The gregarious Crimson Rosella is a rainforest stand out. You can’t help but see them in the midst of the green canopy. These colorful parrots are native to southeastern Australia, living in rainforests and eucalypt forests as well as in parks and gardens. At O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat in Lamington National Park, these charming birds greeted me in my room as soon as I checked in. They had been perched on the balcony railing but when I opened the deck slider, they flew right in. Three was the most I had at any one time but throughout my stay, whenever the slider was open, they felt compelled to enter and check out my room, roaming across the bed, across the floor, and onto the bedside tables in search of something to eat. Each morning, the staff at O’Reilly’s started the daily guided bird walk into the park by tempting the Crimson Rosellas, King Parrots, and Bowerbirds with a few healthy handouts. Feeding is not allowed inside the park itself once away from the Retreat grounds so this event was popular not only with the guests who got to try feeding the flocks, but with the birds as well. This Crimson Rosella appears to be getting ready to fly to someone’s head or shoulder to take advantage of the morning feeding frenzy.
Australia is home to lots of brilliantly colored bird species. The White-browed Scrub-wren is not one of those but this small wren with a color palette that blends perfectly with its surroundings was one of the most challenging for me to photograph in Lamington National Park a few weeks ago. It spends much of its time foraging in the rotting leaf cover on the rain forest floor and it quickly scurries in and out of view, moving under shrubs and scooting under or even across the boardwalk, almost under our feet. Its coloring blended so well with the leaf cover that it was difficult to see. Even when it hopped onto a tree trunk it was usually in the midst of branches that covered it, leaves obscured my view, or the background was a distracting visual cacophony. Luckily for me, on our first morning on the boardwalk, for two serendipitous seconds, this White-browed Scrub-wren posed on a narrow branch with an uncluttered background.
So just where was I then? I’ll let you know but first I want to tell you about a new blog post theme I’m introducing with this post, and you guessed it, it’s called “So just where was I __ years ago today?” In the twelve years I’ve been publishing In Focus Daily, I’ve travelled extensively with photography as the primary reason for my travels. I’m fortunate that I have the health, the means, and the passion to do what I do. And since the beginning, I have posted current photographs to In Focus Daily, only occasionally revisiting older photographs from past trips. But over the years, and from many fabulous photography adventures, I have amassed a treasure trove of photographs from incredibly wonderful places. So, starting today, I will occasionally revisit some of the images from past years that I have never published on In Focus Daily. When I thought about doing this, I decided to pick the date I would be publishing the photograph, e.g.,today is October 9, so where I was on this date one or more years ago. I randomly picked 2018. And, so just where was I four years ago today? As it turns out, four years ago today I was in one of my favorite places on Earth, Grand Teton National Park where I spent two of the best summers of my life in the mid 1960’s. On October 9, 2018, we visited Oxbow Bend as the sun came up. Mount Moran on the right is shrouded in mist and clouds.
With tongue in cheek, the Audubon Society has embraced the Internet use of the words “birb,” “borb,” and “floof,” to describe certain birds (not all birds fit into these three categories, however). If you are interested in more detail, please read this explanation. Audubon’s taxonomy describing the three is as follows: “birb: Birbs are small, round, and either cute or absurd; borbs are those birds that carry apparent roundness to an extreme; and most birds can floof when the mood suits them. Any amorphousness in this taxonomy is a feature, not a failure: Birds and words are both shape-shifting things, shrinking and growing by turns, flitting between categories. We can cage them for a time, but in the end, it’s always better to see them fly.” This Semi-palmated Plover on Salisbury Beach near Plymouth, Massachussetts appears to be attempting a floof but seems to have fallen short. It is looking quite birbish, and seems to be midway between being a borb and a floof as it shape-shifts .
The Australian Darter, or Snake-bird, is a large bird that swims with its body submerged and only its head and snakelike neck above water. After drenching itself with its underwater swim, it dries its feathers while perched on a stump or rock so that it can once again soar above the water. It’s a fascinating bird, much like a Cormorant but with a sharp, pointed bill with which it impales its food. We spent some time with this specimen on the edge of the Sydney Royal Botanic Garden recently while it dried its wing feathers. Its snakelike neck is quite apparent in this image, as it seems to have a corkscrew-like bend.
Many of the plants that grow in gardens in California are native to Australia. They are often drought tolerant so over the years, I have enjoyed many plants originally from Australia in my own garden. When this giant flower, the Nodding Pincushion, a type of Protea often used in floral arrangements, caught my attention in the Royal Botanic Garden in Sydney, I just assumed that it was an Australian native. But I was wrong. It is native to Africa, in particular Zimbabwe and South Africa.
The clouds danced in the sky over the Chugach Mountains near Anchorage, Alaska last week. The performance was driven by the winds. The Cirrus clouds (in grammar school I was told they were named for horse tails—the Latin word “cirro” means curl of hair) and the Cumulus forms, looking like cotton balls, drifted across the sky in a symphony choreographed by nature.
After discovering this image (and quite a few others like it) I realized I forgot to turn off the vertical firing button as I strolled through Russian Jack Springs Park in Anchorage, AK the other day. The camera is easy to trigger and I had it slung from a strap over my shoulder so every time it bumped my hip, it fired. The Nikon Z9 is silent when its shutter release is triggered and I managed to take 137 images of the leaf strewn path without realizing it. I thought this image was particularly interesting, though, and I kept going back to it so I thought I’d share it.
The leaves on the trees in Russian Jack Springs Park in Anchorage, AK were already a deep gold but when the rainbow emerged, appearing to end in the middle of the largest tree with the brightest gold, the pot of gold had to be close by.
The Red-browed Firetail could not have been more aptly named. The red feathers on this otherwise drably colored finch make it a real standout where it forages on grassy fields in southeastern Australia.
Some of the Chugach Mountains peaks were shrouded in a bit of foggy mist the other day.