Considering there are about 70 known species of water lily in five different genera, it’s easy to see how there is such a range of colors, shapes and sizes. This image was taken at the Nan Tien Temple, a Buddhist temple in Wollongong (80km south of Sydney). It is a very beautiful and tranquil place to visit, with lovely gardens and many water lilies silently floating in their ponds. Although both pink, this water lily is quite subtle and is very different to seemingly intense one that I have posted previously (click here to see). Have a pretty pink weekend everyone!
This beautifully intimate photograph was taken on a walk through El Yunque National Forest in Puerto Rico, the only tropical rainforest in the United States National Forest System. This moment was a particularly special one for me, as it was the first (and only) time I have seen lizards mating (and I have seen my fair share of lizards!). I was more careful not to disrupt their mating than I was about the photo, as the last thing I wanted was for these little beauties to miss the chance at making more gorgeous lizards. The actual walk that I was on was to see a waterfall. However, because I spent so much time photographing the lizards along the way, I never actually made it to the waterfall, as I would have missed my flight (but I saw so many lizards along the way, that I wasn’t even a little disappointed!).
For more posts on lizards click here.
I don’t think many of us from mainland Australia would know that Tassie has its very own type of Waratah. The waratah is a very special flower to those of us from the state of New South Wales, as it is our state emblem. The Tasmanian variety is called Telopea truncata (seen in the photo above), which has different flowers to Telopea speciosissima that we are used to seeing. Through pure chance, this photo also includes a damselfly which might be one of three different types (apparently commonly mistaken) called Austrolestes annulosus (the blue ringtail), Coenagrion lyelli, or Caliagrion billinghursti. After looking through many photos of them on Google, I am most definitely not taking the chance at picking which one! Sometimes we are better off not knowing and just enjoying, have a great weekend everyone!
For other posts about Tasmania, click here.
Since Tasmania has gotten such a great reception on my website, I thought I would continue this week with some more photos from the same area. This small pond that I came across on a walk, was clearly the perfect meeting place for numerous wildlife and insects. Looking into the water you could see millions of tadpoles at various stages of metamorphosis, even some having both legs and a tail, almost ready to fully transition into a frog. The grassy bushes were filled with damselflies chasing each other, interlocking, and forming their heart-shaped mating pose. Snaking through the shrubs are the favorite trails of the wombats who live here, the plants trodden down by the weight of these stocky creatures. A few times I was lucky enough to see them out for their late afternoon dinner, and they were quite happy to pose for some photos (see wombats here).
For other posts on Tasmania, please click here.
Dried gumnuts are commonly used as ornamental decorations in Australia, as they come in a huge variety of different shapes and sizes. They were made famous when Australian writer and illustrator May Gibbs (who was born in England) wrote about two adorable gumnut babies, Snugglepot and Cuddlepie as the main characters of her books. The eucalyptus trees which produce these gumnuts inhabit forests which are incredibly flammable. They constantly drop dry leaves and peeled bark onto the floor around them, and together with the eucalyptus oil within, can quickly turn a small fire into a fast moving and raging inferno. Every summer Australia battles bushfires to some degree, but however devastating these fires are for the animals and people living in those areas, the trees are actually adapted to be the most successful survivors. The release of seeds from the gumnuts are triggered by fire, and they fall onto the nutrient-rich ash covered ground, free from competing plants and damaging insects. They will quickly repopulate the forests, and continue to be the dominating species of the Aussie bush. Happy weekend everyone!
Click here to see my other post on Eucalyptus Flowers.
I will always be a Sydney girl with a love of visiting the tropics as often as possible. However, I cannot deny that there is something alluring about Tasmania that I don’t completely understand. I feel like it’s the perfect destination of an aspiring farmer, or a lover of camping, a retiring couple, or at the very least, a cold weather tolerant person….all of which, I most certainly am not. Despite this, I am drawn to this part of Australia in admiration of the rugged beauty that this tiny state possesses.
In the photo above, I especially love the sense of loneliness that this landscape depicts. The blue sky being invaded by clouds that change in mood across the photo. The golden tufts of grass, creeping up to the gnarly dead tree that commands your focus. It has a sense of space, of freedom, even if you will spend it alone…it is beautiful.
(Click here for more posts on Tasmania)
Every day on my way to and from work I pass through a beautifully maintained courtyard garden which is always alive with color. Commonly in Manhattan, garden beds get replanted every few months with plants that reflect the current season (unlike Sydney which is temperate enough to keep most plants all year round, or a summer/winter change of annuals). New York summer brings high heat and humidity, and a fitting reflection of that is this fiery red flower belonging to Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’. The flowers catch my eye every day due to the contrast of the intense red against a background of large, deep green leaves. This plant, along with many others, is now bookmarked in my head as a “must have” in my currently imaginary, beautifully tranquil, future garden of my own. Happy weekend everyone!!!
I had forgotten what it was like in Australia waking up to such distinctive bird calls. Those which I had listened to my entire childhood, but only recently paid attention to. The earliest birds are the kookaburras (click here for post) with their loud and projecting laughs, mocking the sun as it rises. They wake the cockatoos, who show their distain with long and piercing screeches. Next are the large flocks of rainbow lorikeets (in the photo) which can be heard having territorial squabbles across the trees with their sharp and angry chirps. They are one of Australia’s most colorful birds, and like other parrots, they know how to be noisy! They mostly travel in pairs, and once paired will be monogamous for life. When feeding in a flock, the male will threateningly hop around his partner while she feeds to make sure no other birds interrupt her meal. They eat fruit, pollen and nectar, mostly from native Australian trees and shrubs such as the eucalyptus, and the bottle brush (Callistemon) seen in this photo. It’s hard to be angry about being woken up early when the birds are as pretty as these ones!
For those of you wondering why my blog has been quiet lately, I have been on vacation to my home country of Australia. So on my return, I thought it fitting to share with you some photos I took along the way. Todays flower is from the eucalyptus tree. There are many varieties of these beautiful trees and shrubs and most are native to Australia. They play a vital role in Australia’s natural environment and are found abundantly throughout the country, the only major environment they do not inhabit is Australia’s rainforests. Interestingly they release biochemicals which can influence the growth, reproduction and survival of other organisms, and thus inhibit other plant species growing nearby (this is called allelopathy). Planting these trees and shrubs in your yard are a great way to encourage Australian wildlife to visit your garden, as they attract and support a multitude of Australian wildlife. The most well known eucalyptus eater is the koala, but they also attract cockatoos, rainbow lorikeets and other parrots, gliders and possums. The flowers alone are beautiful to photograph, and even once they fall off, the remaining gum nuts still make for interesting subjects (seen in the photo below). Happy weekend everyone, its a long one in the USA… enjoy!