(and sometimes the beast!)




Yesterday, I spent quite a bit of time outside trying to get a photo of some blue triangle butterflies which were dancing around my neighbour's mock orange (Murraya paniculata) but gave up in disgust, seeming to have only snapped vast skies of perfect blue behind the flowers, just missing the subjects each time. But then I uploaded the shots to the computer and after a bit of cropping, it turned out I had caught a lovely dance off, not just the butterflies but including a bee! A joyful moment indeed.
To top it off, I'd also unknowingly captured a dandelion seed heading off to parts unknown... But that meant I didn't get to wish on it.



Today I seemed to notice more insects than usual on my walk and in the garden (perhaps because I got stung by a wasp yesterday), but my favourite was this graphic flutterer dragonfly! I'd never seen one before but it was the fluttering that gave it away. I found him hard to photograph because it was so skittish, the slightest movement on my part and it would flutter off and because it's so small it was difficult to focus on with a background of flowers and foliage. Luckily, I was able to move slightly to put the house wall behind it. I would have loved to see it's face but alas, that would have meant trespass! I think it looks like a bi-plane... "Chocks away, Ginger!"
Not the best shot of a blue banded bee, but I'll take what I can. They don't land for long on flowers (in this case some comfry), not as long as a honey bee anyway.
This pretty ladybird spent at least 2 days on the chive flowers; must not have heard the call to "fly away home". Such a tiny, shiny little bug, dulled only by the pollen. On a side note, Pam told me you can eat the chive flowers (seems logical now I know) and I munch away on them whenever I'm watering the garden.  The buds thrown in a salad would give a little garlic hit.
I think this is a hoverfly. Difficult to tell with its head shoved into a basil flower.
March fly I'm thinking, too high up to get a look at its head front on and I didn't want it landing on me anyway.
[edit 11/3/17 - Found this shot taken a few weeks ago of a March fly on the clothes line which is much sharper and shows its face!]
Naturally, the garden is alive with spiders and I will keep running into the webs around the place. Ugh, many a "spider dance" accompanied by requisite shrieking done around here. This guy is so tiny, and prickly looking.
This fellow was busy bundling up his lunch (of decaying bugs by the look) this morning. I went back later and he, and it, had gone. 
There's always something happening in the garden if you look.

It is common knowledge now that we depend on insects for our continued existence; that, without key pollinators, the human population would collapse in less than a decade. John Burnside



Now I've retired, I no longer work in Cooroy and I must say I will miss the place, especially the Noosa Botanic Gardens. Today, after a farewell lunch, I took my daughter there. The first thing we saw was this very colourful tree snake masquerading as a garden sprinkler in the Scaevola. It was getting a tad irritated by the attention I think as it began swaying and gyrating. Dance competition perhaps?  We left it alone and returned later but it had moved on.
Down to the pond but in the searing heat I only managed one focused shot of one of the two frogs we spotted. 
We saw a couple of turtles and the place is full of white and purple water lilies and lots of dragon flies. Appreciated this red one which kindly stopped near the lily so I could get the money shot before zooming off.
Love the colour of these 2 beehive ginger flowers which were hiding in the undergrowth.

I daresay I'll be back soon...



I have "discovered" a new (to me) and impressive, local photographer, Destin Sparks, and coincidentally, he is running a competition to join a photographic tour of New Zealand (one of my favourite countries).  So, to get into the spirit, I have decided to have a go at the competition. Nothing ventured, nothing gained and I think there'll be a lot to gain if just a smidge of his talent rubs off.

If you are interested in reading about or seeing more of Destin's work (which is for sale) you can visit him on Facebook, Instagram or the website. And of course you could enter too. He's also on twitter and google.

(Destin Sparks is a self-taught photographer based in Brisbane, Australia. Sparks harnesses the power of digital & film medium format cameras to capture rare moments in time and beautiful landscapes from around the world. Sparks' formula to making great photographs is about capturing the perfect lights and colours straight in the camera rather than resorting to Photoshop or post digital processing. Predominately known for his panoramic prints, Sparks also shares his expertise via photo tours and workshops.)



In July last year when I first visited the Noosa Botanic Gardens in Cooroy, I was fascinated by quite big fruits growing on several large shrubs/trees called Elephant Apples.  Today I returned and guess what? The fruits look much the same, slightly more yellow is all, despite the signage saying they flower in summer. When one was cut open it was layers of fibrous flaps enclosing what looked like banana flowers.  There were quite a few lying on the ground and let me say if one hit an elephant on the head, it would get a headache I think. They are pretty hefty "fruit". Read more about the apple  here. It appears I missed the flowering and so will have to keep returning to catch them. Tragic because you know how much I hate the Gardens... not!
Today I was also treated to a climbing frangipani. I've seen native frangipani but this one is a hardy looking vine which I'd not heard of before (not difficult as I'm fairly ignorant about lots of plants) which was climbing up a palm tree. The flowers were subtlety perfumed.
I love cassia and this Rainbow Shower example is also new to me. What a delight! From under the very shady branches the flowers look more yellow but you can see from outside more pink/red and in the close up, lots of different tones. An absolute stunner.

Honestly, the people who live near these Gardens are very, very lucky. I wish it was on my doorstep, not a 30 min drive away.