In my one hour of birdwatching, I recorded 12 birds. I identified one Robin, one Woodpigeon, one Blackbird, one Jackdaw, Two Blue Tits, Four Coal Tits and One Great Tit (at the feeder in this photo).
Some humans don’t like taking part in a government census. Maybe it’s the same with birds. Around the farm during the course of the day, I saw a hawk on a telegraph pole, ten woodpigeons in one tree, and seven magpies in a field; none of them came near the garden for the BGB.
And I can’t even blame the cat, because Bono was asleep in the kitchen. Smart move, with the temperature sitting at 2ºC . So there was no chance of a repeat of this scene from Monday.
If anyone else took part in the Big Garden Birdwatch, I would love to know what you saw. I hope you had a warmer day, with more co-operative birds.
Today’s photos were taken as far from the drumlin as you can get. Australia’s kangaroos and koalas weren’t our final goals. My husband and I actually spent most of our holiday in New Zealand. It was the kind of trip where you see something new every day. From a long list of spectacular sights, I’ve picked three highlights for the blog, starting with Kaikoura, on the east coast of the South Island.
We may be the only tourists who failed to see a single whale in Kaikoura. But we made up for that with sightings of dusky dolphins, Hector’s dolphins and New Zealand fur seals.
The Pacific coast in and around Kaikoura is home to many seals, easily spotted when they are lying on the rocks. The pups in the next photo were a lot more active and bouncy than the adults.
If anyone asks you “Do seals have tongues?” or “Do seals have ears?”, send them to this blog to prove that the answer is YES, at least for the Kaikoura fur seals. Here is proof of the tongue.
I can also tell you that we spent a happy hour watching seal pups play in a freshwater pool below a waterfall – no photos for the blog unfortunately.
If you ever make it to Kaikoura, I have a great recommendation for accommodation – just follow this link to find out more about The Factory.
This is my second post from Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, near Canberra.
We would have been happy just seeing the kangaroos from my first post, but our next encounter was with an Australian crane in the rain in the Sanctuary Enclosure. This large, beautiful bird is known as a brolga (grus rubicunda).
Also in the enclosed area were some koalas. Koalas can be sleepy animals, comfortably cuddling trees, but we were lucky enough to see this one on the move.
Their bodies seem much longer when they are climbing, until they reach the top and squash back down again.
I visited friends in Australia last week. They are lovely, interesting people, whom I’ve known for 26 years, but why post photos of our reunion when I can show you these kangaroos instead?
Undoubtedly cuter than me and my friends. Even before you see mother and baby.
It was hard to believe that the joey could fit inside the mother’s pouch, but here is the proof.
These kangaroos were in Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, near Canberra. Click here for more details.
Remember the donkeys from the blog post of 6 August 2014? They have made themselves at home on the drumlin. This innocent-looking brown donkey is a bit of a devil.
He can be as sweet as anything, taking carrots gently from my aunt’s hand.
But he can bite and butt and kick the grey donkey if he thinks he is missing out on some food or attention. The grey donkey, on the other hand, has all the hallmarks of a saint. He is older and wiser, and bears the mark of the cross. You can see one part of the cross on his shoulder in this photo.
This photo from a few weeks ago (before my cousins did a fantastic job of grooming him) shows the rest of the cross on his back. The Christian legend is that God gave the mark to all donkeys to recognise the part that the donkey played in the life of Jesus Christ, carrying Jesus into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday prior to his crucifixion.
It’s much harder to see a cross on the back of the brown donkey. Maybe that’s just because of his darker hair….or maybe it’s his devilish character!
When my father retired from farming, he couldn’t quite kick the habit of looking after animals. So last month he brought two donkeys home to the drumlin.
The small brown one looks sweet and innocent…..
….but he started this fight.
I’m sure they have donkey-reasons for fighting, but I think that particular fight was a way of competing for human attention and the apples and carrots in my pockets. Soon they were friends again.
Anyway, the donkeys are keeping us all entertained.