Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wildlife on Wednesday ... Little Shrike-Thrush

It was only a little over a week ago that my hubbie noticed a little nest perched on one of the Duranta repens shrubs outside his workshop.  Upon closer inspection he noticed three brown-spotted eggs inside ...

... and this rather drab looking bird nearby.  She was telling him off in her own special way ... from the safe distance of a tall Tabebuia branch.
Hubbie rushed to drag me downstairs so I could join in the great discovery ... then both of us realised we had no idea what the bird was!  So, it was time to consult with Simpson & Day.  (For overseas guests ... this is the Aussie bird bible!!)  It seems we had just met Little Shrike-Thrush - Colluricincla megarhyncha.

Apparently it is not a common bird around these dry foothills as it much prefers to live in wetter areas like the tropical rainforest areas further north.  So ... we felt rather privileged to have made her acquaintance.

It has to be said that this bird is not all that spectacular looking ... but I rather liked this gorgeous little olive-brown bird with its' lovely pale cinnamon-coloured underparts.
It has rather drab grey legs and feet.  It's eyes are brown and the bill is a pinkish-grey colour.  Unfortunately the joy we felt upon discovering them and then sharing that discovery with our grandchildren who were visiting for the school holidays ...  was short-lived!  This morning I went down to check on the eggs ... and they're all gone!  Not a trace ... probably dessert for some greedy snake.  Mum is nowhere to be seen or heard either!  So ... it will be interesting to see just how long it is before we catch another glimpse of the Little Shrike-Thrush in our part of north-east Oz.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Mosaic Monday .... Spring Colour and a Spring Clean!

It's the middle of Springtime Downunder ... and here in my the north-east Oz garden there's lots of great colour right now.  Almost every day there's another fantastic Oriental Lily bursting into bloom ... this is the first time I've grown them and I just adore their stunning colours and their perfume!

The Courtyard Garden is the place I'm spending all my free time over the semester break ... the colour out there is fantastic.  The heady perfume of those Oriental Lilies wafts around on the breeze.  There are butterflies fluttering around everywhere.  It's the perfect spot to sit back ... and relax!

Springtime is a time when my husband and I do a lot of cleaning-up around our property ... picking up loads of discarded palm tree fronds, trimming back a lot of foliage and pulling out weeds in the outdoor garden beds.  Some of this garden rubbish is used for mulching and some is thrown on the firepit.  Over the last few weekends we've been doing a whole lot of cleaning up and the pile on the firepit was enormous!  It was time for a bonfire ... our grandchildren who have been visiting during the school holidays sat mesmerised by the sight!  There's just something about huge flames leaping into the sky!!!!!

For more wonderful Mosaic Monday posts, make sure you visit Mary at Little Red House

Friday, September 24, 2010

Flower Flaunt on Friday - first month of Spring Downunder - and Skywatch Friday.

It's nearing the end of our first month of Spring Downunder ... and the first Hemerocallis has appeared.  I'm not sure of its varietal name ... having lost the tag ... but I think it might be 'Archangel Eyes'.  Anyway, I love the way this Daylily looks like it's covered in tiny little diamonds glistening in the morning sunshine!

My favourite Caladium, which popped up from it's Winter sleep not long ago, is already showing the spathes which cover the flowers inside.  It won't be long before they open to show the unusual spadix which contains both the male and female flowers.  You can see the two spathes to the left of the Caladium leaf.

I really love this Rosebud Pelargonium ...

... and this Oriental Lily which has just opened up.  The heavenly perfume is filling the Courtyard Garden!

The Hibiscus schizopetalus ... the Japanese Hibiscus ... is showing more and more blooms.

I'm loving all the colour out in my Courtyard Garden right now ... it's just glorious sitting out there during the day with a magazine and a cuppa.  I'm lucky enough to be on Semester holidays right now and there's such beautiful colour all around ... wonderful perfume from the Oriental lilies ... and so many butterflies flitting and bees buzzing around!  It is definitely Springtime.

Elsewhere on the property, the Bougainvillea is throwing out more and more clusters of flowers ...

... the African Oil Palms (Elaeis guineensis) have lots and lots of male inflorescences.

I'm joining in Tootsie's meme Flaunt Your Flowers / Fertiliser Friday, so make sure you click on the link and have a look at lots of other fantastic flower flaunts.

Now for some of my favourites that are blooming in and around the Courtyard Garden.

Wrightia antidysenterica 'Arctic Snow' ... I know I've shown this one before, but I just adore the brilliant white of these flowers.

 Gazania ...
Begonia ...
Portulaca ... or as we commonly call them, Sun Jewels.

The weather has continued to be unpredictable.  So many days begin with bright, sunny, clear, blue skies ...

 ... that quickly deteriorate into dreary, overcast, grey-cloud filled ones.  

For some great sky photos, please visit Skywatch Friday

The weather forecast for the week ahead tells us we're getting more of this pattern  ... where is all this rain coming from in the middle of our supposed 'dry' season? 









Possible shower
Possible shower
Mostly sunny
Clearing shower
Possible shower
Maximum 30°C 29°C 29°C 30°C 29°C 29°C 30°C
Minimum 23°C 23°C 23°C 23°C 23°C 23°C 22°C

 The last time our city received around this amount of rain during September was way back in the late 1970's!!!!  Of course, I'm not speaking about huge rainfall totals ... we've only received around 70mm this month ... but the long term average for September is less than 10!  'Long term' meaning since they started keeping records ... which was about 1940 I think. Usually we receive 0 ... that's been the September total for most of the thirty-something years I lived here.  

Well ... enough of the weather chat ... I'll end off today with some photos of the blooms that are just now appearing on my Petrea volubilis.  We commonly call it Purple Wreath or Sandpaper Vine.  It's our tropical version of Wisteria.

Now make sure you visit the Flaunt Your Flowers/Fertiliser Friday meme and Skywatch Friday meme.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wildlife on Wednesday ... the Leaden Flycatcher.

I think this gorgeous little bird deserves a far more attractive name ... well, maybe that's just me!  Anyway, let me introduce Myiagra rubecula - the Leaden Flycatcher.  My photos today are only of the female ... I haven't been able to capture a shot of the male yet!

This bird is only around 15 cms in size.  Whilst both the male and female have blue-grey or leaden-grey upperparts (hence the use of 'leaden' in the name) and they both have a grey under-tail, the male has a white chest and the female's upper breast is rufous-orange.

They both have dark brown eyes, but the female has a pale ring around her eye.  

The Leaden Flycatcher is a very, very active little bird. They eat insects which they catch in flight, so most of the time I see them furiously darting about from branch to branch and only momentarily stopping to perch ... it's not easy getting a great photo!  They also have the cute little habit of shaking their tails around when they're agitated ... which can also ruin my photography efforts!  Anyway, these are the only photos I've managed to get so far ... luckily they show just how adorable this little bird is!

"Thank you ... yes I am rather cute!!"

Monday, September 20, 2010

Mosaic Monday ... Caladiums waking from their slumber.

It's the first month of Spring here ... Downunder ... and in my north-eastern garden the Caladiums are waking up from their underground slumber.  I don't have many Caladiums left in the garden anymore ... years of drought took care of many of them ... but the ones that remain are simply lovely! 

For more wonderful Mosaic Monday posts, make sure you visit Mary at Little Red House

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Flower Flaunt on Friday - early Spring in north-east Oz - and Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day.

Finally, I'm able to spend some time back in the blogging world.  After my computer crashed, with all the inconvenience that entails, I found that I really missed popping in to visit gardens all over the world and having a natter with gardeners near and far.  I'm quite happy to be able to sit down today and write a post once more.  Not only that, but it's the end-of-term for me and time for a bit of a holiday!
I'm joining in with both Tootsie's meme Flaunt Your Flowers / Fertiliser Friday and Carol's Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day meme today.  Make sure you visit both blogs.

So ... here's a few things that are blooming right now in my garden ... mid-way through our first month of Spring.

My two Cadaghi Gums - Corymbia torelliana - are beginning to bloom.  The masses of cream scented balls on this tree attracts lots of Rainbow Lorikeets and Red-Tailed Black Cockatoos which can be very noisy first thing in the morning!
 The first blooms on my white Oriental Lilium are showing themselves ...
... and I just adore the white Snapdragons.
Plectranthus 'Mona Lavender' greets me with a profusion of purple every afternoon as I come home from work.
The Calibrachoas are simply marvellous this year ... I had some trouble with them last year!  They really struggled to put on a show at all ... so I'm glad I tried them again.
The Zonal Pelargoniums are just brilliant ...
... especially this beautiful Rosebud variety.

The Bougainvillea is flowering once again ...
... and so is the Barleria.
The Tabebuia heterophylla is showing another flush of blooms after its' Autumn-Winter break ....

... as is the fabulous Tabernaemontana corymbosa 'Sweet Love' with it pinwheel flowers ...
... and the Wrightia antidysenterica 'Arctic Snow'.
My little white Salvia has only just shown its' first bloom for Spring ...
 ... and the Nasturtiums are blooming.

It's great to see the Caladiums pushing up out of their underground slumber ... and this one is a favourite of mine.  When it first opens, it's white and pale green with little red splotches ... and it slowly turns a darker green as it matures.  Right now though, it's just beginning to unfurl its' first striking leaves.

Related Posts with Thumbnails