Saturday, 30 June 2018

TAWNY FROGMOUTH

The tawny frogmouth (Podargus strigoides) is a species of frogmouth native to and found throughout the Australian mainland and Tasmania. Tawny frogmouths are big-headed, stocky birds often mistaken for owls due to their nocturnal habits and similar colouring. The tawny frogmouth is sometimes incorrectly referred to as "mopoke", a common name for the southern boobook, whose call is often confused with the tawny frogmouth's.

Tawny frogmouths are large, big-headed birds that can measure from 34 to 53 cm long. Weights have been recorded up to 680 g in the wild (and perhaps even more in captivity), but these are exceptionally high. Tawny frogmouths are stocky and compact with rounded wings and short legs. They have wide, heavy, olive-grey to blackish bills that are hooked at the tip and topped with distinctive tufts of bristles. Their eyes are large, yellow, and frontally placed, a trait shared by owls.

One of the best examples of cryptic plumage and mimicry in Australian birds is seen in the tawny frogmouth which perch low on tree branches during the day camouflaged as part of the tree. Their silvery-grey plumage patterned with white, black, and brown streaks and mottles allows them to freeze into the form of a broken tree branch and become practically invisible in broad daylight. The tawny frogmouth often chooses a broken part of a tree branch and perches upon it with its head thrust upwards at an acute angle using its very large, broad beak to emphasise the resemblance.

This post is part of the Saturday Critters meme,
and also part of the Camera Critters meme,
and also part of the I'd Rather Be Birdin' meme.

Friday, 29 June 2018

Thursday, 28 June 2018

NATIVE LILAC HIBISCUS

Alyogyne huegelii is a flowering plant found in the Southwest botanical province of Western Australia, extending along its entire coastline. A large flowered shrub, the species favours the sands of coastal shrublands and heath. The large flower, highly variable in colour, is similar to that of Hibiscus. It was previously placed in that genus, and is commonly named "Lilac Hibiscus". It is widely cultivated as a flowering plant for the garden, but the varieties and cultivars previously published are no longer formally recognised.

Alyogyne is a shrub to four metres with many alternate branches, although lower ones may be sparse. Bright green leaves are divided in three to five in outline; margins are irregular, lobate to toothed; pubescent and strongly veined lobes are coarse in shape. The flowerstalk at the leaf axil is long, tilting at the single flower. The flowers have five luminous petals up to 70 mm long, these are overlapping and have slight ridges. The colour is cream or mauve, or the lilac of the name by which it is traded. The staminal tube structure contains numerous whorled anthers, these are yellow. The five styles of this are fused until the tip, which is composed of swollen and apparently divided stigma. This is supported on a five-lobed calyx, within an arrangement of up to 10 partly fused bracts.

As with all the Malvales, the flowers last around a day – becoming deeply coloured and papery when spent. They are numerous in the long flowering period in Australia being between June and January.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.




Wednesday, 27 June 2018

YOLK VS WHITE IN EGGS

For a few decades, up till recently, eggs had a rather unwholesome reputation. Thanks to the high cholesterol of the yolk, the egg was deemed harmful to eat. Years went by while many of us avoided eggs, or perhaps ate only the whites, or used egg substitutes.

in 2000, the American Heart Association (AHA) revised its dietary guidelines and gave healthy adults the green light to enjoy eggs once again. The AHA's guidelines now allow an egg a day for healthy adults while still advising a total daily cholesterol limit of 300 mg.

The cholesterol in eggs has almost no effect on your blood cholesterol levels. Your cholesterol levels are more influenced by the saturated and trans fat you eat. This means what you eat with your eggs matters more than the eggs themselves. Choose wholegrain rather than white bread and leave out the bacon and butter. Try eating eggs with vegetables such as spinach, mushroom, tomato and avocado.

This post is part of the ABC Wednesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme.

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

DOCKLANDS BY NIGHT

Docklands (also known as Melbourne Docklands to differentiate it from London Docklands) is a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 2 km west of Melbourne's Central Business District. Its local government area is the City of Melbourne. At the 2011 Census, Docklands had a population of 5,791.

Docklands occupies an area adjacent to the Melbourne CBD. It is bounded by Spencer Street, Wurundjeri Way and the Charles Grimes Bridge to the east, CityLink to the west and Lorimer Street across the Yarra to the south and is a primarily waterfront area centred on the banks of the Yarra River.

Contemporary Docklands is the product of an ongoing urban renewal project to extend the area of the Melbourne CBD (excluding Southbank and St Kilda Road) by over a third when completed around 2015. It is now home to several of Melbourne's modern landmarks, including Etihad Stadium, Southern Cross Station and the Melbourne Star Ferris wheel.

This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Ruby Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Travel Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme.




Monday, 25 June 2018

WINTER COLOURS

Winter is not all doom and gloom, not all greys and blacks. Our Winter here in Melbourne, being a milder version of Northern Winters is quite colourful! All of the photos were taken on a neighbourhood walk and the divisions are the lines of mortar in a "crazy pavement".

This post is part of the Mosaic Monday meme,
and also part of the Macro Monday meme,
and also part of the Through my Lens meme,
and also part of the Seasons meme,
and also part of the Blue Monday.

Sunday, 24 June 2018

MY SUNDAY BEST MEME #72 - ABU SIMBEL

Welcome to the meme, "My Sunday Best", which is a photographic and creative meme that allows you to showcase your talents in imaging. Every Sunday, you can post here showing an image you have created using your camera, (and/or) image processing software, and/or painting and drawing in the conventional way and have scanned in.

The rules are simple:
1) Create your image and post it up on your blog;
2) Put the "My Sunday Best" logo image link somewhere on your post so people can click and come by here;
3) Leave a comment here once you have posted;
4) Visit other posters' blogs and be amazed with their creativity!

Please do not use this meme to advertise your goods or services. This is a creative meme and any inappropriate links or comments shall be removed immediately!
The Abu Simbel temples are two massive rock temples at Abu Simbel (أبو سمبل in Arabic), a village in Nubia, southern Egypt, near the border with Sudan. They are situated on the western bank of Lake Nasser, about 230 km southwest of Aswan (about 300 km by road). The complex is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the "Nubian Monuments," which run from Abu Simbel downriver to Philae (near Aswan).

The twin temples were originally carved out of the mountainside during the reign of Pharaoh Ramesses II in the 13th century BC, as a lasting monument to himself and his queen Nefertari, to commemorate his victory at the Battle of Kadesh. Their huge external rock relief figures have become iconic.

The complex was relocated in its entirety in 1968, on an artificial hill made from a domed structure, high above the Aswan High Dam reservoir. The relocation of the temples was necessary to prevent their being submerged during the creation of Lake Nasser, the massive artificial water reservoir formed after the building of the Aswan High Dam on the Nile River.

This post is part of the My Sunday Photo meme,
and also part of the Photo Sunday meme.

Friday, 22 June 2018

FROSTY MORNING

We've had some clear, very cold mornings and the first frost of the year coincided rather appropriately with the Winter Solstice.

This post is part of the Skywatch Friday meme,
and also part of the Friday Photo Journal meme.





Thursday, 21 June 2018

BIRTHDAY ROSES

They are from the North, but roses they are nevertheless, offered in Winter, and their message is clear: Red for love, pink for joy and white for secrecy...

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

XYLENE

Xylene (from Greek ξύλο, xylo, "wood"), xylol or dimethylbenzene is any one of three isomers of dimethylbenzene, or a combination thereof. With the formula (CH3)2C6H4, each of the three compounds has a central benzene ring with two methyl groups attached at substituents. They are all colourless, flammable liquids, some of which are of great industrial value. The mixture is referred to as both xylene and, more precisely, xylenes.

This post is part of the Wordless Wednesday meme,
and also part of the ABC Wednesday meme.

NB: IN Greek, the letter "Chi" pronounced as in the Scottish LOCH, is written as Χ, χ.
Hence, Χημεία (Cheeméa) = Chemistry.
However, the letter "Xi" pronounced as the "x" in FOX even at the beginning of words, is written as Ξ, ξ.
Hence, Ξυλένιο (Xeelénio) = Xylene!
X is such a problematic letter in English!

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

MOSCOW, RUSSIA

Moscow (Russian: Москва́) is the capital and most populous city of Russia, with 12.5 million residents within the city limits and 17.1 million within the urban area. Moscow is one of Russia's three federal cities. Moscow is a major political, economic, cultural, and scientific centre of Russia and Eastern Europe, as well as the largest city entirely on the European continent. According to Forbes 2013, Moscow has been ranked as the ninth most expensive city in the world by Mercer and has one of the world's largest urban economies, being ranked as an alpha global city according to the Globalization and World Cities Research Network, and is also one of the fastest growing tourist destinations in the world according to the MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index.

Moscow is the northernmost and coldest megacity and metropolis on Earth. It is home to the Ostankino Tower, the tallest free standing structure in Europe; the Federation Tower, the tallest skyscraper in Europe; and the Moscow International Business Centre. By its territorial expansion on July 1, 2012 southwest into the Moscow Oblast, the area of the capital more than doubled, going from 1,091 to 2,511 square kilometres, and it gained an additional population of 233,000 people.

Moscow is situated on the Moskva River in the Central Federal District of European Russia, making it Europe's most populated inland city. The city is well known for its architecture, particularly its historic buildings such as Saint Basil's Cathedral with its brightly coloured domes, from 1555–1561 on orders from Ivan the Terrible (see below). With over 40 percent of its territory covered by greenery, Moscow is one of the greenest capitals and major cities in Europe and the world, having the largest forest in an urban area within its borders—more than any other major city—even before its expansion in 2012.

The city has served as the capital of a progression of states, from the medieval Grand Duchy of Moscow and the subsequent Tsardom of Russia to the Russian Empire to the Soviet Union and the contemporary Russian Federation. Moscow is the seat of power of the Government of Russia, being the site of the Moscow Kremlin, a medieval city-fortress that is today the residence for work of the President of Russia. The Moscow Kremlin and Red Square are also one of several World Heritage Sites in the city. Both chambers of the Russian parliament (the State Duma and the Federation Council) also sit in the city. Moscow is considered the centre of Russian culture, having served as the home of Russian artists, scientists and sports figures and because of the presence of museums, academic and political institutions and theatres.

This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Ruby Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Travel Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme.

Monday, 18 June 2018

WINTER ARRIVES

We've had a cold snap with rain and dark grey days. Evening falls quickly and sunrise comes late... Some very brave flowers are making a great effort blooming effortlessly in the Winter's cold.

This post is part of the Mosaic Monday meme,
and also part of the Macro Monday meme,
and also part of the Through my Lens meme,
and also part of the Seasons meme.

Sunday, 17 June 2018

QUEEN'S PARK LAKE

Welcome to the meme, "My Sunday Best", which is a photographic and creative meme that allows you to showcase your talents in imaging. Every Sunday, you can post here showing an image you have created using your camera, (and/or) image processing software, and/or painting and drawing in the conventional way and have scanned in.

The rules are simple:
1) Create your image and post it up on your blog;
2) Put the "My Sunday Best" logo image link somewhere on your post so people can click and come by here;
3) Leave a comment here once you have posted;
4) Visit other posters' blogs and be amazed with their creativity!

Please do not use this meme to advertise your goods or services. This is a creative meme and any inappropriate links or comments shall be removed immediately!



Queen's Park is a significant Municipal Park in Moonee Ponds in the City of Melbourne, Australia. It is located in central Moonee Ponds bound by the following roads; Mount Alexander Road, The Strand, Pascoe Vale Road, Kellaway Avenue. Early travellers heading for the goldfields met here because fresh water was available in the lagoon. Burke and Wills camped here on their fateful journey to cross Australia.

A picturesque cottage is the focal point of the park with its idyllic surrounds and lovely public art pieces, such as mosaics, statues and monuments. A gravel path surrounds the lake where seats and picnic tables are provided beneath old established exotic trees, with the lake a haven for a variety of birds, making for a magical milieu. A rose garden and a sunken garden are part of the many attractions of the park. Music concerts and other entertainments are common on weekends.
This post is part of the Weekend Reflections meme,
and also part of the My Sunday Photo meme,
and also part of the Photo Sunday meme.

Saturday, 16 June 2018

DUCKS

In the Darebin Parklands, the waters of the Darebin Creek and the several ponds through the reserve offer a great environment for many species of waterfowl. Here are some chestnut teal ducks (Anas castanea). Chestnut teals are dabbling ducks found in Australia. They are protected under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974.

The chestnut teal is darker and a slightly bigger bird than the grey teal. The male has a distinctive green coloured head and mottled brown body. The female has a brown head and mottled brown body. The female is almost identical in appearance to the grey teal. The female chestnut teal has a loud penetrating "laughing" quack repeated rapidly nine times or more.

The chestnut teal is commonly distributed in south-eastern and south-western Australia, while vagrants may occur elsewhere. Tasmania and southern Victoria are the species’ stronghold, while vagrants can be found as far north as New Guinea and Lord Howe Island. The chestnut teal prefers coastal estuaries and wetlands, and is indifferent to salinity. This bird is an omnivore.

Chestnut teals form monogamous pairs that stay together outside the breeding season, defend the nest site and look after the young when hatched. Nests are usually located over water, in a down-lined tree hollow about 6–10 m high. Sometimes nests are placed on the ground, among clumps of grass near water. The young hatch and are ready to swim and walk within a day.

This post is part of the Weekend Reflections meme,
and also part of the Saturday Critters meme,
and also part of the Camera Critters meme,
and also part of the I'd Rather Be Birdin' meme.




Friday, 15 June 2018

PARKLANDS POND

At the Darebin Parklands in suburban Melbourne, Australia. A fine Winter morning. It may look warm but it was definitely quite crisp!

This post is part of the Skywatch Friday meme,
and also part of the Friday Photo Journal meme.

Thursday, 14 June 2018

BLACK NIGHTSHADE

European black nightshade (Solanum nigrum) or locally just 'black nightshade', duscle, garden nightshade, garden huckleberry, hound's berry, petty morel, wonder berry, small-fruited black nightshade, or popolo) is a species in the Solanum genus, native to Eurasia and introduced in the Americas, Australasia, and South Africa. Parts of this plant can be toxic to livestock and humans. Nonetheless, ripe berries and cooked leaves of edible strains are used as food in some locales, and plant parts are used as a traditional medicine. A tendency exists in literature to incorrectly refer to many of the other "black nightshade" species as "Solanum nigrum".

Solanum nigrum has been recorded from deposits of the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic era of ancient Britain and it is suggested by the botanist and ecologist Edward Salisbury that it was part of the native flora there before Neolithic agriculture emerged. The species was mentioned by Pliny the Elder in the first century AD and by the great herbalists, including Dioscorides. In 1753, Carl Linnaeus described six varieties of Solanum nigrum in 'Species Plantarum'.

Black nightshade is a common herb or short-lived perennial shrub, found in many wooded areas, as well as disturbed habitats. It reaches a height of 30 to 120 cm, leaves 4.0 to 7.5 cm long and 2 to 5 cm wide; ovate to heart-shaped, with wavy or large-toothed edges; both surfaces hairy or hairless; petiole 1 to 3 cm long with a winged upper portion. The flowers have petals greenish to whitish, recurved when aged and surround prominent bright yellow anthers. The berry is mostly 6 to 8 mm in diam., dull black or purple-black. In India, another strain is found with berries that turn red when ripe. Sometimes S. nigrum is confused for the more toxic deadly nightshade, Atropa belladonna, which is in a different Solanaceae genus altogether. A comparison of the fruit shows that the black nightshade berries grow in bunches, the deadly nightshade berries grow individually.

Solanine levels in S. nigrum can be toxic. Children have died from poisoning after eating unripe berries. However, the plant is rarely fatal, with ripe berries causing symptoms of mild abdominal pains, vomiting, and diarrhoea. Poisoning symptoms are typically delayed for 6 to 12 hours after ingestion. Initial symptoms of toxicity include fever, sweating, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, confusion, and drowsiness. Death from ingesting large amounts of the plant results from cardiac arrhythmias and respiratory failure. Livestock have also been poisoned from nitrate toxicity by grazing the leaves of S. nigrum. All kinds of animals can be poisoned after ingesting nightshade, including cattle, sheep, poultry, and swine.

Nevertheless, S. nigrum has been widely used as a food since early times, and the fruit was recorded as a famine food in 15th-century China. Despite toxicity issues with some forms, the ripe berries and boiled leaves of edible strains are eaten. The thoroughly boiled leaves (although strong and slightly bitter flavoured) are used like spinach as horta (see here) and in fataya pies and quiches. The ripe black berries are described as sweet and salty, with hints of liquorice and melon. In South India, the leaves and berries are routinely consumed as food after cooking with tamarind, onion, and cumin seeds.

If you decide to pick and consume black nightshade, ensure you know that you are picking the right plant and also that you are preparing it correctly!

The plant has a long history of medicinal usage, dating back to ancient Greece. In the fourteenth century, the plant under the name of Petty Morel was being used for "canker" and with Horehound and wine taken for "dropsy". It was a traditional European medicine used as a strong sudorific, analgesic and sedative with powerful narcotic properties, but was considered a "somewhat dangerous remedy". Internal use has fallen out of favour in Western herbalism due to its variable chemistry and toxicity, but it is used topically as a treatment for herpes zoster. In the language of flowers, a sprig of flowering black nightshade signifies "truth".

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.




Wednesday, 13 June 2018

'WALLS' BY C. CAVAFY

Walls

Without thought, without pity, without shame
They built around me tall, forbidding walls.

And as I sit here now, in hopelessness,
I think of nothing else, my mind corroded by this misfortune;

Because I had so much to do outside the walls.
How careless I must have been, not to have seen them building walls…

And yet I never heard the sound of builders, or of construction.
They isolated me from the world around me quite imperceptibly.

Constantine Cavafy (1863-1933)

This post is part of the Wordless Wednesday meme,
and also part of the ABC Wednesday meme,

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

SEGOVIA, SPAIN

Segovia is a city in the autonomous region of Castile and León, Spain. The city is famous for its historical buildings and for three main landmarks: Its magnificent Roman aqueduct, its cathedral, one of the last Gothic temples to be built in Europe, and the castle, which was an influence for Walt Disney's Cinderella Castle. The city centre of Segovia was declared World Heritage by the Unesco in 1985. It is the capital of Province of Segovia.

This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Ruby Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Travel Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme.

Sunday, 10 June 2018

MY SUNDAY BEST MEME #70 - BLACK SWANS

Welcome to the meme, "My Sunday Best", which is a photographic and creative meme that allows you to showcase your talents in imaging. Every Sunday, you can post here showing an image you have created using your camera, (and/or) image processing software, and/or painting and drawing in the conventional way and have scanned in.

The rules are simple:
1) Create your image and post it up on your blog;
2) Put the "My Sunday Best" logo image link somewhere on your post so people can click and come by here;
3) Leave a comment here once you have posted;
4) Visit other posters' blogs and be amazed with their creativity! Please do not use this meme to advertise your goods or services.

This is a creative meme and any inappropriate links or comments shall be removed immediately!



The Black Swan (Cygnus atratus) is a large waterbird, a species of swan, which breeds mainly in the southeast and southwest regions of Australia. The species was hunted to extinction in New Zealand, but later reintroduced. Within Australia they are nomadic, with erratic migration patterns dependent upon climatic conditions. Black Swans are large birds with mostly black plumage and red bills. They are monogamous breeders that share incubation duties and cygnet rearing between the sexes.

After hatching, the beige-coloured cygnets are tended by the parents for about 9 months until fledging, when the chicks become black. Described scientifically by English naturalist John Latham in 1790, the Black Swan was formerly placed into a monotypic genus, Chenopis. Black Swans can be found singly, or in loose companies numbering into the hundreds or even thousands. Black Swans are popular birds in zoological gardens and bird collections, and escapees are sometimes seen outside their natural range. These fine specimens were snapped at the Coburg Lake Park in Melbourne.
This post is part of the My Sunday Photo meme,
and also part of the Photo Sunday meme.

Friday, 8 June 2018

Thursday, 7 June 2018

GOODENIA

Goodenia is a genus of about 200 species, almost all of which are confined to Australia although a few occur in the islands to the north. The genus gives its name to the Goodeniaceae family which includes several other well known genera including Lechenaultia, Dampiera and Scaevola. With a few exceptions goodenias, generally, are not widely cultivated despite the fact that most are small shrubs or herbs with colourful flowers and well suited to smaller gardens.

Goodenia ovata, shown here and commonly called the hop goodenia, is a flowering plant endemic to Australia. It grows in all states except Western Australia and the Northern Territory, near the coast as well as in drier inland areas. The plant is usually a fast-growing groundcover, though upright shrubby forms also exist. As a shrub it grows to about 2 m high. Goodenia ovata has glossy green ovate (oval) shaped, serrated leaves, and yellow flowers. It flowers for most of the year, but especially from October till March.

James Edward Smith named the species. The species name ovata refers to the oval leaves. It is a shrub that can reach 2 m high, with either an upright or spreading habit. The leaves are oval and slightly sticky, measuring 3–8 cm in length by 1–4 cm across. They have serrated margins and sit on 3 cm long petioles. Goodenia ovata grows on medium-nutrient clay soils derived from shale, as well as siltstone and sandstone, in areas of good drainage in a partly-shaded location in moist eucalypt forests alongside Themeda australis and under such trees as turpentine (Syncarpia glomulifera) or blackbutt (Eucalyptus pilularis), or in open forest under swamp oak (Casuarina glauca), forest red gum (Eucalyptus tereticornis), thin-leaved stringybark (E. eugenioides), or woollybutt (E. longifolia).

In cultivation, the species prefers a situation in part shade and with some moisture. It copes with a range of soil types and tolerates moderate frost. Fast-growing, it can be used as a "filler" plant in the garden. It is readily propagated by cuttings. This species is not widely cultivated as it is perceived to have a "weedy" growth habit. It tends to grow quickly and can become open and untidy. However, it responds well to hard pruning and is a good plant to use as a quick-growing "filler". A recent introduction is a completely prostrate form. This has a lot to offer as a quick growing and robust ground cover, although it does not tolerate extended dry conditions well.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.