Monday, November 20, 2017

November 20. Day 324. Hard to digest

Bloody annoying things cicadas. I'd rather not have to listen to them but at the same time I normally avoid watching them being consumed whole. Okay, the natural order of things dictates that noisy friar birds eat cicadas. They just do although until today I've never actually witnessed it. At this time of year the cicadas are swarming and when that happens an opportunist bird is going to pick off one or two. I mean, those little suckers don't exactly take steps to avoid detection. Just the opposite. The sound of the cicada is a sound of summer, just like like the cricket. Officially we are still a couple of weeks short of the start of summer but I'm prepared to go early. My evidence is as follows: 1. I'm at the beach. 2. Second semester marks were locked and loaded today. 3. The Ashes test starts at The Gabba on Thursday. 4. The Schoolies have descended on the Gold Coast and 5. The ads for mangoes and cherries have begun. Roll on summer. Just remember the insect repellent.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

November 19. Day 323. The early bird

I think today's weather may have been decided by committee. It was like a compromise decision where no-one ended up with a satisfactory outcome. But it could have been worse. All night it rained. It would ease off and then bucket down. Repeat. By morning it looked like it may have cleared. It turned out to be a false dawn but the rain respite held up for long enough for a trip to the beach to allow the dogs to run wild and our young visitor Molly to jump in the sand and collect shells. And then we retreated before the rain returned - plus it was time for breakfast. The birds had a jump on us. On the path from the beach a grey butcherbird was already grazing. According to BirdsinBackyards, this avian preys on small animals hiding uneaten food in the fork or branch of a tree or impaling it. That explains exactly what I saw going on. I love it when I see a creature behaving exactly as the guide predicts. And then I went home and ate the food I'd hidden uneaten in the door of the fridge, just the way nature intended.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

November 18. Day 322. Soggy Saturday

I've found myself in weird positions in pursuit of "the money shot" but today's antics were right up there. The dogs and I made it as far as the front gate when it started to pour in the style of Noah's Ark. I don't mind drizzle on my walk but not torrential downpour. So we retreated. No beach photos today. But rain or no rain, the birds still need to eat so they settled in the bottlebrush outside. They were soggy and the best place to capture that was from the bathroom. It seemed kind of ironic to be taking a wet photo standing in a bathtub but there you have it.

Friday, November 17, 2017

November 17. Day 321. Four and twenty black birds

I get terribly excited when I photograph a bird that I haven't shot before. I also get terribly excited when I christen a new lens. Yes, I have a sad life. Anyway, be that as it may today I photographed yellow tailed black cockatoos for the first time with a brand spanking new 70-300 lens.
I LOVE a zoom lens. It is my lens of preference and the one I use 95% of the time.
My old one has taken a battering.
It was near retirement. But the issue was forced yesterday when it went missing. Two weeks on the beach without a zoom lens felt unthinkable (although the wide angle works pretty well for the sunrise pic). Anyway, I bought myself an early Christmas present.
The universe applauded my decision by sending a very large flock of yellow tailed black cockatoos to play exactly where Drama Teen, the dogs and I take our afternoon beach walk.
And it's not as though black cockatoos are the type of bird you have to crawl quietly through the trees to spot. These guys are noisy, really noisy and big fat posers. Perfect.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

November 16. Day 320. Soaring

Hello holidays. For the next two weeks I will be at the Sunshine Coast with dogs. Other family members will come and go as their commitments allow. This is a break I booked in the middle of hepatitis hell. My plan is to walk along the beach in the morning and afternoon and do not much else. So I started as I planned to finish... with a nap when we arrived followed by an afternoon beach walk. The dogs agreed it was an excellent plan, Rumple even broke out one of his signature begs for nothing in particular as far as we could tell. He was just happy. This time we are at Mudjimba, a decision based entirely on the availability of dog-friendly accommodation near an off leash beach. The people who wear the pants in this family don't even own pants. No-one is complaining. It's how we all like it.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

November 15. Day 319. Yes, yes, yes ... but it still bugs me

The postal vote results are in. Our nation has supported Same Sex Marriage. This is, of course, awesome. This is, of course, well overdue. But I can't help but feel seriously annoyed. Our politicians are weak and spineless. Our politicians are crazily cavalier with our $$$. We are somehow supposed to be over-joyed that the vote "only" cost $100 million. Sure that is $23 million cheaper than the projected cost. It is also $100 million more than should have been spent. The result was pretty much exactly what the opinion polls predicted and they cost the public nothing. But rather than except the public will, rather than do what they are paid for they outsourced the responsibility. Sure in a democratic system, the public's opinion matters bit we exercise that through the ballot box not the mail. Yes, we achieved the right result. But hell we went the wrong way about it.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

November 14. Day 318. My Christmas crackers

 For retailers, Christmas seems to start in about September. Certainly as soon as the witches hats and spiders of Halloween are removed from the shelves, the tinsel and baubles are decorating the aisles. And those hideous Christmas carols start to assault our ears. I have a two-staged approach to the start of the festive season. Stage two is December 1 when the Christmas tree goes up. Stage one is the annual dog grooming with Christmas bows and subsequent photo session. So it's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas. The fur babies will have another trim just so they look nice not naughty for Santa but they have to get their awesome on early for the Christmas card photo. Once again, the nailed the brief.