saponaria (a name that came from the Latin "sapo" meaning soap, as the sap makes a soapy lather in water - the juice from the leaves is traditionally used as soap by indigenous people). Its currently accepted name, according to the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), is Aloe maculata ("maculata" means speckled or marked). Taxonomically, it forms part of the Saponariae series of very closely related Aloe species, together with Aloe petrophila, Aloe umfoloziensis, Aloe greatheadii and Aloe davyana.

The Soap Aloe is highly adaptable and is naturally found in a wide range of habitats across Southern Africa, from Zimbabwe in the north, to the Cape Peninsula in the south. Specifically, it is native to southern and eastern South Africa, south-eastern Botswana and Zimbabwe. In addition, it is now planted around the world as a popular landscape plant in warm desert regions – especially in the United States, where it is the most popular ornamental aloe in the Tucson, Arizona area, and is also popular in California.

This post is part of thFloral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday 19 May 2021


A few rains in Autumn are enough to germinate the seeds, and soon, great carpets of green fumitory shoots cover the waste ground. Fumaria officinalis, the common fumitory, drug fumitory or earth smoke, is a herbaceous annual flowering plant in the poppy family Papaveraceae. It is the most common species of the genus Fumaria in Western and Central Europe. It has become naturalised in many temperate parts of the world.

This post is part of the Wordless Wednesday meme,
and also part of the My Corner of the World meme,
and also part of the Nature Notes meme.

Tuesday 18 May 2021


Port Phillip (also commonly referred to as Port Phillip Bay or [locally], just The Bay), is a large bay in southern Victoria, Australia; it is the location of Melbourne. Geographically, the bay covers 1,930 square kilometres and the shore stretches roughly 264 km. Although it is extremely shallow for its size, most of the bay is navigable. The deepest portion is only 24 metres, and half the region is shallower than 8 m. The volume of the water in the bay is around 25 cubic kilometres.

Prior to British settlement the area around Port Phillip was divided between the territories of the Wathaurong (to the west), Wurundjeri (north) and Boonwurrung (south and east) Nations. Its waters and coast are home to seals, whales, dolphins, corals and many kinds of seabirds and migratory waders. The first British to enter the bay were the crews of HMS Lady Nelson, commanded by John Murray and, ten weeks later, HMS Investigator commanded by Matthew Flinders, in 1802.

Subsequent expeditions into the bay took place in 1803 to establish the first settlement in Victoria, near Sorrento, but was abandoned in 1804. Thirty years later, settlers from Tasmania returned to establish Melbourne, now the state's capital city, at the mouth of the Yarra River in 1835 and Geelong at Corio Bay in 1838.

Today Port Phillip is the most densely populated catchment in Australia with an estimated 4.5 million people living around the bay; Melbourne's suburbs extend around much of the northern and eastern shorelines, and the city of Geelong sprawls around Corio Bay, in the bay's western arm. This view is taken from Southbank, looking towards the Southwest.

This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Ruby Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Travel Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme.

Saturday 15 May 2021


Moorhens—sometimes called marsh hens—are medium-sized water birds that are members of the rail family (Rallidae). Most species are placed in the genus Gallinula, Latin for "little hen". They are close relatives of coots. They are often referred to as (black) gallinules.

This post is part of the Saturday Critters meme,
and also part of the Weekend Reflections meme.

Thursday 13 May 2021


Waratah (Telopea) is an Australian-endemic genus of five species of large shrubs or small trees, native to the southeastern parts of Australia (New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania). The most well-known species in this genus is Telopea speciosissima, which has bright red flowers and is the NSW state emblem.

The waratah is a member of the plant family Proteaceae, a family of flowering plants distributed in the Southern Hemisphere. The key diagnostic feature of Proteaceae is the inflorescence, which is often very large, brightly coloured and showy, consisting of many small flowers densely packed into a compact head or spike. Species of waratah boast such inflorescences ranging from 6–15 cm in diameter with a basal ring of coloured bracts. The leaves are spirally arranged, 10–20 cm long and 2–3 cm broad with entire or serrated margins.

The name waratah comes from the Eora Aboriginal people, the original inhabitants of the Sydney area.

Chrysanthemums, sometimes called mums or chrysanths, are flowering plants of the genus Chrysanthemum in the family Asteraceae. They are native to Asia and northeastern Europe. Most species originate from East Asia and the centre of diversity is in China. There are countless horticultural varieties and cultivars. Shown here is a green spider chrysanthemum hybrid.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday 12 May 2021


Mild Autumn day, but still, the leaves fall and last night's rainwater flows.

This post is part of the Wordless Wednesday meme,
and also part of the My Corner of the World meme,
and also part of the Nature Notes meme.

Saturday 8 May 2021


Walking the dog on a sunny (yet briskly cool!) Autumn morning is the perfect exercise for human and animal.

This post is part of the Saturday Critters meme.

Thursday 6 May 2021


Autumn is advancing in Melbourne, but we have had relatively mild weather and moderate rain. The garden is doing well and the chrysanthemums are glorious right now, just in time for Mother's Day on 9th of May this year (annually observed in Australia on the second Sunday of May).

Most chrysanthemums are upright plants with lobed leaves that can be aromatic. The many showy flowerheads, carried at the tips of strong stems, begin to bloom as the days shorten. Florists chrysanthemums (Chrysanthemum grandiflorum) are grouped according to form: Irregular incurved, reflexed, regular incurved, intermediate incurved, pompon, single and semi-double, anemone, spoon, quill, spider, brush or thistle, and unclassified, which is a catch-all group for blooms not yet classified or not falling into one of the existing groups.

Florists chrysanthemums prefer a heavier richer soil in a sunny position, though they like a spot that offers some afternoon shade. The plants require training and trimming to produce their best flowers. Pinch back when young and disbud to ensure the best flower show. Propagate by division when dormant or from half-hardened summer cuttings.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday 5 May 2021


Melbourne has a mild temperate climate, which means Winter is generally not severe, without extreme cold, snow or hail. In Autumn we can have some lovely sunny, warm days and rain can fall any time of the year, but we may also have droughts every now and then.

The vegetation is mainly native, although there are many introduced species in gardens and parks. Native trees are generally evergreen, with Eucalyptus and related species predominating. This is a typical Autumn scene, with the evergreen eucalypts dominating the landscape. As soon as the first Autumn rains fall, the grass grows and the landscape looks quite lush.

This post is part of the Wordless Wednesday meme,
and also part of the My Corner of the World meme,
and also part of the Nature Notes meme.

Tuesday 4 May 2021


The Murray River (in South Australia: River Murray; Ngarrindjeri: Millewa, Yorta Yorta: Tongala) is a river in south-eastern Australia. It is Australia's longest river at 2,508 km (1,558 mi) extent. Its tributaries include five of the next six longest rivers of Australia (the Murrumbidgee, Darling, Lachlan, Warrego and Paroo Rivers). Together with that of the Murray, the catchments of these rivers form the Murray-Darling basin, which covers about one-seventh the area of Australia. It is widely considered Australia's most important irrigated region.

The Murray rises in the Australian Alps, draining the western side of Australia's highest mountains, then meanders northwest across Australia's inland plains, forming the border between the states of New South Wales and Victoria as it flows into South Australia. From an east–west direction it turns south at Morgan for its final 315 km (196 mi), reaching the eastern edge of Lake Alexandrina, which fluctuates in salinity. 

The water then flows through several channels around Hindmarsh Island and Mundoo Island. There it is joined by lagoon water from The Coorong to the south-east before emptying into the Great Australian Bight (often referenced on Australian maps as the Southern Ocean) through the Murray Mouth, 10 km (6.2 mi) east of Goolwa South. Despite discharging considerable volumes of water at times, particularly before the advent of large-scale river regulation, the waters at the Murray Mouth are almost invariably slow and shallow.

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.

Monday 3 May 2021


The airlines in Australia have just started offering special fares between capital cities. This is to take advantage of the exceedingly small number of cases of COVID infection and the increasing numbers of immune people as more and more get vaccinated. All of the sudden, travel has become viable again. I saw a flight from Melbourne to Sydney advertised today for a fare of $39.00! 

The mosaic is a horizontal layering of images in Photoshop, with three different photos making the three horizontal stripes of the image. Details (e.g. the gull) have been added on top of the image on a different layer.

This post is part of the Mosaic Monday meme,
and also part of the Blue Monday meme,
and also part of the Seasons meme.

Sunday 2 May 2021


We've had a couple of beautiful warm and sunny Autumn days, but this evening a change came through and we'll have lower temperatures and rain over the next few days. Glad to have made the most of the sun while it was out!

This post is part of the My Sunday Best meme.

Saturday 1 May 2021


I was in the countryside today and the weather was perfect: A sunny, warm Autumn day, showing off the lush pastures where some horses grazed. An idyllic landscape in a quiet place...

This post is part of the Saturday Critters meme