Aerial Views From Launceston To Brisbane

Happy New Year everyone and welcome to 2019! I hope you all had a happy and safe Christmas and New Year’s.

Having moved to Tasmania mid last year, I decided to travel back to Queensland’s Gold Coast to see family and friends over Christmas. As I was flying there and back during daylight hours, the views from up high were magnificent, so I thought I’d share some photos I took on the flight.

As always, you can visit my actual blog site for bigger and better photos. 🙂

This first photo below was taken on my way to Brisbane. There was a lot of cloud that evening and this was taken around sunset. You can just see the moon. I love the changing depths of the blue sky. You can almost think you’re in space!

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The rest of the photos were taken on the flight from Brisbane to Launceston. It would have been nice if the pilot told us what areas we were flying over as apart from recognising the Gold Coast and Tasmania, I don’t know what the other photos are of.

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The Gold Coast

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Nothing but an empty sea and clouds over Bass Strait.
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Flying over Tasmania and you can see Flinders Island.

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Taken just a few minutes before landing at Launceston.

I hope you enjoyed this different perspective of Australia. 🙂

Wildlife Visitors in March 2018

Some welcome rain in March (but maybe a little bit too much!) made for a very tropical climate for the beginning of autumn. There was plenty of wildlife around plus I also had the opportunity to capture some bird audio recordings which might be of interest to my overseas readers.

One morning, a couple of sulphur crested cockatoos dropped by to be annoying as they were screeching and carrying on as they do. This is the only one that sat still for a minute before taking off with the others and leaving us all in peace.

The eastern water dragon isn’t seen as often now, but here he is basking in the late afternoon sun.

The kookaburra family is often seen in the surrounding gum trees or perched on my veranda. The baby kookaburra is on the far right of the photo and it’s getting harder to tell the difference between them all now. (I think the one on the far left is having a bad hair day!)

I’ve seen more and more of the lovely grey butcherbirds and regularly hear their melody during the day.

Here is just a snapshot of some of its calls:

 

I am still visited by the grey butcherbird’s nemesis, the pied butcherbirds, who also have a lovely repertoire.

Pied Butcherbird

Here’s just a sample of their song:

 

And here’s a quick snippet of another of the pied butcherbird’s song, this one near the end sounds like the bit in the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind when they are playing the musical notes with the alien ship. 😀

 

The pied currawong is one of my favourite birds. This is the male of the adult pair that live around my home.

Pied Currawong

I love the different calls of this bird and I managed to capture them calling just on dusk one day.

 

This is a noisy miner, a very common bird and a nuisance a lot of the time. Small and gregarious, these birds often gang up on other birds.

Noisy Miner

I got this recording when there were about 8 of these birds in a tree carrying on about something.

 

Here’s my magpie family, Maggie on the left and one of her juveniles on the right.

The carrolling of the magpie has to be one of the most recognised bird calls of Australia.

 

Hope you enjoyed seeing (and hearing) some of my backyard wildlife visitors.

This is my participation in a monthly event called Wildlife Wednesdays hosted by Tina of My Gardner Says… You can see the wildlife visitors of other participants here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red Tailed Black Cockatoos

I happened to come across some photos I took some years ago of red tailed black cockatoos that visited our yard.

Occasionally, I see these birds fly overhead late in the afternoon, but to see them in a tree close to the house was quite an event.

Red tailed black cockatoos in a casuarina tree

These beautiful birds are quite large, measuring a length of about 60cm. The females are black with yellow marks around the head and neck areas, while the males are black with bright red panels in their tail feathers.

On this particular morning, I was able to get close enough to stand at the base of the tree and watch them eat the seedpods.

Red tailed black cockatoos

Turn up the sound on the video below and hear them crunching seedpods.

I hope you enjoyed seeing these magnificent birds as much as I did. 🙂

Just hangin’

Earlier in the week I heard a very loud raucous going on in the backyard that just seemed to go on and on. A whole group of birds of different species all congregating together in the one spot making a racket can only mean one thing – an unwelcome visitor.

Seeing as my chickens were out free ranging for the afternoon, I donned my boots and grabbed my camera and went out to investigate to make sure everyone was okay. Rounding the corner, this is what I saw:

A goanna up a tree! And a big healthy looking one too! He is well over 4 feet in length from head to tail.

Here is a closer look. Check out those huge claws!

goanna up a tree

He may have been either passing through or perhaps searching for food and wanting to get closer to the chook pen, seeing as they eat eggs and birds and other small animals. It seems like the birds had upset him so he’s made a dash for the nearest tree and biding his time for an escape.

In the video below you can hear some of the noise being made by the birds – kookaburras, magpies, pied currawongs, grey butcherbirds, blue faced honeyeaters and even rainbow lorikeets! They were all in the trees around, pointing out where the goanna was. Even the neighbour’s dog got in on it!

Goannas, also known as lace monitors, are very large and quick reptiles, and can be unpredictable, so I stayed well away. My girls were safe scratching around the yard at the front of the house far away from him and I collected the eggs from the chook shed so there was no reason for him to hang around. He hung out in the tree for a good hour after I spotted him, then he was gone and peace returned.

Wildlife Visitors in November 2017

November is the last month of spring here in Australia and this post is all about birds! With the local magpies finally giving up their vicious territorial attacks on other birds, we had many old feathered friends returning.

This is an adult grey butcherbird and I have also seen one juvenile begging for food.

One of the adult grey butcherbirds
The juvenile grey butcherbird

I spotted these two kookaburras  which appear to be the same ones that previously visited. The exciting thing is they appear to be paying lots of attention to the termite mound on the tree where they had babies last year, so maybe soon we will have little kookies!

Two adult kookaburras

The pied butcherbirds have returned as well. It’s so nice to have them sit on the veranda and sing their songs (though it’s a shame about having to clean up after them again!).  Check out my short video of these 2 songsters.

And here are the rainbow lorikeets in all their glory!

Rainbow lorikeets lining up for a feed

The galahs are still being seen around too. I captured this photo of 3 of them together.

Just a couple of galahs. 🙂

I also spotted 2 scaly breasted lorikeets. Such dainty little things!

Two cute little scaly breasted lorikeets

Igor and Maggie, our resident magpies, had 2 babies to bring up this time. Here’s a shot of mum and dad with one of the young ones having a snooze.

There was a bit of excitement early one morning when three king parrots turned up for a visit. There were 2 males and a female, and normally they all take off as soon as someone goes out the door, but on this occasion, two of the birds actually came onto the veranda when they saw me go outside. I think they may have mistaken me for someone else!

The female king parrot who seemed to take a liking to me since she attempted to fly onto my shoulder a few times before I freaked out too much and went back inside!
One of the male king parrots on the veranda
The other male king parrot close by in a tree

And finally, I have an audio recording of a mystery bird. I remember hearing this bird occasionally every now and then, but it was always in the distance. One evening, I clearly heard it in a gum tree behind the house so I was able to record it. It was heard at 6.45pm just on dusk, so it was too dark to make anything out at the time. If anyone knows what this bird is, please let me know!

 

Thanks for stopping by and reading about my backyard wildlife visitors. 🙂

This is my participation in a monthly event called Wildlife Wednesdays hosted by Tina of My Gardner Says… You can see the wildlife visitors of other participants here.

Curious Galah

I recently spied this galah who may have been investigating a potential nesting site.

It’s actually a micro bat box that we installed high up a gum tree several years ago, with the help of a mate who had an extremely tall ladder. But awhile ago, one of the nails must have come out and the box has turned itself upside down, and is probably full of rainwater. And not to worry, the box never had any residents. I think we were just being optimistic – “if you build it they will come”.

Take a look at the galah checking out the box.

Hmmm, what do we have here?
I’ll have to take a closer look.
Closer ….
Closer …..
A bit more ….
I need a stretch after all that.
And now the other side ….
That’s better.
Better keep looking for a new home. Bye!

 

 

Sitting Pretty

For some reason, this Noisy Miner was sitting in an empty food dish in the hot noon day sun. It sat there for a little while and gave me the opportunity to get some nice shots and a few close ups too. I was beginning to think something was wrong with it, but then all of a sudden it just stood up and flew off. Perhaps it was merely enjoying some sun. 🙂

Common House Gecko

asian house gecko on ceiling

I’m sure many of you would have heard this sound around your home  –

That noise belongs to the Common House Gecko, also known as an Asian House Gecko. Love ’em or hate ’em, you see them, and even hear them, everywhere – inside the home, in the garage, even at work. They are even common culprits in short circuiting your electrical equipment, including air conditioners, because they get in everywhere!

I decided to do a little investigating on the internet about these geckos and here’s what I found.

The Common House Geckos were first seen in the 1960s. No one knows how they got here from South East Asia, but quite likely they were stowaways in shipping containers.

They are about 10cm in length and have spines on their tail, and they change colour. During the day they are dark coloured, and at night they are pale pinky-brown.

Like other geckos, these lose their tail when frightened or trying to get away in a hurry. Here’s a photo of one that recently lost its tail.

asian house gecko with no tailWhen the tail regenerates, it’s smooth with no spines, like in the photo below.

asian house gecko on ceilingThese geckos are found in the north east of Australia and down south to Coffs Harbour.  They live inside people’s houses, garages, and buildings, and can often be seen on the walls or ceilings at night. They feed on the insects that are attracted to light.

asian house geckos on ceiling

I see quite a number of these geckos on the veranda ceiling at night. When the outside light is on, they all seem to appear out of nowhere, ready and waiting for their next meal.

One night I was in the study and had the window open, the blind open, and the light on while I was working at the computer, and I saw one of these geckos hanging on the fly screen catch a rather large moth.

asian house gecko eating a mothIf you look at the mid left of the photo above, you’ll see the head of a second gecko, probably hoping to join in the feast. Surprisingly, this moth somehow got away and managed to live another day!

These geckos are very invasive and have sadly displaced our native geckos because of the competition with food as well as the quick breeding cycle they have. The Common House Gecko breeds all year round and the female lays 2 eggs every 4 to 6 weeks. Amazingly, you can actually see the eggs in the underbelly of the female as shown in the photo below.

asian house gecko female with eggs

The other problem these geckos have is they carry little red mites. You can just make out a few of them in the photo below if you look carefully at the rear toes. It is unknown at this point if these introduced mites will cause a problem with our native geckos. Let’s hope not!

asian house gecko

If you’ve ever seen one of these geckos on the ceiling or on a glass window, you might be thinking they can move with ease due to suction cups on their feet. However, they actually have tiny hairs tipped with a pad on their toes that enables them to walk on these smooth and slippery surfaces.  You can make these out if you look closely at the photos in this post.

Do you see, or hear, these geckos around your place?