Saturday, November 26, 2011

Windy Sunday O'Connor ridge

I went back onto O'Connor ridge this morning, mostly because I really enjoyed the walk yesterday and I was hoping to spot the Speckled Warbler again but also because I had neglected to take my camera yesterday. There is one clearing a the top of the first ridge section (climbing up from Dryandra St) where some of the fire trails meet, that seems to have become a graffiti gallery. The first two pictures are two sides of the same tree.
I"m not sure whether this type of eucalyptus sheds its bark, meaning that these pictures will be fall off over the coming months. Given the way that Canberra public space is organised and policed it doesn't surprise me that graffiti artists have taken to painting trees, although I am concerned for the trees health. The large trees could be at least 80 years old and providing nesting hollows for birds and marsupials. 

The wind was blowing pretty hard so I knew it was not going to be an easy day for seeing small birds. In the area that was alive yesterday I only saw one juvenile Red-Wattlebird. In fact the day pretty much belonged to the Crimson Rosellas and Red Wattle birds. Although I walked further this time and came to a grassy area and a family of White-winged Choughs

On the way down I heard a familiar repetitive 'kek kek kek' calling of several birds. On the dead tree pictured below, I saw 3 Sacred Kingfisher. The subtlety of their colouring makes my heart sing.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Walk on O'Connor ridge this morning

2 Friar Birds gleaning in the flower eucalyptus blossom
Several of solitary sulphur crested cockatoos at various points on the trail- they all seemed to have gather at the park across the road in the evening.
A pair of Crimson Rosellas with 2 green juveniles
A juvenile Dollar Bird perched on the top of a dead eucalyptus squawking (my first sighting of the season)
1 Pied Currawong
I paused for a long time in a mixed feeding flock that was buzzing around in a thicket of small eucalyptus and acacias and identified for sure:
Several beautiful Spotted Pardalotes
A Weebill with a very pink-looking bill
A Buff-rumped Thornbill
Brown Thornbills
A family of Superb Fairy-wrens
and under an wattle a Speckled Warbler - listed as vulnerable in NSW. I think I have only seen one of these birds before ( I don't have my field guide with me.)
3 Galahs flying over on my way down the ridge

Heard but not seen:
Striated Pardalotes
Black-faced Cuckoo-shrikes
A White-troated Tree-creeper


1 feral rabbit
2 Eastern Grey Kangaroos (that link will take you to a website that tells to the best places to see each species, they Mt Ainslie in Canberra! This link will take to the ACT government site that has information on some tracking they are doing on Eastern Greys in urban areas)

2 humans with dogs
1 human sweating on a mountain bike
1 human with a pram and a sleeping baby
1 human in training for mountain climbing
3 wide brim hat wearing retirees

(most bird-links are to the excellent Canberra Birds website)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sunday surprises #2

I went to check out the Primavera exhibition with Andzrej. This year due to the refurbishments of the museum, it is being held off-site in The Rocks area, with an exhibition in the Bond Store and surrounds. I am not sure whether it really works too well as a show- maybe that is the venue? Or maybe just that Primavera is a show that put together around a group of young artists without too much relation to each other? I enjoyed some works individually, although I think it was not so interesting for show that was at least partly conceived of as working in public space.
The Brown Council have three videos in the exhibition, I can't quiet remember the titles (the wall panels are non-existent which is REALLY frustrating. I had no idea who made all the works...), 2 in the Bond Store and one installed in this historic stone room that looked like it was a laundry at some point as there was some cement and brick troughs on one side of the room.
 The three videos are inter-related with the one installed outside playing on the idea of disappearing ( I just looked it up on their website it's called Disappearing Act.)
There are quiet a few nice things in the work- like the awkward mix of theatrical acting/movement and deadpan performance to carry out the "disappearing act". Its really clear how the artists 'magic' themselves away, and it that way the work opens up the magic of the viewers imagination rather than dazzling us with techno wizardry.

The room is not quiet light tight and there are plenty of gaps that let light in. There was a moment in the when the video went to black, which was just before the moment below when each of the four performers came into screen to start walking out backwards.
 Instead of getting a black screen there was an incidental image projected from an accidental camera obscura or the room was a giant pin hole camera. I couldn't work out what the image and was and where it was coming from but, it was a very nice unexpected magical moment.

Sunday surprises #1

This morning the sky told me: