Noisy Miners Post #3

This is the last of the little buggers for now.

We had a wonderful time watching them splash in the lake. They have a complex and dynamic social life, and this activity is clearly something they do for fun together.

Noisy Miner Dipping
Noisy Miner
Noisy Miner
“Hey guys – I’m a duck!”
Noisy Miner Dipping
Noisy Miner Dipping
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Canberra short break

We’re spending the Easter long weekend on a city break in Canberra. We carefully checked that all the attractions are open, and they are. Restaurants are another matter, most are closed. We lucked out though with the restaurant near the hotel being both excellent and open. Public transport barely exists, a problem we addressed by hiring a car. Those two problems thus solved, we are having a lovely break.

Telstra Tower.

Sculpture called “Thief of Time”.

Telstra Tower shadow. Once we took the same shot from the TV Tower in Berlin.

Lake Burley Griffin from the Telstra Tower.

Parliament House, tiny in the background, from the War Memorial.

Autumn colours. We had not seen any in a decade.

More autumn colours.

Australian War Memorial

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Birds.

It’s been pissing down this week. We’ve had torrential tropical downpours with local flooding, cliffs collapsing and the river rising. It has constrained the photography somewhat.

Nevertheless, birds:

Baby Bush Turkey
Baby Bush Turkey
Bush Turkey finds a Thing
Bush Turkey finds a Thing
A young noisy miner dangles from a branch
Spoonbill Catches a Fish
Spoonbill Catches a Fish
A Young Australian Raven
A Young Australian Raven
Little Black Cormorant in Flight
Little Black Cormorant in Flight
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Masked Lapwing Display Flights

The Masked Lapwings (Vanellus miles) are still thinking about mating, even as autumn approaches. Not much brain in a lapwing, to be fair. These are the birds that decided amidst the rolling acres of grassland and lake the best place to nest was the middle of the carpark. Several spaces had to be taped off for months. Not great thinkers, really.

There are a couple of males courting a female. They do this with astonishing display flights, demonstrating what incredible aerial athletes they are.

Standing on the Path
Pulling some high g
Over the waterlilies
Turning hard
Overbanking

(More pictures from NZ coming soon, but our local wildlife here in Brisbane is also bloody impressive.)

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Belching Bertha

A cruise around the pristine Lake Wakatipu in the pure, clear air of the Southern Alps aboard the coal-burning, fume-spewing TSS Earlshaw.

She’s a lovely old railway steamer with twin triple-expansion steam engines powered by a pair of manually-stoked coal-fired boilers. The engines are fairly advanced for their era, with jet condenser steam scavenging.

Built in Dunedin in 1912, then dismantled and over landed to a Queenstown, she’s been belching filth into the clean air for over a century.

She has her original steam capstan and winch.

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