Archive for April, 2012

Frosty, misty morning …

April 30, 2012

Mist over dam 2012-04-30 (_MG_7090)

A cold, frosty morning today, the frozen hands struggled a bit on the camera buttons. The mist over the Providence Road dam made for a really eerie feeling. I cannot describe how wonderful this place makes me feel, I think I could easily spend every hour of every day just wandering.


A very relaxing Sunday …

April 29, 2012

My Sunday started off with an early walk as usual. I had in my mind a nice sunrise photograph of Woodlands Historic Park (my favourite haunt if you haven’t already worked that out) including Woodlands Homestead, so I started off earlier than usual to get there before sunrise. I love it when you get exactly the shot you planned.

Sunrise over Woodlands Homestead 2012-04-29 (_MG_6996_7_8)

Sunrise over Woodlands Homestead

Then I headed into the park proper via the Providence Road entrance for a couple of hour stroll. I quickly found a pair of Scarlet Robins, then hit the dam area where I played the same game as yesterday with the Pied Cormorant (he flies around and around the dam, occasionally  “hiding” high in a tree only returning to his perch on the wooden structures in the water when you leave). I had a nice stroll up the Boundary Track fence and back then went back through the dam to get to the car. On the way back I explored an area I hadn’t been in before and found a lot of little birds (Grey Fantails, Superb Fairy-Wrens, Yellow-rumped Thornbills) including a charming little Spotted Pardalote. I chased him around for a while because I’ve been trying to get a decent shot of one of these for a while. He was too quick for me and I’d given up with only a couple of very “C grade” shots, when on the way out he just presented himself within a metre or so of the track. This is one of two good shots I’ve put on Flickr – one of the prettiest little birds I’ve photographed in my opinion.

Spotted Pardalote 2012-04-29 (_MG_7043)

Spotted Pardalote

Early morning is definitely the best part of the day I reckon. What do you think?

After the walk, the next job was going into the city with Chris, then it was some pruning of three trees in the front yard, then time for lunch. After lunch Adrienne and I took Jackie for another leisurely stroll around Woodlands, essentially the same area I’d walked earlier. Another blissful walk, just letting Jackie smell, and widdle on, every single blade of grass (it seems). Not as much birdlife around as in the morning, but I was very excited to count not two, but three Tawny Frogmouths in “their tree” as we left. So, maybe the pair we thought we had is actually a pair and a young one? The one in the picture below was in this “stretched out pose” for the whole duration of our walk. I wonder if the pose is to try and make himself the same shape as the adjacent branch? Also, given how well they camouflage themselves, I’m guessing there’s always been three, but we just haven’t been good enough to spot them all at once.

Tawny Frogmouth 2012-04-29 (_MG_7080)

Tawny Frogmouth “stretched out”

Just one more picture for today, of my little darling dog, just because I haven’t posted one of her for a while. Here she is enjoying her favourite treat, a “chicken jerky”.

Jackie with chicken jerky 2012-04-29 (_MG_7054)

I do love this little dog!

Sunset …

April 28, 2012

Here’s a picture of the sunset tonight from Wildwood Road, Wildwood. Normally when I’m on this road, it’s early morning and I’m on my bike, so a different view of it for a change.

It marked the end of a nice day, which started early with a great two hour walk around Woodlands. There wasn’t a heap of birdlife, but I did get to see a Tawny Frogmouth singing for the first time! Then Adrienne and I had a lovely walk around the Royal Park Wetlands, where we also ran into fellow bird-watcher Roger, followed by a nice lunch at Lamanna.

Sunset on Wildwood Road 2012-04-28 (_MG_6960_1_2)

Snoring …

April 27, 2012

Another beautiful morning for a walk today before work, and again it was looking like being a photographic non-event, but then as I returned to the car I noticed the Tawny Frogmouth was back in his tree near the car park. Through the telephoto lens I could see his beak vibrating, it looked like he was snoring! Isn’t he awesome, I think these are my favourite birds!

Tawny Frogmouth 2012-04-27 (_MG_6828)

Thorny perch …

April 25, 2012

A short walk around Woodlands this morning in-between rain showers looked like it was going to be a bit of a wash-out photographically, then this little Superb Fairy-wren decided to pose for me atop a thorny little bush. Isn’t he gorgeous?

Superb Fairy-wren 2012-04-25 (_MG_6781)

It’s a long way there …

April 23, 2012

Arrived safely home this morning after a long and tiring trip. I managed to get delays on all three legs of the flight home. On the first leg, from Peoria, Illinois to Dallas, Texas, we were greeted with a “mechanical delay” and sat watching a mechanic fiddle with the panels of the bottom of the plane for a couple of hours. That is a bit disconcerting. Turns out it was a problematic valve on a small door that is used to let extra air in during flight, and they couldn’t fix it, so they just forced it shut and flew lower to reduce the chance of needing the extra air.

This delay didn’t really matter though, because it just reduced the seven hour lay-over in Dallas I had. Arriving in Dallas we saw the Qantas jet sitting ready with 4 hours to go, but as boarding time approached we were told we would be delayed due to “late arrival of the flight crew”.

Flight QF8 Qantas 747 at DFW 2012-04-22 (P4220188)

The main leg from Dallas to Brisbane was smooth and uneventful, and I actually managed to get a few hours sleep which is most unlike me. In Brisbane, I made the connecting flight down to Melbourne no problems, then we sat on the tarmac for over an hour due to fog delaying flights out of Brisbane.

So, after leaving my Peoria hotel at 10am Saturday morning, I arrived home at 11am Monday morning, factoring in 15 hours lost due to time differences, that is 35 actual elapsed hours to get home, with just under 21 of those actually flying, the rest waiting in airports or  in transit to and from. Not something I want to do too often.

It is nice to be home!

Willis Tower …

April 18, 2012

Another long day of conferences, after another night of little sleep.

I’ve just returned from a walk to Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower), the tallest building in the USA. Very impressive views of the city of Chicago at night, including walking out onto the glass platforms that allows you to look straight down the 103 floors to the Chicago streets below.

As we walked home we had the pleasure of watching (and hearing) the US military Blackhawk Helicopters conducting urban training drills around the Chicago skyline.

The photos again are not the best quality with the little “point and shoot” camera in the night time conditions, but a few worked out okay.

Chicago skyline from Willis Tower 2012-04-18 (P4180162)

Dinner cruise …

April 17, 2012

A long day at work, then a dinner cruise on the Spirit of Chicago, and I’m now very ready for bed. Still feeling very jet lagged after another night of little sleep.

Lovely views of the Chicago skyline at sunset and night-time on the cruise, but unfortunately the “point and shoot” camera combined with the motion of the boat made all the photographs unusable.

Spirit of Chicago 2012-04-17 (P4170101)


April 16, 2012

After a very tiring 24 hours on planes and in airports I made it safely to Chicago. The Qantas A380 flight (Premium Economy) was very smooth, and the Qantas cabin staff were absolutely wonderful. The downside was that despite requesting it when tickets were booked a month ago, I didn’t get seated with my work colleague, and I also didn’t get an aisle seat (my preference). If anything can make your bladder want to work overtime, it is being stuck in the middle of two sleeping strangers on a plane.

We had a slight delay taking off, then two on landing. Just before we took off the pilot announced that there was a technical problem with the onboard computer systems that was being rectified by technical staff. Personally, I would have preferred it if he just said we were waiting for some late boarding passengers or something. The first delay on landing was due to some “roadworks” on the LA Airport runway which meant the pilot couldn’t taxi all the way to gate, but had to be pulled in by a “tug”, then the second delay was when they couldn’t get the door open. Anyway, it didn’t really matter because we had a 5-hour lay-over in LA airport anyway.

LA airport is pretty uninspiring, so the 5 hour layover was a bit of a challenge. The 4-hour American Airlines flight to Chicago (Economy) was nowhere near as comfortable, but was uneventful which is all that matters I guess. We eventually made it to our hotel about 7pm Saturday night (Chicago time), but after getting no sleep on the planes I just wanted to crash. As is usual for me, and despite no real sleep for 24 hours, I still didn’t sleep well – really just dozed on and off. We had some pretty impressive thunder and lightning storms through the night as well which also kept me awake.

We got up and had some breakfast and then went for a bit of a walking tour of Chicago including walking along the Michigan Avenue “Golden Mile” and going up to the Hancock Observatory on the 94th floor of the Hancock Center. We then walked down to Millenium Park to see “The Bean” which I had previously seen many pictures of, then walked back along the shore-line track to Navy Pier where we had some lunch and a turn on the Ferris Wheel. That was just about enough for us two tired travellers so we returned to the hotel to catch up on some emails and have a bit of a rest before the first work function start tonight.

I didn’t take my good camera along due to carry-on weight restrictions but did take some photos with my little Olympus point-and-shoot. I’ve included a few below, more on Flickr.

Tulips on Michigan Avenue 2012-04-16 (P4160005)
Tulips on Michigan Avenue “The Golden Mile”

Chicago city skyline from Hancock Observatory 2012-04-16 (P4160020)
Chicago city skyline from the Hancock Observatory

Chicago Bean 2012-04-16 (P4160049)
The Chicago Bean in Millenium Park

Squirrel in Millenium Park 2012-04-16 (P4160059)
Squirrel in Millenium Park

Chicago Harbour from the Ferris Wheel 2012-04-16 (P4160090)
Chicago Harbour from the Navy Pier Ferris Wheel

Business trip …

April 13, 2012

A lovely walk before work this morning, a solid hour or so on a beautiful sunny morning. The only wildlife that was posing for the camera was a pod of kangaroos near the Somerton Road entrance, and some beautiful little Superb Fairy-wrens near the Somerton Road entrance.

Early tomorrow morning I’m leaving on a week long business trip to the USA, a three day conference in Chicago, then a couple of days at head office in Peoria, Illinois. I’ve just been packing and have decided not to take the good camera as I can’t fit it in the carry-on 7kg limit and don’t want to pack it in the suitcase, so any photographic efforts are going to be with the point and shoot compact. I’m not sure what the internet presence is going to be like as I think it is going to be a busy week, so don’t be surprised if you don’t here from me until I return (Monday week).

I’m really not looking forward to the long plane flights 😦

Superb Fairy-wren 2012-04-13 (_MG_6668)
Superb Fairy-wren pair

Superb Fairy-wren 2012-04-13 (_MG_6678)
Superb Fairy-wren 

Kangaroo 2012-04-13 (_MG_6660)
Kangaroo staring contest