Sunday, 31 March 2019

ROCK

A rock trapped in soil amongst roots, exposed when erosion has stripped the soil away.

This post is part of the My Sunday Best meme.

Saturday, 30 March 2019

Thursday, 28 March 2019

LANTANA

Lantana is a genus of about 150 species of perennial flowering plants in the verbena family, Verbenaceae. They are native to tropical regions of the Americas and Africa but exist as an introduced species in numerous areas, especially in the Australian-Pacific region. The genus includes both herbaceous plants and shrubs growing to 0.5–2 m (1.6–6.6 ft) tall. Their common names are shrub verbenas or lantanas. The generic name originated in Late Latin, where it refers to the unrelated Viburnum lantana.

This is a Lantana camara in our garden, which this butterfly is finding particularly tempting. The butterfly is the Australian painted lady butterfly, Vanessa kershawi.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

LOAF

A loaf of bread, the staff of life, a basic food item on the daily menu for billions of people around the world.

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

Wheat Germ Bread
Ingredients
7 cups white unbleached flour
1 cup wheat germ
1 tablespoon dry (granulated) yeast
2.5 cups warm water
2 teaspoonfuls salt
2 tablespoonfuls olive oil

Method
Mix the yeast with about 1/2 cup of the warm water. Leave for about 10 minutes, by which time the yeast should have begun to foam.

Put the flour, wheat-germ and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre, and pour in the yeast mixture. Stir and add the oil and the remaining water gradually, always stirring, until the dough forms a ball but doesn't become so sticky that it sticks to your fingers. There is no precise way of knowing when your dough will be ready except by experience... You really have to go on how the dough feels and looks. As you knead you can add more water or flour if it is needed. Thankfully, bread isn’t one of those things that require a perfect balance of ingredients. Furthermore, once you've made bread a few times you will learn to tell exactly when your dough is right.

Turn the dough out onto a floured board. Every so often sprinkle the board with more flour as you knead, or the dough will stick. Knead by pushing the heels of your hand into the dough, folding it back on itself, turning it around, and generally giving it a good work out. Kneading generally takes about 10 minutes but again the best way to tell is by experience and just by feeling it. It should be satiny, springy, elastic and smooth.

Put the dough in a bowl and cover with a clean, damp tea-towel. Leave somewhere warm to rise (under a blanket in winter). It will take between one and three hours to rise, depending on the ambient temperature. You can tell when it’s ready in two ways: Firstly, it should have doubled in bulk. Secondly, give it a little poke with your finger. If the indentation disappears let it rise some more. If it stays in the dough, it is ready to be shaped.

Now, take out your aggression by punching the dough down. Knead for about 3 minutes, and then shape the dough. The possibilities here are endless. Loaves, rolls, plaits, twists, knot rolls, cottage loaves, wherever your imagination takes you. Put your loaves or rolls or whatever onto a greased pan or bread tray, cover with a damp cloth, and leave to “prove” (i.e. rise again; this is quicker than the initial rising, and will take about 45 minutes).

Bake in a preheated oven at 190°C. Loaves should be left to cook for about 40 minutes, rolls need about 20 minutes. The bread is ready when it has a nice brown crust. Also, you can tip the loaf out of its pan, and tap its base. It should sound hollow. If it doesn’t, put it back in the tin and leave it bake for a little while longer.

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

CITY OF CHURCHES

I always enjoy my trips to Adelaide as it is a gracious city, well planned and of a slightly slower pace than Melbourne or Brisbane. One of the great things about Adelaide is that the CBD is completely ringed by parks and gardens, effectively separating the centre of the city from the suburbs. There are wonderful 19th century public buildings and there are several beautiful beaches and sea-side suburbs, such as Glenelg, with a lively cosmopolitan feel to them.

The suburbs are also attractive with the signature stone houses surrounded by gardens on tree-lined streets. A delightful area is by the river where there are numerous parks and gardens as well as the Adelaide Performing Arts Centre. Adelaide is sometimes described as the “City of Churches”, but one does not often see this appellation  nowadays except in travel articles where the journalist writing it has used the word “Adelaide” too many times in the same paragraph…

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

Monday, 25 March 2019

Sunday, 24 March 2019

LARGE

The Abu Simbel temples are two massive carved rock temples at Abu Simbel (أبو سمبل in Arabic), a village in Nubia, southern Egypt, near the border with Sudan. They are situated on the western bank of Lake Nasser, about 230 km southwest of Aswan (about 300 km by road). The complex is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the "Nubian Monuments," which run from Abu Simbel downriver to Philae (near Aswan).

The twin temples were originally carved out of the mountainside during the reign of Pharaoh Ramesses II in the 13th century BC, as a lasting monument to himself and his queen Nefertari, to commemorate his victory at the Battle of Kadesh. Their huge external rock relief figures have become iconic. The complex was relocated in its entirety in 1968, on an artificial hill made from a domed structure, high above the Aswan High Dam reservoir. The relocation of the temples was necessary to prevent their being submerged during the creation of Lake Nasser, the massive artificial water reservoir formed after the building of the Aswan High Dam on the Nile River.

This post is part of the Photo Sunday meme.



Saturday, 23 March 2019

Friday, 22 March 2019

ON THE BRINK

Saying goodbye to Summer on the day before the Autumnal equinox in Melbourne. At the Darebin Parklands in the suburbs.

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

Thursday, 21 March 2019

FRINGED WATER-LILY

Nymphoides peltata (syn. Villarsia nymphaeoides, Fringed Water-lily, Yellow Floating-heart, Water Fringe) is an aquatic plant of the family Menyanthaceae native to Eurasia. It has cordate floating leaves that support a lax inflorescence of yellow flowers with fringed petal margins. The fruit is a capsule bearing many flattened seeds with stiff marginal hairs.The plants are commonly sold for use in ornamental water gardens. Outside their native range, however, they can escape cultivation and become nuisance noxious weeds.

Fringed Water-lily is an aquatic plant that grows well in shallow fresh-water like canals and ponds or slow moving streams. It differs from true water-lilies in that the flowers are smaller and that they are projecting above water level on short 8 cm stalks. Also in that it has five petals which are frayed or fringed around the periphery. The leaves float on water, from which long stems dangle. The leaves are normally oval in appearance with a shiny appearance from above, sometimes with purple spots, and purple below.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

KOALA

The koala (Phascolarctos cinereus or, inaccurately, koala bear) is an arboreal herbivorous marsupial native to Australia. It is the only extant representative of the family Phascolarctidae, and its closest living relatives are the wombats. The koala is found in coastal areas of the mainland's eastern and southern regions, inhabiting Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. It is easily recognisable by its stout, tailless body; round, fluffy ears; and large, spoon-shaped nose. The koala has a body length of 60–85 cm and weighs 4–15 kg. Pelage colour ranges from silver grey to chocolate brown. Koalas from the northern populations are typically smaller and lighter in colour than their counterparts further south. It is possible that these populations are separate subspecies, but this is disputed.

Koalas typically inhabit open eucalypt woodlands, and the leaves of these trees make up most of their diet. Because this eucalypt diet has limited nutritional and caloric content, koalas are largely sedentary and sleep for up to 20 hours a day. They are asocial animals, and bonding exists only between mothers and dependent offspring. Adult males communicate with loud bellows that intimidate rivals and attract mates. Males mark their presence with secretions from scent glands located on their chests. Being marsupials, koalas give birth to underdeveloped young that crawl into their mothers' pouches, where they stay for the first six to seven months of their life. These young koalas are known as joeys, and are fully weaned at around a year. Koalas have few natural predators and parasites but are threatened by various pathogens, like Chlamydiaceae bacteria and the koala retrovirus, as well as by bushfires and droughts.

Koalas were hunted by indigenous Australians and depicted in myths and cave art for millennia. The first recorded encounter between a European and a koala was in 1798, and an image of the animal was published in 1810 by naturalist George Perry. Botanist Robert Brown wrote the first detailed scientific description of the koala in 1814, although his work remained unpublished for 180 years. Popular artist John Gould illustrated and described the koala, introducing the species to the general British public. Further details about the animal's biology were revealed in the 19th century by several English scientists.

Because of its distinctive appearance, the koala is recognised worldwide as a symbol of Australia. Koalas are listed as of Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The Australian government lists populations in Queensland and New South Wales as Vulnerable. The animal was hunted heavily in the early 20th century for its fur, and large-scale cullings in Queensland resulted in a public outcry that initiated a movement to protect the species. Sanctuaries were established, and translocation efforts moved to new regions koalas whose habitat had become fragmented or reduced. The biggest threat to their existence is habitat destruction caused by agriculture and urbanisation.

This post is part of the Wordless Wednesday meme,
and also part of the ABC Wednesday meme,
and also part of the Nature Notes meme.

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

TIJUANA, MEXICO

The Tijuana Cultural Centre (CECUT) is a cultural centre in the Zona Río district of Tijuana, Mexico. The centre opened 20 October 1982, and accommodates more than a million visitors per year. A major feature of the complex is an OMNIMAX cinema designed by architects Pedro Ramirez Vazques and Manuel Rossen Morrison. It is the only IMAX cinema in Tijuana, and has come to be popularly known as La Bola (“The Ball”). The cinema, which uses a 360-degree projector to surround viewers with a panoramic image, has 308 seats. The OMNIMAX cinema has been part of the cultural centre since the complex first opened in 1982. In October of that year, it premiered the film “El pueblo del sol”, which was made especially for the cinema’s opening. The film presents images from the most representative regions of Mexico, and got very good reviews. It was the cinema's only film for 13 years. Today, the centre offers a daily selection of films; it premieres about four films per year.

The centre encompasses a large esplanade that accommodates up to 6,000 people. The esplanade is a venue for performances, festivals, and expos. There is also permanent exhibition, called “Museo de las Californias”, which stores over 200 pieces and is a walk through the history of the Baja Peninsula and the state of California from the prehistoric period until the first half of the 20th century. Also a pre-Hispanic garden, called “Jardin Caracol” (Snail Garden), that contains sculptures from the different regions of the mesoamerican cultures that inhabited south Mexico before the arrival of the Spanish Army. Visitors can have the experience of going through the exhibition while enjoying a coffee since there is a little coffee shop in the garden.

There is also a scenic theatre, which has a room for around a thousand visitors and it is mostly used for private concerts and plays. There are also lecture rooms, video room, café, and a bookshop. There are several spaces for temporary small exhibits. In September 2008, on the eve of its 26th anniversary, CECUT opened its doors to a brand new building called “El Cubo” (The Cube), so named because of the contrast between the nickname of the OMNIMAX cinema “The Ball”. This represented the very important opportunity for CECUT to start receiving International Exhibitions, and since then it has been the home for exhibitions that have traveled from other countries including Buda Guanyin, Gabriel Figueroa, Alice Rahon, Venus en Tijuana, Proyecto Civico, and Animated Painting among others.

Nowadays this important institution has different programs for all ages, since classes for early stimulation for kids around 2 months and 2 years, plastic arts and artisan workshops for children from 5 to 15 years and concerts, conferences, movies, documentaries, exhibitions, and all kind of services for the whole family to enjoy the day and spend a nice time learning. CECUT is a short distance from the Mexico–United States border at San Ysidro, San Diego.

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.

Sunday, 17 March 2019

MACHINE

Machine | məˈʃiːn | noun:
An apparatus using mechanical power and having several parts, each with a definite function and together performing a particular task: A complex machine with many small moving parts is difficult to fix if it breaks down.

Etymology:
Mid-16th century (originally denoting a structure): From French, via Latin from Doric Greek makhana (Greek mēkhanē, from mēkhos ‘contrivance’).

This post is part of the My Sunday Best meme,
and also part of the Photo Sunday meme.

Saturday, 16 March 2019

MAGPIES

The Australian magpie (Cracticus tibicen) is a medium-sized black and white passerine bird native to Australia and southern New Guinea. Although once considered to be three separate species, it is now considered to be one, with nine recognised subspecies. A member of the Artamidae, the Australian magpie is classified in the butcherbird genus Cracticus and is most closely related to the black butcherbird (C. quoyi). It is not, however, related to the European magpie, which is a corvid.

The adult Australian magpie is a fairly robust bird ranging from 37 to 43 cm in length, with distinctive black and white plumage, gold brown eyes and a solid wedge-shaped bluish-white and black bill. The male and female are similar in appearance, and can be distinguished by differences in back markings.The male has pure white feathers on the back of the head and the female has white blending to grey feathers on the back of the head.  Juveniles are blotchy grey as the youngster on the right in the first photo and the one in the second photo. With its long legs, the Australian magpie walks rather than waddles or hops and spends much time on the ground.

Described as one of Australia's most accomplished songbirds, the Australian magpie has an array of complex vocalisations. It is omnivorous, with the bulk of its varied diet made up of invertebrates. It is generally sedentary and territorial throughout its range. Common and widespread, it has adapted well to human habitation and is a familiar bird of parks, gardens and farmland in Australia and New Guinea. This species is commonly fed by households around the country, but in spring a small minority of breeding magpies (almost always males) become aggressive and swoop and attack those who approach their nests. Magpies were introduced into New Zealand in the 1860s but have subsequently been accused of displacing native birds and are now treated as a pest species. Introductions also occurred in the Solomon Islands and Fiji, where the birds are not considered an invasive species.

The Australian magpie is the mascot of several Australian sporting teams, most notably the Collingwood Magpies and Port Adelaide Magpies. There are several names given to a group of magpies, but perhaps the most descriptive is “a parliament.” The birds have earned this title as a result of their often appearing in large groups in the Spring, looking stately and cawing at each other.

This post is part of the Saturday Critters meme,
and also part of the Camera Critters meme.



Thursday, 14 March 2019

PROSTANTHERA

Prostanthera magnifica, commonly known as Magnificent Prostanthera, is a flowering plant in the family Lamiaceae. It is endemic to Western Australia. The species is a shrub growing to between 0.4 and 2.5 metres high. The flowers are mauve to pink and are framed by large, purplish-red calyces. These appear between August and November in the species native range.

The species was first formally described by botanist Charles Austin Gardner in 1942 in Journal of the Royal Society of Western Australia. The species occurs in woodland on sand, loam or clay soils. Prostanthera magnifica prefers a sunny or partly shaded position in well drained soil. It is sensitive to both frost and humidity. Propagation is successful from both seed and cuttings, though seed germination is slow. Grafting is often used to produce a longer living plant with rootstocks including Westringia fruticosa and Prostanthera striatiflora. The latter gives rise to plants with a longer flowering period and less unwanted growth below the graft.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

JEWELLERY

Jewellery | ˈdʒuːəlri | (US jewelry) noun [mass noun]
Personal ornaments, such as necklaces, rings, or bracelets, that are typically made from or contain jewels and precious metal: She had silver hair and chunky gold jewellery | [as modifier]: A jewellery box.

Sapphire is a gemstone variety of the mineral corundum, an aluminium oxide (α-Al2O3). Whilst typically associated with the colour blue, sapphires can also naturally occur in a wide variety of colours such as blue, yellow, purple, orange, green colours - which are also called "fancy sapphires". "Parti sapphires" are those sapphires which show two or more colours in a single stone. The only colour which sapphire cannot be is red - as red coloured corundum is called ruby, another corundum variety. Commonly, natural sapphires are cut and polished into gemstones and worn in jewellery.

They also may be created synthetically in laboratories for industrial or decorative purposes in large crystal boules. Because of the remarkable hardness of sapphires – 9 on the Mohs scale (the third hardest mineral, after diamond at 10 and moissanite at 9.5) – sapphires are also used in some non-ornamental applications, including infrared optical components, such as in scientific instruments; high-durability windows; wristwatch crystals and movement bearings; and very thin electronic wafers, which are used as the insulating substrates of very special-purpose solid-state electronics (especially integrated circuits and GaN-based LEDs).

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

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

BASEL, SWITZERLAND

Basel (also Basle; French: Bâle; Italian: Basilea) is a city in northwestern Switzerland on the river Rhine. Basel is Switzerland’s third-most-populous city (after Zürich and Geneva) with about 175,000 inhabitants. Located where the Swiss, French and German borders meet, Basel also has suburbs in France and Germany. In 2014, the Basel agglomeration was the third largest in Switzerland with a population of 537,100 in 74 municipalities in Switzerland and an additional 53 in neighbouring countries (municipal count as of 2000).

The official language of Basel is (the Swiss variety of Standard) German, but the main spoken language is the local variant of the Alemannic Swiss German dialect. The city is known for its various internationally renowned museums, ranging from the Kunstmuseum, the first collection of art accessible to the public in Europe, to the Fondation Beyeler (located in Riehen), and its centuries long commitment to Humanism, offering a safe haven among others to Erasmus of Rotterdam, the Holbein family, and more recently also to Hermann Hesse and Karl Jaspers.

Basel has been the seat of a Prince-Bishopric since the 11th century, and joined the Swiss Confederacy in 1501. The city has been a commercial hub and important cultural centre since the Renaissance, and has emerged as a centre for the chemical and pharmaceutical industry in the 20th century. It hosts the oldest university of the Swiss Confederation (1460).

Basel has often been the site of peace negotiations and other international meetings. The Treaty of Basel (1499) ended the Swabian War. Two years later Basel joined the Swiss Confederation. The Peace of Basel in 1795 between the French Republic and Prussia and Spain ended the First Coalition against France during the French Revolutionary Wars. In more recent times, the World Zionist Organisation held its first congress in Basel on 3 September 1897. Because of the Balkan Wars, the Second International held an extraordinary congress at Basel in 1912. In 1989, the Basel Convention was opened for signature with the aim of preventing the export of hazardous waste from wealthy to developing nations for disposal.

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, 11 March 2019

FESTIVE MARCH

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

Sunday, 10 March 2019

Thursday, 7 March 2019

CHINESE GLORY BOWER

The Chinese Glory Bower flower is a sumptuous garden plant that is known by a variety of formal, scientific names: Clerodendrum philippinum, Clerodendrum fragrans var. multiplex, Clerodendrum fragrans, Volkameria fragrans, Clerodendrum fragrans var. pleniflorum. It is a native of China and Japan, which has been naturalised in tropical and subtropical climates. 

It is a shrub, up to 2.4 metres tall with heart shaped leaves, up to 25 cm long. It propagates with underground runners, and can be invasive. The Chinese Glory Bower usually encountered in nurseries has double very fragrant pink or white flowers, 2 cm across. The wild form is single-flowered. The flowers are most fragrant in the evening and attract butterflies. When the leaves of flowers are bruised they can exude an unpleasant pungent odour.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.


Wednesday, 6 March 2019

ITALY

Italy (Italian: Italia, officially the Italian Republic (Italian: Repubblica Italiana)) is a country in Southern and Western Europe. Located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, Italy shares open land borders with France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia and the enclaved microstates San Marino and Vatican City. Italy covers an area of 301,340 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal and Mediterranean climate. With around 61 million inhabitants, it is the fourth-most populous EU member state and the most populous country in Southern Europe.

Due to its central geographic location in Europe and the Mediterranean, Italy has historically been home to a myriad of peoples and cultures. In addition to the various ancient Italian tribes and Italic peoples dispersed throughout the Italian Peninsula and insular Italy, beginning from the classical era, Phoenicians, Carthaginians and Greeks established settlements in southern and insular Italy, while Etruscans and Celts inhabited the centre and the north of Italy respectively. The Italic tribe known as the Latins formed the Roman Kingdom in the 8th century BC, which eventually became a republic with a government of the Senate and the People.

The Roman Republic conquered and assimilated its neighbours on the peninsula, in some cases through the establishment of federations, and the Republic eventually expanded and conquered most of Western Europe, Greece and the Balkans, the Middle East, and North Africa. By the first century BC, the Roman Empire emerged as the dominant power in the Mediterranean Basin and became the leading cultural, political and religious centre of Western civilisation, inaugurating the Pax Romana, a period of more than 200 years during which Italy's technology, economy, art and literature flourished. Italy remained the homeland of the Romans and the metropole of the Roman Empire. The legacy of the Roman Empire endured its fall and can be observed in the global distribution of culture, law, governments, Christianity and the Latin script.

The Renaissance began in Italy and spread to the rest of Europe, bringing a renewed interest in humanism, science, exploration and art. Italian culture flourished, producing famous scholars, artists and polymaths such as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Galileo and Machiavelli. During the Middle Ages, Italian explorers such as Marco Polo, Christopher Columbus, Amerigo Vespucci, John Cabot and Giovanni da Verrazzano discovered new routes to the Far East and the New World, helping to usher in the European Age of Discovery. Nevertheless, Italy's commercial and political power significantly waned with the opening of trade routes that bypassed the Mediterranean. Centuries of infighting between the Italian city-states, such as the Italian Wars of the 15th and 16th centuries, left the region fragmented, and it was subsequently conquered and further divided by European powers such as France, Spain and Austria.

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

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

THE AZORES

The Azores (Portuguese: Açores), officially the Autonomous Region of the Azores (Região Autónoma dos Açores), is one of the two autonomous regions of Portugal, an archipelago composed of nine volcanic islands in the North Atlantic Ocean about 1,360 km west of continental Portugal, about 1,643 km west of Lisbon, in continental Portugal, about 1,507 km from the African coast, and about 1,925 km southeast of Newfoundland, Canada. Its main industries are agriculture, dairy farming, livestock, fishing, and tourism, which is becoming the major service activity in the region. In addition, the government of the Azores employs a large percentage of the population directly or indirectly in the service and tertiary sectors.

The main settlement of the Azores is Ponta Delgada. There are nine major Azorean islands and an islet cluster, in three main groups. These are Flores and Corvo, to the west; Graciosa, Terceira, São Jorge, Pico, and Faial in the centre; and São Miguel, Santa Maria, and the Formigas Reef to the east. They extend for more than 600 km and lie in a northwest-southeast direction. All the islands have volcanic origins, although some, such as Santa Maria, have had no recorded activity since the islands were settled. Mount Pico, on the island of Pico, is the highest point in Portugal, at 2,351 m. The Azores are actually some of the tallest mountains on the planet, measured from their base at the bottom of the ocean to their peaks, which thrust high above the surface of the Atlantic.

The climate of the Azores is very mild for such a northerly location, being influenced by its distance to continents and the passing Gulf Stream. Due to the marine influence, temperatures remain mild year-round. Daytime temperatures normally fluctuate between 16°C and 25°C depending on season. Temperatures above 30 °C or below 3 °C are unknown in the major population centres. It is also generally wet and cloudy. The culture, dialect, cuisine, and traditions of the Azorean islands vary considerably, because these once-uninhabited and remote islands were settled sporadically over a span of two centuries.

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.

Sunday, 3 March 2019

BLACK SWAN

The Black Swan (Cygnus atratus) is a large waterbird, a species of swan, which breeds mainly in the southeast and southwest regions of Australia. The species was hunted to extinction in New Zealand, but later reintroduced. Within Australia they are nomadic, with erratic migration patterns dependent upon climatic conditions. Black Swans are large birds with mostly black plumage and red bills. They are monogamous breeders that share incubation duties and cygnet rearing between the sexes.

Described scientifically by English naturalist John Latham in 1790, the Black Swan was formerly placed into a monotypic genus, Chenopis. Black Swans can be found singly, or in loose companies numbering into the hundreds or even thousands.  Black Swans are popular birds in zoological gardens and bird collections, and escapees are sometimes seen outside their natural range. This specimen was snapped at the Melbourne Botanical Gardens.

This post is part of the Weekend Reflections meme,
and also part of the Photo Sunday meme,
and also part of the My Sunday Best meme,
and also part of the Saturday Critters meme,
and also part of the Camera Critters meme.


Saturday, 2 March 2019

AUSTRALASIAN GREBE

The Australasian grebe (Tachybaptus novaehollandiae) is a small waterbird common on fresh water lakes and rivers in greater Australia, New Zealand and on nearby Pacific islands. At 25–27 cm in length, it is one of the smallest members of the grebe family, along with the least grebe and little grebe.

The Australasian grebe is common on fresh water ponds and small rivers or lakes throughout most of Australia, New Zealand and on the nearby islands. They eat small fish and aquatic insects. In winter, adult birds have dark greyish-brown upperparts and mostly silvery-grey underparts and a white oval patch of bare skin at the base of the bill when in non-breeding plumage. Breeding plumage is considerably brighter: the head is glossy-black with a rufous or chestnut stripe that extends from just behind the eye to the base of the neck, the eye is gold and the patch of bare skin at the base of the bill is pale yellow. Males and females look the same.

When breeding, grebes conceal their floating nests amongst reeds on the surface of the water. The chicks can swim at birth. A peculiar habit that grebes have is they eat their feathers and feed them to their young. Although it is not known with certainty why they do this, several hypotheses have been proposed, including; to prevent injury from swallowed fish bones; to assist with pellet formation; and to reduce their vulnerability to gastric parasites.

This post is part of the Saturday Critters meme,
and also part of the Camera Critters meme,
and also part of the Weekend Reflections meme.