Friday, 15 December 2017

MAYFLY SEASON

No, don't try to clean your monitor screen... The tiny spots you see in the photo are not dirt on the glass, they are hundreds if not thousands of little mayflies. 

Mayflies (also known as Canadian soldiers in the United States, or shadflies or fishflies in Canada and Michigan; also up-winged flies in the United Kingdom ) are aquatic insects belonging to the order Ephemeroptera. This order is part of an ancient group of insects termed the Palaeoptera, which also contains dragonflies and damselflies.

Over 3,000 species of mayfly are known worldwide, grouped into over 400 genera in 42 families. Mayflies are relatively primitive insects and exhibit a number of ancestral traits that were probably present in the first flying insects, such as long tails and wings that do not fold flat over the abdomen. Their immature stages are aquatic fresh water forms (called "naiads" or "nymphs").

They are unique among insect orders in having a fully winged terrestrial adult stage, the subimago, which moults into a sexually mature adult, the imago. Mayflies "hatch" (emerge as adults) from spring to autumn, not necessarily in May, in enormous numbers. Seeing lots of mayflies in the Darebin Parklands close to where we live is good news as their presence indicates a clean, unpolluted environment!

This post is part of the Skywatch Friday meme,
and also part of the Friday Photo Journal meme,
and also part of the Weekend Green meme.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

ECHINACEA 'HOT PAPAYA'

Echinacea purpurea (eastern purple coneflower, hedgehog coneflower, or purple coneflower) is a North American species of flowering plant in the Asteraceae family. It is native to eastern North America and present to some extent in the wild in much of the eastern, southeastern and midwestern United States as well as in the Canadian Province of Ontario. It is most common in the Ozarks and in the Mississippi/Ohio Valley.

Echinacea purpurea is a herbaceous perennial up to 120 cm tall by 25 cm wide at maturity. Depending on the climate, it blooms throughout spring to late summer. Its cone-shaped flowering heads are usually, but not always, purple in the wild. Its individual flowers (florets) within the flower head are hermaphroditic, having both male and female organs in each flower. It is pollinated by butterflies and bees. Its habitats include dry open woods, prairies and barrens, as well as in cultivated beds. Although the plant prefers loamy or sandy, well-drained soils, it is little affected by the soil's pH.

Seen here is the garden hybrid  'Hot Papaya',  the very first developed in tropical, fiery orange-red shades. 'Hot Papaya' blooms in late July to September with flowers that are held on thick, well-branched maroon stems.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.



Wednesday, 13 December 2017

'W' IS FOR WATER

Water whooshing down a waterfall, whirling into white wavelets...

This post is part of the Outdoor Wednesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme,
and also part of the ABC Wednesday meme.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

HA LONG BAY, VIETNAM

Ha Long Bay, situated in the Gulf of Tonkin, includes some 1600 islands and islets forming a spectacular seascape of limestone pillars. Because of their precipitous nature, most of the islands are uninhabited and relatively unaffected by human influence. The bay is located 160 km away east of Hanoi and it takes about 3 – 3.5 hours to get there by car or minibus. 

Ha Long literally means “descending dragon” and according to local myth, long ago when their forefathers were fighting foreign invaders from the north, the gods from heaven sent a family of dragons to help defend their land. This family of dragons descended upon what is now Ha Long Bay and began spitting out jewels and jade. Upon hitting the sea, these jewels turned into the various islands and islets dotting the seascape and formed a formidable fortress against the invaders.

The locals were able to keep their land safe and formed what is now the country of Vietnam. The Dragon family fell so much in love with this area for its calm water and for the reverence of the people of Vietnam that they decided to remain on earth. This is a perfect day trip out from Hanoi.

This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Ruby Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Travel Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme.











Monday, 11 December 2017

SEASONAL FLOWERS

The weather we have been having lately (lots of rain and relatively warm) has been benefitting the gardens, with late Spring/early Summer flowers blooming in profusion.

This post is part of the Mosaic Monday meme,
and also part of the Macro Monday meme,
and also part of the Through my Lens meme,
and also part of the Seasons meme.


Sunday, 10 December 2017

MY SUNDAY BEST MEME #44 - AU COIN DE LA RUE

Welcome to the meme, "My Sunday Best", which is a photographic and creative meme that allows you to showcase your talents in imaging. Every Sunday, you can post here showing an image you have created using your camera, (and/or) image processing software, and/or painting and drawing in the conventional way and have scanned in.

The rules are simple:
1) Create your image and post it up on your blog;
2) Put the "My Sunday Best" logo image link somewhere on your post so people can click and come by here;
3) Leave a comment here once you have posted;
4) Visit other posters' blogs and be amazed with their creativity!

Please do not use this meme to advertise your goods or services. This is a creative meme and any inappropriate links or comments shall be removed immediately!

Rendezvous au coin de la rue...
This post is part of the My Sunday Photo meme,
and also part of the Photo Sunday meme.


Saturday, 9 December 2017

CHICKS ARE GROWING...

You may have seen some photos of the nesting moorhen I posted. The chicks are really growing fast now and have almost reached adult size.

This post is part of the Weekend Green meme,
and also part of the Saturday Critters meme,
and also part of the I'd Rather Be Birdin' meme,
and also part of the Camera Critters meme.



Friday, 8 December 2017

Thursday, 7 December 2017

BIRD OF PARADISE FLOWER

Strelitzia reginae is a monocotyledonous flowering plant indigenous to South Africa (the Cape Provinces and KwaZulu-Natal). Common names include strelitzia, crane flower or bird of paradise, though these names are also collectively applied to other species in the genus Strelitzia. Its scientific name commemorates the British queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. The species is native to South Africa but naturalised in Mexico, Belize, Bangladesh, Madeira Islands and Juan Fernández Islands off the coast of Chile. It is the national flower of Madeira, Portugal since 2005.

The plant grows to 2 m tall, with large, strong leaves 25–70 cm long and 10–30 cm broad, produced on petioles up to 1 m long. The leaves are evergreen and arranged in two ranks, making a fan-shaped crown. The flowers stand above the foliage at the tips of long stalks. The hard, beak-like sheath from which the flower emerges is termed the spathe. This is placed perpendicular to the stem, which gives it the appearance of a bird's head and beak; it makes a durable perch for holding the sunbirds which pollinate the flowers. The flowers, which emerge one at a time from the spathe, consist of three brilliant orange sepals and three purplish-blue or white petals. Two of the blue or white petals are joined together to form an arrow-like nectary. When the sunbirds sit to drink the nectar, the petals open to cover their feet in pollen.

Strelitzia reginae is very popular as an ornamental plant. It was first introduced to Europe in 1773, when it was grown at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Since then, it has been widely introduced around the world, including the Americas and Australia, growing well in any area that is sunny and warm. In the United States, Florida and California are the main areas of cultivation, due to their warm climate. It is a common ornamental plant in Southern California, and has been chosen as the Official Flower of the City of Los Angeles. It has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.

It is propagated by division or from seeds, and is a low-maintenance plant that is easy to grow in the garden; it is fairly tolerant of soil conditions and needs little water once established. If cared for well, they will flower several times in a year. They will thrive in rich loamy soil, especially when they get plenty of water throughout the year. They do well in full sun to semi-shade and respond well to regular feeding with a controlled release fertiliser and compost. They are sensitive to cold and need to be sheltered from frost, as it can damage the flowers and leaves.

Strelitzia reginae is slow-growing and will not bloom until three to five years have passed since germination (though it can exceptionally flower at two years). It flowers only when properly established and division of the plant may affect flowering patterns. The flowers are, however, quite long-lasting once they appear. Peak flowering is in the winter and early spring. There is a yellow-flowered cultivar of this plant known as 'Mandela's Gold'.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.



Wednesday, 6 December 2017

'V' IS FOR VEGETABLES

Eat more vegetables, everyday!

This post is part of the Outdoor Wednesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme,
and also part of the  ABC Wednesday meme.


Tuesday, 5 December 2017

IN OUTBACK AUSTRALIA

The Outback is the vast, remote, arid area of Australia. The term "the outback" is generally used to refer to locations that are comparatively more remote than those areas named "the bush" which, colloquially, can refer to any lands outside the main urban areas. Because of the low and erratic rainfall over most of the outback, combined with soils which are usually not very fertile, inland Australia is relatively sparsely settled. More than 90 percent of Australians live in urban areas on the coast.

The total population of the Outback in Australia declined from 700,000 in 1996 to 690,000 in 2006. Largest decline was noted in Outback NT, while Kimberley and Pilbara showed population increase during the same period. The sex ratio is 104 males for 100 females and 17% of the total population is indigenous.

Other than agriculture and tourism, the main economic activity in this vast and sparsely settled area is mining. Owing to the complete absence of mountain building and glaciation since the Permian (in many areas since the Cambrian) ages, the outback is extremely rich in iron, aluminium, manganese and uranium ores, and also contains major deposits of gold, nickel, iron, lead and zinc ores. Because of its size, the value of grazing and mining is considerable.

There is much beauty within the Outback, with vast, unspoilt tracts of land, desert and scrubland, hidden oases and watercourses, striking rock formations, unusual vegetation, striking soil and mineral colours, our native animals, and amazing vistas at sunrise and sunset. There is terror also, with droughts, bushfires, floods and other natural disasters...

This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Ruby Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Travel Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme.






Monday, 4 December 2017

ADVENT CALENDAR

Here is an Advent Calendar for you (sorry it's a few days late...)! You may print this and jot down notes for each day, or stick a new little treat for someone on each day's space. You may like to put in special days of significance for you (e.g. St Nicholas' Feast Day on the 6th!). I have posted it at fairly high resolution so it should come up pretty clear up to an A3 print size.

This post is part of the Mosaic Monday meme,
and also part of the Macro Monday meme,
and also part of the Through my Lens meme,
and also part of the Seasons meme.


Sunday, 3 December 2017

MY SUNDAY BEST MEME #43 - FROST

Welcome to the meme, "My Sunday Best", which is a photographic and creative meme that allows you to showcase your talents in imaging. Every Sunday, you can post here showing an image you have created using your camera, (and/or) image processing software, and/or painting and drawing in the conventional way and have scanned in.

The rules are simple:
1) Create your image and post it up on your blog;
2) Put the "My Sunday Best" logo image link somewhere on your post so people can click and come by here;
3) Leave a comment here once you have posted;
4) Visit other posters' blogs and be amazed with their creativity! Please do not use this meme to advertise your goods or services.

This is a creative meme and any inappropriate links or comments shall be removed immediately!
This post is part of the My Sunday Photo meme,
and also part of the Photo Sunday meme.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

ORANGE PIGFACE

Mesembryanthemum is a genus of flowering plants in the family Aizoaceae; like many members of this family, it is characterised by long-lasting flower heads. Flowers of Mesembryanthemum protect their gametes from night-time dews or frosts but open in sunlight. There is an obvious evolutionary advantage to doing this; where sun, dew, frost, wind or predators are likely to damage exposed reproductive organs, closing may be advantageous during times when flowers are unlikely to attract pollinators.

It is indigenous to southern Africa. Many Mesembryanthemum species are known as ice plants because of the glistening globular bladder cells covering their stems, fruit and leaves, so that "they sparkle like ice crystals". In South Africa, Mesembryanthemum is known as "vygies" (from Afrikaans "vy"), although this term refers to many plants in the Aizoaceae family. Many species formerly placed in Mesembryanthemum, such as Dorotheanthus bellidiformis, Carpobrotus spp. and Sceletium spp. have since been moved into other genera.

Ground cover plants don’t come much tougher or lower maintenance than this plant. In its native land, pigface is used to growing in dry, rocky and sandy conditions which makes it very tolerant to drought, salt and wind. Its succulent foliage will form a dense and spreading mat, growing to no more than 15cm high and around 40cm wide. It’s prized of course for the spectacularly vibrant flowers that form all over the plant in early spring – electric shades of orange, pink, yellow and a crystal white that contrast beautifully with the foliage.

Choose a dry, sunny spot with good drainage, such as amongst rock. They will tolerate partial shade but you may find they produce less flowers. They have a tendency to trail slightly, so plant them at the edge of retaining walls or pots where they can artfully spill over the side. Pigface is unlikely to have problems with pests or disease, just ensure that your drainage is good to prevent root rot.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme,
and also part of the Orange you Glad It's Friday meme.


Tuesday, 28 November 2017

MILFORD, CT, USA

Milford is a Coterminous municipality within Coastal Connecticut and New Haven County, Connecticut, between Bridgeport, Connecticut and New Haven, Connecticut. The population was 51,271 at the 2010 census.[5] The city includes the borough of Woodmont and the village of Devon. Milford is part of the New York-Newark, NY-NJ-CT-PA Combined Statistical Area. It is the headquarters of the mega business Subway.

Every year on the third Saturday in August, Milford celebrates its annual Oyster Festival, which serves as a combination of a typical town fair with a culinary celebration of the town's location on historically shellfish-rich Long Island Sound. This festival takes place in and around the Milford Green, near the centre of town, as well as in various locations throughout the downtown area, and features a wide variety of events including canoe and kayak races, musical performances, and classic car shows.

The Milford Cultural Center, operated by the Milford Council for the Arts, offers various events throughout the year. The Firehouse Art Gallery was recently opened in Devon. The beach resort quality of the town lives on, with several rocky beaches, Silver Sands State Park, the Connecticut Audubon Society Coastal Center at Milford Point, Charles Island, two golf courses, and numerous other recreational facilities available for residents and tourists. Starting in 2011, the Walnut Beach Concert Series has taken place under the pavilion at Walnut Beach. It features a different band playing every Sunday afternoon during the summer.

Milford has over 23 km of shoreline facing Long Island Sound, the most of any town in Connecticut. A large portion of Milford's shoreline forms the Silver Sands State Park. A newly built 1.2 km boardwalk was opened in 2011 that connects Silver Sands to Walnut Beach in Devon. Charles Island is also a part of the park and is a protected bird nesting ground. There is a sand bar (called a tombolo since it is perpendicular, not parallel to the coast) accessible during low tide that people can walk on from Silver Sands Beach to Charles Island. In addition to Silver Sands State Park, Milford has five public beaches with lifeguard services for its residents - Gulf Beach, Anchor Beach, Hawley Avenue Beach, Walnut Beach, and Middle Beach - as well as seven private beaches.

This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Ruby Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Travel Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme.

Monday, 27 November 2017

DECONSTRUCTING KLIMT

Taking photos of an oil colour copy of the painting "The Kiss" by Klimt, I digitally reconstructed the photographic images to come up with this mosaic.

This post is part of the Mosaic Monday meme,
and also part of the Through my Lens meme,
and also part of the Seasons meme.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

MY SUNDAY BEST MEME #42 - PEAR

Welcome to the meme, "My Sunday Best", which is a photographic and creative meme that allows you to showcase your talents in imaging. Every Sunday, you can post here showing an image you have created using your camera, (and/or) image processing software, and/or painting and drawing in the conventional way and have scanned in.

The rules are simple:
1) Create your image and post it up on your blog;
2) Put the "My Sunday Best" logo image link somewhere on your post so people can click and come by here;
3) Leave a comment here once you have posted;
4) Visit other posters' blogs and be amazed with their creativity!

Please do not use this meme to advertise your goods or services. This is a creative meme and any inappropriate links or comments shall be removed immediately!
This post is part of the My Sunday Photo meme,
and also part of the Photo Sunday meme.

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Friday, 24 November 2017

SUNSET HILL

The Mount Puffalo viewing hill at the Darebin Parklands silhouetted against a lovely sunset sky.

This post is part of the Skywatch Friday meme,
and also part of the Friday Photo Journal meme,
and also part of the Orange you Glad It's Friday meme.

Thursday, 23 November 2017

CORDYLINE

Cordyline is a genus of about 15 species of woody monocotyledonous flowering plants in family Asparagaceae, subfamily Lomandroideae. The subfamily has previously been treated as a separate family Laxmanniaceae, or Lomandraceae. Other authors have placed the genus in the Agavaceae (now Agavoideae). Cordyline is native to the western Pacific Ocean region, from New Zealand, eastern Australia, southeastern Asia and Polynesia, with one species found in western South America. The name Cordyline comes from the Greek word kordyle, meaning "club," a reference to the enlarged underground stems or rhizomes.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.