Thursday, May 31, 2012

SkyWatch - Still the same Sunrise

Still from my wondrous early morning walk at Arkaroola:-
look back towards the sunrise and all the morning glory colour 
has left the sky.

to compensate, cotton-ball clouds adorn one quadrant

as the early morning sun makes the uncharacteristically lush 
vegetation glow

in shades of shimmering gold.

More unseasonal rainclouds well up

and just when you think all the red has faded from the earth,
there it is once more in all it's tantalising depth of colour.

Do click on the SkyWatch Logo at right and enjoy the skies around the world.

Monday, May 28, 2012

OUR WORLD - More of the Amazing Sunrise Light

Continuing from last Friday's SkyWatch, here is a little more of 
the same sunrise light turning the rocks red.

This is just a little sample of the rocky road and here it had been 
graded since  the great rains that had all the creeks rushing and
locking down all roads to and from Arkaroola Village.

As usual, the brightest red was on the rocks supporting solar cells
and satellite dish. Ah well, only Allah is perfect . . .

I saw the light turning the hills over the ridge a bright gold but
try as I might to scramble up the hill to a vantage point, I only
managed to catch a tiny glimpse of it.

The road ahead still had some of the sunrise red but

look back and the magic seems gone. There will be more of the 
glory in Friday's SkyWatch.

For those of you who commiserated with my two flat tyres, my
guardian angel stood by for both. The first one at Wirrealpa station 
went down over night and the boys there fixed it for us. We ourselves 
had no hope of even changing it as the oil had leaked out of our jack
and it was rendered useless. The second tyre expired as we were 
checking in at Arkaroola and luckily they had a compatible tyre and 
another arriving the next day. I had both damaged tyres replaced, just to 
be on the safe side, so it was mainly the $800.00 that was the painful bit.

Please leave a sign of life if you can, comments always make my day.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

TODAY'S FLOWERS - More Orchids

Thank you Luiz for featuring me today as your Guest Friend!

Here are a few more orchids from my my dear friends' garden:

This orchid, with it's tiny, lace like flowers, was a good 5' wide
and 4' high. In fact, it was so big, I could not fit all of it into 
the frame. It is worth enlarging to see the branches laded with
buds of promise.

Their shade-houses were extensive and full of blooms, in a season
when nature is winding down and there is a constant chill in the 
air, in John and Beverley's garden, you would think it was 
perpetual spring.

This one was such an unusual shade of pink and fuchsia.

Thanks to Luiz Santilli Jr. and his team, we can enjoy flowers all year round!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

SkyWatch - Arkaroola Sunrise

I take off in darkness as Arkaroola village still sleeps, and hike
along the road towards Nooldulnoolduna Waterhole (I hope I 
have the right number of o's in that!). I walk with determinations
not to miss a moment of the dawn spectacle, and yes, slowly as 
the light grows, everything assumes the red glow I came for.
The sky itself in my direction looks quite bland but

turn around and it starts firing up. I hope the cloud cover will
nor dull the spectacle I expect.

Perhaps not as overwhelming as I had hoped, but rather nice 

As the red glow spreads to the road as well, I speed up the next 
rise to get an open view of the glowing rocks.

A quick look back and I am transfixed by the emerging gold

that flames in the clouds,

I reach a little vantage point and watch the wonder of the rock 
faces bathed in blood.
This is what I came to the dry inland for, these moments of magic 
when the landscape is transformed.

Keep watching the wonder of the sky and capture those moments for all to see.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

World Bird Wednesday - Birds at Arkaroola

Driving into Arkaroola, this Emu caught my eye.
Not so easy to do precision shooting across a passenger and
keeping the bird in the frame. Apologies for the focus.

No more luxury of drive-by shooting, since I'm sole driver,
either I or the bird has gone by.

Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, Acanthagenys rufogularis, not one of 
your nice chaps, were he human, you could hear the chains and the 
click of flick knives. More on this fellow on a later post.

I saw a flash of red and swivelled my hand-held lens and snap!
I thought it was one of our robins but envisage my amazement
when I checked it on the computer

and found it to be a Mistletoebird!!, Dicaeum hirundinaceum.
I thought all my Christmases had come at once. A lifer for me
and a bird I had hardly dared to hope to see, let alone get a shot of.

Isn't he just the cutest with that black stripe down his front?

Another bird landed near by and, blind as a bat me thought it 
may be the female but fate decreed otherwise, 
a second lifer within seconds, a Hooded Robin, Malanodryas 
carullata, another of our black and white birds and a charming
little chappy. 

Both the Mistletoebird and the Robin had pretty voices to 
recommend them as well.

There was so much more in just one morning. I'll leave some for 
another day, rather than risk boring you all in one hit.

So, until next time, keep snapping!

Monday, May 21, 2012

OUR WORLD - Ever northward, Wirrealpa to Arkaroola

After two nice station-hands repaired one of our tyres, we were
off north, crossing scores of creek beds with rough and tumble
stones and doing our best not to tread on the feet of magnificent
River Redgums.

The only road, a hundred plus many miles of rough as guts dirt 
roads, creek crossings and floodways was east of the ranges with 
tantalising glimpses of the hills and huge, wide open skies.

An occasional glimpse of a flower as we got into the foothills.

The countryside had a lush cover of vegetation so unlike the normal
look of these dry ranges.

A young camel was quite a surprise to see, just a a teenager taking
 a rest in the afternoon heat

and here is the next generation, with mom and dad being very 
protective and sending junior to hide over the crest and behind them.

At last, Griselda hill at Arkaroola where I hope to get to see and
photograph some birds of the region.

We checked in, booked a table for dinner and . . . discovered we had  
another flat tyre!

Sequel to follow . . .

Saturday, May 19, 2012

TODAY'S FLOWERS - Near Salt Water

The diversity, colour and beauty of nature in the face of salt 
spray, never ceases to amaze me.

Like a garden of Eden, growing on dune sand and limestone
rock and often in the stench of bad egg gas, Hydrogen Sulphide,
as in this instance where I fled back into the car.

I high tailed it out of there at the top of the speed limit until we
hit some clean air a good quarter of an hour later . . . thank God 
we had not had lunch or the situation could have got really ugly.

Below you can see the Coorong, and just pick out the 
Younghusband Peninsula on the far side. The Coorong was 
badly degraded a couple of years ago during a prolonged 
drought, when Australia's largest river did not make it to the sea.

The mouth silted up and in consequence, neither fresh nor salt
water could replenish this 100 mile long lagoon that is one of
Australia's premier wetlands.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

SkyWatch - Another Wirrealpa Sunset

Before we left Wirrealpa Station to go to Arkaroola, the evening
sky put on another splendid show for us.

They day had been hot with the sun really biting. 

Hard to imagine that a mere 700km south, it was already so cold 
that we had our electric blankets in use.

Somehow in the dry inland, sunrises and sunsets are so much
more spectacular than at home.

A windmill always helps although we have a few at home too.

Happy skywatching everyone!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

World Bird Wednesday - More Dry-land Birds

On the last morning of our initial stay at Wirrealpa Station in the
North Flinders Ranges of inland South Australia, there it was!
The Variegated Fairy Wren momentarily posed in the open, 
unfortunately not yet in full mating plumage. 

One click and it was gone but I was happy anyway.

It was early morning as we were packing up, you know how it 
goes . . . camera in one hand and carting stuff to the car with the 
other . . . when this bright little Red-Cap Robin showed up. 
Again, I just had a moment to catch this glimpse.
Sharp it is not . . but colourful none the less.

This handsome chap is decidedly bigger than the Fairy-Wren but
compared to an American Robin or an European Blackbird, he is
like Tiny Tim to Arnie Schwarzenegger.

With a bit of luck, we'll move to the mountains next week.

Monday, May 14, 2012

OUR WORLD - A backward step

Just for a change, I am taking you a few months back to our 
local Agricultural Show.

This prize winning rooster rally took my fancy

and I took great pride in my grandson in law taking out second
 prize for precision shearing.

The great pumpkin dwarfws the little girls and the dahlias on the 
adjoining table

and a rather well embroidered footstool did not even get a 
prize when others less worthy did.

Ours is one of the few remaining real country shows with animals, 
birds, shearing, woodcutting and in the hall, baking photography,
vegetables and fruit and amongst many other things even a prize 
for the best polished boots!

All in all, a great day out with lots of good food and produce of the 
area like wine and honey and a great number of locals to socialise with.

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