29 Oct 2017

Honeyeater Chicks

Remember I said in the last post that I was going to be away and will miss the hatching of the young chicks?

Well, as I was filing away my honeyeater photos, I came across some very old pics taken of a honeyeater nest with chicks in it.

These photos were taken way back in 2001, and the nest in question was also in that wall of ivy that the current nest is in.

Those days, I was using my very first digital camera, a Kodak DC290.
An antique by now
From memory, it was a 2 or 3 megapixel camera, and I think most mobile phones can beat that these days.

That camera didn't come cheap.  In fact, it cost more than my current dSLR body today.

Digital cameras were expensive in those days, though.  I remember my sons were in uni then and one of them worked for a professional photographer setting up websites for him .  That pro had a dSLR upwards of $12,000 then, and it would have been basic by today's standards.
2 New Holland Honeyeater chicks in nest (2001)
Proud parent with chicks (2001)



22 Oct 2017

New Life

We grew this unruly wall of ivy outside our bedroom window as a privacy screen to shelter us from the neighbours.
Left pic, looking southwards, and right pic looks northwards
As you can see from the above, it needs quite a bit of trimming after the early spring growth.

I was getting ready to trim it back, when I noticed little flurries of activity within the ivy wall and, after searching carefully (didn't want to frighten the birds away), I found the nest the New Holland Honeyeaters were building.
The wall of ivy - can you spot the nest?
The day I found the nest, a big storm came, with very strong winds and heavy rain, and the following morning I went out to see if the nest had been damaged or dislodged.

The nest was still there, and the mother bird was sitting in it.
Mother bird's right eye.  The leaves still bear moisture from the storm.
From this angle, you can see the depth of the nest and mother's beak.
These were the only two angles from which I can view and photograph the nest.
This was taken a day later on a brighter and sunnier day.
Even though the day was sunnier for the pic above, it was still very dark where the nest was and the photo above was taken at 3200 ISO, f5.6 at 1/30 with the 70-300mm lens at full stretch.
Got mummy bird's both eyes in this shot.
Sad to say, I don't think I'll be around when the eggs finally hatch and see the hatchlings leave the nest.  The eggs will take about 2 weeks to hatch and the young ones will take another two weeks before they get out on their own.

We'll be leaving in a week and a half for a 3 week holiday.
Did you manage to spot the nest?  It's in that little black spot in the centre of the red circle.

That little black hole is actually getting smaller each day, as the ivy continues its vigourous growth. 

And if you're wondering what the New Holland Honeyeater looks like, here's a photo I took many years back.
Trimming the ivy wall will have to wait till my tenants leave their nest.

12 Oct 2017

Some must die ...

... so that others may live.
Death against a bright blue sky
Nature is cruel.





21 Sep 2017

Growing Old

Here's a photo of Zhaan I took when she was about 4 years old.
A young and fresh-faced Zhaan
And here is she now, at over 10 years old.
Just like people, dogs go grey too.
Zhaan was very ill, as I have mentioned a few posts ago.  She had a leakage in one of the valves in her heart and would just collapse suddenly on her side.

After a few such episodes, Son No 2 took her to their local vet, who misdiagnosed it as epilepsy, and gave her tablets for that.

This proved to be quite disastrous, as Zhaan then started having fits constantly.  She was in a real bad way, and things didn't look too good for her.

Son No 2 then took her to the Murdoch University Animal Emergency Centre, and they correctly diagnosed the problem after some tests and provided the correct remedy.

It was not cheap to be treated at the Emergency Centre.  The visits and tests cost over A$3500, but luckily Zhaan was insured.

Her continuing medication for the rest of her life, however, costs about A$300 per month!

Humans in Australia get government subsidised medication, so that we pay about A$35 a prescription.  Unfortunately, pets do not receive such subsidy.

On the bright side, Zhaan and Molly spend every Wednesday and Friday with us and I take them for walks in the morning.  In the evening, Grandma C takes them out, and they have dinner at our place before going home.

Here are some photos of one of our walks last winter.
Adenia Park, a nature reserve near our home.
Out walking just as the sun is rising
The Canning River borders the northern end of the park

I don't bring them to this reserve in the warmer months, as there are quite a few snakes here.
Molly enjoying the lush winter growth
Zhaan is quite fit and well now, and takes great delight in sprinting across the park and chasing other dogs.  And that's such a joy to see.

31 Aug 2017

My Bike Got Stolen And Some Of The Bikes In My Life

Bike bought in 1995 to go touring with
A thief sneaked into my patio one night a few weeks ago and made off with my Giant ATX 870 mountain bike, which I used to go touring with.

I had lots of happy days with this bike, touring the south west, and also commuting to work with from time of purchase in 1995 till my retirement in 2002.
Camping for the night
I also made a trailer for this bike, to take my dog Fleming out with.
Trailer made out of pvc pipes and discarded wheels
The above photo shows the excellent Blackburn rack (expensive) at the back of the bike, which I am also angry at losing.  Thank goodness I had removed the expensive leather Brooks saddle on it to put on another bike.  That saddle alone cost me about $250.


The Giant is the second oldest of my four bikes (the oldest is in my shed, not currently roadworthy).

The thief had a choice of 2 bikes, the other one being newer with much better components but an unknown brand.  Thankfully he chose the older one.

I was about to renew the drive train of the Giant as it was quite worn, but luckily I procrastinated.  Otherwise the thief would have got a new transmission as well.

My automatic gate closer
When Fleming first joined the family, I needed an automatic gate closer to prevent the gate being left open, allowing the puppy to run out.

Being too cheap to buy a real automatic gate closer, I fashioned one with a screw ring and an old bicycle inner tube (which I have plenty of).

The thief actually untied my inner tube so that the gate won't close and make a noise.  That lowlife seems to be quite an exeprienced thief.

I've had parts of my bike stolen before, when I was living in Neptune Court.
I don't have an actual photo of that bike, just this ad from the web.  Mine came with Shimano 600 instead of Campagnolo.
That thief reached in through a locked metal gate and managed to remove my front brake caliper and one of the pedals.

That Raleigh I got in 1975 in Singapore for S$750 and in the mid 80's I traded it in in Oz for a Japanese aluminium bike, the Sakae Ringyo Prism or also known as the Litage Prism.


I got A$400 for the Raleigh.
Again, this is a pic of the Litage taken off the web as I don't have a photo of mine.
The Litage was another bike that gave me many happy hours touring in the south west and the wheat belt with a cycling club in the 80s.

It was a beautiful bike to ride and was quite unique in that the aluminium frame  was put together with aeroplane glue.

In the end it developed a crack in the frame and I threw it out.