Thursday, May 31, 2012

Clues (oh and a Piccie of the Day)

First on a similar theme to my last “piccie of the day”
Marysville - Woods Point Road

Another view through our car windscreen.
A much less typical Oz scene

Now to the clues.
I am really surprised at the guesses to yesterday's What is it Wednesday?
They have been really elaborate:

Linda G thought – “An expansion joint on a sidewalk?”

Jennifer (AKA Old Kitty) was on the same track but switched to - “the edge of a wall/stone clad building!”

Kittie H was on the side walk as well with – “encapsulated grass seed on a strip between a raised border and a sidewalk.”

Sharon took a stab with – “I have no first thought was roofing material and something else. LOL, not a good guess.”

Dawn stabbed wildly and repeatedly – “Caulking? A gravel road and field from space? Prehistoric amber (as in Jurassic Park) next to caulking? Tee-hee. If it's the last one, do NOT be tempted to pull dinosaur DNA from it. Trust me.”

I have to say all of them have been just dead wrong!

The clues are:
So far every “What is it Wednesday” has been taken from one of my own photos. So down to earth items like sidewalks could definitely be in.

But this one is from a piccie of something living (sorry I am not going to say which of the kingdoms of life it is from).

So any further (or perhaps second) guesses for what on Earth this could be?

I’ll post the answer tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Tricky or No?

I think this is an easy one, but after all I know what it is.

However, none of my test subjects (read Deb and the girls) came close.

So what on Earth do you think this might be?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Where I'd Rather Be

Hamilton Highway between Geelong and Mortlake
I'd rather be on a road heading out to the bush.
The piccie is nothing special in itself, it shows a very typical rural road in Oz. Pretty flat, pretty straight and plenty of open space on either side.
I've just spent the day chairing a day long meeting to present information about changes we are making to our programs. More of the same tomorrow.
Important work but boy is it tiring!

Monday, May 28, 2012


Deb and I went up into the hills for our usual weekend drive. This is what it looked like.

One word is sufficient  to describe my piccie of the day, Brrrrrr!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Cuteness Plus

My Piccie of the day was taken in The Grampians nearly 12 months ago.
Deb had a sleep-in in the motel we stayed at, while I got out and about in the frosty morning light. Among other things I was rewarded with this nice shot of an Eastern Grey Kangaroo (Macropus giganteus) doe. As you can see she has a joey in her pouch.
Joey has grown so big she barely fits. As well as her face and forearm you can see her large toes poking out too. She has had to double up to squeeze in.

Her mother would have already mated again and be pregnant. Interestingly unlike placental mammals where once a pregnancy begins it must go through to the end, marsupials can "suspend" a foetus. As soon as Joey is out of the pouch mother will send a signal to the baby inside and it will begin growing again.
The new baby is born tiny, less than an inch long, blind and with forelimbs only partially developed, the newborn has no visible sign of tail or the massive rear limbs it will have in only a few months. Using its arms it climbs unaided up and into her pouch where it latches onto one of her two teats (a kangaroo's teats are in the bottom of the pouch). It will stay there locked to the teat and continue growing until it is a small version of mum (like this joey) before coming out.
In the meantime Joey will be allowed to continue putting her head into the pouch to feed from the other teat for a few months more, until mum decides she is independent.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Stairs Down A Cliff

Piccie of the day. Stairs on Victoria's limestone coast.

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Ewwww Moment

Well when I first thought of using this image as a WIIW piccie

I did not think it would lead to quite such diverse answers. I hope the more sensitive types don’t find this too much of an Ewwwww moment.

Linda G thought a bear on a track taken from above, which is interesting because one of my dearest said “it looks a bit like a wombat.” Wombats are shaped very like small bears so there you go. But it is nothing remotely like a bear

Anne thought a microscopic bug, it is small but not that small.

Carolyn V thought a platypus. I am sorry but that is at least as far off as a bear. Except in size that is.

Kitty, it is not Lilli’s fluff, although she does normally leave great piles of that for us to sweep up.

Marcy guessed furry creature on tracks, not exactly no.

Well Jayne who guessed first guessed nearest, in fact I would say she earned a good 90% mark with “a small buzzy thing crawling over a patterned tea-towel”
Not a tea towel but otherwise basically right.
Io, my middle daughter, took this piccie of my back as we went for a bushwalk (hike) about three or four years ago.  As a side note I am amazed by how much greyer my hair has become over just a few years.

My  Passengers are Aussie bush flies (most likely Musca vetustissima).
They are anywhere and everywhere in the Aussie bush in the warmer months.
Hence the term the “great Aussie saulute” referring to people waving them away from their eyes.
That is probably about an average number for a person to attract on a warm day.
Deb who grew up in a city still gets a bit twitchy at a cloud of them around her face.
I have lived in the bush for the vast majority of my life so I hardly notice them.

One little story, as kids waiting for the school bus we used to have competitions to see who could kill the most before the  bus came. We used to collect little piles of the sods counting as we went. One of my friends held the local record 44 flies in only half an hour!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Sunset Through a Sea Mist

Tomorrow I'll post an answer to What is it Wednesday?

As for tonight it's "just" a piccie of the day.

I took this on our Holiday back in early April. In the late afternoon we pushed along a rough track that followed the cliff tops well away from the usual tourist haunts. Then as the Sun to dipped to the horizon a sea mist began to form turning these spectacular cliffs into something really special.
I think it counts as one of my favourite ever photos.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What is it Wedneday?

Well it is What is it Wednesday?

So what on Earth do you think this is?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Then and Now (or 90 Feet of Water).

When I posted this image from 2008 (as my piccie of the day) I did not mean to cause confusion.
Eastern Oz is not in drought at the moment.

Back in November, I posted these images of Gough’s Bay on Lake Eildon, Victoria to show what it was like in 2009

And what it was like2011.

That is the thing about Oz, as a rule our environment lurches from extremes of drought to literally flooding rain. We will have years of drought followed by floods and then back again with often only short periods of “normal” rainfall in between

For city folk life tends to go on in either case. The people who live in the bush adjust to the changes as they come. They have seen it before they will see it again. In my lifetime I have seen numerous cycles like this.
As to our wildlife, everything seems to cope. Birds and land animals breed like crazy in the good years. Even fish survive. In many cases rivers that have stopped flowing will be full of fish days or weeks after they flow again. How is a bit of a mystery to our scientists, but happen it does.

To finish, the best example I can show of  just how different things are now is of a place from not far from here.
This image (not one of mine) is of the Bonnie Doon road bridge over an arm of lake Eildon as it was in 2009, still at the height of the drought.
  This is what it is like now

 Eildon is around 30 metres (over 90 feet) deeper. The change took less than 12 months.

Monday, May 21, 2012


My piccie of the day is a sunset I took back in July.
I have no time for more this evening.
Tomorrow the lake that came back

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Drought in Oz, Piccie of The day

Eastern Oz has for the past two years been wet, very wet. 
But before that we had been in drought that had lasted 10 – 15 years (depending on where in the country you talk about, Oz is a big place).
Lake Eucumbene is in the Australian Alps in NSW and is normally big enough to be worth keeping a sailing boat there.
When I was last there in 2008 it was a very different story; this boat was left high and dry by the receding lake, nearly two miles from where the water was then.

The normal shoreline is at the foot of the trees in the distance. What was left of the lake was out of frame to the right (nearly two miles away)

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Piccies of the Day, Dancing Soldiers

At low tide on estuary sand flats, around much of the Oz coast, an army comes out.

Soldier crabs (Mictyris longicarpus) so called because they swarm in armies. But despite the fearsome name and swarms of them these guys are entirely innocuous. They come out of their burrows to filter the sand for tasty morsels.

The biggest, like this handsome fellow in the centre of this piccie, have a body  about the size of a plump cherry.

The most aggressive they get is to each other. That too is ritualised, they get up on their back legs spreading out their forelimbs. Then arm in arm they dance around each other. The smaller (the one with the shortest legs) then makes way for the larger.
 If they are evenly matched like this pair they push each other back and forth a time or two.  One decides to make way and it is over.

Friday, May 18, 2012

An answer sails into view.

Well I did hint that Anne was the closest to this piccie
with her guess of - “the talons of one of your crazy birds out in OZ.”

I guessed that vivid red against the silver-grey background, together with the very geometric looking piece I chose to crop might throw people off.

I have to say Linda G you are being a barrack-room lawyer again with that answer of yours. It does look like -“a red triangle in the corner of a gray rectangle.”

 Kitty and Lisa it isn’t furnishings or clothing.

OK Susan, I was being tricky Deb (and you) have that right.
I have to say does every picture of the Rockie Mountains have a grizzly or a moose in it?

No! :-)

Yes, it can be hard to take piccies in some parts of Oz without Kangaroos in them. But if there was a koala in that piece of bush you probably wouldn’t see it anyway. The little fellahs are notoriously hard to spot high in the trees!

But if you want kangaroos…
If you are quiet in the bush you will sometimes surprise them and get a nice portrait shot like this
 (I took this the evening before my “outback” piccie in the same neck of the woods).

But usually, they do this
 and shoot off as fast as they can leap.

Now I promised an answer.

Last weekend I posted this piccie of Lake Daylesford.

I turned ninety degrees to get another angle and this beauty sailed into view.

So to points!
Anne gets 75% for guessing a “crazy Aussie bird” even if it was a beak not a talon in the shot.

I have to give Linda G 50% for being such a barrack-room lawyer again.

Linda and Kitty get honourable mentions for creative guesses.

As for Susan I find it hard to decide if barefaced cheek deserves points.

Nah!  Negative 25% (-25%) for making the koalas feel left out!   :-)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Piccie of the Day and a Clue!

Here is my piccie of the day. An "outback" road, the Grampians Victoria.

Now for the clue.

Anne was the closest with her "What is it Wednesday?" guess.

So what on Earth do you think this might be?

Answer tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

What is it Wednesday - a tricky one?

I don't think I am being particularly tricky with this one.

But, Deb insists I am.

So without further ado, what on earth do you think this is?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Rainbow Lorikeets

The piccie of the day today is of some Rainbow Lorikeets photographed at Merimbula NSW

Monday, May 14, 2012

Ruin in Western Victoria

My piccie of the day is a shot of a ruined farm house in western Victoria.
I took this last October on one of our weekend day trips.
I asked the farmer if could walk into his canola (rapeseed) crop to get a closer look.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Waterfall on the Taggerty River

Piccie of the day. I took this today high in the mountains behind Marysville.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Not just a "piccie of the day"

I was just going to put up a piccie of the day tonight because I was home late. But when I started I got just a little more ambitious.
Being the weekend Deb and I were out and about. We headed north-west of the city today, out into the gold-fields.
Deb and I paused  by the lake at Daylesford.

Where we had a delightful snack of local cheeses and coffee.

Then we continued to the west along a road we have never used before, past very scenic country interspersed with Nineteenth Century gold mine tailings and in places the ruins of quite elaborate engine houses that once housed the steam engines that powered the mines.

We fetched up in Clunes which is a town stuck in a time-warp. Clunes was the first gold-rush town in Victoria. This is the Anglican church there, as you can see they planned to build in two stages.
But then the gold played out and the town all but melted away so the second stage of the church was never built.

Finally on the way home I paused to catch shots of a rather nice sunset.

Friday, May 11, 2012

A long story to a short answer

A few weeks ago most of the five of us (Deb + me, E our eldest and Lu our youngest) went for a weekend drive to part of the Gippsland coast in east Victoria.
Io stayed home with Lilli (no dogs allowed in national parks in Oz)

It was by our standards a fairly short run of only about 2 and a half hours drive each way.
Anyway after having a relaxed lunch and poking around a bit we ended up at the rugged coast line between Cape Paterson and Inverloch.

Deb and Lu looked at the weather,

which was really threatening to rain and elected to stay near the car.

E and I decided to climb the stairs down to the beach to have a look at the rocks out towards this interesting feature called “The Eagles’ Nest”.

To give an idea of scale I would guess it is around 5 stories high with the cliffs about double that.

Despite the threatening storm and the late afternoon we took advantage of the fact that the tide was falling quickly. You can see as we crossed the area the platform was becoming exposed by the retreating tide.

Interestingly the rock platform at the base  is made up of sedimentary rock that was formed on a flood plain back in the Cretaceous about 115,000,000 years ago.

One beach to the east is the only current dinosaur fossil dig in Victoria known as the “Dinosaur Dreaming” dig. And in 1903 just to the west was the first discovery of a dinosaur fossil in Oz known as  the “Cape Paterson Claw”.
So as well as the usual hunt for starfish and periwinkles I had my eye open for fossils.
As we got closer to the Eagles’ Nest
I began noticing literally dozens of chunks of petrified wood in the stone.
This was the largest piece we found.
I like the way the water was rippling across it in this piccie.

And from another angle with E’s hand to give a scale.

As you can see it was a decent size and beautifully preserved. It was hard to believe it felt like solid rock, not wood, to the touch.

Now we come to part of the point of this whole story.
One of the local denizens was this White-faced Heron, Egretta novaehollandiae

I took a few shots of him before he took off.

For those of you who guessed feathers for this image you were 100% right.
Here is the un-cropped piccie

I told you I wasn’t going to be tricky!