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Murray River, near Barham Mill Bend, on the Victorian side looking at New South Wales.(November 2017, using the Nikon D3000)

 

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Riverview

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Last week, only a narrow swathe of straggly Paterson’s curse lined parts of the bush track to our camp by the river.  I’m really pleased with the few photos of foraging bees I took (Nikon D3000), but I decided to seek out a fact or two about this weed before hitting publish.

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Paterson’s curse has a high concentration of pyrrolizidine alkaloidsis, making it poisonous when eaten in large quantities by grazing animals. Those with simple digestive systems, like horses, are particularly vulnerable.

Native to Western and Southern Europe and is also known as blueweed, Lady Campbell weed, Riverina bluebell, and purple vipers-bugloss. In South Australia it is known as Salvation Jane because it has good points, too, being valuable fodder for ruminants – cattle and sheep – when natural pasture has died off.

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When used in honey production, the nectar has to be blended with other honey to reduce the toxins.

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I love how the colour changes over the life of the bloom – from pink to blues to purples. These images have only been cropped and sharpened. I haven’t messed with the colours.

 

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What I really wanted to know was how it got its name. Apparently, it’s thought that a Patterson family grew Echium plantagineum as an ornamental plant in their garden. It spread and took over previously productive land. I was a little disappointed at that, hoping for something more dramatic. I suppose Mrs Patterson got the blame.

I’m not surprised it would be cultivated for its beautiful flowers, though, not surprised at all.

Many thanks for dropping in!

🙂

 

Bees & Bugs, Flowers

Bees and Salvation Jane

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While on our camping trip, we would go for a stroll every now and then to check what was going on around us. On one such walk, I missed photographing a straw-necked ibis foraging in the dry grass – it loves grasshoppers and locusts. Next day, I hoped for another sighting. This time it wasn’t poking about on the ground but on high, soaring around like a bird of prey. This is what I got.

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Get dizzy? I was, by time I lost it against the sun. I can’t believe how I can see its eye in the first picture. Apparently, these also have naked heads and some bareness under the wings.

When I checked the bird book (The Slater Field Guide to Australian Birds), I discovered we only have three sorts of ibis: glossy, sacred, and straw-necked. The first is a dark bird, the second is mostly white, so this is a straw-necked. I think it’s a juvenile, though, as there aren’t any obvious yellow straw-like throat plumes. They’re common to the mainland but will pop up in Tasmania, too, as well as Indonesia, New Guinea, Norfolk Island, and Lord Howe Island.

Thanks for looking. Do have a great week!

🙂

 

Birds, Other Stuff

Straw-necked Ibis on High

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I’ve Googled the name origin for this large honeyeater, the Noisy Friarbird. As I expected, it relates to his bald head – think Friar Tuck with the tonsured scalp. My eyesight isn’t that great, so I never really noticed – just thought it an oddly shaped black head. That explains why his neck feathers begin so abruptly.

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The friarbird frequented the wattle tree by our camp spot by the Murray River – that tree on the right in the photo above. I first spotted it late on the Thursday night, the day we arrived. I could see the outline of it’s beak and got all excited but had to wait for the next day before I could confirm it was a friarbird. I always pack my bird book in the camera bag. Obviously,  this one was used to campers for I was able to get close.

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I still haven’t mastered the art of capturing flight. I took my tripod but it never came out of the bag. I got out my Nikon D3000 for Dummies book only the once. I always say I’ll spend all this free time learning, but it takes four days of camping before I get bored. No internet again, this time, but we did get an intermittent phone signal. We were camped the next spot up from where we were last time. Mr R. laughed when we ended up there – saying it’s not often one stays in a spot first visited by your dog. Vika ended up here when she went missing last time.

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We ended up cutting our trip short, coming home on Tuesday afternoon instead of Wednesday. The wind showed no sign of dropping. We couldn’t cope with yet another night of campfire smoke constantly keeping us on our feet. Yes, we wimped out!

Thanks for looking. Do have a good day.

🙂

 

 

Birds, Other Stuff

Philemon corniculatus: Noisy Friarbird

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So, where was I before I dropped off the planet to be obsessive about pursuing family history DNA connections and getting my next fantasy novel ready for revision…  I had promised more about our trip to the Murray River in our camper. I took hundreds and hundreds of photos and then couldn’t decide what to share – especially when the really good ones made the others look pretty ordinary. When did I get so fussy!

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So, in order. On the first morning, this Caper White Butterfly (Belenois java teutonia) fed on Cape weed flowers. I never saw it again. Most of the time I was looking up, anyhow.

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There were pardalotes nesting in a tree in front of us. These have more yellow on them than the ones at home. At this stage, I didn’t know if they were spotted or striated.

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While I was following thornbills about, I looked by my shoulder and saw a little one watching me.

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It was about now I became overwhelmed with what to share. Honestly, I kept meaning to come back the next day, and then next.

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And now, tomorrow, we are heading off again. And I will have another 700 photos to choose from! I hope we have internet this time. A phone reception would be nice, too.

Next… sawfly larvae.

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And then I chased bees about. I’m sure I got my 10,000 steps up for the day!  Poor Vika was sick of following me about.

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And I’m still not up to the exciting parts. I saw a new-to-me bird during the afternoon. And, above me, was an unexpected treat – unnoticed for days! A Frogmouth!

Thanks for dropping in. Do have a good day.

🙂

 

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I’m a Bad, Bad, Blogger

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