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Mole Cricket

I always get mixed reactions when I post pictures of creepy-crawlies. ¬†Some of you are quite squeamish! ūüôā ¬† I must admit, I am not particularly brave with critters that have six legs, especially if they’re the jumping, flying, leaping-about kind, but I do think they have as much right to be here as anyone else does, and they are all quite fascinating in their own way. ¬†Creepy, but fascinating.

Take, for example, Mr Mole Cricket. ¬†A fairly ugly son-of-a-gun, let’s face it. ¬†But look at those little moley-mole front legs! ¬†They use them for burrowing, of course, and do so in gardens across Western Australia (but they are found all over the world). ¬†They have a loud, shrill song which many people confuse with the chirping of frogs. ¬†The males even make special burrows to amplify their song, to attract the¬†ladeez.

One of the more unattractive traits that mole crickets posses is that they can (and quite happily do) squirt a stinky brown fluid at potential predators. ¬†If you’ve ever dealt with anal glands of any species (and I have, having been a vet nurse for ten years in my younger days) you want to avoid this happening. ¬†Don’t pick up a mole cricket unless you have to. ¬†And I really don’t know why you would ever HAVE to.

They’re not very jumpy so they don’t tend to leap out or suddenly land on you while you’re minding your own business. ¬†They are, by all accounts, pretty pathetic at jumping. ¬†Which makes other crickets and grasshoppers look scornfully at them and snub them at parties. ¬†These guys are not winning any popularity contests or prizes for athleticism.

They are a reasonably large insect – this one I photographed was about 5-6cm long – and can cause damage to people’s lawns, with their constant burrowing. ¬†They eat roots and leaf matter, and some are also predatory, consuming grubs and worms and other squishy delicacies. ¬†I apologise I don’t know which type this one was…I’m gonna go ahead and say he was a vegetarian. ¬†He was also sitting on a bike path so he may well have become quite squishy himself shortly. ¬†I wasn’t going to move him…y’know, the anal gland thing.

I see lots of different critters on my walks.  Mr Moley is probably not the prettiest of them all, but he deserves a spot in my blog as much as a beautiful swan or dainty duck.

Hope I didn’t freak you out too much ūüôā

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Ellis Brook Reserve

I am unfit. ¬†There is no denying this when you are struggling to ascend a set of roughly-constructed bush stairs and you’re wheezing so loudly you’re scaring the local wildlife. ¬†Yes. ¬†That is me. ¬†Two sets of stairs in on a recent hike through Ellis Brook Reserve and I am starting to see stars and pass out. ¬†But, to be fair, I am a little bit anaemic at the moment and I was trying to keep up with girls half my age as they whizzed up the hill on their skinny little legs. ¬†I also did not warm up properly, nor was I actually expecting such a rough and steep climb. ¬†Preparation – apparently not my thing.

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However, wheezing and near-death experiences aside, Ellis Brook Reserve is a very picturesque place to hike. ¬†The terrain is a little rough and not really suitable for a gentle Sunday stroll. ¬†My friend and I went with a new group and none of us had ever been before, so no one knew what to expect (you can read travel guides but unless you’re actually doing the walk yourself, it can be tricky to gauge how difficult it will be) but we all went at our own pace and everyone was very patient and considerate of the slower-climbing members (ie me – Miss Fat’n’Fainty).

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The scenery was beautiful, with amazing views down through the valley.  We snuck into the quarry, which is actually fenced off but some lovely soul had cut a hole in the wire so you could squeeze through.  Ah, vandalism, sometimes you can be helpful!  The colours in the rock and surrounding landscape were stunning, as were the bright blue flashes of the little native Splended Fairy Wren (wish I had been fast enough to get a photo Рthey are just gorgeous).

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Unfortunately, having to watch where we were treading/climbing, for fear of tripping or breaking an ankle, meant we weren’t able to stop and take in the sights as much as I would have liked. ¬†But it was still lovely and made me feel good to be out in the fresh air and not being a slacker (ie staying home, rugged up in bed, on this cold and chilly morning). ¬†The group we hiked with were really friendly and chatty, and made the morning very pleasant indeed. ¬†Apparently, there are a number of trails you can follow and so maybe, next time, we will go on one of the longer ones, which may be less steep and treacherous. ¬†I am very clumsy and have terrible balance, so someone else may find it very easy to hike this particular trail and wonder what the heck I am talking about. ¬†I personally wouldn’t take dogs or kids on the trail we walked, but I did see some people bringing their pooches along with them.

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All in all, a beautiful spot to get some exercise and take in the natural beauty of our gorgeous state, without having to drive a million miles from suburbia. ¬†Worth a look ūüôā

Thank you for stopping by.  And a big thank you to all my new followers Рyour support is very much appreciated! x

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Bells Rapids Hike

In my effort to lose weight, get fit, and be healthier, I have been taking part in some hikes recently.¬† I have always enjoyed walking, especially if it’s somewhere with nice scenery, and having a group of friends to go with is even nicer.¬† Makes it feel less like exercise and more like an enjoyable, good-for-the-soul activity.¬† If you can follow it up with a delicious brunch somewhere, all the better ūüôā

I recently went on a lovely 5.5km hike with some friends (one of my friends, SR, is VERY good at organising things and puts me to shame because she MAKES THINGS HAPPEN, unlike me who procrastinates and can’t make decisions) around Bells Rapids, located in Brigadoon, about¬†45 minutes from Perth City.¬†¬†A great¬†spot¬†to view the white water rapids of the Avon River while surrounded by beautiful bushland.¬†Plenty of quiet, shady spots to take a rest, with trails for walking – some of them very steep and rocky – and glorious views.¬† Sitting by the rock pools was lovely and calming, especially after the vigorous hike up the hill.¬† I don’t have the greatest balance at the best of times, so I found it as bit treacherous at times, trying to keep my footing amid all the loose rocks and gravel.¬† Still fun though ūüôā

There is plenty of parking and dogs are welcome.¬† Camping is not allowed, but you can certainly have a picnic there or hang out for the day.¬† The weekends are a popular time, but it isn’t crowded with people.¬† Room for everyone!¬† In the Winter months, the rock pools become swirling, white-water rapids, and (crazy) people come from miles around to take part in the annual Avon Descent.

Anyway, I will let my photos illustrate how lovely a spot it was.
I will definitely be back.

Hope you will stop in again here too ūüôā

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Sculpture by the Sea 2017

Last night, after work, I was invited by a colleague to see the beachside exhibit,¬†Sculpture by the Sea. ¬†I wasn’t really in the mood to go, but I’m so glad I did. ¬†My friend was late and I nearly went home instead of waiting, but I sat in my car, huddled against the cold (what IS going on with our seasons?) and listened to the ocean while I waited for her. ¬†Eventually she turned up and we wandered up and down the beach, looking at all the amazing sculptures, with the setting sun as a beautiful backdrop. ¬†Seriously, the sky was a bit of a distraction – I couldn’t stop taking photos of it – it was SO gorgeous. ¬†The stormy weather only added to the dramatic quality of the sea and the crashing waves.

It was hard to take a bad photo, to be honest.  The sky was a million different colours and provided a perfect setting for the sculptures, which ranged from objects made of bronze to a chair made out of feathers.

I have to say, this photo (below) turned out so nicely. ¬†Except for the people who just started walking through the shot (bottom right corner). ¬†I think it looks like a 70s rock album cover. ¬†Can’t you just see it accompanying a Pink Floyd song? ¬†And that seagull flying through, just as I snapped the photo? ¬†Perfect!

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1km Tower by Song Jianshu

I really, really like this shot too. ¬†It looks like something you’d see in an episode of Dr Who or something. ¬†Like a¬†portal to another world, with that setting sun aglow behind it.

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The Window of the Future, by Sang-Sug Kim

This one reminded me of something Tim Burton would design…

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Spoke II, by Kevin Draper

LOVED this one. ¬†Probably because it has dogs in it. ¬†But, again, the sky…seriously!

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Loyalty, by Ayad Alqaragholli

Sharks are a common visitor at Cottesloe…not usually made out of steel though…

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The Great Hammerhead, by Jordan Sprigg

I think this was probably one of the most popular sculptures. ¬†I didn’t get a great photo of it – if I’d waited until later I might have gotten a much better shot, with nicer colours around and behind it. ¬†But it’s still pretty. ¬†Wonder if I could go back and steal it for my garden? ¬†Don’t you think it would like nice there? ūüôā

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Horizon, by Lucy Humphrey

Now THAT’S a big piece of litter!

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Cansumerism, by Hayley Bahr

I could imagine this one with lots of succulents growing out of it…

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Infrastructure 5, by Oliver Stretton-Pow

Took us ages to see the face in this one. ¬†You have to be looking at¬†just the right angle…

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Luke, by Tony Cragg

These sculptures were pretty awesome. ¬†They were like giant alien weeds…

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Aqua Fauna, by Britt Mikkelsen

This one reminded me of licorice allsorts, which is probably not
what the artist had in mind…

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Mega Pixel Power Tower, by Tom de Munk-Kerkmeer

So, a very worthwhile visit. ¬†I am possibly going back on the weekend to see the sculptures I didn’t get around to viewing. ¬†There’s also a “small sculptures” section which I want to see as well. ¬†If you’re in the vicinity, go and check it all out. ¬†It’s on until the 19th March.

Thanks for dropping by ūüôā

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Bandy-Cute

Hello, everyone ūüôā ¬†I meant to post this a few weeks back but got sidetracked… My Mum turned 70 in November and she had several little get-togethers to celebrate. ¬†On the Sunday afternoon, we met my brother and his family for afternoon tea at a large garden nursery, which also has a delightful cafe and children’s playground. ¬†It’s a very popular spot and can get very busy so we were lucky to get a table for all of us in a nice sunny spot.

As we drank our tea and baby-cinos (obligatory for the four munchkins) and scoffed cake, we were joined by another guest Рa Southern Brown Bandicoot  (or Quenda).  These little guys are normally quite shy and tend to come out at dusk, to forage.  Our visitor is was well known to nursery staff, apparently making guest appearances on a regular basis, in order to pick up any table scraps and crumbs left by lunching customers.

img_4257He (I’m going with “he” for now) was happy to wander around our table, under our feet and chairs, and wasn’t the least bit disturbed by the children or my attempts to take photos of him. ¬†I even got to stroke him, which he didn’t seem to mind at all.

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He was wiry to the touch, and very solid (he eats well :)) and about the size of a small cat (with albeit shorter legs). ¬†Bandicoots have long claws, used for digging out underground food items (they are omnivores and will eat insects, fruit, lizards, seeds, mice – pretty much anything they can get their paws on!) and are marsupials (meaning they have a pouch that they carry their babies in). ¬†They live alone, rather than in social groups, and have a running style described as a “gallop” rather than a hop or a scurry.

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We were delighted to have his company and hope to see him again if we visit the nursery. It’s so nice to see wildlife, of any kind, and I’m always very grateful to be able to experience them close up and in a non-captive way. ¬†I guess these little guys are learning to adapt to being part of our community and losing some of their shy ways. ¬†Survival is survival, after all. ¬†I just hope that this particular fellow is healthy and protected and doesn’t come to any harm, being around human beings so much. ¬†He seemed happy enough though – very fat and not stressed at all. ¬†He’s probably living the dream and wondering why other bandicoots are bothering to hunt for their own food in the bush. ¬†As his “people” are solitary creatures, it’s unlikely he’s going to let anyone else in on the action. ¬†This territory is his and his alone!

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Have you had any close encounters with¬†a wild critter lately? ¬†I’d love to hear about it ūüôā

Thanks for stopping by x

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Kings Park 3 (Guess That Plant)

Kings Park 3 (Guess That Plant)

Final post in my series on “Flowers and Plants I Don’t Really Know Anything About”.¬† Our trip to Kings Park was enjoyable, but I wouldn’t say educational because I forgot to learn anything about the plants themselves and their names.¬† I was going to take photos and then take a pic of any info next to the plant.¬† But I did that only once.¬† And then forgot for¬†all the others.¬† So I’m just guessing from here on in.¬† Except for the first picture ūüôā

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The Wooly Banksia. It was indeed wooly like a little sheep.  It looked like one of those microphone things news crews are always waving about in outside interviews.

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Kangaroo Paw.  If I got this one wrong, I would be in trouble.  And possibly not Australian.

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This is West Australian Edelweiss.¬† No, it isn’t – I am making that up.¬† It’s very dainty and pretty though.¬† You could sing about it in the Alps, I’m sure.¬† Wearing a dress made out of curtains – that sort of thing.

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This is the lovely Native Hibiscus.¬† I know this one.¬† It is otherwise known as the West Coast Gem.¬† I didn’t know that.

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This is also a Kangaroo Paw.¬† An underipe one.¬† Kidding. It’s a Black Kangaroo Paw –
Macropidia fuliginosa if you want to be posh.

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This is a Morning Iris.  I know this because I searched four million flowers on Google before I found it.  The colour is quite beautiful and is striking against the colours of the bushland.

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Pink (Lipstick) Boronia.  Know this one too.  I am a horticultural genius!  Boronia has a strong smell (not unpleasant) and these lovely bell-shaped flowers.  It is becoming more common to see it amongst flower arrangements at florist shops. 

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Another beautiful blue specimen.¬† I’m sure it has a lovely name.¬† If only I knew it!

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Grevillea.¬† I used to call these “Prawn Plants” when I was a kid.¬† Many people called them “Those bloody Grevilleas!!!” because they are allergic to them.¬† Coincidentally, lots of people are also allergic to prawns.¬† I’m just being silly now.

Well, that was the end of my playful romp through Kings Park.  You should go there yourself one day.  If you live in Perth.  Otherwise it might be a bit far.  But you could probably come to Perth for other stuff as well and make a proper trip of it.  We have a River and a City and roads and all sorts of stuff with silly people like me milling about.  Plus we have lots of sunshine, which is important.  Especially as I am always cold.

The End ūüôā

Kings Park – Everlastings

Kings Park – Everlastings

It is Wildflower Season here in Western Australia and there are some gorgeous blooms popping up everywhere.  On a recent outing to the Botanic Gardens at Kings Park, with our visitor from the UK, we were treated to carpets of glorious Everlasting flowers in every shade of pink, yellow and orange. They are just beautiful, epitomising Spring and all its joyful, sunshiney goodness.  They are such happy flowers, with their papery petals and luscious hues.  Just look at the colours here Рa small sample of the beauties on display:

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Pretty princess pink!

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The bees love them too ūüôā

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Like a fiery sunset!

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This one reminds me of Coconut Ice…

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More pinks…

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Love this little bee.¬† Look at him!¬† So greedy!¬† Look at all that pollen he’s collected!¬† He certainly is the bee’s knees! ūüôā

We saw so many beautiful flowers and plants on this chilly, but sunny, Spring day.¬† More pics to follow in upcoming posts.¬† I really must get some crafting done but I haven’t been in the mood, plus I have barely been spending any time at home anyway.¬† I had rent inspection this week, so I had to tidy up and get cleaning – after that I don’t want to make a mess¬†ha ha.¬† It won’t take long until chaos reigns supreme again though, knowing me.¬† I am hopeless.¬† It’s why you love me, right?

Hope your day has been bright and sunshiney ūüôā