Tuesday, 23 March 2010

A Mighty Dragon

At the weekend I spent a very peaceful Sunday afternoon in a quiet corner of the garden with my knitting, while Edd (my partner) was at work at Tidbinbilla.  I found a lovely bench surrounded by wattle bushes and saw plenty of birds, including a Gang-gang Cockatoo Callocephalon fimbriatum.  A family of cheeky Kangaroos were nearby, nibbling on the flora - lucky for them no gardeners were near!  But, unfortunately I ignored the golden rule on Sunday - no camera! So, I returned to this great spot in the garden today (high up above the rock garden, looking across the city to mount Ainslie) to see what would visit...
It wasn't long before a small gang of Eastern Spinebill Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris appeared.  As they were flitting from branch to branch it was tricky to get a picture, but this one came out ok:
These birds feed on nectar, of which there seems to be an abundant supply in the gardens at the moment.  A constant buzzing can be heard as bees gorge themselves on Bottlebrush Callistemon and Grevillea beadleana, both pictured below (with bees!).  The Grevillea beadleana is a rare and endangered plant from Northern NSW, thought to be extinct until rediscovered in the 1970s!

My favourite encounter this lunchtime had to be this large Water Dragon.  I love taking pictures of reptiles, they are so beautiful with their amazing patterned skin that nearly always takes a great photo, and best of all, they usually like to stay still and pose for me!

Thursday, 18 March 2010

First adventure

So, Ive managed to remember the golden rule of photography - bring a camera.  Fortunately, I also remembered rule number 2 - bring spare batteries - as my batteries died after I took my first photo of the garden sign! 

I headed to my favourite bench for lunch - its the furthest one Ive found from a main path, in a sunny Eucalyptus glade...
The garden is full of birds and butterflies today as it is beautifully warm and sunny.  I could hear buzzing and bird calls all around me as I ate my sandwiches.  A Red Wattlebird - Anthochaera carunculata sat in a Eucalyptus nearby.  According to the botanical garden bird guide, The red wattlebird is "one of the most common (and raucous) birds in the Gardens. They are generally seen feeding on the nectar of the many banksias, waratahs and grevilleas. Red Wattlebirds (named because of the red lobes of skin, called 'wattles', at the side of the neck) also feed on insects and fruit. They occur naturally in native forests and woodlands of southern Australia and are common in parks and gardens".
 After lunch I just did a little circuit of the glade.  I took a picture of the very attractive local native plant Lambertia Formosa or the wonderfully named 'Mountain devil', only found on the coast and adjacent mountains of New South Wales.  It usually flowers in winter or spring, but evidently some flowers can be present all year.  The black dots are ants crawling over the lovely flower...
I also spied some nest boxes, or perhaps bat boxes, I'm not sure who they are for, I will try to find out...

On my way back to my office I spied this tiny little fellow, I couldn't get a good picture of him (I should learn how to manual focus...):
I've not seen a little bird like this before so I looked him up, he appears to be a Red Browed Finch Neochmia temporalis.

So, that was my first adventure for my blog, hope you liked it!