A yellow Robin has appeared, flicking itself from one bush or tree or tree guard to another, more like a wind-blown leaf than a bird in flight.

It stays still in any one place for such a short time that it’s hard to get a photo of it. When it lands on the ground you only see its grey back. Usually I see one on its own but I have now spotted two at the same time, although you wouldn’t say they were together.

It appears not to have the grey throat of the illustration in my book, so although on its past seasonal visits I’ve called it a Southern Yellow Robin, now I’m not sure. Could it be a Pale Yellow Robin?

Then one time I heard it make a sound it sat on a small bare tree and went ’ ding, ding, ding, ding,ding, ding…’, non-stop, unvarying, sounding like my Thai temple bell in a stiff breeze.


The magpies and the kookaburras are still about in abundance, although, like this kooka, they get in a huff at all the windy weather we’ve been having. I love the way to kookas go all punk and fluffily fat to keep warm.


Of course the most envied critters here on cold wintry days are the pouched babies…


As the grass grows more slowly, the wallabies and roos are being driven to eat plants they don’t regularly fancy. 

This wallaby was being very intense about one of the rosemary bushes, which are all grotesquely pruned each winter to leggy topknots.


Several branches were held firmly together in his paws while he stripped them. Still holding these, he then stretched up to seize yet another with his mouth. ‘Greedy beast!’ I muttered through the window.


Hearing me, he dropped the branches and turned around with an expression of great innocence.

H-mm. I wonder if rosemary-fed wallaby would be a gourmet dish like rosemary-fed lamb?

Just kidding.

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On the first day of July I woke to our coldest morning yet this year — 4ºC — and light patches of frost.

Frost always surprises me as to where it is found and where not, but its decorative and novelty values are always appreciated here.

My favourite rock with its gloriously complex lichen adornments seemed more in place with the fine whiteness on the grass. In fact, the lichens seem brighter with the chill.


Certain substances attract frost more than others; I know compost and mulch does, and here the fallen leaves blown into a drain are limned distinctly and individually white.


Most of my yard doesn’t get frost but lichens appear in odd places all over it. This rock in the midst of the grass up the hill always catches my eye because of its spectacled pair.


The Crimson Rosellas are the main parrot here, but they aren’t always in as much evidence as they’ve been lately.

A group of five has been hanging about together, perching close by each other, if not all in the same tree. 

Three were quite enough for this young Red Cedar, especially as the recent shower was still weighing down its leaves. The others had to make do with the floppy vegie garden fence top.


A few grey days later I spotted a group of birds silhouetted in the leafless Nashi tree. Hard to see just what sort of birds, but there were five…


From a different aspect, with less contrasting backlighting, they were indeed the Rosella gang. I wonder where they’ll turn up next…


As I rarely put bird seed in my makeshift feeder, the Crimson Rosellas just keep their eye on it.  As the weather gets colder, I notice the wallabies are eating plants they’d previously left alone when the growth of grass and preferred plants was lush. Feed is getting scarce.

This morning one Rosey landed on the empty feeder and looked at me — or so I thought — through the window in front of my desk. ‘OK, OK!’ I agreed, ‘It has been about a month’. So out I went to drop a handful of seed in.


The Rosey had flown off to a very near bush as I did so, and then returned once I’d gone back in and shut the door. In a flash — or two flashes — it and a mate were tucking in. They were like two little clockwork birds, alternating the ducking down and the straightening up.


But then a third Rosey arrived; great flurries and a re-arrangement. It seemed only two birds were allowed to feed at one time, and those two kept changing. 

One feeding bird would rush at the interloper, return to feed, while the outsider edged closer and closer until it was deemed a threat again.

The process would start again, but it seems there is a fair play system at work, and after a time the newcomer was permitted to feed.


When I look closely at the things nature creates, I am very often overwhelmed with admiration.

For example, this side view showed me the superfine and tiny holding points of this bejewelled web, suspended from the possum-chomped twigs of the climbing rose. Like upturned arms, ready to have the wool wound on for grandma…


I usually only see it from the front, backlit by the early sun, the weavings delineated by overnight dew. How does the spider get it so evenly spaced, so perfect?

The inspiration for lacemakers.


On the way up to my Mountain, I drive around a man-made lake. It’s actually Glennies Creek Dam, but the recreational part is called Lake St Clair.

The highest knob towards the left is Mount Royal, sort of where I am heading for home.


If you ignore the bits where the dead trees still stand reproachfully, slowly drowned, it can make a very beautiful scene. It has many moods and many weathers, from mist to cloud to white-capped waves to brilliant mirror finish.


The mountain range catches clouds and makes it own weather. I can fantasise that I am in Scotland and this is a loch, not a man-made lake.


Heading outside late at night, I heard a telltale heavy rustle amongst the leaves of the Crepuscule rose that clmibs up one end of the verandah.

A guilty Brushtail Possum scrambled up under the rafters, hoping I couldn’t see it. Which I couldn’t, until I looked around the post — and used a torch. Unfair advantage, I know.


Many people consider these critters cute; I don’t. They eat roses. And citrus.

One seems to hang about for a while and them move elsewhere. A brief stopover.


My Nashi trees are dropping their yellowing leaves, which turn dark brown to black on the ground — if the wallabies don’t get to them first.

So it wasn’t surprising that a large black leaf had blown a little off course – at first distant sight. Too big as I drew closer…


It was another creature I rarely see out and about, when it should be in the little dam downhill. A longnecked tortoise.

I’d found one near my clothesline a few days before and had put it back in what is really a large waterlily pond, thinking of the long distance to my other dam.

Clearly this tortoise was determined to leave home. This time I respected its instincts and let it be. Just passing by.

I hope it found its destination safely.


Morning gold

May 24, 2014
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It is chilly of a morning, tempting to stay cosy under the comforting weight of the blankets — and yes, I still use woollen blankets, not doonas. Well, those blankets just haven’t worn out, some even after 45 years, as my wedding present Onkaparinga apple green one is. My frugality dictates that until they do, […]

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Season of contrasts

May 18, 2014
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Autumn, my favourite season, when crisp sunny days contrast with fire-warmed nights.  Taking a photo of the glory vine’s red leaves, it struck me that my roof embodies the contrasts inherent in my life here. Here I sit in the midst of constantly surprising, stunning natural beauty, and yet just look at my roof, bristling […]

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Home Fungi

May 11, 2014
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This damp but still-warm weather is clearly enticing all fungi home and abroad to show themselves. They are the most unpredictable natural phenomena here, along with the slime moulds. I never know what surprise will pop up or where.  Like the little cluster above forcing its way out at the base of a pole set […]

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Foreign fungi

May 3, 2014
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When away from home, I often see fungi that are totally foreign to me and my place. I can’t identify this lot but I’m quite pleased they are foreigners as I found them grossly unattractive, crowding together as if they were feeding on each other. There were so many they were hard to avoid, and […]

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