This post is part of the Weekend Reflections meme.
Saturday, 30 November 2019
Friday, 29 November 2019
We are finally beginning to see some Summer days and the sky turns that brilliant pure blue that highlights the green gold of the eucalypts and the red of the earth.
This post is part of the Skywatch Friday meme.
This post is part of the Skywatch Friday meme.
Thursday, 28 November 2019
Rosa 'Slim Dusty' is a Floribunda Rose released to commemorate the life of the Australian Icon and Country Music Legend, Slim Dusty. This rose was released in Australia by Landsdale Rose Gardens and part of the proceeds from the sale of this rose will go towards the development of the Slim Dusty Centre in Kempsey, NSW, Slim’s home town.
The Slim Dusty Rose is rich golden coppery orange – a colour reminiscent of the Australian outback. The flowers are carried on strong-stemmed clusters and produced in massive profusion throughout the flowering season. The bloom possess an old fashioned tea rose fragrance. The bush is very compact to a height of around one metre and a group planting or rose hedge would make a stunning, eye-catching border of the rose garden.
Wednesday, 27 November 2019
Cradle Mountain is a mountain in the Central Highlands region of the Australian state of Tasmania. The mountain is situated in the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park. At 1,545 metres above sea level, it is the fifth-highest mountain in Tasmania, and is one of the principal tourist sites in the state.
Cradle Mountain is composed of dolerite columns, similar to many of the other mountains in the area.Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park contains many walking trails, and is where hikes along the well-known Overland Track usually begin. Major features are Cradle Mountain and Barn Bluff in the northern end, Mount Pelion East, Mount Pelion West, Mount Oakleigh and Mount Ossa in the middle and Lake St Clair in the southern end of the park. The park is part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.
Elevation of a tract of land as a Wilderness, or National Park, or a Protected Area, leads to the region remaining unspoilt and part of the legacy we leave our descendants.
and also part of the ABC Wednesday meme.
Tuesday, 26 November 2019
Cagliari is an Italian municipality and the capital of the island of Sardinia, an autonomous region of Italy. Cagliari’s Sardinian name Casteddu literally means castle. It has about 150,000 inhabitants, while its metropolitan city (including Cagliari and 16 other nearby municipalities) has more than 431,000 inhabitants. According to Eurostat, the population of the Functional urban area, the commuting zone of Cagliari, rises to 476,974. Cagliari is the 26th largest city in Italy and the largest city on the island of Sardinia.
An ancient city with a long history, Cagliari has seen the rule of several civilisations. Under the buildings of the modern city there is a continuous stratification attesting to human settlement over the course of some five thousand years, from the Neolithic to today. Historical sites include the prehistoric Domus de Janas, very damaged by cave activity, a large Carthaginian era necropolis, a Roman era amphitheatre, a Byzantine basilica, three Pisan-era towers and a strong system of fortification that made the town the core of Spanish Habsburg imperial power in the western Mediterranean Sea.
Its natural resources have always been its sheltered harbour, the often powerfully fortified hill of Castel di Castro, the modern Casteddu, the salt from its lagoons, and, from the hinterland, wheat from the Campidano plain and silver and other ores from the Iglesiente mines. Cagliari was the capital of the Kingdom of Sardinia from 1324 to 1848, when Turin became the formal capital of the kingdom (which in 1861 became the Kingdom of Italy).
Today the city is a regional cultural, educational, political and artistic centre, known for its diverse Art Nouveau architecture and several monuments. It is also Sardinia’s economic and industrial hub, having one of the biggest ports in the Mediterranean Sea, an international airport, and the 106th highest income level in Italy (among 8,092 comuni), comparable to that of several northern Italian cities. It is also the seat of the University of Cagliari, founded in 1607, and of the Primate Roman Catholic archdiocese of Sardinia, since the 5th century AD.
and also part of the Ruby Tuesday meme,
Monday, 25 November 2019
Sunday, 24 November 2019
Saturday, 23 November 2019
The long-billed corella (Cacatua tenuirostris), or slender-billed corella is a cockatoo native to Australia, which is similar in appearance to the little corella and sulphur-crested cockatoo. This species is mostly white, with a reddish-pink face and forehead, and has a long pale beak, which is used to dig for roots and seeds. It has reddish-pink feathers on the breast and belly.
The adult long-billed corella measures from 38 to 41 cm in length, has a wingspan of about 80–90 cm and averages 567 g in weight. It has a long bone-coloured beak, and a rim of featherless bluish skin around the eyes. The plumage is predominantly white with reddish feathers around the eyes and lores. The underside of the wings and tail feathers are tinged with yellow.
The long-billed corella can be found in the wild around western Victoria and southern New South Wales. Feral populations have sprung up in Sydney, Perth, Hobart and southeast Queensland from the release of captive birds. This has implications in Western Australia where this species may hybridise with the endangered southern race of the western corella. It has extended its range in the past 15 years or so and can now be found (and is common) right through central Victoria including areas around Melbourne.
Here they are foraging in the Darebin Parklands in suburban Melbourne. Breeding generally takes place from July to November. Long-billed corellas form monogamous pairs and both sexes share the task of building the nest, incubating the eggs and caring for the young. Nests are made in decayed debris, the hollows of large old are laid on a lining of decayed wood. The incubation period is around 24 days and chicks spend about 56 days in the nest.
Friday, 22 November 2019
Thursday, 21 November 2019
Ceratostigma, or leadwort, plumbago, is a genus of eight species of flowering plants in the family Plumbaginaceae, native to warm temperate to tropical regions of Africa and Asia. Common names are shared with the genus Plumbago. They are flowering herbaceous plants, subshrubs, or small shrubs growing to 0.3–1 m tall.
The leaves are spirally arranged, simple, 1–9 cm long, usually with a hairy margin. Some of the species are evergreen, others deciduous. The flowers are produced in a compact inflorescence, each flower with a five-lobed corolla; flower colour varies from pale to dark blue to red-purple. The fruit is a small bristly capsule containing a single seed.
Ceratostigma willmottianum shown here is a species of flowering plant native to western China and Tibet. It is an ornamental deciduous shrub that grows to 1 metre in height, with pale blue plumbago-like flowers appearing in autumn as the leaves start to turn red. Ceratostigma is derived from Greek, meaning 'horned stigma’. This is in reference to the ‘shape of the stigmatic surface’. Willmottianum was named for Miss Ellen Ann Willmott (1858-1934), a keen gardener and plant introducer from Warley Place, Essex.
Wednesday, 20 November 2019
The eastern long-necked turtle (Chelodina longicollis) is an east Australian species of snake-necked turtle that inhabits a wide variety of water bodies and is an opportunistic feeder. It is a side-necked turtle (Pleurodire), meaning that it bends its head sideways into its shell rather than pulling it directly back.
This specimen sighted in the Darebin Parklands in suburban Melbourne. The head really shows off the resemblance to a snake! The species is found throughout south eastern Australia where it is found west of Adelaide (South Australia) eastwards throughout Victoria and New South Wales, and northwards to the Fitzroy River of Queensland. Where the species comes in contact with Chelodina canni they freely hybridise exhibiting hybrid vigour in the Styx River Drainage of Queensland.
The carapace is generally black in colour though some may be brown, it is broad and flattened with a deep medial groove. The scutes are edged in black in those individuals with a lighter background colour. The plastron is also very broad and is cream to yellow in colour with sutures edged in black. The neck is long and narrow, typical of the subgenus Chelodina, and reaches a length of approximately 60% of the carapace length. The neck has numerous small pointed tubercles and is grey to black in colour dorsally, cream below, as is the narrow head.
and also part of the ABC Wednesday meme.
Tuesday, 19 November 2019
The Alhambra is a palace and fortress complex located in Granada, Andalusia, Spain. It was originally constructed as a small fortress in AD 889 on the remains of Roman fortifications, and then largely ignored until its ruins were renovated and rebuilt in the mid-13th century by the Nasrid emir Mohammed ben Al-Ahmar of the Emirate of Granada, who built its current palace and walls. It was converted into a royal palace in 1333 by Yusuf I, Sultan of Granada.
After the conclusion of the Christian Reconquista in 1492, the site became the Royal Court of Ferdinand and Isabella (where Christopher Columbus received royal endorsement for his expedition), and the palaces were partially altered in the Renaissance style. In 1526 Charles I & V commissioned a new Renaissance palace better befitting the Holy Roman Emperor in the revolutionary Mannerist style influenced by Humanist philosophy in direct juxtaposition with the Nasrid Andalusian architecture, but it was ultimately never completed due to Morisco rebellions in Granada.
Alhambra’s last flowering of Islamic palaces were built for the last Muslim emirs in Spain during the decline of the Nasrid dynasty, who were increasingly subject to the Christian Kings of Castile. After being allowed to fall into disrepair for centuries, the buildings occupied by squatters, Alhambra was rediscovered following the defeat of Napoleon, who had conducted retaliatory destruction of the site. The rediscoverers were first British intellectuals and then other north European Romantic travelers. It is now one of Spain’s major tourist attractions, exhibiting the country’s most significant and well-known Islamic architecture, together with 16th-century and later Christian building and garden interventions. The Alhambra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the inspiration for many songs and stories.
Monday, 18 November 2019
We have a large oil painting copy of Klimt's "The Kiss" hanging on one of our walls at home. I took some photos of it and digitally "deconstructed" it to come up with this mosaic.
This post is part of the Mosaic Monday meme,
and also part of the Macro Monday meme,
and also part of the Seasons meme.
This post is part of the Mosaic Monday meme,
and also part of the Macro Monday meme,
Sunday, 17 November 2019
Saturday, 16 November 2019
Kookaburras are terrestrial tree kingfishers of the genus Dacelo native to Australia and New Guinea, which grow to between 28–42 cm in length. The name is a loanword from Wiradjuri guuguubarra, onomatopoeic of its call. The loud distinctive call of the Laughing Kookaburra is widely used as a stock sound effect in situations that involve an Australian bush setting.
These birds are found in habitats ranging from humid forest to arid savanna, as well as in suburban areas with tall trees or near running water. Even though they belong to the larger group known as "kingfishers", kookaburras are not closely associated with water. The genus Dacelo was introduced by the English zoologist William Elford Leach in 1815. The name Dacelo is an anagram of Alcedo, the Latin word for a kingfisher. The laughing kookaburras shown here are Dacelo novaeguineae (native to eastern Australia, introduced to southwest).
Kookaburras are almost exclusively carnivorous, eating mice, snakes, insects, small reptiles, and the young of other birds; they have also been known to take goldfish from garden ponds. In zoos they are usually fed food for birds of prey. The Darebin Parklands is a perfect habitat for these handsome birds and one may see these quite commonly right throughout the area of the park. Their laugh-like call is definitely a sign you're in Australia!
Friday, 15 November 2019
The unseasonably cool and wet weather continues in Melbourne and our skies remain grey and cloudy.
Thursday, 14 November 2019
Brunnera is a genus of flowering plants in the family Boraginaceae. They are rhizomatous perennials, native to the woodlands of Eastern Europe and North West Asia. They have hairy leaves and sprays of blue flowers in spring. Numerous cultivars are available, which are valued as groundcover in dappled shade. Some possess variegated foliage, such as the ‘Silver Heart’ hybrid shown here.
The best known species is Brunnera macrophylla, known as Siberian bugloss. It thrives in shade but also likes morning sunshine as long as it is in consistently moist, rich, organic soil. It does not tolerate dry conditions. It is often used in woodland gardens along streams of ponds and in naturalised areas as a specimen plant or clumped together as a border. Clumps slowly spread by both creeping rhizomes to form thick ground covers.
Brunnera macrophylla ‘Silver Heart’ (USDA Zone: 4-9) is a superb introduction, forming a clump of very thick, heart-shaped leaves that are silver with green edging and veining. Sprays of deep blue Forget-me-not flowers appear in spring. This is a choice collector’s plant, but an easy-to-grow perennial that performs well in all but the driest of shady conditions. Excellent for the woodland garden. Provided there is sufficient moisture, plants can tolerate full sun; as the leaves are so thick, little or no scorching occurs. Bred by Spitsbergen-Willemsen of the Netherlands. USPP#24685: Unlicensed propagation prohibited.
Wednesday, 13 November 2019
Silvan is a town in Victoria, Australia, located 40 km east of Melbourne. Its local government area is the Shire of Yarra Ranges, and the town marks half way between the Belgrave and Lilydale, both large towns. At the 2016 Census, Silvan had a population of 1246. The area's soils, well suited to growing fruits, vegetables and flowers, draw tourists to the various pick-yourself orchards and berry farms in Silvan. A cultivated hybrid variety of blackberry known as the silvanberry is named after the town.
Originally known as Wandin Yallock South, the town was first surveyed in 1868. The town's name was changed to Silvan in 1913, the same year the local primary school changed its name to Silvan Primary School. In 1917, and as a result of a growing population in Melbourne's south east, the Silvan Reservoir was commissioned, with the reservoir completed in 1932. A conduit from the Upper Yarra dam was completed in 1957. In 1954 the first Tulip Festival was held, becoming an annual tradition continuing to this day.
This post is part of the ABC Wednesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme,
and also part of the Nature Notes meme.
Monday, 11 November 2019
The Externsteine is a distinctive sandstone rock formation located in the Teutoburg Forest, near the town of Horn-Bad Meinberg in the Lippe district of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The formation is a tor consisting of several tall, narrow columns of rock which rise abruptly from the surrounding wooded hills.
In a popular tradition going back to an idea proposed to Hermann Hamelmann in 1564, the Externsteine are identified as a sacred site of the pagan Saxons, and the location of the Irminsul idol reportedly destroyed by Charlemagne; there is however no archaeological evidence that would confirm the site’s use during the relevant period.
The stones were used as the site of a hermitage in the Middle Ages, and by at least the high medieval period were the site of a Christian chapel. The Externsteine relief is a medieval depiction of the Descent from the Cross. It remains controversial whether the site was already used for Christian worship in the 8th to early 10th centuries.
The Externsteine gained prominence when Völkisch and nationalistic scholars took an interest in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This interest peaked under the Nazi regime, when the Externsteine became a focus of Nazi propaganda. Today, they remain a popular tourist destination and also continue to attract Neo-Pagans and Neo-Nazis.
Sunday, 10 November 2019
Saturday, 9 November 2019
Coots are rather small water birds that are members of the rail family, Rallidae. They constitute the genus Fulica, the name being the Latin term for "coot". Coots have predominantly black plumage, and—unlike many rails—they are usually easy to see, often swimming in open water. They are close relatives of the moorhen.
This post is part of the Weekend Reflections meme,
and also part of the Saturday Critters meme.
Friday, 8 November 2019
Thursday, 7 November 2019
Lagunaria is a monotypic genus in the family Malvaceae. It is an Australian plant endemic to Lord Howe Island, Norfolk Island and parts of coastal Queensland. It has been introduced to many parts of the world. The genus was named in honour of Andrés Laguna, a Spanish botanist and a physician to Pope Julius III. It now consists of the single species Lagunaria patersonia, commonly known as the Pyramid Tree or Norfolk Island Hibiscus. It is not a true Hibiscus, however, but does belong to the same plant family, Malvaceae.
Recently, L. queenslandica from north-east Queensland has been recognised. The latter was previously regarded as L. patersonia subsp. bracteata but has been raised to species status on the basis of morphological and ecological differences. L. patersonia also is more robust in habit and has larger, scaly leaves. The two species also differ in their habitats with L. patersonia generally occurring in rainforest while L. queenslandica is found in non-rainforest areas often along rivers and creeks.
Norfolk Island hibiscus is a medium to large tree which can reach about 12-20 metres in height. It has dense, greyish-green leaves which are oval shaped to about 100 mm long and covered in soft hairs when young. The pink flowers are of typical hibiscus shape and appear in the leaf axils in spring and early summer. They are generally a pink to mauve but deeper coloured forms are in cultivation. These trees are often planted along Melbourne streets and in parks and when in flower can be quite spectacular.
The seed capsules are filled with irritating hairs giving rise to another common name, Cow Itch Tree. The "cow" part however appears to be a misnomer. In many parts of Australia, Lagunaria is considered a pest, and is commonly referred to as the Itchy Bomb Tree due to the tiny, almost invisible, hairs inside the seed pods which, if the seeds pods are split open, can lodge in the skin like tiny barbs of broken glass, causing a great deal of pain.
Wednesday, 6 November 2019
Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock, is a large sandstone rock formation in the southern part of the Northern Territory, central Australia. It lies 335 km south west of the nearest large town, Alice Springs, 450 km by road. Kata Tjuta and Uluru are the two major features of the Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park.
The sandstone formation stands 348 m high, rising 863 m above sea level with most of its bulk lying underground, and has a total circumference of 9.4 km. Uluru has immense cultural significance and is sacred to the Anangu, the Aboriginal people of the area. The area around the formation is home to a plethora of springs, waterholes, rock caves and ancient paintings. Uluru is listed as a World Heritage Site.
Uluru is an inselberg, literally "island mountain". An inselberg is a prominent isolated residual knob or hill that rises abruptly from and is surrounded by extensive and relatively flat erosion lowlands in a hot, dry region. Uluru is also often referred to as a monolith, although this is a somewhat ambiguous term that is generally avoided by geologists. The remarkable feature of Uluru is its homogeneity and lack of jointing and parting at bedding surfaces, leading to the lack of development of scree slopes and soil. These characteristics led to its survival, while the surrounding rocks were eroded.
and also part of the ABC Wednesday meme,
and also part of the Nature Notes meme.
Tuesday, 5 November 2019
Nisyros (Greek: Νίσυρος) is a volcanic Greek island and municipality located in the Aegean Sea. It is part of the Dodecanese group of islands, situated between the islands of Kos and Tilos. Its shape is approximately round, with a diameter of about 8 km, and an area of 41.6 km2. Several other islets are found in the direct vicinity of Nisyros, the largest of which is Gyali.
The Municipality of Nisyros includes Gyalí (pop. 21) as well as uninhabited Pacheiá, Pergoússa, Kandelioússa, Ágios Antónios and Stroggýli. It has a total land area of 50.055 km2 and a total population of 1,008 inhabitants. The island was also called Nisiro in Italian and İncirli in Turkish. The island has a 3-4 kilometre wide caldera, and was formed within the past 150,000 years, with 3 separate eruptive stages, ranging from explosive and effusive andesitic eruptions to effusive and extrusive dacitic and rhyolitic activity.
The coasts of Nisyros are generally rocky or pebbled, but there are also a few sandy beaches (mainly in the northeastern part). The volcano is currently active (but not erupting), and fumaroles are found in the craters.
Monday, 4 November 2019
Sunday, 3 November 2019
Saturday, 2 November 2019
Currawongs are three species of medium-sized passerine birds belonging to the genus Strepera in the family Artamidae native to Australia. These are the grey currawong (Strepera versicolor), pied currawong (S. graculina), and black currawong (S. fuliginosa). The common name comes from the call of the familiar pied currawong of eastern Australia and is onomatopoeic.
They were formerly known as crow-shrikes or bell-magpies. Despite their resemblance to crows and ravens, they are only distantly related to the corvidae, instead belonging to an Afro-Asian radiation of birds of superfamily Malaconotoidea. They are not as terrestrial as the magpie and have shorter legs. They are omnivorous, foraging in foliage, on tree trunks and limbs, and on the ground, taking insects and larvae (often dug out from under the bark of trees), fruit, and the nestlings of other birds.
They are distinguishable from magpies and crows by their comical flight style in amongst foliage, appearing to almost fall about from branch to branch as if they were inept flyers.