Saturday, November 22, 2008
Saturday, November 1, 2008
After yesterday's events, I just spent a quiet Saturday at home. Macro photography really relaxes me, so I got out my camera and sat in the grass and had a close look at what I could find.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Here's some pics of critters we saw while camping last weekend in Noosa.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
These last couple of days, I noticed these weird ant-like bugs crawling around the outside of the house. They're black and about the size of a large ant (~1cm). But when you look closely, you'll notice the front legs are more like a mantis and their fat abdomen is actually a long skinny abdomen that's curled up ... So I did a quick search, and sure enough, these are mantis nymphs, it's pretty cool how they disguise themselves as black ants like that, it must help them survive...
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Just a few shots of some cool bugs I found while out on a macro photography run around the house. I'll spare you the spiders this time, instead I have this cool grasshopper. He was tiny but I caught him resting on a basil leaf and got this shot.
These little guys have been become regulars over the past few weeks when the big birds aren't around. They eat the smaller seeds that the parrots don't seem to like as much, so they're a great addition to our little garden ecosystem.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
This week I bought a pretty powerful LED headlight with the hopes of getting some night rides on the mountain bike. But then Dan told me that with a powerful flashlight, you can see spiders at night. It's called spider sniffing and it's really cool, it does work !
You just walk around at night with your light mounted as close to your eyes as possible facing forward and when you look down into a field, you'll see the reflection of spider's retinas from really far away, even small ones. Because they have 8 eyes, chances are one of them is pointing your way and you'll see a reflection.
I managed to get a picture of what it looks like to spot one from far away. Click on the pics to see properly.
The big ones are Huntsman Spiders from what I can tell and the smaller ones are burrowing Wolf Spiders. Both very common in Queensland. The ones in these pictures had sizes ranging from 2cm for the little guys up to 10cm leg-span like this one on the fence.
My setup for these shots was my Canon 60mm EF-S macro, plus diffused flash + LED headlight, so the lighting almost looks like daylight, but these were taken in pitch dark.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
... little ones.
You might have already read our big blog posting about our holiday in Port Douglas, but I kept this picture for this blog because it's funny and it fits nicely with my critter theme.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
As you may or may not realize, it's winter here. Which means the reptiles and insects are pretty rare on these cold(ish) days. But the birds don't care, actually they're probably having a harder time finding food by themselves and are happy to fill the critter-picture void created by the "cold" season. (FYI nights are 8degC, days 22degC, harsh :-p )
The parrots we get coming around to our bird feeder are wild. Some don't mind us being outside as I'm sure they're used to the sight of people, but they aren't tame by any stretch. So I'm happy to say that after many weeks of getting closer and closer to them with limited success, we finally earned their trust enough to let us feed them "by hand". Ok, they're not exactly perched on my shoulders or eating out of my hand just yet, but still ... one small step ... and hey, I was really excited to be that close to them.
Extra trivia: Did you know the Crocodile Hunter was afraid of parrots ? Here's a excerpt from a Larry King interview that explains why:
[Irwin is holding a Macaw parrot and explaining why it's endangered]
KING: I thought you were afraid of parrots.
IRWIN: I am. You might see my head's way back, and I'm shaking like a leaf.
IRWIN: Have a look at that beak.
KING: Have you been bit by a parrot?
IRWIN: I've had a lot of nasty bites by parrots, and it hurts. I set up a big wildlife hospital at Australia Zoo. In fact, it's the biggest wildlife hospital in Australia. And last month, we had 80 koalas come through and 27 parrots and, I think, 13 of those bit me.
Monday, July 21, 2008
With all the birds we've been getting at our bird feeder, I was getting frustrated with the quality of my low-end telephoto lens. I was thinking I'll wait until I'm in Toronto again and go shop around for a deal on a Canon 100-400m zoom or something.
Only things is, it'll be a while before I'm back in Canada and the birds are here now, so when I read good things about this new lens, I thought this could be the lens I'm looking for. Well sure enough, the initial reviews are very good and when I saw that I could get it for the same price here as in Canada, I went for it.
Here's my new Sigma Bazooka, it's HUGE!
Here's a sample shot I took with it. I re-sized it to 1600 pixels on purpose so you can see the detail in the feathers, I'm really happy with this shot. Standard sharpening (40/1/0) was applied after re-size.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
We've been told by a few Australians that you should always look where you walk anytime you're in the bush. In Canada, most of the things to look out for on a hike would be at eye level somewhere on the horizon. Things like bears, elk, squirrels, low branches ...
We went for a bushwalk with Nick from work and his wife Mariana this morning and were reminded why Australians always look where they step: snakes!
From the look of the raised scales on it, I'd say it's a harmless keelback snake, but some Aussies have said it's a King brown (venomous). Then there's the Rough-scaled snake that kinda looks like a keelback but IS venomous!We didn't exactly piss it off on purpose to find out ...
When we got back, I saw this moth on the wall above the BBQ (where the geckos usually hang out). It was pretty big, I'd say12-14cm (5") wide. Pretty cool pattern too, classic "fake eyes" looking back at you.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
This weekend, we went for a hike in the sunshine coast hinterland. It's a very nice place to walk, typical Australian rainforest: lush and beautiful.
Except it's been raining for the last week up there, so it was a little swampy. And no swampy trail would be complete without leeches. No, the leeches here aren't venomous or anything, just annoying. They grab on to you as you brush up against leaves or just climb up your shoes if you stop. No one got bit, though they did make for a funny (paranoid) walking pace for everyone.
Fun fact: Leeches are closely related to earthworms... except leeches have razor-sharp teeth, *growl* hehe
Sunday, May 4, 2008
Here's a small picture assortment of different birds around the house. Clo took most of them, she loves the birds here, I also took a few.
One of the trees just behind the house started flowering this week. It's a "Weeping Teatree" (Melaleuca leucadendra) and has thousands of little white bottlebrush blossoms. We noticed the smell, it's pretty strong, not exactly pleasant, but not foul either, a sort of "sweet stink" is the best way I can describe it.
It must actually be sweet because this morning as we were enjoying our sunday morning pancakes, Clo noticed 3-4 rainbow lorikeets chirping and feeding on these flowers.
Once again, YouTube turns a decent movie into a fuzzy mess,
oh well, you get the idea ... and the sounds!
Clo really likes these guys, they're called Galahs. The reason Clo likes them is you usually see them huddled together 2 by 2 (couples) on power lines in the morning. They mate for life and they always stay together. Clo spotted these two feeding on clover in the park one afternoon. I think they look like a cross between a pigeon and a parrot. :-D
Monday, April 21, 2008
Now this is getting interesting!
We came home from doing the groceries tonight, Clo was putting away the food and then calmly said: "There's a snake climbing up the window !?" Sure enough, this Carpet Python was climbing up the security screen, with some kind of small animal in its stomach. It eventually fell down to the window sill and slithered across the BBQ then down past the garden and back into the ravine next to the house. I'm guessing it was looking for somewhere warm to digest that yummy morsel.
Sticking its tongue out for the camera
Slowly making its escape ...
Along the BBQ cover
Down the propane tank
Into our garden and under the fence
(Look at my beautiful chili peppers)
Crickey, that was cool !