Saturday 31 July 2021


The yellow-tailed black cockatoo (Zanda funerea) is a large cockatoo native to the south-east of Australia measuring 55–65 cm (22–26 in) in length. It has a short crest on the top of its head. Its plumage is mostly brownish black and it has prominent yellow cheek patches and a yellow tail band. The body feathers are edged with yellow giving a scalloped appearance. The adult male has a black beak and pinkish-red eye-rings, and the female has a bone-coloured beak and grey eye-rings.

In flight, yellow-tailed black cockatoos flap deeply and slowly, with a peculiar heavy fluid motion. Their loud, wailing calls carry for long distances. The yellow-tailed black cockatoo is found in temperate forests and forested areas across south and central eastern Queensland to southeastern South Australia, including a very small population persisting in the Eyre Peninsula.

Two subspecies are recognised, although Tasmanian and southern mainland populations of the southern subspecies xanthanotus may be distinct enough from each other to bring the total to three. Birds of subspecies funereus (Queensland to eastern Victoria) have longer wings and tails and darker plumage overall, while those of xanthanotus (western Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania) have more prominent scalloping.

The yellow-tailed black cockatoo's diet primarily includes seeds of native and introduced plants while also feeding on wood-boring grubs. They nest in large hollows high of old growth native tree (~ greater than 200 years old), generally Eucalyptus regnans. Although they remain common throughout much of their range, fragmentation of habitat and loss of large trees suitable for nesting has caused population decline in Victoria and South Australia. Furthermore, the species may lose most of its mainland range due to climate change.

In some places yellow-tailed black cockatoos appear to have partially adapted to recent human alteration of landscape and they can often be seen in parts of urban Canberra, Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne. The species is not commonly seen in aviculture, especially outside Australia. Like most parrots, it is protected by CITES, an international agreement that makes trade, export, and import of listed wild-caught species illegal.

This post is part of the Saturday Critters meme

Thursday 29 July 2021


A little early this year, the wild plum trees are blooming and `that means that Spring is not too far off in the Southern Hemisphere!

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme

Wednesday 28 July 2021


I always harp on here about how lucky we are in Metropolitan Melbourne to have so many parks, parklands, nature reserves, gardens and green zones. But immediately I say it, I think how we are also challenged by people who are intent on destroying such beauty, and ruining such an essential part of what keeps our city and citizens healthy. 

Some conscienceless and stupid people go out of their way to litter our streets and parks, pollute our waterways, throw away their rubbish into creeks, storm-water drains and sewers and vandalise flora, fauna and facilities.

The effect is larger of course, as the more destruction occurs, the greater the consequences on the broader environment and on every living thing...

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 24 July 2021


Millipedes are a group of arthropods that are characterised by having two pairs of jointed legs on most body segments; they are known scientifically as the class Diplopoda, the name being derived from this feature.

Each double-legged segment is a result of two single segments fused together. Most millipedes have very elongated cylindrical or flattened bodies with more than 20 segments, while pill millipedes are shorter and can roll into a ball. Although the name "millipede" derives from the Latin for "thousand feet", no known species has 1,000; the record of 750 legs belongs to Illacme plenipes.

There are approximately 12,000 named species classified into 16 orders and around 140 families, making Diplopoda the largest class of myriapods, an arthropod group which also includes centipedes and other multi-legged creatures.

This post is part of the Saturday Critters meme

Thursday 22 July 2021


Grevillea is a diverse genus of about 360 species of evergreen flowering plants in the family Proteaceae, native to rainforest and more open habitats in Australia, New Guinea, New Caledonia, Sulawesi and other Indonesian islands east of the Wallace Line. It was named in honour of Charles Francis Greville, an 18th-century patron of botany and co-founder of the Royal Horticultural Society.

The species range from prostrate shrubs less than 50 cm (20 in) tall to trees 35 m (115 ft) tall. Common names include grevillea, spider flower, silky oak and toothbrush plant. Closely related to the genus Hakea, the genus gives its name to the subfamily Grevilleoideae.

The brightly coloured, petal-less flowers consist of a calyx tube that splits into four lobes with long styles. They are good bird-attracting plants. Honeyeaters in particular are common visitors. They are also used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species, including the dryandra moth and Pieris rapae (small white).

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday 21 July 2021

Tuesday 20 July 2021


Melbourne is in Lockdown (#5!) yet again, as we try and cope with an outbreak of the Delta strain of COVID. As the restrictions tighten, we remember happier times in the past when our city was abuzz with tourists from all nations abroad, sightseeing and taking happy snaps in our city lanes...

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 17 July 2021


These fish are part of the décor in a restaurant in Melbourne's Southbank entertainment complex. The obvious question for all passers-by is: "Are they just decorative or part of the fresh fish menu?" Not a good question to ask, especially if the fish look at the camera and smile obligingly!

This post is part of the Saturday Critters meme

Thursday 15 July 2021


The flora of South Africa and Australia is very distinctive with quite a few rich botanical families that provide a diverse and amazing bouquet of flowers. The Proteaceae (banksias, grevilleas, waratahs) and Myrtaceae (eucalypts, bottlebrushes, titrees, lillipillis) especially are well represented. 

Australia and New Zealand once formed part of a huge southern land mass now referred to as Gondwanaland, whereas northern hemisphere continents were once aggregated into Laurasia. Gondwanaland and Laurasia began to disaggregate about 160 million years ago. Prior to this time, the southern hemisphere land masses and India were connected into Gondwanaland, while North America, Europe and much of Asia formed Laurasia.

South Africa, Madagascar, India, South America, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Australia and various other fragments broke away and drifted northwards, leaving Antarctica behind. Australia and South America were the last major land masses to separate from Antarctica, Australia beginning slowly about 90 to 100 million years ago and establishing a deep ocean passage some 30 to 40 million years ago. 

Here is a bouquet of the Gondwanaland flowers, readily available in florists throughout the world because of extensive flower exports from both South Africa and Australia.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday 14 July 2021


Yes, we are still in the middle of Winter and a couple of days of fine weather should not make us too cocky. A cold and wet morning today, so it was welly and brolly time...

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 13 July 2021


St Kilda is an inner seaside suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 6 km south-east of the city's Central Business District. Its local government area is the City of Port Phillip. At the 2016 Census, St Kilda had a population of 20,230. The Traditional Owners of St. Kilda are the Yaluk-ut Weelam clan of the Boon Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation.

St Kilda was named by Charles La Trobe, then superintendent of the Port Phillip District, after a schooner, Lady of St Kilda, which moored at the main beach for much of 1841. Later in the Victorian era, St Kilda became a favoured suburb of Melbourne's elite, and many palatial mansions and grand terraces were constructed along its hills and waterfront.

After the turn of the century, the St Kilda foreshore became Melbourne's favoured playground, with electric tram lines linking the suburbs to the seaside amusement rides, ballrooms, cinemas and cafes, and crowds flocked to St Kilda Beach. Many of the mansions and grand terraces became guest houses, and gardens were filled in with apartment buildings, making St Kilda the most densely populated suburb in Melbourne.

After World War II, St Kilda became Melbourne's red-light district, and the guest houses became low-cost rooming houses. By the late 1960s, St Kilda had developed a culture of bohemianism, attracting prominent artists and musicians, including those in the punk and LGBT subcultures. While some of these groups still maintain a presence in St Kilda, since the 2000s the district has experienced rapid gentrification, pushing many lower socio-economic groups out to other areas, with the suburb again being sought after by the wealthy. Since at least the 1950s, the suburb has been the axis of Melbourne's Jewish community.

St Kilda is home to many of Melbourne's visitor attractions including Luna Park, St Kilda Pier, the Palais Theatre and the Esplanade Hotel. It hosts many of Melbourne's big events and festivals.

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.

Monday 12 July 2021


The wind that whistles
Off-key through the bare branches;
Sweet Spring songs, distant.

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

Saturday 10 July 2021


The Dusky Moorhen (Gallinula tenebrosa) is a medium-sized, dark grey-black water bird with a white undertail. It has a red bill with a yellow tip and a red facial shield. Young birds are much duller and browner than adults, with a greenish bill and face shield. It is found from Indonesia through New Guinea to Australia. It is widespread in eastern and south-western Australia, ranging from Cooktown to eastern South Australia and in the southern corner of Western Australia.

Dusky Moorhens are found in wetlands, including swamps, rivers, and artificial waterways. They prefer open water and water margins with reeds, rushes and waterlilies, but may be found on grasses close to water such as parks, pastures and lawns. The Dusky Moorhen has been favoured by artificial water sources such as dams, ponds and lakes in parks and gardens and associated grassy areas. However, wetland drainage in other areas may have negative impacts.

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

Thursday 8 July 2021


Eucalyptus is a genus of over seven hundred species of flowering trees, shrubs or mallees in the myrtle family, Myrtaceae. Along with several other genera in the tribe Eucalypteae, including Corymbia, they are commonly known as eucalypts or "gum trees". Plants in the genus Eucalyptus have bark that is either smooth, fibrous, hard or stringy, leaves with oil glands, and sepals and petals that are fused to form a "cap" or operculum over the stamens. The fruit is a woody capsule commonly referred to as a "gumnut".

Most species of Eucalyptus are native to Australia, and every state and territory has representative species. About three-quarters of Australian forests are eucalypt forests. Wildfire is a feature of the Australian landscape and many eucalypt species are adapted to fire, and resprout after fire or have seeds which survive fire.

A few species are native to islands north of Australia and a smaller number are only found outside the continent. Eucalypts have been grown in plantations in many other countries because they are fast growing and have valuable timber, or can be used for pulpwood, for honey production or essential oils. In some countries, however, they have been removed because they are highly flammable.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme

Wednesday 7 July 2021


A tree growing on a bluff, exposed to the rough weather grows gnarled and wizened, but strong...

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 6 July 2021


Melbourne prides itself on its multicultural ambience, its arts and fashion leadership, its sporting tradition and of course its gourmet restaurants serving a variety of cuisines from around the world. Many businesses, but especially restaurants have had a hard time during the successive lockdowns we had to have. Unfortunately many did not survive, but some favourites have fortunately managed to keep open and are coming back with a vengeance now...

A favourite restaurant in one of the Melbourne lanes, called “Gingerboy” survived! It is located at 27 Crossley St, off Bourke St in the City and the style of food served is inspired by Southeast Asian very genteel street cuisine. The food is delicious and while spicy, never terribly hot, very tasty, sometimes surprising and always extremely well presented.

The restaurant has a wonderful ambience and the décor is very modern, yet draws on classic Asian materials and themes. Bamboo and rich red fabric feature prominently, but there are some surprises. For example, the bamboo-screened walls and ceiling are lit with hundreds of tiny lights giving the appearance of a starry sky. The tables are wooden and there are some interesting light fittings that are Asian retro (like something out of the “World of Suzie Wong”).

There is a bustling vivacious feeling in the place but at the same time there is warmth and intimacy. One just has to love the place in terms of both food and décor.  What to have? Well the restaurant prides itself on banquet-style food presentation with much sharing occurring on each table. Theoretically, one may have three courses with entrées, mains and desserts served. For an Asian restaurant, I am pleasantly surprised there with desserts (not the strong part of the menu in many other such restaurants).

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.

Monday 5 July 2021


July is our coldest month here in Melbourne, and looking around one can certainly appreciate we are in midwinter. However, all is not bleak! Splashes of colour become apparent when one looks closer. A patch of blue sky, amongst the denuded branches, a blooming, cheery yellow wattle, a bright, brick red toadstool, the warmth of an open fire...

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 4 July 2021


The more apartment blocks they build, the more like prison complexes they look...

This post is part of the My Sunday Best meme

Saturday 3 July 2021


July is our coldest month and yet the wattles bloom and the weather is often mild enough to walk along the creek. The dogs enjoy a tentative dip and a taste of the cold water...

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

Thursday 1 July 2021


Prunus mume is an Asian tree species classified in the Armeniaca section of the genus Prunus subgenus Prunus. Its common names include Chinese plum and Japanese apricot. The flower is usually called plum blossom. This distinct tree species is related to both the plum and apricot trees. Although generally referred to as a plum in English, it is more closely related to the apricot.

In Chinese, Japanese and Korean cooking, the fruit of the tree is used in juices, as a flavouring for alcohol, as a pickle and in sauces. It is also used in traditional medicine. The tree's flowering in late winter and early spring is highly regarded as a seasonal symbol. It is flowering now in Melbourne, which is a little early! Our July is equivalent to the Northern Hemisphere January. Nevertheless, it does look splendid...

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.