Saturday, 17 March 2018


Happy St Patrick's Day! As wearing of the green is customary, here is a  chestnut teal (Anas castanea) family. The chestnut teal is a dabbling duck found in Australia. It is protected under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974. The chestnut teal was described by the English naturalist Thomas Campbell Eyton in 1838 under the binomial name Mareca castanea. The specific epithet castanea is from the Latin castaneus for "chestnut-coloured" or "chestnut-brown". This duck is a sister species to the Sunda teal (Anas gibberifrons) that is endemic to Indonesia.

The chestnut teal is darker and a slightly bigger bird than the grey teal. The male has a distinctive green-coloured head and mottled brown body. The female has a brown head and mottled brown body. The female is almost identical in appearance to the grey teal. The female chestnut teal has a loud penetrating "laughing" quack repeated rapidly nine times or more.

The chestnut teal is commonly distributed in south-eastern and south-western Australia, while vagrants may occur elsewhere. Tasmania and southern Victoria are the species’ stronghold, while vagrants can be found as far north as New Guinea and Lord Howe Island. The chestnut teal prefers coastal estuaries and wetlands, and is indifferent to salinity. This bird is an omnivore.

Chestnut teals form monogamous pairs that stay together outside the breeding season, defend the nest site and look after the young when hatched. Nests are usually located over water, in a down-lined tree hollow about 6–10 m high. Sometimes nests are placed on the ground, among clumps of grass near water. The young hatch and are ready to swim and walk within a day.

This post is part of the Saturday Critters meme,
and also part of the Camera Critters meme,
and also part of the I'd Rather Be Birdin' meme,
and also part of the Weekend Reflections meme.

Friday, 16 March 2018


Historic Studley Park Boathouse, Kew, is only 10 minutes from the city centre and offers visitors the opportunity to dine in the restaurant, relax over a lighter meal in the indoor/outdoor café, or have a light snack from the kiosk while enjoying sweeping views of the Yarra River and natural bushland. You can also hire row boats, canoes and kayaks from the oldest operating boathouse in Australia. Open every day of the year except Christmas Day. Kids love the place as there are activities, animals and wide open spaces to play in.

This post is part of the Skywatch Friday meme,
and also part of the Friday Photo Journal meme.

Thursday, 15 March 2018


Haemanthus coccineus (commonly known as the Blood Flower or Paintbrush Lily), is a bulbous geophyte in the genus Haemanthus, and the Amaryllidaceae family, native to Southern Africa. The generic name Haemanthus is derived from the Greek words haima for "blood" and anthos for "flower"; coccineus is the Latin word for red or scarlet. In the Afrikaans language it is known as Bergajuin, Bloedblom, and many other vernacular names.

The Blood Lily is native throughout the winter rainfall region in Southern Africa - from the southern parts of Namibia, to South Africa in the Cape Peninsula, to the Keiskamma River in the Eastern Cape. It is an adaptable species, growing in a wide range of soils derived from sandstones, quartzites, granites, shales and limestones. It will survive annual rainfall ranging from 100–1,100 millimetres.

The large (up to 10 cm diameter) flowerheads of Haemanthus coccineus emerge between February and April in the Southern Hemisphere, with scarlet spathe valves on them like bright shaving brushes, making it a striking plant. The flowers are soon followed by translucent, fleshy berries. There are usually two very large leaves per bulb, and occasionally three, these leaves appearing only after flowering has occurred. We have it growing in our garden quite happily and it always attracts a lot of attention when it is in bloom.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018


Japan (Japanese: 日本 Nippon [ɲippoɴ] or Nihon [ɲihoɴ]; formally 日本国 About this sound Nippon-koku or Nihon-koku, meaning "State of Japan") is a sovereign island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies off the eastern coast of the Asian mainland and stretches from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and China in the southwest. The kanji, or Sino-Japanese characters, that make up Japan's name mean "sun origin", and it is often called the "Land of the Rising Sun".

Japan is a stratovolcanic archipelago consisting of about 6,852 islands. The four largest are Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shikoku, which make up about ninety-seven percent of Japan's land area and often are referred to as home islands. The country is divided into 47 prefectures in eight regions, with Hokkaido being the northernmost prefecture and Okinawa being the southernmost one. The population of 127 million is the world's tenth largest. Japanese people make up 98.5% of Japan's total population. About 9.1 million people live in Tokyo, the capital of Japan.

Archaeological research indicates that Japan was inhabited as early as the Upper Palaeolithic period. The first written mention of Japan is in Chinese history texts from the 1st century AD. Influence from other regions, mainly China, followed by periods of isolation, particularly from Western Europe, has characterised Japan's history. From the 12th century until 1868, Japan was ruled by successive feudal military shōguns who ruled in the name of the Emperor. Japan entered into a long period of isolation in the early 17th century, which was ended in 1853 when a United States fleet pressured Japan to open to the West. After nearly two decades of internal conflict and insurrection, the Imperial Court regained its political power in 1868 through the help of several clans from Chōshū and Satsuma—and the Empire of Japan was established.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, victories in the First Sino-Japanese War, the Russo-Japanese War and World War I allowed Japan to expand its empire during a period of increasing militarism. The Second Sino-Japanese War of 1937 expanded into part of World War II in 1941, which came to an end in 1945 following the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the Japanese surrender. Since adopting its revised constitution on May 3, 1947, during the occupation by the SCAP, Japan has maintained a unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy with an Emperor and an elected legislature called the National Diet. Japan is a member of the UN, the OECD, the G7, the G8 and the G20—and is considered a great power.

The country has the world's third-largest economy by nominal GDP and the world's fourth-largest economy by purchasing power parity. It is also the world's fourth-largest exporter and fourth-largest importer. The country benefits from a highly skilled workforce and is among the most highly educated countries in the world, with one of the highest percentages of its citizens holding a tertiary education degree. Although Japan has officially renounced its right to declare war, it maintains a modern military with the world's eighth-largest military budget, used for self-defence and peacekeeping roles.

Japan is a developed country with a very high standard of living and Human Development Index. Its population enjoys the highest life expectancy and the third lowest infant mortality rate in the world. Japan is renowned for its historical and extensive cinema, rich cuisine and its major contributions to science and modern-day technology.

This post is part of the Wordless Wednesday meme,
and also part of the ABC Wednesday meme,
and also part of the Travel Tuesday meme.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018


Nitmiluk National Park is in the Northern Territory of Australia, 244 km southeast of Darwin, around a series of gorges on the Katherine River and Edith Falls. Previously named Katherine Gorge National Park, its northern edge borders Kakadu National Park. The gorges and the surrounding landscape have great ceremonial significance to the local Jawoyn people, who are custodians of Nitmiluk National Park. In Jawoyn, Nitmiluk means "place of the cicada dreaming".

Katherine Gorge, a deep gorge carved through ancient sandstone by the Katherine River, is the central attraction of the park. Katherine Gorge is made up of thirteen gorges, with rapids and falls, and follow the Katherine River, which begins in Kakadu. During the Dry Season, roughly from April to October, the Katherine Gorge waters are placid in most spots and ideal for swimming and canoeing.

There may be freshwater crocodiles in most parts of the river, as they nest along the banks, but they are harmless to humans. Saltwater crocodiles regularly enter the river during the wet season, when the water levels are very high, and are subsequently removed and returned to the lower levels at the onset of the dry season. Thus, swimming in the Wet Season is prohibited, as crocodiles don't respond to swimmers' questioning them if they are fresh or saltwater ones. Cruises of various lengths go as far as the fifth gorge.

This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Ruby Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Travel Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme.

Monday, 12 March 2018


It's late Summer in Melbourne and our garden is still giving us fresh vegetables. The last of the cucumbers and tomatoes, still lots of beans, zucchinis and onions. Although we grow mainly flowers, herbs and vegetables can be found in amongst the rose bushes and lilies, between the carnations and Summer annuals.

This post is part of the Mosaic Monday meme,
and also part of the Macro Monday meme,
and also part of the Through my Lens meme,
and also part of the Seasons meme.

Sunday, 11 March 2018


Welcome to the meme, "My Sunday Best", which is a photographic and creative meme that allows you to showcase your talents in imaging. Every Sunday, you can post here showing an image you have created using your camera, (and/or) image processing software, and/or painting and drawing in the conventional way and have scanned in.

The rules are simple:
1) Create your image and post it up on your blog;
2) Put the "My Sunday Best" logo image link somewhere on your post so people can click and come by here;
3) Leave a comment here once you have posted;
4) Visit other posters' blogs and be amazed with their creativity!

Please do not use this meme to advertise your goods or services. This is a creative meme and any inappropriate links or comments shall be removed immediately!

The beautiful old Anglican Church on the corner of High St and Pakington St, Kew, is an imposing Victorian building. Begun in 1862 to the design of Charles Barrett, it has been heterogeneously extended over time, and is now of greater interest for elements like the Albert Memorial window of 1864, and for the fine reredos, carved by William Howitt to the design of Laver & Fick.

Holy Trinity has provided the spiritual home to a community of faith that has gathered to worship in a magnificent bluestone building since 1863. The church has been the focus of the Anglican Kew community in many ways over the years, and provides a traditional style of worship, and a contemporary family ministry with services and playgroup.
This post is part of the My Sunday Photo meme,
and also part of the Photo Sunday meme,

Saturday, 10 March 2018


Kingfishers are to be found all over Australia, but ­predominantly in coastal regions. We have 10 native species, including the kookaburra, which is the largest. Kingfishers nest in tree hollows, in burrows in riverbanks and in termite nests. They feed on small animals, including fish, frogs, yabbies, snakes, insects and nestlings of other birds.

Covered in brilliant green, blue, turquoise and orange plumage, some kingfishers were once in danger of being hunted to extinction for their feathers. Despite their elaborate appearance, these stocky birds are tough, and hunt by darting upon prey in a flash of colour from branches above the river or forest floor. The kingfisher’s heavy beak is the perfect tool for killing victims quickly – they smack their hapless prey against tree branches before swallowing it whole.

The Azure Kingfisher (Ceyx [Alcedo] azurea) length, 17–19cm; wingspan, 25–29cm makes its home along the banks of coastal and inland rivers, swamps and mangroves. During breeding season, it lines its nest with fish bones and scales. Found along much of our northern and eastern seaboards, as well as Tasmania, this species hunts for small mammals, reptiles, fish and frogs.

This one was seen in the Darebin Parklands in suburban Melbourne. They are shy birds, usually keeping out of sight  and easily disturbed if encountered, flying off rapidly.

This post is part of the Saturday Critters meme,
and also part of the Camera Critters meme,
and also part of the I'd Rather Be Birdin' meme.

Friday, 9 March 2018


South Wharf is a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 2 km south-west of Melbourne's Central Business District. Its local government areas are the Cities of Melbourne and Port Phillip. At the 2011 Census, South Wharf had a population of 66. South Wharf is a small inner suburb south west from Melbourne's CBD.

Its borders are the Yarra River to the north, Wurundjeri Way to the west, the West Gate Freeway and a small private car park bordering Ford Street and Munro Street, which is part of the City of Port Phillip, to the south and the former Port Melbourne railway line and Clarendon Street to the east.

Gazetted in 2008 and formerly part of the industrial and shipping area of Southbank, the renaming is part of a wider urban renewal strategy to link Southbank with the Melbourne Docklands.

This post is part of the Skywatch Friday meme,
and also part of the Friday Photo Journal meme,
and also part of the Orange you Glad It's Friday meme.

Thursday, 8 March 2018


Leptospermum petersonii (or Leptospermum citratum), lemon-scented teatree is a tall shrub to small tree, growing to a maximum of 5 metres which is cultivated as an ornamental and for essential oils. It naturally occurs near sclerophyll forest or rainforest, on sandy or rocky escarpments, on the east coast of Australia.

It has simple leaves, 20–40 mm long, with a distinctive, strong, lemony aroma. The flowers are white, followed by woody capsules. The leaves are distilled commercially for the essential oil which contains citronellal, citral, and pinene. It is grown in plantations in Kenya, Zaire, South Africa, Guatemala and Australia. The leaf of lemon-scented teatree is also used as a flavouring ingredient in boutique tea blends with standard black tea, Camelia sinensis.

The essential oil from L.petersonii inhibits the pathological fungi Candida albicans and Aspergillus fumigatus. Lemon-scented teatree is well known as a garden plant, popular for its scent and attractiveness. It is fast growing and can be kept to shrub height by pruning. The ability to be pruned regularly also makes it well-suited for hedges, windbreaks and harvesting for distilled essential oils. Leptospermum liversidgei is also called "lemon-scented teatree" due to the presence of lemony essential oils.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.