Sunday, March 29, 2009

Stop Carping!

G’day,
It went something like this…
On Saturday, after the members had finished their event, I put out the hoses and sprinklers to start watering in earnest. Some greens in particular were beginning to look very thirsty.

When I had everything in position I headed for the pump-house to switch the water on. Suddenly there were lots of different noises and very little water. Hmmm, perhaps it needed to be re primed, something that happens every now and then.

I primed it and bled out any air locks several times to no effect. Hmmm, I wonder if Ken, the ex pump whiz, has left the clubhouse yet.

We had a look together and re tried everything several times. There seemed to be nothing external untoward. Perhaps something internally, impeller, etc, has collapsed. Strewth, I’m looking at hand watering 18 greens for several days until the experts can fix it.

It was getting late, and I had to get some water onto several greens pretty quickly, so I set off with the tractor and tank, a hand held spotlight to find my way and a head torch. Ken went home and said he would start taking off the outer pump cover in the morning to see if anything was obviously wrong.

Next morning Ken got started pulling the pump down and I continued hand watering. I called by the pump shed to see how he was getting on. “Go home and get your camera”, he said.

I did, here’s the result…

A cheap fix at least, and we’d better get the foot valve cage replaced before it happens again! Thanks KF, I owe you.
Regards,
Gouldiae.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Grasshopper

G’day All,
We tend not to get too many grasshoppers around here most of the time. I recall a couple of seasons ago we had an infestation that didn’t do any damage, it’s just that on the greens, the golfers had to brush them aside before putting. They were quite small, unlike this bloke I came across yesterday.

As far as I can work out, it’s a Spur Throated Locust, but I’m happy to be put straight. Most of the characteristics seem to fit, except the distribution map says it’s a few thousand kilometres too far south! It might have been used to warmer climes, as it was very obliging, (sluggish?), for my camera.



Regards,
Gouldiae.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Uh, oh!

Hello, someone in that group playing down the seventh has left his wood cover on the tee.

Uh, oh, that's not a wood cover.






The 'Repair All Divots' sign must not have sunk in to this guy!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Ringtail

G’day Blogworld,
I had another brief encounter with a Ringtail last night. This little bloke was in a Mahogany Gum in our yard.

Thought I’d gather a few facts…
Pseudocheirus peregrinus = ‘false hand’.
Marsupial = rear their young in a pouch.
Nocturnal = active at night, (just like golf course greens staff!).
Herbivore = consumes leaves and blossoms.
Prehensile tail = adapted for grasping.
Syndactyl forefeet = a number of toes are joined.
Musk gland = distinctive odour.
Coprophagous = will consume their own faeces.

Enough already, this is beginning to detract somewhat.

Ringtails have adapted well to human habitation. They love our gardens, and given the opportunity will nest in roof cavities. They construct a nest of leaves and bark in a tree hollow or fork, or amongst dense vegetation. A family of Ringtails may have several nests or ‘dreys’ within its range. Somewhere I have a picture of a Ringtail’s head poking out from one of the parrot nest boxes – but of course I can’t find where I’ve ‘filed’ it right now.
Regards,
Gouldiae

Friday, March 20, 2009

The 'Eyes' Have It

G’day,
At our front windows, we have a bed of ‘Bidens’ that are in flower almost year round. Lately this flower bed has been visited regularly by the small but beautiful Meadow Argus butterfly.
The Meadow Argus is a direct flyer and has good eyesight. I had to be fairly patient to get a shot. With their wings flat, the eye patterns are very pronounced. I assume the ‘eyes’ are for deterring predators. The Meadow Argus apparently is a widespread species. I’m pleased they have ‘spread’ to my place.
Regards,
Gouldiae

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Ready To Burn

G’day,
I probably shouldn’t have chosen that heading given the recent events in this corner of the world. However, about a fortnight ago it seems someone flicked a switch from ‘summer’ to ‘autumn’. Suddenly there’s a chill in the morning air and in the evenings, the jumpers are going on a bit earlier - it’s time to stock up the wood shed.
Generally I collect my firewood from various sources, in trailer lengths, or in lengths I can manage to lift into the trailer, right throughout the year.

The lengths are cut into firebox size on the saw horse and then split. The green wood is stacked into cris-cross piles for air drying for a season – I haven’t lived much of my life in a timber town without picking up 1 or 2 clues. These stacks are sometimes in species order too, as some are fast burning, and some burn more slowly.

The wood is transferred to the wood shed – an old finch aviary, (there wouldn’t be many wood sheds that are lined and insulated, hey?).
From there, it goes into the wheelbarrow that stays at the back door, or into the wood box beside the fire. Our house is well insulated and it only takes a small fire to warm it and its occupants.

Regards,
Gouldiae


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Choughs

G’day,
In desperation for something to blog, I managed to get some shots of part of the golf course Chough family trying to join the members inside the clubhouse.

We have a couple of persistent Mudlarks at home that constantly check their reflections in our windows, and I’ve seen Blue Wrens do the same on car windows and rear view mirrors, but Choughs is a first for me.



I’ve had the Choughs allow me to get quite close at times in the bush. Particularly when they are moving in a feeding group across the ground, If I can position myself ahead of them and remain pretty still, they can get very near without disturbance.

This small group however are happy enough to approach human habitation on their own accord. I haven’t got a shot from the inside yet – something to work on.

They’re one of my favourite bush birds with their sociable characteristics and beautifully mournful downward whistle. Most of my fellow golf club members haven’t heard of the name ‘Chough’. Some correctly call them Jays, which is an alternative name. Many reckon they are ‘crows’, others have never seen them before!
Regards,
Gouldiae

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Heyfield Birdwatchers, March 2009

G’day,
On Sunday, seven passionate birdwatchers set off from Stratford on a dull grey, but thankfully calm morning.

At Marlay Point, the yachts had gone and the terns and gulls had taken over the jetty and posts. Duncan was able to tell us that there were three tern species present – Littles, Commons and Cresteds, and there were Silver Gulls and Pacific Gulls among them.

In the Clydebank Morass, the water level had risen since earlier in the week and much of the mud flat was covered. Most of us though had some wonderful sightings of Golden-headed Cisticolas as they clung to the tops of the Phragmites.

After a coffee break we headed for the Heart Morass. Part of this morass is on private property and we had to be content with seeing some unidentified waders in the far distance.

Lunch was at the Lake Guyatt car park in Sale. Latham’s Snipe, and Black Fronted Dotterels were present, but the Cape Barren Geese and a nice group of Spoonbills that had been seen a day or two previously were not there.

We did get an unexpected tour of the Sale Powder Magazine though – thanks Val. It deserves a blog entry of its own so more later, when time permits.

The final locality for the day was Dowd’s Morass and again the birds were quiet. The most frequent sighting here were campers! Duncan had detoured to another corner of this reserve to get some photos of his beloved odonata. Once he’d caught up with us again, we called it a day and headed home.

Regards,
Gouldiae

Monday, March 2, 2009

Butterfly

G’day Blog Readers,
I need some help today. (Several close friends often say I need help!)

I mentioned in an earlier blog post that the ‘flowering gums’ on the golf course were well and truly in bloom and attracting plenty of visitors.


There’s been an attractive butterfly visiting two of the trees, and I can’t quickly pin down the species.



The colours and markings are fairly evident, but I wasn’t able to pin point the species in a couple of quick attempts. Would anyone like to enlighten me?
Regards,
Gouldiae