Saturday, August 30, 2008

Magnificent beasts

(Davistown walkies)

Giant cactus flower

Giant cactus flower. Golden knobs along a sort of flat thingy. This was taken a couple of weeks back so it might be open now. Locals zooming along Davistown Road can see it if they slow down at they come up to the roundabout at the school. Look for the giant cactus.

Davistown Road Davistown

A magnificent beast, maybe 40 feet high. Easily dwarfs this one in Ettalong and this Woy Woy one with the big knobs.

Sucks to be me

This ghost-blogging job is giving me the shits. More work in it than expected. I'm not getting out for walkies so posting for a couple of weeks might be spotty. It's sorta fun though, as long as you don't have to come into contact with upper management. Those buggers can talk for hours and say nothing. No wonder they go into bloody politics.

Right. I'm off. Be good and I'll chuck something up on Tuesday night.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Grab bag

(My poor over-worked brain is in recovery mode. Here’s something it prepared earlier.)

Local linkage

Gosford Times

Ettalong Beach Reporter

A photo a day - Woy Woy local

The Lost Railway of South Woy Woy


Added fillum to it.

Blog for free, or near as damn it

The last bits of the how-to posts. Probably.

For free (blogspot)
Flickr basic account (tells you who is reading your blog)
Technorati (publicise your blog)

Near as damn it

Flickr Pro at $30 a year (American dollars)

Gotta get you into my life

Schedule blogging into your week. Mark off Wednesday nights for pottering about on the internet and start putting a blog post together.

Yeah but no but

Gorn! Have a go. Whatcher got to lose?

Too chicken? Got nothing to say?

Read an amusing blogtionary instead.

How to take decent photos
How to blog (ideas, writing stuff, tips)
Put your old film photos on the internet
Put your digital photos on the internet
Put your photos on a blog

Okay, that's all my brain is capable of tonight. I am buggered.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Waterfowl & land birds of Brisbane Water

(Walkies gleanings)

Henderson Road Saratoga

Shag on a rock on a hot day. Just near the Veterans Hall ferry stop at Henderson Road Saratoga.

All these walkies I do make me notice stuff I never noticed before. Stuff like the flowers and trees and birds. I don't know a lot of the names of them but I like to see them living along side us humans, floating on the water between the ferries, wandering about on the foreshores, harassing tourists for chips, that sort of thing.

Correa Bay Reserve Woy Woy Bay Road Woy Woy South

Waiting for fish heads at Correa Bay Reserve Woy Woy Bay Road Woy Woy South.

Ducks at Empire Bay

The bog standard breed of ducks, hoping for free food at Empire Bay. Someone got on the ferry with hot chips and the ducks soon clustered round. Buggered if I know why because if you chuck them a chip they won't eat it.

Brick Wharf Road Woy Woy

Pelican soliciting for chips at the fish and chip shop on Brick Wharf Road.

(In the background is an interesting 1950s block of units called "Caprice" in red brick with a pattern of dots on it formed with white bricks. The block was demolished last year, possibly earlier.)

Kookaburra at Gosford

Still can't believe how close I got to this kookaburra. They're normally very timid. This one seemed to be waiting for the local office workers to deliver its lunch.

Kookaburras are seen at all times of day up on the hills and ridges, but here on the flat of Woy woy they come in groups at dusk and laugh in gum trees.

Brush turkeys in the trees

Brush turkeys. They look like such ungainly buggers but they climb these trees quite easily, slowly placing one scaly foot ahead of the other on the gently sloping branches.

Rainbow lorikeet in bottlebrush Woy Woy

Rainbow lorikeet in bottlebrush, Woy Woy. Lorikeets are rather shy birds but as noisy as buggery in groups. At dawn they cluster excitedly in flowering trees, squabbling over the best blooms and waking up the neighbours.

Pink & grey galahs

Pink & grey galahs feeding in a jacaranda in someone's back yard in Umina.

Sulphur-crested cockatoo etc at Taylor Street Woy Woy Bay

Sulphur-crested cockatoo (white bird). Haven't yet got a decent photo of one of these. They move too quick and perch up high in tall trees.

The other birds are a couple of plump owls of some sort, a rainbow lorikeet hanging upside down to feed and there's a nervous-looking tree possum down the bottom.The black birds flying at the sides are black cockatoos, a seldom-sighted bird.


It's all over the internet that Colin's been put down (euthanased). Poor little bugger lost his mum last week and was found nuzzling a yacht in Pittwater, just across the water from here. A post-mortem revealed Colin was actually Colette and her mum's body may have been found washed up on a beach down south. Wildlife officers had to put the poor thing down as she was getting weaker and weaker and they couldn't feed her.

From the Herald:
"A female humpback whale abandoning her three-week-old calf? Not likely.

Experts say a baby whale alone in Sydney's Pittwater was probably separated from its mother by force. ...

The baby humpback, believed to be about two or three weeks old, was first spotted on Sunday, nuzzling up to a yacht in an apparent search for its mother.

Authorities have suggested that the calf, nicknamed Colin, may have a biological problem, which led its mother to abandon it.

Experts have disagreed, saying a humpback female is very unlikely to abandon her calf, and would nurture it if it was sick.

Wally Franklin, Hervey Bay-based marine biologist with research group the Oceania Project, says ships in the waters off Sydney could be to blame, because they can break up sonic communication lines between whales." (Humans could be to blame for stranded calf)

Sydney Morning Herald

The truth about mozzies

I posted a map and some stuff about the paperbark forest last month, the wee jewel officially known as the Everglades Lagoon Wetland, nestled amongst the paperbarks next to the local golf club.

The crowd that looks after the wetland is having walkies there next month, combined with talkies.

From their flyer:
"Everglades Wetland... Walk & Talk
Saturday 27th September, 2008
RSVP by 24th on (02) 43494756

Nose to the grindstone

Spoke too soon about getting some time off. Got an unexpected job dropped into my lap. Some ghost-blogging. The writing sort not the woo woo sort.

So anyways, Tuesday's post may or may not be late. Put yer email in the thingy to get pinged.

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Monday, August 18, 2008

Empire Bay

(Empire Bay walkies #6? I'm so off track with these walkies numbers.)

Lovely warm blue winter sky again this morning. I popped out after breakfast and went across to Empire Bay on the Saratoga. Bit nippy with the cold breeze but the ride was nice.

White house Boongala Avenue Empire Bay

Nice old place soaking up the morning sun. Boongala Avenue.

I'm putting this place in the Victorian/Federation period (c. 1840 - c. 1890/c. 1890 - c. 1915) with the veranda closed in around the 1940s and the windows at the back and sides updated in the 1980s or 90s.

It looks like there's a wee bit of sagging on the veranda but it's possible that's the camera angle. Other than that it looks like it's been looked after.

Boongala Avenue Empire Bay

Wee old rusting cottage. Federation period (c. 1890 - c. 1915), with the front veranda partly closed in and those curly iron posts put on around the late 1940s or 1950s.

Wetlands keep our waterways clean & healthy

"Gosford City Council
Wetlands keep our
waterways clean and healthy
Wetlands are important
for fish breeding
Please respect the ecology
of our wetlands".

Empire Bay Wetland, off Myler Avenue Empire Bay

Mangroves and crab holes and bike tracks, yellow mud and scrubby succulents and native birds wading in the pools. Off Myler Avenue.

List of flora and fauna likely to be found at the Empire Bay Wetland

Gosford & District in Pictures has a lovely lot of historical photos of Empire Bay

Sat on the foreshore after my walk, waiting for the ferry in the warm winter sun. A dog was leaping with great joy into the water and bringing a ball back to its owner. A few seagulls and magpies wandered about looking for chips, a dingy puttered by.

Overhead there came the faint drone of an ultralight. We see them fairly often, crawling across the sky over Brisbane Water. They look like a cross between a paraglider and a lawnmower.

Wiki Creative Commons image

This is the type seen over Brisbane Water/the Greater Gosford.

Wiki says:
"In Australia a "Sport/Recreational aircraft" must have:

* a maximum all-up weight (MAUW) of 544 kg or 1,200 lb or less;
* a stalling speed under 45 knots (83 km/h) in landing configuration and
* a maximum of two seats.

In Australia, microlight aircraft are defined as one or two seat weight-shift aircraft, with a maximum takeoff weight of 450 kg, as set out by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority. In Australia microlights are also referred to as trikes and are distinguished from three-axis aircraft, of which the smallest are known as ultralights.

In Australia, microlight aircraft and their pilots can either be registered with the Hang Gliding Federation of Australia (HGFA)[1] or Recreational Aviation Australia (RA Aus)[2]. In all cases, except for privately built single-place ultralight aeroplanes[3], microlight aircraft or trikes are regulated by the Civil Aviation Regulations."

Ultralights at Wiki, includes gallery
Rayhay102's fantastic ultralight flight over the Central Coast

Flickrite in exhibition

The wonderful Cade has been exhibited in the MMOMA in Moscow. And he thoroughly deserves it.

Barbie's Love Dilemma
Barbie does time
Survivor Toyland

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Partial lunar eclipse

Got up at five o'clock this morning to see the eclipse. Stood out on the balcony watching it until it disappeared behind the ridge. Would've gone up to The Rampart or somewhere to watch if I'd had my wits about me, but who does at that hour? Anyways, it was good. Not as good as the last one with the blood moon and everything, but good.

The moon passed partially into the earth's umbra (shadow). This is fairly common. It didn't achieve totality, so the whole if the moon was not in shadow. It set here on the east coast of Australia before we could see the whole thing but on the west coast of Western Australia it got to its full 81% before it set.

Annoyingly, there's no amateur uploads to flickr yet from WA and the Perth Observatory's blog is also mum on the subject. Bastards. But the observatory does tell us a "lunar eclipse can only happen at full moon, when the Sun, the Earth and the Moon are in line (in that order) and the Earth’s shadow falls on the Moon."

Sydney Observatory's blog

This morning's eclipse seen from Norway

Annotated northern moon, seen from California

Blue moon, seen from Ireland - use bold italics in his profile but has some nice moon photos
Spooky clouded blood moon

Solar flare at totality, solar eclipse 2006, seen from Turkey

Partial solar eclipse seen from England

Plane in front of eclipsing moon, 2006, seen from England

Blood Moon

Lunar eclipse full

A blood moon is when the moon goes red during a total eclipse. There's bugger-all light on it and no blue bits in the light and voila! blood moon. There's a clearer picture of it here.

Total lunar eclipse August 2007

FM from France & Brazil

Full moon from France (left) and Brazil.

And while we're at it, let's look at the partial solar eclipse in February

More Sydney Observatory linkage

Major upcoming sky events

The dreaded Mars hoax returns

The dish at Parkes and the Apollo moon landings - the film was "historically fairly accurate"

The SO has podcasts and you can buy an annual sky guide.

Coming to a sky near you

20th to 22nd August 2008
Mercury close to Venus, under two moon-widths apart. Low in western sky.

December 10th and 11th 2011
Total eclipse of Moon. Visible Australia from 11.45pm (Sydney). Likely to be a blood moon.

June 6th 2012
Transit of Venus. Venus crosses in front of Sun, appearing as a small black disc. A rare event. Visible on the eastern coast of Australia from 8.16am (Sydney).
Capt. Cook's transit & the 2004 transit
Cook at Ducktionary

November 14th 2012
Total eclipse of the Sun. Visible in Australia, Cairns (Queensland) in path of totality. Full eclipse 2 minutes from 6.40am (Sydney).

July 31st 2018
Favourable opposition of Mars. Close to Earth (nothing like that stupid bloody hoax).

July 22nd 2028
Total eclipse of the Sun. Fully visible in Australia, path of totality from WA (north) to Sydney and New Zealand. Begins 12.44pm (Sydney), totality about 2pm.

April 14th 2029
Close pass by the asteroid 99942 Apophis, around 40,000 kilometres, height similar to communications satellites. Visible from Australia in hours before dawn.

September 8th 2040
Five planets closely grouped in the night sky. Visible to naked eye in the west after sunset.

July 29th 2061
Halley’s Comet returns. Last visit 1986.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Palm Beach

While the Palm Beach ferry is a hot topic, let's pop back across to Palmy.

Brisbane Water & Pittwater

Pittwater and Brisbane Water ferry routes. The bottom route goes from Ettalong to Palm Beach and is the one threatened by the sandbank.

(Incidentally, everything on the green and blue map is on the Central Coast and everything on the blue map is in Sydney.)

Fantasea Crystal

Fantasea Crystal at Palm Beach. A comfy and efficient ferry but not exciting as ferries go.

These two are also of the Palm Beach fleet:

Crystal Spirit, at Wagstaffe
Myra & friend, wooden ferries at Palm Beach

Floating life - ferries, dingies, wooden boats, putt-putts, a hull, a raised wreck, and a sub

Lion Island from Palm Beach ferry

Lion Island from the Palm Beach ferry. I never get tired of Lion Island.

List of birds & beasts on Lion Island
Islands of Broken Bay

Sea plane at Palm Beach

Seaplane at Palm Beach

Seaplane at Palm Beach, with Barrenjoey Head behind it. The seaplane takes off from Sydney Harbour and does sightseeing tours up the coast to Pittwater.

Work work work

Have been working long hours. Hence the late posts recently. Made the deadline though and there's a bit of calmer water ahead, thank christ.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

To the beach

(Random walkies in Woy Woy)

Umina Beach

The sun was fucking glorious again today. Freezing morning then warm warm sun. Went to the beach and toasted myself in a sheltered spot, gazed at Barrenjoey Head and wondered what it would be like to live in a lighthouse.

These top two photos were taken last month just after a big rain. It was a lovely warm day and everyone was out about after being cooped up for a week of dark wet days.

This one is the path to Umina Beach, down through the native bushes, the tea trees and the scrubby dune plants to the long beach stretching from the sandbar at Ettalong to the caravan park tucked into the fold of Mount Ettalong.

Umina Beach

Dear Old Things examining the beach for a comfy spot to settle. Umina Beach.

Beaches of the Woy Woy Peninsula

The orange bits are beaches.

Umina Beach and Pearl Beach get some surf, which comes in through the mouth of Broken Bay.

While we're on the beach theme, here's some old paths-to-beaches photos to extend the beach-y feel.

Out Through The Heads

Out through the heads. Looking from Umina Beach out through the mouth of Broken Bay, Box Head on the left, Barrenjoey Head on the right.

From the mouth of Broken Bay you go out into the Tasman Sea. Go straight ahead and you'll graze the top of New Zealand and end up in the South Pacific. Go left and you'll go up the coast of NSW (New South Wales) to Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef. Turn right and you'll go down the Central Coast to Sydney then down to Tassie (Tasmania) and eventually to the Antartic.

Pearl Beach from the Mount Ettalong track

Pearl Beach from the Mount Ettalong track. The track goes round the bottom of Mount Ettalong, along the bottom of the cliff. As you walk along you can see across to Box Head and Barrenjoey Head, and down into Pittwater where the Palm Beach ferry goes. You can also see the boulders that've falen off the cliff at random over the years.

Beach Steps

An old one, just because. High tide at Ettalong Beach. Steps down to the beach from Lance Webb Reserve, off Picnic Parade Ettalong.

Coming to a night sky near you

There's another lunar eclipse in a couple of days.

How to photograph a lunar eclipse

I'm off to me dinner. This post is so bloody late because I stopped to watch Time Team.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Ettalong Beach

(Random walkies on the Woy Woy Peninsula)

Golden Wattle at Ettalong Beach

Golden Wattle. Acacia is the proper name of the golden wattles. This one seems to be the Coastal Wattle AKA Acacia longifolia or A. sophorae and as you can see it's growing happily on the beach and the link below says "[g]rows in dunal, heath and sclerophyll communities including headlands" and "[d]istribution: Queensland to Victoria".

Species page at some govt site

Wattle wattle wattle - all my wattle photos at Flickr

Golden Wattle at Ettalong Beach

These photos were all taken just opposite the Excresence, that great white whale of a resort on the foreshore at Ettalong.

Lion Island & Ettalong Beach foreshore

Lion Island there in the distance, and on the right the Ettalong foreshore where the pines, drain and barbies are and where Mr Whippy dispenses icecreams of a weekend.

Barrenjoey Head & Lion Island from Ettalong Beach

Barrenjoey Head and Lion Island from Ettalong Beach.

Bustling Downtown Ettalong (Map)

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Broadwater Drive Part II

Broadwater Drive (Part I) from Saturday.

(Saratoga walkies #12, not sure if it's 10 or 12 but bugger it)

Ferry routes of Brisbane Water

Kincumber Broadwater is just above the cross at the right hand middle of the map. Broadwater Drive is pretty much under where the "Ki" and "Br" overlap the shoreline.

Weston Street Saratoga

Broadwater Drive runs off Davistown Road in Saratoga. Weston Street is a short steep street running West off Broadwater Drive up near the Yattalunga boundary. There's only a couple of houses on it, it's that steep. This one is up the top. I think there's a house there. There's certainly a drive-way to it (below) but you can't see a bloody thing from the road.

Weston Street Saratoga

Tree-lined drive-way at the top of Weston Street. Opposite it is bush. It was a hot wet day, a muggy Autumn morning, when I hoicked my carcass up Weston Street. As I sweated my way up the street then slithered back down the loose stones on the road, I could hear nothing but the distant drone of a speedboat and the clear single note of a bell-bird's call.

Under the mangroves, Broadwater Drive Saratoga

Have put this photo in again because I like it. It's down the south end of the long narrow park that runs along the foreshore behind Broadwater Drive. The houses let onto the park and no doubt the residents make good use of it.

Notice the old tyres for stabilising the bank and the ubitiqious rock oysters clinging to the bricks in the left of the picture.

There was a faint whiff of sun-soaked seaweed and the quiet lap and slap of a slowly rising tide. It was a wee bit cool under the mangroves that morning but in summer they are a glorious refuge from the sun for man and duck.

Alphabet soup

Blasted pictures are being squashed by the sidebar again. Yonks back Fuckkit send me a thing for how to make a blog wider but gmail has chucked the bastard out. Will have to hunt the code down when I've got a sec. Fuckkit is in Fiji or summat now.

The flicks

Went to the flicks today. Cheap Tuesday at Ettalong. Saw The Bank Job. It was funny, smart and violent. Just the kind of flick I like. Based on a true story about the 1971 Baker Street robbery in which a bank vault of safety deposit boxes got tunnelled into and the crims found naughty pictures of a member of the royal family, which is Princess Margaret in a three-way in the film.

There was stand-over men, an archeaological site, naked people, amusing gaffs on walkie talkies, bent coppers, the aforementioned three-way, spooks (spies), pollies behaving badly, a gruesome torture scene, and the baddest guy gets a good kicking. Good clean fun.

Dredging saga continues

There's a shitload of sandbanks in Brisbane Water, mostly around the Ettalong area, and including one big one at the corner Ettalong and Umina beaches that the Palm Beach ferry has to skirt. (See ferry routes between The Rip and Lion Island above.)

Various sections of local and state government are still squabbling over who's paying for the dredging. They've been at it a couple of years that I can remember, probably longer.

From the Express Advocate:
"The Palm Beach ferry "transfers 400,000 people a year between the coast and Sydney's northern beaches.

When bushfires closed the Pacific Highway, F3 and the train line in 2002 and again on January 22 last year, the service ran 24 hours a day as the coast's only direct transport link to Sydney."

"The channel between the rocks south of Lobster Beach and shifting sandbars on the Ettalong Beach side has been reduced to between 12m and 15m wide depending on the tide.

Mr Lloyd said a 10m wide ferry could not navigate the channel if another boat even a runabout was coming the other way.

"We'd either crash, run them into the rocks or swamp them in our wake," he said." More)

Safety fears could sink ferry service

Footy ferry

The local ferry crowd, the same crowd that run the Saratoga and the wee old Codock II, are doing a ferry run to the footy. Up to Gosford wharf from various stops on the Empire Bay run to the Mariners game at Bluetongue AKA Grahame Park.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Broadwater Drive

(Saratoga walkies #10? 12? Yeah, about that.)

Very quick post this morning. I'm off in a few minutes.

Kincumber Broadwater from Broadwater Drive Saratoga

All these photos are taken from Broadwater Drive Saratoga overlooking the Kincumber Broadwater.

More about the area on Tuesday.

Under the mangroves, Broadwater Drive Saratoga

Under the cool shady mangroves.

Kincumber Broadwater from Broadwater Drive Saratoga

Stripy water on the Kincumber Broadwater.

Map of the Kincumber Broadwater & Saratoga. Broadwater Drive is not marked but rruns along the edge of Saratoga facing the Kincumber Broadwater.