Australia · birds · Changes · clouds · daughter · grandson · in my garden · Mount Warning · music · native Australian birds · seasons · subtropical weather · summer · Tweed Valley

The Summer

If I could bottle up the sea breeze I would take it over to your house
And pour it loose through your garden
So the hinges on your windows would rust and colour
Like the boats pulled up on the sand for the summer
And your sweet clean clothes would go stiff on the line
And there’d be sand in your pockets and nothing on your mind ~ Josh Pyke.

Summer wasn’t shy today about letting us know it had arrived. At 31°C and 88 percent humidity, it felt like the middle of summer and not the first day. Tomorrow’s prediction is for 35°C (95°F).

Regardless of the weather, I had a very special visitor today, my daughter Emma and her three-and-a-half month old son, Eli. Today, Emma turned 28. I apologise profusely every year for having her at such a hot time of year, which also happens to be the month of Christmas so her birthday can easily be overshadowed by another significant event. This birthday though, as Emma is now a mother herself and realises the futility of my tongue-in-cheek comment, we agreed that babies usually arrive on the day of their choice.

After Emma and Eli headed home, I spent some time Christmas gift shopping online. Even though Australia is travelling incredibly well Covid-wise, I’m still a bit of a scaredy-cat about spending time in crowds. Perhaps more to the point, it saves me time to shop online when I’m still sorting, cleaning, tidying and decluttering my house.

Maggie in a Tizz.

During the afternoon I heard a commotion out in the front garden. Noisy Miner birds – who are named “noisy” for a reason! – were kicking up a ruckus in the tree at the top of our garden, their squawks intermittently interrupted by the sound of a distressed Magpie.

I tried to ignore the noise, but it got the better of me. Even the two dogs sprawled out beside me got up and peered out the door, as if investigating the situation. The dogs know, just as I do, that magpies and miners are friends. If a miner carries on a treat as they were doing today, there’s a threat. I imagined one of the neighbours cats may be lurking around the tree.

Ignoring the noise wasn’t working for me, so I ignored the heat instead, and trudged to the top of the hill to investigate. Whatever the threat was, it seemed to be in the tree, which meant it could be a snake wrapped around a high branch sheltering from the heat of the day.

This is what I found –

A Pee Wee!

We occasionally see Magpie Larks in the garden, and I have noticed recently we have one dropping into the back garden each morning after the other birds have finished eating the food I give them. Magpie Larks are another native Australian bird, affectionately known as Pee Wees. They have a very pretty song and seem completely harmless, so goodness knows why the magpies objected so much to the visit. Maybe the magpie family feel that they “own” my yard, and the tree being in our yard belongs to them.

Satisfied that one tiny pee wee posed no threat to my lovely magpie family, I paused to take a photo of Mount Warning, which could be seen today, although not as clearly visible as it could be (first photo).

Later tonight at around sunset, I took another photo of the mountain. Dark patches of cloud had rolled in, and we didn’t see the beautiful orange sunset sky we have had lately.

The opening words of today’s post are song lyrics from Josh Pyke, an Australian singer, whose creativity with words conjures images of immense beauty when describing the most mundane moments of everyday life. This song is called The Summer, so very appropriate for today. I love this song as the words romanticise the one season of the year that I struggle to cope with. For anyone interested, here’s the rest of the lyrics to The Summer ~

But every year it gets a little bit harder
To get back to the feeling of when we were fifteen
And we could jump in the river upstream
And let the current carry us to the beginning where
The river met the sea again
And all our days were a sun-drenched haze
While the salt spray crusted on the window panes

We should be living like we lived that summer
I wanna live like we live in the summer
We should be living like we lived that summer
I wanna live like we live in the summer
We should be living like we lived that summer
I wanna live like we live in the summer

And I’ll remember that summer as the right one
The storms made the pavement steam like a kettle
And our first goodbye always seemed like hours
In the car park in between my house and yours
And if the summer holds a song we might sing forever
The winter holds a bite we’d never felt before

But time is like the ocean
You can only hold a little in your hands
So we swim before we’re broken
Before our bones become
Black coral on the sand

We should be living like we lived that summer
I wanna live like we live in the summer
We should be living like we lived that summer
I wanna live like we live in the summer
We should be living like we lived that summer
I wanna live like we live in the summer
So if I could bottle up the sea breeze I would take it over to your house
And pour it loose through your garden ~ Josh Pyke.

Australia · in my garden · Mount Warning · native Australian birds · photography · rivers · spring · subtropical weather · sugar cane · Tweed Valley

Friday Photography

The early morning valley looked clear and sunny, and based on the way the weather has changed suddenly by mid-morning the last few days, I went out early to take a few photos. Lucky I did, as by around 9:30am the clouds had rolled in. This afternoon, it rained.

I had several cheeky little noisy miners flitting around me. They don’t stay still for long, so I grab a photo when I can. The background of a grey fence isn’t ideal, but you’ve gotta love this “pigeon toed” stance. ❤

Here’s Mr. Magpie …

And Mrs. Magpie …

… and one of my regular butcher bird visitors. Like the noisy miners, butcher birds don’t stay still for long either!

A post of bird photos would not  be complete without one of our beautiful kookaburras!

Today I have something a little bit different to share. From my back garden I can see distant glimpses of the Tweed River, so I zoomed in on a couple of areas to see what’s happening down in the valley.

It looks like there are still a few unharvested sugar cane fields. It also looks like the farmers are busy working in the harvested fields with the heavy machinery, probably preparing them for next year’s crop.

Occasionally I see a houseboat down on the river, and there was one there today.

I’m not sure what the weekend will bring. We still have chores to complete in the garden, but our weather is predicted to reach around 30 degrees Celsius both Saturday and Sunday. That will limit the time we spend outdoors if the prediction is accurate.

Have a great weekend!

birds · blessings · grand-baby one · new beginnings · photography · winter

Up in the Clouds.

up in the clouds
Up in the Clouds

Drizzling rain has hung around on and off during the past couple of weeks here, and as it turned out, the drizzle was simply a rehearsal for the main performance. The unannounced showtime took place yesterday with a number of bedraggled birds taking their seats in the front row.

You may remember the view of a gentle sunset over Mount Warning that I showed you a couple of weeks ago, a “Wordless Wednesday” post. To fully appreciate the amount of cloud surrounding my home yesterday, take a quick look at the contrasting view in the link, to the one above….

Awaiting the main event.
Awaiting the main event.

Way down the back garden I noticed a kookaburra, sitting in the bare branches of the pecan nut tree.

Larry Arrives.
Larry Arrives.

The wet kookaburra in the distance turned out to be a cold Larry, who waited patiently while I took photos of him, fluffing up his feathers to look his best, before flying to the veranda for his breakfast. He’s been visiting me for so long now, and seems to know the routine ~ food for a photo.

The Currawong's Return.
The Currawong’s Return.

At nesting time, many of the old regulars return to the area, including a family of Currawongs. They are timid birds, watch the veranda from a distance, and fly away to the safety of a far away tree if I venture outdoors when they are in the garden.

My "regular" friend, Mrs. Magpie.
My “regular” friend, Mr. Magpie.

My regulars, a pair of magpies, are nesting nearby right now, just as they have done for the last few years. I can hand feed these two, and I suspect that I may have known them when they were tiny babies, brought to my garden by their parents, for a safe haven and an easy feed, between lessons on worm-catching.

Noisy Miner.
Noisy Miner.

Never far from the magpies are a flock of Noisy Miners. Watching the various birds flitting around my garden over the years has taught me that Noisy Miners are the protectors of the Magpie Family. I always know where to find one of my cats in the garden, as that’s where the miners will be kicking up a ruckus. And during summer, when we have Channel Billed Cuckoos in the area (they fly over to Australia from Papua New Guinea about mid spring,) the Noisy Miners help the Magpies attack the Cuckoos. It’s such a sad sight, knowing that the cuckoos, if they manage to get to the nests of the Magpies and Currawongs, will remove the eggs and newly hatched baby birds from the nests and lay their own eggs. We found three dead, featherless baby birds around our garden last year, and as a result we had no baby magpies in our area. That’s the sad side of nature. 😦

Larry and Shilo.
Larry and Shilo, posing, and waiting for food.

I had to go out shopping during the morning, regardless of the weather, and I left my home amid the rain absolutely bucketing it down! We are having a baby shower here on Saturday morning, and thankfully the weather forecast is looking a tad more promising for today and tomorrow, cloudy, with patches of sunshine. So far, the forecast is accurate.

Little Forlorn Bird.
Little Forlorn Bird.

I love the expressions on the faces of the Noisy Miners! Even on a beautiful sunny day, they have the most forlorn little faces. I watched this little fellow, above, for some time, as he ducked under the shelter of large leaves, stayed there momentarily, then ducked back out again. I wondered, did he expect the rain to suddenly stop?

As I mentioned before, we are having a baby shower here on Saturday morning, so today I am spending some time pre-preparing food for the party. In case you missed the news, my first grand-baby is due in November, and my soon to be daughter-in-law is now over her morning sickness, looking beautiful, and becoming more excited every day by all of the upcoming events. First of all the baby shower, the wedding in September, and the baby due in November, it’s a very exciting year for both families. 🙂

And for an update on our baby, I hope that Mary won’t mind that I “stole” a lovely photo of her that she posted on Facebook which she told me her sister had taken one day when they drove down to Murwillumbah, one fine-weather day. Mary is standing near some sugar cane fields, looking very pregnant and just lovely.

Beautiful mama-to-be.
Beautiful mama-to-be.

Happy days, filled with blessings. ❤



Australia · Pacific Ocean · photography · son · South West Rocks · winter

White on White : The journey continues around South West Rocks.

White on white.
White on white.

When Adam told me I would find an abundance of subjects to photograph at South West Rocks, he wasn’t exaggerating. It was the most beautiful area to visit, but the highlight for me was the lighthouse area in the early morning light.

Pacific Sunrise.
Pacific Sunrise.

As our visit to the area was during July of last year, the sun rose quite late, being winter here, so we enjoyed not only the crisp morning air and the beautiful white lighthouse against the backdrop of white clouds, but also the sun rising over the ocean.

A white spectacle awaits.
A white spectacle awaits.

Everywhere I looked, pristine white surrounded us ~ the clouds, the lighthouse, even the white wooden fence along the way….


….the quaint white house on the right can be leased to holiday makers. Can you imagine waking in the morning and beginning the day with this view? I’d think I had died and gone to heaven!


As the sun began to rise, we caught an occasional glimpse of it as it tried to peek its way through the clouds, forming a white sun-spot on the ocean.

A western glimpse....
A western glimpse….

Even as we walked along the path towards the lighthouse, glimpses of the ocean could be seen behind the rental accommodation, looking towards the west. I’m sure that every window in these houses must have a view of the ocean.

A touch of orange against the white.
A touch of orange against the white.

Even the flora here was magical. I could have taken photos all day!

Is this real?
Is this real?

The waves below looked surreal. How could so much beauty be real? Surely it was all an illusion!


These Australian natives are known as Bottlebrush trees, for obvious reasons. Again though, the colour seemed almost angelic.


I think these are a kind of gumnut, or a hard seed cone. There is so much wild beauty here, and so close to the ocean too. Incredible.

Who goes there?
Who goes there?

Do you ever get the feeling you are being watched? I did, and I was! These two magpies didn’t seem to be bothered by Adam and I visiting their territory though. Perhaps they are used to humans losing all sense of time when they are visiting their home. 🙂


Australia · music · photography · summer

Sounds of Australia


“Out on the patio we’d sit,
And the humidity we’d breathe,
We’d watch the lightning crack over cane fields
Laugh and think that this is Australia.” ~ Sounds of Then (This is Australia) ~ Gangajang.

This coming Saturday, the 26th of January, is Australia Day and to commemorate the day I thought it might be different to add a series of posts with photos that are typically Australian. Perhaps native to Australia. Or maybe those things that when a person from overseas sees them, they may smile and say “I recognise that, it’s Australian”.


It will be interesting to see how many icons I can come up with. I haven’t planned this idea out to any great degree at all! I will simply take each day as it comes, leading up to Australia Day, in typical Aussie fashion.


“She’ll be right mate!” No, I do not speak in that way myself, but again, it is typically Australian, typifying the laid-back Australia style of taking each day as it comes, which is just what I will do.


First in my series of the typically Australian is the Australian Magpie, or Cracticus tibicen. My particular magpie friend is a black backed magpie and the one who patiently posed today for a photo shoot is a male. His wife didn’t visit with him today, (she must have been cleaning the nest, or some other such magpie activity) so he dined alone on his fresh mince.


The brown wooden table beyond the magpie is usually regarded as the feeding table as it is really fit to be thrown away, so I have kept it for the birds to use. They seem to enjoy jumping around the table and chairs and I’m not in the least bit concerned that they will dirty it at all. But, the kookaburras really want the feeding table to be exclusively for their use at the beginning and end of the day, when they are around, so I let magpie eat from another newer table occasionally.


Also typically Australian in some of these photos, if you look carefully in the background, is the weeds that have popped up between the pavers of the patio over the last couple of weeks. Throughout the year we fight a constant battle against the weeds and when the heat of summer arrives, we don’t stand a chance of getting rid of them.

Ah well, this is Australia….

I wonder if you have ever heard the song of a magpie? It is a beautiful chortling sound, one which I am often woken by in the morning, when my magpie visitors are asking for their breakfast.

Click on this link I have found on YouTube and you will hear the song of a magpie…..

“Along the road the magpies walk
with hands in pockets, left and right.
They tilt their heads, and stroll and talk.
In their well-fitted black and white.

They look like certain gentlemen
who seem most nonchalant and wise
until their meal is served — and then
what clashing beaks, what greedy eyes!

But not one man that I have heard
throws back his head in such a song
of grace and praise — no man nor bird.
Their greed is brief; their joy is long.
For each is born with such a throat
as thanks his God with every note.” ~ Magpies, Judith Wright.

They are such tame birds, once they become used to being fed by you they sometimes even come up to the door to meet you. I’ve heard that some magpies have become so tame that they will walk into a house! That hasn’t happened to me, so far they have preferred to dine alfresco, and I do hope that they don’t ever decided to come indoors as my cats may not take too kindly to sharing their home with a magpie!


Talking about Australian icons would not be complete without some Australian music. Whilst many may have heard the old classics, like “Tie Me Kangaroo Down” and “A Pub With No Beer”, there are so many other songs that scream “Australia” to me. These are the songs that if I were to ever find myself in a far off land and hear these songs, I would long for home.

One such song is “Sounds of Then” by Gangajang.