Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Friday, March 13, 2015


Last night I found a small Striped Marsh Frog at Kim and Peter's home in Sutton Forest. The night before I found a MicroBat. It is jumping with Wildlife at their place, (literally) as there is a Grey Kangaroo with Joey living in the dense Native Plant hedge along their driveway.
And there are birds everywhere.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Moving On

I am sitting at Cafe Rockabella in Robertson tonight (surrrounded by noisy children - but in fairness, their parents are paying customers, and I know they will all go home early).

This morning I handed in the keys to the house I have called home for 13 years.

That is a scary thing to do.

So Lulu is asleep in the car.
Robertson has not disappointed me, however. We just had a cloudburst event.

This gives me confidence that Life in Robertson will continue, as normal after I have left the Village.


Friday, February 20, 2015

Sawfly guarding eggs at same time as last year.

Please read the notes on the various pictures posted at that Facebook Album.
Anyone can read the notes on pictures when you open the various pictures.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Friday, January 30, 2015

Wonga Pigeon survived crash into a window

A Wonga Pigeon survived a crash into my front window. I was working inside the house and I heard a bang, followed by a scrabbling sound, as if a piece of furniture, or a stick leaning against my house had been dislodged by the wind.
In response to the noise, I checked and the first thing I saw was Lulu looking spooked (she normally sleeps on a blanket on front verandah). Then I saw grey feathers, so I knew to look for a Wonga Pigeon.

I found it where it had bounced to, amongst ground-cover plants below the front deck.
The bird appeared to be in shock, but it was not bleeding from the beak (a common result of head injuries for birds).

So I decided to pick it up and take it inside for closer inspection (and for photographing details which otherwise one seldom gets to see). See for example, the photos of the feet. One friend has commented that the feet made him think of dinosaurs. I can see what he means.

Wonga Pigeon standing on my settee.
Note the way the feet splay out flat.
They are "Walking Feet" not "Gripping Feet"
At one stage the bird escaped my grasp (their wings are very powerful, and it managed to force its wings out of my hands). When It escaped it flew into a wall in the lounge-room, and fell back down and landed on a settee.

It was not hurt further in this escape and the subsequent recapture.

I threw a jumper over it, and decided it needed to be calmed down so I wrapped it up and covered its head.

A little while later, my friend Matt Doyle and his son Zac came along to have a look at the bird. I had rung Matt to see if he wanted to see the Wonga Pigeon up-close. Then I released it from my back deck. The bird flew strongly, straight down a "laneway" between some large shrubs in the back yard, and turned a corner at the far end of the gap and disappeared. A good result, I reckon.

Laneway where the Wonga flew after it had recovered.
There is a Facebook photo album which is open to the public and you do not need to sign up for anything to view it. If you read the notes on each page, it will make full sense to you.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Tom Uren has died.

Tom Uren has died today.
He demonstrated a great sense of timing to the last.
He was a favourite of the Hard Left in ALP politics, and is well regarded to this day.

He did a terrific job under Whitlam as Minister for Urban and Regional Development (the Department was known as DURD). He bought back a large amount of the suburb of Glebe, in Sydney, from the Anglican Church, and turned it into a public housing estate.
"At its south-eastern end is the Glebe Estate, an area of Housing Commission properties purchased by the government of Gough Whitlam as a massive urban renewal project to provide public housing for the needy. This area has the third highest Aboriginal population in Sydney" (Wikipedia)This was probably his greatest achievement in office.

He was Minister for Territories when I ran a campaign to get Glebe Park in Canberra declared a permanent (and formal) Park.

I made such a bad impression on him that he called me a "Revisionist".
I had to look it up (after our meeting). But I knew I was striking a nerve with him, because I knew it was a classic insult much favoured by the old Left. Anyway, I kept on pressing him. I figured any damage to my cause was well and truly done by then, if he was reaching into his post-Cold War bag of insults.

We out-flanked him and got his Department Head on side, and eventually the Minister was persuaded to declare Glebe Park a Public Park. The previous old bastard Minister for the Capital Territory, (Michael Hodgman) had wanted to turn the whole area into a Casino and Hotel complex. That defeat of Michael Hodgman's plan is my fondest memory from those days.

Glebe Park was formally declared as a Park in 1983.
"A community campaign to save the trees resulted in a park being proclaimed in 1983 and heritage listing by the National Trust of Australia (ACT) and the Australian Heritage Commission."

It is nice to know the work of the "Save Glebe Park Committee" is recognised by Wikipedia.

There are some nice photos on the Glebe Park, Canberra site in Wikipedia.
"An open area in Glebe Park"
by Cfitzart - Own work. 
Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Hindmarsh history re-lived

Yesterday, my friend Gordon accepted a suggestion from me to help Dr Michael Hindmarsh, from Gerringong. go to the bottom of Belmore Falls. I had met Michael at the Kiama Community Recognition Awards ceremony on 12 December 2014. He happened to mention that he wanted to find a particular tree below Belmore Falls and I said that I could recommend an excellent Bushwalking guide. I had Gordon in mind, and I put them in contact with eachother.

Naturally enough, their starting-off point was Hindmarsh Lookout. So already you can see there is a lot of history involved.
Gordon at Hindmarsh Lookout
As best I can remember, Michael is a 5th generation descendant of the Hindmarsh family who were amongst the first settler in Robertson. These people walked up from the Gerringong area, via Hoddle's Track, up past Saddleback Mtn and up onto the Barrengrounds Plateau, and on towards the basalt capped hills of Robertson. 

The basalt soil was what these pioneer settlers were seeking to claim under the Robertson Land Act of 1861. More history involved. It was Land Reform, pure and simple. The Squatters hated John Robertson for this breaking of their monopoly on land ownership.
In 1861, the powerful Premier of New South Wales, John Robertson, was determined to break the long-established monopoly of the squatter-pastoralists in land-holding in the colony. He forced two Acts through the Parliament, opening up free selection of Crown land by permitting any person to select up to 320 acres, on the condition of paying a deposit of one-quarter of the purchase price after survey, and of living on the land for three years.

Robertson intended to give poorer purchasers access to land and to increase farming and agricultural development in New South Wales. Great conflicts between the squatters and the selectors ensued, and corruption and scheming in acquiring land became rife."
Crown Lands Acts 1861 (NSW) 

Anyway, after their bushwalk to the Barrengarry Creek, below Belmore Falls, Michael and Gordon came back to Gordon's place, where I was awaiting their arrival. 

Lulu was with me, of course, and she really likes Gordon. But she took a shine to Michael too.
In particular, what was really fascinating her was the bloody leech bites on Michael's legs.

She set about cleaning Michael's legs for him.

 This scene reminded me of something I had learnt in Bible Studies, namely Lazarus (the leper, not the one who was raised from the dead) who was licked by stray dogs, which cleaned his wounds.
(Luke 16:19-31)
Dogs showed compassion
toward Lazarus the beggar,
even when people did not.  
Public domain
The dogs would have promoted healing by licking Lazarus’ wounds, since dog saliva contains the antibacterial enzyme lysozyme. Lysozyme is a natural form of protection from gram-positive pathogens like Bacillus and Streptococcus. Being a Veterinarian by profession, Michael would have understood this healing process far better than I did from my rusty old Bible Studies.