Tuesday, 30 September 2014


Sometimes, animals do just what you expect them to!

Gulls and a fishing boat, Seahouses, Northumbria, UK.

This image looks much better bigger!

You can find more images from around the world at Our World Tuesday.

Monday, 29 September 2014


By paying attention to the little things, you can come to understand the bigger picture.

Seems an appropriate thought for a macro theme.

Statue of Charles Darwin, Natural History Museum, London.

You can find more macro shots at Macro Monday 2 and I Heart Macro.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Only in Australia

From a post about something you cannot see in Australia, to one about something you can only see in Australia.

This is (of course) a Koala.  It is not under any circumstances a bear.  It's a marsupial, which strangely enough is more closely related to the Wombat than other marsupials.

They do spend a lot of time doing not a lot, but this is because they are fermenting a gut full of leaves to allow gut bacteria to turn the nutrient poor leaves into something rather more valuable.

I may have mentioned this before, but they are the only vertebrate whose brain does not fill the cranium - and they grey matter is prevented from bouncing about but a kind of jelly like substance!  The truth of the matter is that when you are inactive for 20 of 24 hours you don't need to be that smart!

You can find more shots for creatures from around the world at Saturday Critters.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Wild Bird Wednesday 115 - Green Woodpecker

Many of you may have noticed from my comments on your blogs that Woodpeckers are one of my favourite types of bird.  I used to love watching them - and (of all things) I took my now wife to see a nest of Great Spotted Woodpeckers on our (sort of!) first date!

However, there is no a single woodpecker in Australia.While there are many woodpeckers in SE Asia, this group of birds does not make it over the Wallace Line - that great schism in biodiversity that cuts Australia from the rest of the world.

So, when I was in the UK I was keen to see some woodpeckers again.  I managed to see Great Spotted on my first day there - and saw them a few times after as well.  But I was never able to get any pictures.

In the last week of the trip I was in Somerset - and there feeding on the lawn of our accommodation was a Green Woodpecker.  This was another case of quick dash for a camera.  The birds we a bit too nervous to get too close, so the images are a bit over cropped.  But none the less it was great to see them.

The bird in these pictures is a juvenile, the adults lack the barred feathers above and below.

Also, my kids got to see and hear them as well.  An old name for this bird is a Yaffle - which is a rendering of its laughing call.  (For those of you in the UK of a certain age, you may remember the wooden bookend woodpecker in Bagpuss called Professor Yaffle).

The Green Woodpecker (Picus viridis) often feeds on the ground, and has a well known appetite for ants.  Strangely, most of the other species in this genus live in SE Asia.

Now its over to all you other bird bloggers, bloggers who bird and such like!

We seem to have stabilised the WBW community at about 50 people - but more would be good.  So, invite your friends, share this post on Google+ and maybe even Facebook!

Click away!

Tuesday, 23 September 2014


As I mentioned in yesterdays post, Wells was just about our nearest town for shopping when I was a kid.

I was strange to walk about it again - seeing shops that had changed a great deal, pubs that had been cleaned up a little, but were still familiar and the Cathedral which looked identical!

Having said that I was surprised that some of the shops were basically unchanged, even though I had not been in then for 30 years.  The shop where I bought fishing tackle and bait as a kids looked the same!  All that was different was that the parrot that used to sit on a perch outside of the shop seemed to have passed on!

The area around the Cathedral contains the Bishops Palace, which is surrounded by a moat.  Generally Wells has escaped the dull hand post war improvement, and still retains much of its character.

West face
West face
Bishops palace moat

Cathedral from main street

Penniless Porch
Lots of things to see in Wells

And lots of things to see from around the world at Our World Tuesday.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Doors, details and pigeons.

These shots are all details from the west front of Wells Cathedral in Somerset in the UK.  This was my local "town" as a kid - and as such I was rather blasé about the quality of the architecture.

I think I will add some more shots tomorrow showing the whole building.

You can find more macro style shots at Macro Monday 2 and I Heart Macro.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Blubber at Blakeney Point - Common Seals

One of the main reasons I wanted to go out on the boat trip from Blakeney Point was to have a look at the seals.

This is an important area for both types of seal that breed in the UK, common and grey.

As far as I can tell these are all common seals - but I am far from being an expert on things sealy!

One thing for sure is that some of these seals are fat!  But a seal does have to feed its pup and keep warm in the chill North Sea after all!

If there are any UK seal ID gurus out three, let me know if I am wrong about the name of these seals!

You will be able to find more animals from around the world here at Saturday Critters.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Wild Bird Wednesday 114 - Birds at Blakeney Point

Blakeney Point is a National Nature Reserve on the north Norfolk coast - the area has a rich wildlife and is particularly important for breeding terns and other seabirds.  As we were on a tour - not my favoured means of doing anything really - I never made it to have a good look at the tern colony.  Although I did get some decent, if distant views from the boat.

While I was sitting on the beach, this oystercatcher and chick came running along towards me.  This species is Haematopus ostralegus and it looks very similar to the Pied Oystercatcher from Australia.

One day I may find out if much more the geography separates them.

Just next to the path - but protected by a rope fence was an Oystercatchers nest - complete with its camouflaged eggs,

Just as we waiting for the return boat this Meadow Pipit  appeared - just in time for a few quick images and then we were off.

Now its over to you - click on the link and off you go.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Boats at Blakeney Point

One of the things we did on the North Norfolk coast was go on a boat trip to see the seals at Blakeney Point (the seals will come later!).

Predictably, I took some other images as well.

For those of you with a few extra minutes to spare you can read about this part of my UK trip here.  I am not convinced that the last boat is an olympic class vessel!

You can find more shots from around the world at Our World Tuesday.

Sunday, 14 September 2014


During a walk in a local park I found this texture on a large dead tree, long blown over.

You can find more macro shots at Macro Monday2 and I Heart Macro.  SM

Friday, 12 September 2014

The Clearing Storm

In the middle of the week we had some  heavy thunder storms in Melbourne.  Like most thunder storms these were short lived and local. Some locations had a bit of flash flooding - but luckily not us.

As the storm clouds passed through and the sky cleared behind them, the setting Sun appeared was able to shine under the clouds that were still overhead.  This wonderful low angle light shone directly onto a new multi-story building that is being built near to where I live.  It would be reasonable to say that it looked pretty good, even if the exposure was a bit of a nightmare.

After a while I turned around and notice the the sun was catching on the still wet tram tracks that were heading almost directly into the sunset - so I photographed that as well.

And a funny part of this whole tale is that I only saw this light because I was taking the bins out!  A quick dash for the camera followed - and these are the results.

That last image was really hard - the Sun was basically taking up a position at the end of the street, and the rest was in shadow because the street runs down hill into the picture.  I tried a lot of exposures! 

You can find more skies at Sky Watch Friday

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Wild Bird Wednesday - Eider

The Eider is a rather wonderful sea duck, famous for the down it produces to line its nest, which humans have learnt to steal to fill their eider-downs and jackets.

Somateria mollissisma is a rather bulky and short necked duck, with the female sporting a classically camouflaged plumage and the males a rather dapper suit of black and white.  Unfortunately, when I was up on the coast of Northumbria most of the males seemed to be else where!  I did manage to photograph one - who seems to be in one of the "bewildering variety of piebald plumages" mentioned in the BWP.

As you can see some of the females had ducklings with them - and I was also able to take some shots looking almost straight down on the females that were swimming in the harbour at Seahouses.

Now it's your turn.  Click on the link below and off you go.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Iron Beach

Just down the coast from Maryport is another, but very different, relic of an age now past.

Once, not that long ago, Workington was a steel town.  The fortunate combination of the right kind of iron ore and plentiful coal made it the ideal place to make steel.  Thousands and thousands of tonnes of steel.  Today, there is very little evidence to make you suspect that Workington was once an industrial town. The bast furnaces have gone, and one of the water storage ponds is a lake offering fishing for carp, roach and perch.  The trained eye may notice strange flat areas between the town and the sea, but thats about it - until you walk on to the beach that is.

The beach has to be one of the strangest places I have ever been - because the beach is almost entirety made of blast furnace slag.  If the blast furnaces produced thousands of tonnes of iron, they produced even more molten slag - and this was dumped straight into the sea.

In places it has accumulated into cliffs a hundred or more feet high.  In places it formed molten rivers, that solidified as they met the sea.  Some of the surface of the beach is almost pure iron - huge chunks of unrefined metal cast away when the linings of the furnaces where changed.  Some of the beach contains sections of brick work, presumably the lining of the furnaces.  There are bolts and strange shaped sections of metal looking like industrial fossils.  In some places in the cliff faces you can see layers of ceramic tubes, will holes at both ends - which (I think) where the pipes that allowed air to blasted into the furnaces.

In some places the solid slag contains so much iron that it rusts and turns any water than pools on its surface to turn orange.

It's a strange and remarkable place.

You can find lots more posts from around the world at Our World Tuesday.