River gum nest (Weekly Photo Challenge: Threes)

Here’s my first ever Weekly Photo Challenge, just had to do this one…

We’ve been ‘champing at the bit’ to go for a paddle on the Murrumbidgee River at Jugiong (New South Wales, Australia). Last weekend was our chance.

There’s a great little sandy beach under a towering gum at the end of Dixon Lane.

River gum, Murrumbidgee River, Jugiong, New South Wales, Australia

River gum, a ‘widow maker’


At this spot the river has a handy low-level shore for getting into the kayak.

At its deepest the river was only knee deep, with a sandy bottom, so very easy for us L-plate kayakers. (It’s also a great swimming spot for kids and pets at the moment.)

There are a couple of picnic tables back up the bank near the grass car park. But many noisy possums live in the she-oaks, if you’re thinking about camping!

But a warning: the gum tree above the little beach is a ‘widow maker’ so don’t sit under it in case it drops a deadly branch. In the last storm two sizable branches ended up in the water.

The resident cockatoo was happy, though, as it made a new nest hole for her. She very noisily guards this lovely spot on the river!

River gum, Murrumbidgee River, Jugiong, New South Wales, Australia

Any nest in a storm


River gum (detail), fallen into Murrumbidgee River, Jugiong, New South Wales, Australia

Broke on the water…


And for the three-photo story as a gallery:


Weekly Photo Challenge, ‘Threes’


Photos taken 18 November 2012 (no. 1) and 23 February 2014 (no’s 2 & 3)

with my old Canon PowerShot A550.

Jugiong, New South Wales, Australia

Murrumbidgee River picnic spot, Dixon Lane, off Riverside Drive (Old Hume Highway), Jugiong, New South Wales, Australia

– Turn south off the Hume Highway at Jugiong onto Riverside Drive (Old Hume Highway). In the village, turn left at Dixon Lane, a fenced track that leads to the river. 

Newspaper article on the bushranger days at Jugiong: ‘Jugiong: Historic town on the Hume Highway’, The Age (on-line newspaper), 8 February 2004, http://www.theage.com.au/news/new-south-wales/jugiong/2005/02/17/1108500196919.html


Birds, reflections, evening – Any tips?

This is ‘the one that got away’ – the photo, that is.

Galahs drinking on the Yass River, Joe O'Connor Park, Yass, New South Wales, Australia

Galahs’ ‘Happy hour

A late afternoon coffee, sitting down on the bank of Yass River at Joe O’Connor Park. Just magic!

While we were talking possible kayak launch spots and where you’d cast the fishing line, a flock of pink and grey galahs wheeled shrieking over the bend in the river.

The galahs come up from the river gorge at this time of evening to roost (somewhere?) for the night. We know, they usually fly over our house. You can’t miss them, they’re very noisy. It’s a wonderful spectacle.

So it seemed they’d followed us into town!

They careened over the hill to the park and settled in the old trees on the bank. They found the submerged tree, a good perch with easy access to the water for drinking.

But low light and a fast, flittering, squabbling flock of galahs was beyond my L-plate photography skills. (It was mesmerizing in real life though!)

I can’t wait to get back to the river again. Maybe I can try out the video function to capture them? If only I can herd the galahs back onto that fallen tree!


So do you have any tips for a better photo?

Technical details: Camera Model Name Fuji FinePix S2980   Continue reading

Clothesline kookaburra (‘One Shot Wonders’)

We’ve had a riot of kookaburras visiting our ‘backyard’ for most of the year! There’s an adult pair, one really ancient and scruffy, and now a new half-grown baby.

One of our visiting Kookaburras perched on the clothesline.

“Hey, I think your clothes are dry.”

Large gum trees tower on the boundary of our block and over in the paddock at the back. One of the adults hunts from a perch on a large stump, then swoops down in the pasture for his catch.

At times the kookaburras hunt from our garden arch, watching the grass in the vacant veggie patch with a steely eye.

Mostly, when they visit the yard behind the house it’s just to rest on the arch, in the shade of the peppercorn tree.

When the ‘kookies’ start their raucous laughter it’s always a delight – whether in the garden or further away in the paddock. You always stop and listen.

Kookaburras laughing!  [ABC Science website]

I think because we don’t have dogs, the local birds use our treed block as a little oasis. We don’t feed the native birds but treat them with fresh water in a hanging bowl and another on a garden table. On hot days we might turn on the sprinkler to give them a hand. 

We have some other nesting birds – crimson rosellas, wattlebirds (the cranky poos), and owls – but we also have a lot of regular drop-ins. Our block is definitely under a flight path!


‘One Shot Wonders’ series

‘Photo taken November 2013

[Audio source: ‘Laughing kookaburra call (Digiffects)’, ABC Science (website), http://mpegmedia.abc.net.au/science/articles/mp3/20091014Scribblykookaburra.mp3, retrieved 4 Jan 2014]

Kookaburra close-up (Camera challenge Day 2)

A bird in the hand is worth…

Two kookaburras, Yass Valley 2013

…two kookaburras in the bush

I wondered what to capture for Day 2 of my camera challenge. While thinking, I set about watering the new trees in the garden.

I walked from pot to rose, rose to tree, with the watering can. But I was distracted, heavy with some bad news we had received.

I was lost in my thoughts but soothed by the fresh air, eucalyptus scent and the twittering Rosellas.

Behind me, suddenly the raucous laughter of two kookaburras broke through the air. They laughed and chuckled sitting side by side on the garden arch.

I stood still, hidden from them by the trees, and listened to them falling over themselves in stitches.

It made me smile.   ♦

So what’s in our wildlife ‘rescue box’?

Kookaburra on the vegie garden gate 2011

One of our visiting kookaburras

Over the years, driving on Australian country roads we have come across and helped many animals – kangaroos, a kookaburra tangled around a barbed wire fence, a chough (type of bird), an echidna, more kangaroos, a sheep stuck in a dam, a cockatoo, turtles, turtles and more turtles, a frill-necked lizard, a calf stranded on a ledge, a BIG wombat, a possum and baby, lots of Superb Parrots,
…and a mob of 400 sheep. (But that’s another story!)

Some injured animals could be rescued (by us or others), some didn’t end up so well, some just needed to be pointed in the right direction. But we’ve helped using the ‘rescue box’ we keep in the back of our vehicle. It contains half a dozen everyday items.  Continue reading

UPDATES on ‘Popeye’, our rescue cocktoo

Last Saturday, 1st June 2013

To recap, this is what I posted on Facebook about Popeye, the sulphur crested cockatoo, when we found him:

Sulphur crested cockatoos sitting in a wattle tree, Yass Valley 2011

Sulphur crested cockatoos, Yass Valley 2011

In the rain on Saturday, we came across a young cockatoo ‘playing chicken’ on the road near the main street of Yass. He looked bad, was confused and kept walking in circles back into the road. We caught him with a sheet, took him home and put him in a tall box and rang Wildcare. The on-call volunteer advised us to put a piece of wood in the box for him to perch on and to take him to the local bird volunteer in the morning.


Continue reading

‘Popeye’, our rescue cockatoo

Cockatoos in our small gum tree watching the birdfeeder

Cockatoos in our small gum tree

Last Saturday was the first decent rain we’d had after a very dry autumn. And it was cold!

Just on dusk we drove into town to go shopping. As we skirted a roundabout to the main street something white caught my eye in the gloom.

A young cockatoo was ‘playing chicken’ on the road, doddling back and forth.

Continue reading