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Posts Tagged ‘NSW’

The small seaside village of Iluka is a very quiet, relaxing place on the north side of the mouth of the Clarence River in Northern NSW.  It’s a place far away from the hurly burly of the daily life of cities and towns.  As a holiday destination, Iluka’s neighbour across the river, Yamba, is a much bigger and livelier place.  But I wanted a quiet place to recharge my batteries, to slow down and enjoy the gentle things in life.  I found that place in Iluka.  So why not come with me for a quiet stroll along the riverside.

P1240838  ©  JT  of jtdytravels

P1240838 © JT of jtdytravels

This walk will take us along the edge of Iluka Bay, a man made safe harbour and refuge on the edge of the river.  This was the first view from the path I followed down to the river.

P1240843  ©  JT  of jtdytravels

P1240843 © JT of jtdytravels

There to greet me were two of those well known and much loved birds of the waterways, the Australian Pelican, Pelecanus conspicuillatus,  a very conspicuous bird.  We are so used to seeing pelicans in Australia that we often pass them by without stopping for a good look.   Common though this bird may be, there are some things we might not all know about this bird.  Here are some points of interest that you can use in a Trivia quiz!

1. There are seven species of pelicans in the world, all of them black and white except for the brown Pelecanus occidentals. That’s a pelican we have seen in the Galapagos Islands.

2.  Pelicans have a wingspan of 2.3 m – 2.5 m.  They need those big wings to help lift themselves off the water.

3. And even when they do get airborne, Pelicans can’t sustain flapping flight.  But they are excellent soarers, using the thermals to remain in the air for 24 hours at a time, covering hundreds of kilometres in search of food and water in dry seasons.

4. A Pelican’s skeleton weighs only 10% of its total body weight.

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P1240969  ©  JT  of jtdytravels

P1240969 © JT of jtdytravels

That famous bill is about half a metre long.  Perhaps some of you will be familiar with Edward Lear’s rhyme about the Pelican’s long bill and massive throat pouch:

“A wonderful bird is the pelican; His beak can hold more than his belly can; He can hold in his beak enough food for a week; But I’ll be darned if know how the hellican! “

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P1240820 ©

P1240820 © JT of jtdytravels

Of course pelicans are much heavier with a belly full of fish and, after eating, they just cruise around or rest on a safe rocky ledge like a break water.  I expect this pair are ‘locals’ and don’t go far from ‘home’ at Iluka Bay where there’s plenty for them to eat.

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P1240813  ©  JT  of jtdytravels

P1240813 © JT of jtdytravels

They no doubt wait for the next fisherman to come back through the breakwater with hopefully a load of fish – and fish heads that are not wanted!  And at the end of this bay is the harbour for the professional fishermen.  It’s a very good place for a pelican to live.

P1240815  @  JT  of jtdytravels

P1240815 @ JT of jtdytravels

Further along the beach, an Australian White Ibis was searching for food. This bird comes with a real tongue twister of a name; Threskiornis moluccus.  Using their long curved bills, they dig up food from the mud.  They eat invertebrates.  Best of all they seem to really enjoy mussels which they open by whacking the hard shells on a rock.

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P1240824  ©  JT  of  jtdytravels.com

P1240824 © JT of jtdytravels.com

I had hoped there was a path along the breakwater but it’s just a jumble of very large rocks protecting the bay from the river currents and strong tides.  This breakwater is essential to Iluka because the Clarence River is also known for very large floods.

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P1240814  ©  JT  of jtdytravels

P1240814 © JT of jtdytravels

In a park beside the bay, is a rather smart looking shed for the rowing club and other aquatic sports.  The mural is very much in keeping with the scenery.

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P1240822  ©  JT  of  jtdytravels

P1240822 © JT of jtdytravels

A Masked Lapwing, Vanellus miles novaehollandiae, kept an eye on me as it searched for insects.  Since it lives, nests and feeds on the ground, it is always wary.

This fairly common Australian bird is also known as a Masked Plover, a Spur-winged Plover or just Plover.  The distinctive black neck stripe on this bird distinguishes it as an eastern state variety.  The northern variety has an all white neck and larger wattles.

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P1240826  ©  JT  of jtdytravels

P1240826 © JT of jtdytravels

A new addition to the foreshore here is a very good and solidly built workout station.  I tried it out with a lady who had ridden her bike down to do her morning exercises.  It was a very pleasant way to do exercise while looking out at the bay, the boats and the birds.

P1240853  ©  JT  of jtdytravels

P1240853 © JT of jtdytravels

Walking back towards the other end of the bay and the professional fishing harbour, I enjoyed some shade in the heat of the day.  The path is in excellent condition and used by walkers and bike riders.  There’s one thing that is very certain about this village; people are encouraged to get out and about and enjoy the delightful environment. And they do.

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P1240829  ©  JT  of jtdytravels

P1240829 © JT of jtdytravels

Even this pretty pigeon was out for a walk and followed along with me for quite a while.

P1240840  ©  JT  of  jtdytravels

P1240840 © JT of jtdytravels

Among the usual seaside flowers was this unusual one that I had never seen before.

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P1240832  ©  JT  of  jtdytravels

P1240832 © JT of jtdytravels

But this magnificent flower of the coral tree, one of the Erythrina family of plants, is well known to me.  It reminds me of our wonderful, kind neighbour, “Gran”, who lived next door to us when I was a child.  Between our house and hers was a row of coral trees and  seeing these splendid red flowers always brings me a special sense of joy as I remember her with love.  Our own Grans lived far away.  She was our special Gran.

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P1240861  ©  JT  of  jtdytravels

P1240861 © JT of jtdytravels

A white heron flew down to try its luck in the waters beside me.

I love to watch them stalking their prey.

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P1240862  ©  JT  of  jydytravels

P1240862 © JT of jydytravels

As usual in most Australian water ways, a couple of ducks came by to see if I had some food for them.  No such luck.  There’s plenty of natural food for the birds here. These ducks are Pacific Black Ducks, Anas superciliosa, a very common duck.  It frequents all types of waterways and feeds mostly on seeds, especially of aquatic plants. However, they also like to eat small crustaceans, molluscs and aquatic insects.

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P1240856  ©  JT  of  jtdytravels

P1240856 © JT of jtdytravels

On just about every coastal walk in Northern NSW you will come across the glowing pink flower of the Mesembryanthemum, a native of South Africa.  And since this flower’s name means ‘midday flowering’, you’ll see them at their very best in the heat of the day.

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P1240865  ©  JT  of jtdytravels

P1240865 © JT of jtdytravels

There are several paths back up from the river to the village.  This one was a little steep. A tree on the side of the path seemed to grow out rather than up, its trunk an art gallery of lichen.

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P1240950  ©  JT  of jtdytravels

P1240950 © JT of jtdytravels

Grevillea is one of my favourite native Australian flowers and this one was a real winner. These were growing in someone’s front yard.

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P1240951  ©  JT  of  jtdytravels

P1240951 © JT of jtdytravels

Beside it, this beautiful creamy Grevillea was just beginning to uncurl.

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P1240871  ©  JT  of  jtdytravels

P1240871 © JT of jtdytravels

A standard garden plant in any northern NSW coastal garden is the bougainvillaea.

They provide wonderful splashes of colour – mainly reds and pinks.

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P1240874  ©  JT  of jtdytravels

P1240874 © JT of jtdytravels

After a delightful morning walking by the water, I returned ‘home’ to the Iluka Motel for lunch, a rest and a quiet read on my private back patio.  This is a great country motel and I can’t thank Margaret and Les enough for the warmth of their hospitality.  I’ll be back!

Jennie

Photography ©  JT  of  jtdytravels

PS.  A good place to look for information on the water birds I had seen on this walk is

 http://www.birdsinbackyards.net

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The Light Spectacular that we enjoyed at Sydney’s Circular Quay indeed lived up to its name of VIVID.  Sandstone buildings were transformed with great splashes of changing colour and patterns. I hope these photos and videos portray a sense of the experience.

Sydney’s ‘Customs House’ as seen every day      ©   JT  of   <flickr.com/photos/jtdytravels>

This is how the beautiful old Customs House building at Circular Quay looked when we went inside to see Alexia Sinclair’s art exhibition.  (see previous JT’s Jottings)  After dinner, we came out to find the building transformed by an ever changing laser display.

The Customs House ‘VIVID’ Laser Display – JT #1       ©   JT  of  <flickr.com/photos/jtdytravels>

Customs House ‘VIVID’ Laser Display – JT #2       ©    JT   of   <flickr.com/photos/jtdytravels

Museum of Contemporary Art – VIVID – JT # 1       ©   JT    of   <flickr.com/photos/jtdytravels>

The Museum of Contemporary Art was the ‘canvas’ for a wonderful technological display of colourful and ever changing dynamic contemporary abstract laser art – a joy to watch.

These two short videos show how the abstract art changes during the VIVID laser display.

Museum of Contemporary Art – VIVID – JT # 2      ©   JT   of   <flickr.com/photos/jtdytravels>

Museum of Contemporary Art – VIVID – JT # 3      ©   JT   of   <flickr.com/photos/jtdytravels

Museum of Contemporary Art – VIVID – JT # 4       ©   JT   of   <flickr.com/photos/jtdytravels

Museum of Contemporary Art – VIVID – JT # 5      ©   JT   at   <flickr.com/photos/jtdytravels

Museum of Contemporary Art – VIVID – JT # 6      ©   JT   of   <flickr.com/photos/jtdytravels>

The Opera House – VIVID – JT # 1      ©   JT   of <flickr.com/photos/jtdytravels>

The sails of the iconic Opera House had a much more modest laser light treatment of a girl doing stylised movements over the sails.  At times the sails appeared to fill with wind and then collapse as the sails were ‘pulled down’ leaving just a black space.

Interaction Laser Displays VIVID – JT # 1     ©   JT   at   <flickr.com/photos/jtdytravels

Viewers could use their hands on a small screen to move these huge origami shapes.

Velocipedes Angler Fish  VIVID – JT # 1    ©    JT   at   <flickr.com/photos/jtdytravels>

There were several smaller fun displays like these bicycle cabs transformed into fish.

Velocipede Angler Fish VIVID – JT # 2      ©    JT   at   <flickr.com/photos/jtdytravels>

Reflections at Circular Quay, Sydney      ©    JT   at   <flickr.com/photos/jtdytravels>

Even the Ferry Terminals at the Quay and nearby hotels were lit up for VIVID’s display. The whole event was a spectacle enjoyed not only by the children but the ‘big kids’ too.

We hope that if you are in Sydney before June 11th, 2012, that you have the opportunity to experience this state-of-the-art laser technology used to project dynamic abstract art.

Photography  ©   JT  of  ‘jtdytravels’

More of our travel and nature photos are on

flickr.com/photos/jtdytravels

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Just south of Ulladulla on the south coast of NSW is Burrill Lake, a small shallow lake where flocks of Australian black swans often stop by to feed on sea grasses and to rest.

An inlet joins the lake to the sea.  Storms and high seas have scoured out a rock platform and it was this rock platform that was to be my challenge  – camera in hand of course.

After months of slow and painful rehabilitation from having my knee changed over from my ageing, crumbling, arthritic original to a new state of the art piece of  technology, I finally felt that I could tackle such a walk.  It was a glorious autumn day but nothing was sunnier or warmer than my feeling of joy and freedom as I carefully made my way across the rocks, checking out life in the pools and enjoying the smell and sound of the sea.

Very soon I was joined by one of my favourite birds, the Australian Pelican. Not exactly a winner in the beauty class but this is a bird with character – and an extraordinary bill.

And rock hopping with me was a very cheeky seagull.

In dry rock pools, a seaweed commonly called ‘Neptune’s Necklace’, ‘sea grapes’ or ‘bubble weed’, ( Hormosira banksii),  added a 3D dimension to nature’s abstract art.

The habitat of this Australian and New Zealand seaweed is between tide-marks, so that for one part of the day the plants are submerged, for another they are floating, and for the third, and generally longest portion, they are stranded high and dry, as they are here.

In rock pools where they were still afloat, it was easy to see that these strings of almost hollow ‘beads’ are coated with a slimy layer that conserves moisture during low tide. The beads also contain a gas that helps them to float higher as the tide rises allowing them to flow with any current and still receive sunlight at high tide.  Sea urchins, crustaceans and some fish eat this seaweed.  And because it stays moist, the plant also provides protection for small rock pool creatures during hot, low tide periods.

In the shallow pools, tiny sea snails rested, each in its own uniquely decorated shell.

These shores had recently been pounded by huge storm waves but now a gentle sea left glistening rocks in its wake.

At the end of the rock shelf, the sea made more of a splash on barnacle encrusted rocks.

Many thousands of barnacles are stuck onto the rocks in densely packed ‘communities’.

These tiny creatures are related to prawns, lobsters and yabbies. They are protected by calcareous plates which form a dome like a volcano. The top entrance is covered by another two plates. When the tide turns and the barnacles are once more covered by water, the two top plates open and feather like limbs, called cirri, beat through the water filtering the plankton on which they feed and directing the food into their mouths.

While the sea was relatively calm, a fisherman tried his luck from the rocks…

… and my sister and I worked out how to use our new cameras. (photo DY)

From the rock ledge, I noticed a path leading around the headland to the next bay… maybe another time… the tide was on the turn and it was time to go home.

But even in the car park there were plants to photograph like this Mesembryanthemum,  (Carpobrotus acinaciforme), a native plant of South Africa widely seen in coastal areas of Australia.  The long name means “midday flowering” and that refers to the fact that the flower head closes at night when there are no helpful pollinators around.  By closing, the flower can protect its ‘gametes’, or reproductive cells, from night-time dews, frost, wind and predators.  They are a drought tolerant ground cover with a tendency to form thick mats and thus stabilise soil or sand. They are invasive and can choke out native plants.

Sometimes it’s the leaves of a plant that are the most photogenic, like this Melianthus, another native of South Africa.  This evergreen perennial shrub of about 3m (10′) has the common name of “touch-me-not”because it has an unpleasant smell when touched.  In spring and summer it produces reddish-brown tubular flowers above the leaves which are  followed by pale green pods containing black seeds.  It’s a good bird attracting plant.

 Behind the dunes there were several Australian native Coastal Banksia trees, (Banksia integrifolia), with their yellow flower spikes, or inflorescence. Each spike is made up of several hundred flowers densely packed in a spiral around a cylindrical woody axis. One common name for this tree is Honeysuckle and birds certainly find the banksia’s nectar very tasty.  After flowering, old flower parts wither and fall away over a period of several months, revealing the seed “cone”.  The seeds are black with a feathery black ‘wing’ that helps them to ‘fly’ to the ground.  The tree has a twisted gnarled trunk with rough grey bark and whirls of dark green leaves that are paler underneath.

The young banksia flower spikes are also very attractive.

And when the sun is lower in the sky, and if you are prepared to lie in the grass to get the very best shot, then even the humble dandelion makes a very photogenic subject!

Photography    ©   JT  of ‘jtdytravels’

(Mesembryanthemum, Melianthus and Dandelion photos ©  DY of ‘jtdytravels’)

(NB: to enlarge a photo, click on it – then click the back arrow to return to the blog.)

More of our travel photos on   flickr.com/photos/jtdytravels

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