Life, with my dogs, living on one acre in Tasmania. Living on a low income, and with Complex PTSD. I write about all sorts of things. I called my Blog Echidna Home because I have echidnas that live here
Today a necessitiy to do some shopping for chook food and dog meat and bones. A few items for me. I loaded my two dogs into the car and noted battery was a bit flat as I have like many others been driving less due the increase in petrol prices (along with everything else almost). I am thankful it did turn over, ( I do own a battery charger just in case ) and after doing the shopping and having a lovely lunch at one of my favourite cafes in Huonville, DS Cafe where normally the dogs and I sit in the laneway. Today was gray and very cold I chose to sit inside by the fire. It would seem that my dogs waiting in the car, were not too happy at that. Having done all needed in town I needed to fill the car, in Huonvile price of petrol is $2.19 a Litre ($1.49US/1.25GBP/1.45euro/1.95CAD, for those in the USA a litre is almost 1/4 of a gallon making the price $8.80USD a gallon. I drove out of town filled up the car. as it was a 10cents a litre cheaper, but more to get the battery charged too win win. In the smaller town closer to where I live there is a wonderful couple of petrol stations that still serve you, and of course this makes the petrol more expensive. I do fill my car there if I have no need to go to Huonville. As I imagine the difference in price is lost by the 40+km return trip. However as a boost of my car battery was a necessity today and it has been quite a while since I have been for a real drive out of my local area(and I am only talking a 50km drive here lol) I went out to Crabtree, and found some new places I had not been before. A new campground on the side of the river. I also took the dogs for a walk along the beautiful riverside, my photos below share our day.
As I was driving back towards Huonville I was traveling slowly past the apple orchards and saw some movement: I found an area to turn around and came back to check what I had seen. These Cygnets are very early and relatively old as they are beginning to get their feathers. I was so thrilled to have noticed them and even more to have had my camera with me, even though I was a way away Mamma or Pappa Swan was not comfortable having photos of the babies being taken. Sensible swan, and rounded them up and wadled off throught the apple orchard.
Not many would have their trip to the shops end like this. Or have such gorgeous places so close to them to drive and enjoy the beauty. I am so very thankful to live in this beautiful valley on a very special island called Tasmania.
A walk with my dogs on a grey wet Spring Saturday afternoon when a flock of Sulphur Crested Cockatoos, (Cockies) flew into the trees about where we were. They did not stay in these for long. Taking off with much screeching and carry on as only cockatoos seem to do. I noticed some landed in a dead tree further along the river bank. The white of their shape defined clearly on the dark limbs against the rain filled sky. These raucous characters are very intelligent and have in suburban areas learnt to open wheely bin lids. They naturally bob their heads but will also enjoy moving as if dancing to other noises, including music.(more tame birds I imagine. though maybe the odd one in a tree near a BBQ or pool party. Some see them as jerks and pests, especially true as they can be very damaging to crops and when flocks can be as large as several hundred they can decimate a grain crop and damage it totally. In suburbia they have been known to land on a persons shoulder. They tend not to be fearful of humans out where I live in the bush this is not the same. I am also not sure that our Cockatoos have learnt to open our wheely bins when out for garbage day.
I felt I had missed any opportunity to catch this cheeky group again as I loaded up two wet dogs and a damp human into the car for the journey home.
I was delighted to see this fellow up in a tree and at first thought it may have been a nest. It certainly met the criteria for a nesting site for a cockie. Large hollow up high in a tree. It also would explain its flight away. Not wanting to show it was a nest. The comb of sulphur yellow (giving the name) is matched by the underside wings and tail feathers. How wonderful I was able to catch it taking flight.
If this is a nest the eggs are laid in our Spring until early Summer (so now) both parents prepare the nesting site, both will incubate the eggs and care for their chicks. Once the chicks are old enough to fly they will remain with their parents and their flock in definitely.
As I watched it fly away I heard more cockies, down the way a bit and noted that this single bird was flying towards the screaming and other loud squawks emanating in that very direction. Off I drove in pursuit.
I arrived just in time to capture our solo cockie landing near and rather intrusively it seems bye two others. The one already on the branch was attempting to stop it from landing it seems to me as it moved towards it wings akimbo and head up facing the intruder.
I watched the antics of these delightful if raucous screeching native birds considered by some to be clowns of the bird world in Australia. As they interacted in the tree tops. I am glad where I live we do not get the flocks of hundreds that they do in some areas of mainland Australia. The hullabaloo would be deafening and tiresome for too long.
So thankful for such a lovely afternoon and to be mask free again. Thankful that Tasmania fortunately seems to have been lucky and not had an Outbreak of the Delta variant. I am thankful that I am surrounded by incredible bird life. blessings to You, Tazzie
The Australian Hobby Falco Longipennis is uncommon in Tasmania. The eat small birds and insects, though this one has a field mouse. As seen in the silhouette shots. The quality of the photographs is not great and I apologise. I was driving noticed it and tried to get the best vantage I could it flew off twice, and this was the my best opportunity. It certainly was having some trouble with the managing on the electrical wires, it was a little windy.
Australian Pelican Pelecanus conspicillatus, is an uncommon visitor to the Huon Valley. It is found around the Coastal areas of the North and East coast of Tasmania as well as inland rivers, estuaries, lagoons and lakes. I have only seen single Pelicans in 20 years of living in the Huon Valley on the Huon River. They do breed on some small islands off the northern coast of Tasmania. On the mainland they are found in large colonies, and are pretty common. I love these birds especially when they are fishing, and to see them fly and land is quite good as they look such an awkward shape in the air.
Great Cormorant , Is a common resident in the Huon River and is found all over Tasmania. They swim on the surface and will dive for food. They can often been seen on branches and logs, with their wings spread wide as if drying them in the sunshine.
The photo is the same cormorant a bit later in the afternoon on the same limb.
Black swan Cygnus aratus, is common found all over Tasmania. If you see a few together they are usually a family group. Singles are also seen and are most likely unmated. They are also found in large flocks.
Eurasian Coot, Fulica Atra.is a common visitor to Tasmania, it seems not to breed here, but is migratory and nomadic.
Pacific Black Ducks Anas superciliosa. Abundant in Tasmania and mainland Australia. These guys were chasing each other and I swear they were smiling…
These were all taken today on my trip to and from my GP. 100km /62miles approx round trip.
I was really thrilled to see the Australian Hobby and to see it swoop down after some food. Then see it swoop back up with a field mouse in its talons. Nature is not always beautiful.
Such a wonderful group of varied birds to see and attempt to get shots of.
Thankful to be able to see the birds again. Thankful to have such amazing bird life about me. I did not have to sit for ages to get any shots, they were all seen either from my car and I pulled over to get some shots. The Hobby, and Pelican were sheer luck.
Or I went to a location I hoped would give me some bird life. The dam where the water birds were photographed I knew there would be some bird life there. I find taking photographs takes some of my anxiety away when I have to do things I am not so keen on or find difficult.
This week so far and it is only Tuesday, my plans for staying home have not happened. So I am feeling quite exhausted and a bit resentful. As I really want to get some things done in the garden. I did plant some of my new plants out this morning.
I also was able to pick up cardboard to use to put down to kill the grass and weeds in the veggie garden. I also took other photographs as I drove to my GPs, which I will share at a later date.
The doctors surgery we had to sit social distancing and if I had not needed my script refilled I would not have gone. My GP is on leave and because the Gp was a locum she wanted to see me. I was feeling anxious about it. Taking the photos and enjoying the scenery helped a lot. The traffic is getting heavier as restrictions are changing.
I hope to be able to be at home for the next few days, or week without having to go out again. My home is most certainly the place I enjoy being the most and I am so thankful to have it.
As many of us around the world are impacted and out lives have suddenly changed so much. There are actually some positive things we should be looking at for ourselves, and the Earth.
Many of us I believe will have seen the videos of Venice, the lack of pollution in China. Animals roaming in cities devoid for the most part of humans as we are the ones in many countries now being caged.
If you can I would like to look at how you are feeling. Take a deep breath just as Mother Earth is. She is look about you, the fauna and flora are adapting. It is painful for some animals who perhaps have over bred in areas where people have gathered and fed the wild creature. I certainly have seen videos of monkeys fighting viciously over a bit of food. We created that too.
So these animals will fight, some will survive and some will be killed, some will die of injuries or starvation. Mother Earth is taking a deep breath and adjusting. While many of the humans are out of the picture.
We need to find beauty within our homes, our families, our flatmates/housemates, ourselves. We need to change our mindset, teach ourselves to not be bored.
We also need to breathe. To learn in this time of enforced or chosen isolation to be playful, to unwind, to relax, and let go of many of the things perhaps we see as important.
Slow deep breaths. We need to be kind and caring for the people we live with, our neighbours, and keep an eye on each other. Here in my rural area there are about nine properties up our small road. We all know each other to chat with say hi too.
For those of us fortunate enough to be with a roof over our heads, food, water, family and friends we can facechat or Skype, message ring, to keep in touch. We all obviously have internet access; otherwise how would you be reading this? Even if like me you are isolated whether by choice or enforced, you can remain in touch with those people most important in your life. Of course it is not the same as being able to touch them, hug them, hold them. We can still laugh with then, share what we are doing to keep us occupied or relaxed. Read stories to or be read to by our nieces and nephews, grandchildren, friends kids, We can still have a cuppa in a group with face time etc. We can still connect and this is really important. No matter what we are the fortunate ones.
For a lot of us our politicians are working tirelessly to try and provide some form of economic relief for people, businesses and communities.
addit: I and my fellow Tasmanians are now not allowed to leave our homes except to go for essentials, to appointments for health, to work, or for exercise, we are only allowed to socialise with two people. Of course if there are more in your household that is OK.
Two of my neigbours our in isolation mandatory. They know if they need anything someone in the road will help them to get it if he/ she /I can. I was informed today by someone I trust implicitly that Huonville has 2 people and Cygnet has one person with the Covid-19 virus. Tasmania my State only has a small population 535,000approx. 60 with the virus. My valley Huon Valley has 16,200 people (2016 CENSUS), so perhaps a few more since then. It is concerning when it is so close to you. I will be following all the guidelines we are being given.
Gardens are one of the places that can bring so much pleasure and delight not just for the humans. The garden that I have created is always evolving as trees planted by my partner grow and spread. The rainfall or lack of. The garden that surrounds my home is a place for nature. I plant to encourage bird life. I ensure that there is water at different levels and flowers in every season if possible. It seems I am very rarely without birds and their songs in the garden.
These small birds live all over Australia even seen flying between city buildings, from the desert to the sea. They got there name because sailors noted them as they flew about the sea indicating that land was not far. Or as a sign of Spring (Imbolc) returning as I read in another site. They build mud nests under bridges, walls of buildings, verticle rock walls the nest is a snug lined with fur and feathers. Both parents build the nest. They are aerial acrobats swooping and turning as they chase insects that are their food source. A variety of insects are eaten. The insect is guided into the bird’s wide, open mouth with the help of short rictal bristles bordering the bill. These bristles also help protect the bird’s eye. I often sit out and watch them flying about my place. I have lived here a long time and have never had a nest built on the house. I would love one. (many people would think I am crazy).
These striking little birds are hard to miss but they are easy to confuse with another bird. The White-cheeked Honeyeater is about the same size and has similar colouring to the New Holland Honeyeater. If the bird has the white eye it is the New Holland Honeyeater. After the Dutch navigators charted the northern, western and southern coasts of Australia during the 17th Century this newly found continent became known as ‘New Holland’ These little birds are named New Holland from this name.
New Holland Honeyeaters are active feeders.They mostly eat the nectar of flowers, and busily dart from flower to flower in search of this high-energy food. Other food items include fruit, insects and spiders. Birds may feed alone, but normally gather in quite large groups. Most feeding takes place in lower areas of bushes and thickets
The long, curved beak these honeyeaters have are perfect for reaching deep into a flower to get to the sweet nectar inside.
These birds get their name from the first name given to Australia (New Holland). It was called New Holland because the Dutch were the first Europeans to visit here.
New Holland Honeyeaters have two breeding peaks, in summer and winter, when they build two different nest types. Their winter nest is built at the top of a bush facing the northern sun to keep it warm. In summer they build their nest deep in the bush away from the heat and the sun.
The Striated Pardalote can be found throughout much of Australia, and across this range there are numerous populations and subspecies. Despite being tiny birds, some populations undertake remarkable migratory movements, while others remain in the same area throughout the year. In some populations, some of the birds migrate while others remain behind. Clearly, the movements of the Striated Pardalote are complex. The best-known migratory population breeds in Tasmania and makes regular seasonal movements across Bass Strait, where they mix with various mainland-breeding populations.
Striated Pardalotes feed in the foliage in the tops of trees, although occasionally coming close to the ground in low shrubs. They eat a wide variety of insects and their larvae, which are usually captured by picking them from the surfaces of leaves. Feeding takes place in small groups and birds maintain contact with soft trills.
During breeding season, Striated Pardalotes form pairs or small groups of up to six birds. The nest is constructed close to the ground, usually in a tree hollow or tunnel, excavated in an earthen bank; small openings in human-made objects are frequently used. The birds display regularly at the entrance to the nesting chamber, and vigorously guard the vicinity against other pardalotes. Both sexes incubate and care for the young birds. Other members of the group may also help with the feeding of the young.
These are just three of the visitors to my garden. I am so fortunate and keep planting to attract more birdlife, bees, butterflies and dragonflies. Along with the wallabies, bancicoots, quolls and the tasmania devils who I heard fighting last night on the old dam wall. The possums that chase each other over my metal roof during mating season, and the one that makes Busby bark in the wee small hours of the night waking me in fright. I certainly can not forget the wonder of having an echidna or two that roams across my paddock and garden. How wonderful to have and be creating such a home for us all. To live in harmony.
I will be woken in the morning with no alarm clock but the sweet sounds of so many birds hopefully not demanding me to fill the water bowl…(just checked it and it is full).
I am thankful to have these wonderful birds feel welcome in the garden. Mother earth is so wonderful if you plant the things the birds and animals enjoy, they will come.
I was up very early this morning and watched the sky fill with a soft pink as the sun rose. It was warming up rapidly. I made myself a coffee and remembered I needed to check that the birdbath was full. I looked and noticed it needed a top up. I saw a movement over near my peach tree. AHHAHHAH! caught the culprit!
My peach trees lower branches had been stripped of the leaves, and in the process peaches have been knocked off. Here it was stretched up on its hind legs as high as it could reach! I slowly moved and went back in to grab my camera. Hoping the culprit would be still nibbling away upon my return. Sadly it moved (I had a bright blue t shirt on so Im not surprised I was noticed), I was able to capture this little guy. I do not begrudge he or her a nibble and know the tree is older and stronger, the branches are not as easily broken. There are enough peaches to share. The birds and possums eat the fallen ones.
I was just getting ready to head in to town. I had to pick up a couple of things and I decided that I would take the dogs for a swim. I was inside and my dogs were out when I hear barking. The kind that says Hey we are protecting you from this very dangerous thing! There was something in the shrubbery on my driveway.
It was the echidna, baled up by both Busby and Miss Treacle. I moved them away, and watched as this wee guy left in quite a hurry. I do hope she/he had a trouble free day after we left.
I then noticed that this wee bird flew out of my car port light shade, there was a nest made in it last year. Though if they are nesting it seems very late. It is a sweet bird and I welcome it. I do find it hard when they are so nervous but understandable. Several neighbours in the area have cats that are allowed to roam and we also have an issue with feral cats. I am not happy about the fact the cats come over my way. When I see any or the dogs do, I happily let them chase them away.
A very full morning and it is not even 8:30 yet.
So we head off to do our walk. We got a bit waylaid(sadly I did not take my camera out of the car) our neighbour was throwing balls in their paddock for their two dogs to chase. Needless to say my guys had to join in. So we chatted as the dogs chased balls and played with each other. (Her dogs are a staffie kelpie, who is fixated on his own ball and his brother a boxer) Busby ran and got the ball and played with the boxer Miss Treacle said hello to everyone and then went and sat under the car in the shade. After about an hour I put Busby in the car (he was so hot he had drinks ) and Miss Treacle ran reluctantly ahead. Busby was whining to get out. So I gave in and they took off.
Dogs taken for their walk and a beautiful view from the hill.
Off too the beach! The folk festival has finished there are still lots of people and vehicles about. I discovered that an Aboriginal festival is happening for Monday and Tuesday Ballawinne Festival. Writer Bruce Pascoe book, Dark Emu Bruce was speaking tonight and tomorrow I am sure they will be very interesting event.
Dark Emu argues for a reconsideration of the ‘hunter-gatherer’ tag for pre-colonial Aboriginal Australians and attempts to rebut the colonial myths that have worked to justify dispossession. Accomplished author Bruce Pascoe provides compelling evidence from the diaries of early explorers that suggests that systems of food production and land management have been blatantly understated in modern retellings of early Aboriginal history, and that a new look at Australia’s past is required. http://www.magabala.com/products/dark-emu
Not that I could afford to go to it, yet it would be a very interesting event. I am sure I will know someone who has been. Well now that explains why there are so many people and vehicle still around.
OK no Seriously we are off to the beach NOW, It was such a glorious hot day 32dC there were people and dogs at the little beach I went to. So Busby and Miss Treacle had a lovely time. Though neither were that excited to go in for a swim.
These two came up and wanted to play Busby loved it Miss Treacle was quite her own dog and chose to watch from the shade.
The following selection of photos shows what a great day it was, and how clean the water is. It is also showing my reluctant boy attempting to fetch a stick. I was quite mortified at his reluctance. I did have to apologise to him when I went in to swim a bit later as there were two areas of like quicksand in the shallows. I sank up to my knees and struggled to get out. So no wonder my big boy had problems.
Miss Treacle does the beach her way today.
Whilst Busby would like to run with this guy in the water, but his day has been full of play runs and sunshine, I was happy that he did not join in, that he just watched in awe.
The dog in the water was so funny to watch he must be some kind of water dog. He just ran up and down in the water for so long while we stood watching. He just raced up and down having the time of his life. His owner was not about but up at a car. The dog did not even stop to come and say hi to my guys. He was just in heaven in his own world.
He was no problem and boy did he make me smile and chuckle.
There were kids playing on the fallen tree. Swinging is not so much fun when the tide is going out. How wonderful to see them without a phone, taking photos or selfies. In fact no one (apart from me had any mobiles or cameras. How rare is that . All were in the moment enjoying the here and now. Using their brains to retain the feelings, the fun and all that will stay with them. That is what living is about.
Even I put my camera down and sat in the water, the waves coming over my thighs. Looking all about me and knowing how fortunate am I and how rich. I went for a swim, so refreshing. I expected that Busby would join me, but no they both just sat in the shade. Not even watching me.
So much fun about floating on inflatable rings with a beer in your hand, sailing, canoeing, fishing, sitting in the sun, swimming, chasing each other or just kicking your paws up and making your own kind of fun!
Miss Treacle at 12 lets the youngsters carry on. Preferring to get to know other folk and tell them how abused and neglected she is. Here she just plonked her wet body (I had sat in the water with her on my lap…shoulders as she did not want to be in the water it was very shallow and cooled her down as she was very hot). on this lovely ladies mat. Leaning right against her. Knowing there is a wee 11 week old puppy there. Treacle loves puppies.
Poor pup was very anxious so I retrieved my girl, and my boy and we headed home. All that time in the sunshine fresh air and playtime. Dinner was early and they have both crashed, and I can hear only heavy breathing and snoring.
I too feel weary and very relaxed. I know I need to do more for myself in the way of exercise and things I enjoy. I was glad there were very few people at the beach. As otherwise I probably would have not stopped. I usually do not venture to this beach while school holidays are on, and there is still another 2 weeks before school resumes. Then the chances are it will be just us at the beach. I do like that at least now I really do know what is best for me. I am listening to my self, and I talk to myself. I talk to my inner child. (another topic for another day) It all helps me to reduce the potential for being caught out by something that might trigger me. So a truely awesome day. What more can you want but wild animals feeling at home in your garden. A beautiful hot clear sky day. Pristine water and beach to swim at and hardy anyone on it. I am so thankful and appreciative of all I have especially my two companions.
This little guy just looked so happy chewing away. It was almost as if it posed for me. It is a Pademelon (Paddy melon) They only grow to about 60cm and weigh about 5kg (enough of the lessons).
I am so privileged to have them visit my place. I used to get annoyed when they would pull the fruit tree branches down and nibble the leaves breaking them, but the trees grew taller, and they couldn’t reach any more.
I know it seems a bit surreal to me too. I really live with these guys about too.
I also have Eastern Barred Bandicoots, Quolls, and Tasmanian Devils around. Much harder to obtain photos of these guys I keep trying.
My favourite remains the Echidna.
The echidna on the right was across the road from my driveway. They can actually move surprisingly fast.
A shuffling snuffling echidna on the hunt for food crossing through my wattle grove.
Easy access to the next paddock. Through the fence. I am sure it is because it has smelt me or heard me as I try to capture its photo. sigh. I never want to frighten it. I was using a telephoto lens, I reckon it heard me moving about. It decided that heading through the fence was its only option.
As I have written before Echidnas are just amazing and unique mammals. I love th above photo as it shows how well their camouflage is. It looks like sunshine is hitting the grass but its the quills, and you can see its eye.
As I write this the horrific Mainland Bush Fires on the mainland of Australia and Kangaroo Island have cost so many Australian animals, insects bugs, it breaks my heart. I look at the wonderful wildlife that abounds my home and I cant imagine them all gone. The overwhelming knowledge that some may be gone forever. There are so many wonderful people who are out there working to find and help, the wild life carers, the firepeople and vets, farmers, those who are ensuring food and water are left and hoping to capture injured animals to help. The generosity of people all around the world, those that are making pouches and wraps..donated items food and are out gathering leaves and shoots for animals that have none in their locations. The baby wombats who have come out of burrows starving as mum has most likely been killed and not been back to the burrow. It is so so tragic. Of course my heart reaches out to all the people and communities impacted.
Cockatoos or Cockys/Cockies (coll) are intelligent, cheeky, loud, destructive to trees (some folk feel) and so funny to watch at times, they have a very funny walk. They are a bit similar to humans who have a preferred hand; they have a preferred’ footness’, but it seems from research most are more left footed. Adaptable birds they survive in both cities and the bush. They dine on berries, nuts, seeds and roots.
My Poppy(grandfather) had a pet Sulphur Crested Cockatoo (Cacatua galerita). It had a large cage but only went in it to eat or when it was a bit nervous, say if my cousins bought their dog over with them. He was called Cocky and my Poppy had taught him to speak. He could say all the usual “Hello Cocky” and “who is a pretty bird”. He would scream “feed me, feed me” when anyone was near by with food. He loved a scratch on his head, and would say oh “darl give us a scratch”. My Pop used to ask my Grandma for a scratch of his back every evening in this manner. As I said he was never in his cage and his wings were not clipped. My Poppy did not do that with any of his birds.
Poppy had been a rabbiter as a job in the bush, and my Dad and his four siblings and their Mum (Grandma) all lived in a tent. Summer and winter. They were very poor. My Pop just was wild about Australian native animals and birds, he loved the bush . He taught me so much.
Back to Cocky he would sit about on the furniture, and go outside whenever Pop did. Cocky would go flying and return home, he would not be gone long usually he would get frightened by other birds.
My Pop had found him when he was a chick. Most likely fell out of the nest in a hollow in the tree. My Pop could not climb trees he had scurvy when he was little. You could drive a bus through his legs. He also knew that a cat would get the chick pretty quick in the area he found it. If he had left the chick on the ground. No parent was in sight nor squawking about the chick. So he took him home and hand rared him. Cocky adored Pop.
The black cockatoos (Calyptorhynchus funereus) about here love the pine cones. You can see sap all over this ones beak. It is not uncommon for people to park their cars under pine trees to keep them cool and have pine cones that the cockys are finished with drop onto the car, damaging them or smashing the windscreen. Both birds have an amazing scrreeeech I have thought it was someone hurt.
They are stunning looking in flight.
Cockatoos live a similar life span to humans, and when my Poppy had to go into a nursing home my Uncle adopted Cocky, and would take him in to visit Poppy. (Cocky would sit in the front seat of the car and jump on the arm rest and look out the window on the trip. When they got to the Nursing home he would cry out “Poppy where here, Poppy where here” ( Which is what all his grandchildren used to call out when any of us visited them at home), until he found Pop. He would fly to him, sit on his shoulder rubbing his head on Poppys cheek and give him gentle little pecks like kisses. He loved my Uncle and learnt some more words that I will not share.