Friday, December 30, 2011

New Year's Eve Masquerade Ball

It's been a tough year but now it is, at long last,
time to kick up my heels. There is, after all, nothing
like a masked ball in my cousin's little pile up on
the hill to see in the New Year.

Isn't it great what Oil of Ulan will do, you'd never
know I was an inch over seventy!

I digress . . . the Emperor awaits, as does my
beautiful sleigh full of furs . . . my mask, ah, here it is.
Anyway, it's not at all far, just across the valley between
Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanschtein, with the
sleighbells tinkling and the snow glistening in the lamplight.

I am looking forward to seeing Gaelyn host this delightful
event. I do hope Michael doesn't get jealous when she
stands up with my cousin Ludwig.

Oh, Franz Josef is waiting so, see you there!

One of the rare posts where the photos are borrowed from the web.
After all, it is a cyberspace party!

To join in the fun and festivities in the grand ballroom of Neuschwanstein,
just click on the Masked Ball Logo on my side bar and enjoy!

A little problem with lifting the Logo so I am linking straight to Geogypsy instead.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

SkyWatch ~ Ten Minutes of Wonder

Another of those coldish mornings where getting out of bed
seems a drag and I really wanted to turn over and close my
optics a while longer. It definitely did not seem promising but,
one has to get something for skywatch, right?

Less than a minute later the sky came alive

as the fire burst forth and took over,

burning so fiercely that I almost wanted to flee. The flames
engulfing the clouds above and turning the whole landscape

rose red.

To the south there was a golden haze with touches of pink

in the east, it became apparent where the golden fleece originated

and the trees were a blood red. The whole show, and I have
30 shots to prove it, lasted just ten minutes.

What better way to see the year out than another spectacular sunrise?

Wishing everyone a wonder full 2012, may you all stay safe and healthy
and retain the eyes of a child as you click your way through the year!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Our World & World Bird Wednesday - A company of Crakes

I sincerely hope you all survived Christmas and the various
assorted cholesterol pies, I also hope no paramedics had their
feasts interrupted due to over-eathin heart attacks . . . ho, ho,
ho, t'is the season for much folly, fa la la, fa la la, la, la, la . . .

On my way to pick up some cherries from our local orchardist,
I passed his dam opposite to the golf course and was treated to
a massed nursery of young Spotless Crake, Porzana tabuensis.
It seems my ID has been called into question, thank you
Stewart M and on further research, it could just as easily be a
Black-Tailed Native Hen, Tribonyx ventralis, either way, its a
newby to me.

There were hundreds of them and, although I pulled up behind
some light tree and grass cover, by the time I crept out to get a
decent shot, most of them had taken to the air and disappeared
into the rough of the golf course.

These last two shots are rather heavily cropped but were at least
enough to identify them. Another lifer chalked up.

A little further from home, just a few Pelicans at the little Wetland
just outside Murray Bridge.

Stay safe, be (reasonably) good and, with all the goodies around
that we all make at this season, a little of what you fancy does
you good.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

SkyWatch ~ Angel Wings . . .

Hark, the herald angels sing . . .
spreading their wings across the sky

sometimes just wings

and sometimes with hints of an angel.

A very merry Christmas to all you skywatchers and a fulfilling and
Happy New Year !!!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Our World & World Bird Wednesday - Christmas is coming . . .

Christmas is coming

and the geese are getting fat . . . all except this one which has
been dieting for two months sitting on a clutch of nine infertile
eggs and fiercely protecting them until I snuck in the other end
of the shed and managed to hide the stinking things while she
snatched a few mouthfuls of grass. No, she certainly will not be
Christmas dinner.

Today I must make a foray into the big smoke to locate a few
elusive presents. Haven't managed any Christmas baking as
yet and have a birthday cake to bake before Friday. I hope all
of you are better organised.

How can I get anything done when I have little distractions like
this Superb Blue Wren around?

Or kangaroos checking me out as I stalk a bird or two,

like these Sulphur-Crested Cockatoos, a few couples of which,
in our twenty years here, have passed through on their annual
pilgrimages. Last year a small flock decided this was a good
spot to linger and colonised one of our paddocks. This year
there has been a population explosion and we have well over
a hundred of them screeching between our houses. The noise
of feeding and begging babies is deafening and they, together
with a flock of Galahs, are stripping our Eucalyptus trees where
they roost and snipping off new shoots on ornamental evergreens.

At least some of them hide their heads in shame . . .

And so, with a few meadow flowers sunning themselves, I wish
all my dear blog friends wherever you are, a Happy and Blessed
Christmas and/or Holiday Season. May those of you in cold
climates stay warm and those in hot ones stay cool. Enjoy your
time with family and friends, be they two or four legged.

Stay safe on the roads, everyone else drives like a maniac!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

TODAY'S FLOWERS - Poppy & Roses


Share your love with family and friends, remember, not
everyone has someone to share Christmas with so wish some
lonely person a Happy Christmas in the street or at the checkout.
You have no idea how much that can mean.


this just opened poppy caught my eye all crinkled still from
it's cocoon, with stripes painted
on it's petals.

Roses against the light, romance personified . . .

It is worth enlarging them, especially the poppy.

Pick your best flowers and send a bunch to TODAY'S FLOWERS so
everyone can enjoy them !

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Shadow Shot Sunday & Weekend Reflections

My thanks and appreciation to Tracy of HEY HARRIET for
single-handedly hosting the delightful Shadow Shot meme
for such a long time.

So, for the last time under Tracy's management, here are a
few assorted shadows as well as unmistakeable reflections.

Yes, you see me shooting from the car . . . never miss an

Daylight on one of our dams . . .

and dusk on the same dam with a little grebe.

Thanks to the sponsors of both memes, now those of you who
have not joined in as yet, gird your loins and post something brilliant!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

SkyWatch ~ Sunrise Surprise

I have often seen wonderful red gold sunrises but this, as I
opened my bleary eyes was a sufficient surprise for me to leap
out of bed . . .

it started out as superimposed pink on blue

but quickly deepened into an almost magenta hue

and for a moment, gave me this striped effect before as
suddenly as it had come, like a dream, it had gone.

It just goes to show it is worth keeping a lookout.

Join the hundreds who post their skies on SkyWatch each week, it is
so interesting to watch the skies around the world.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Our World & World Bird Wednesday - Birds of a Feather . . .

I've had these up my sleeve for a while, it's getting a bit crowded
there so, here goes . . .

OK, OK Susannah, I'm listening already . . .

Lake Burrumbeet at Ballarat Victoria, where the Olympic rowing
was held in 1956. Luckily it has water in it for the birds to nest
this year. A couple of years ago, during the drought, it was
completely dry and people were walking across it.

The swans had obviously had numerous cygnets, in the
foreground, is one already changing to adult plumage while
the one in the rear is a much younger bird.

There are nesting islands for any number of waterbirds in the lake
as well as lawns for grazing, waterlilies for tubers and walkways
for people to admire, photograph and feed them.

Feed me, feed me, feed me . . .

hey, wait for me . . .

a family with small children tossed in loads of bread, everyone
was happy, including the tiny tots who were eye to eye with the
swans and just a tad overawed by it all.

The gulls moved in to clean up the leftovers while the cygnet
and waterhen looked on

and the grownups were at leisure to pose for photo opportunities.

If you like birds, you can enlarge them, if you are not a birdlover,
just disregard this post and and go check out someone else's world.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

TODAY'S FLOWERS - Summer Roses

We all strive towards the light. I think these roses at the height
of their bloom have reached the impossible in this lifetime.

In the pink of unconditional love,

the white of purity

and the golden light of hope.

Do join this beautiful Sunday meme hosted by Luiz Santilli Jr.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Shadow Shot Sunday ~ Me and my Shadow

So often that which we tend to ignore cuts more sharply than
reality itself . . .

Click on the Shadow Shot Logo to be enveloped in a wealth of shadows.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

SkyWatch ~ Sunset, a Moment of Glory

As the sun was setting, there was a blaze of gold on the skyline
over Moon Hill.

Startlingly bright against the dark land,

after the brightness faded, the clouds changed to burnt orange

and moments later the show was over with just a touch of
soft pink lingering in the easter sky.

OK, this is my sky, now let me see yours . . .

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

World Bird Wednesday & Nature Notes - Farewell Biggles, hallo Egret

Biggles blundering in the bushes

or perched in the cherry tree or on my shoulder is but a sweet
memory. Last Saturday he was called to the Great Galah in the
sky. He had a misshapen tongue and yesterday there was another
dead baby galah on the paddock. Our resident flock of Galahs
nested away from home. Therefore they also could have ingested
pesticides on neighbouring farms. We steer clear of applying
chemicals on our land, it may look scruffier but at least we know
it is 'clean and green'. My neighbour with a property 4 times the
size of ours went on an aerial spraying spree against cockchafers
one year and we lost all the frogs in all our dams.

On a happier note, my first ever sighting of an Intermediate
Egret, Ardea intermedia, or any egret for that matter in our
area within the last 20+ years. I have only seen them on the
coast or much further north before.

Imagine my surprise when we crossed the Torrens river close
to its source in Mt.Pleasant. The footbridge made a great
vantage point while my ever lovin' trotted back to the car for
my camera. No zoom on the first shot to show you the habitat.

This one mainly for identification, the beak says it all, it is
yellow more than orange so it is in non-breeding plumage.

Our son was here for one night on his way to a shoot at a
steel plant so I was lucky enough to get an over breakfast
master class and will no longer be over exposing my whites,
well, providing I can surf the menu quickly enough!

Don't you just love the way birds have their knees bending
the other way from ours?

After fishing for ever so long, he decided to go mountain climbing.
I think he was just showing off as it would have been so much easier
to fly over those jutting rocks.

Finally, playing hide-and-seek in the bushes and giving a
perfect swan impression.

Enlarge them if you are so inclined . . .

Both these memes can be accessed from the relevant Logos on my side bar.
My thanks to Springman and Michelle for hosting them.
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