Sunday, 24 July 2011

Cold, wet and windy at the beach

Sydney, and pretty well all the east coast of NSW and Victoria, have just experienced days of torrential rain and gale force winds. Hopefully over now but you never know. I love storms but it did get a bit scary as I watched the water rising into our garden and hoped the chicken pen would survive. Of course the chickens themselves were fine; they just moved onto the doormat and gazed at me sadly as Basil the Beagle and I sat huddled by the heater. Keeping their food dry and feeding them on the deck has meant that the local birds have stepped up to the challenge and tried a bit of pilfering when my attention strayed.

This is a Sulphur Crested Cockatoo, one of about 50 that attempt to steal the chook food. However, these two Rainbow Lorikeets, way smaller but very bold, chased the Cockatoos and kept them at bay until they'd had their fill. These are wild birds, and I don't think should be fed, but they are accustomed to handouts from campers and spend their afternoons casing the neighbourhood for possible snacks.

The beach has been covered with seaweed and a wonderful collection of sea animals, most of them dead, but if I think they may be alive I toss them back in. Sea urchins of many varieties, starfish, small fish, all tumbled together out of the maelstrom of waves and onto the beach. For the first time I found a sea mouse Aphrodita australis. This is a polychaete, and I've read that the spines may be stingers but I had to pick it up to put it back in the water, and I didn't get stung. The photos show the top and underside of this weird little animal, which was about 4 inches long. The link is to the Sea Slug Forum, and this is NOT a sea slug. It just happened to be the best link I could find.

I finally finished my edition of books for BookArtObject and posted them off. I had worked on a spiral version but had a change of heart and instead made 15 copies of a Blizzard Book. As I'm not at home I don't have photos to show you but will post pics in a couple of weeks. Two more weeks to go here at Basil's house and I'm hoping for lots of dry weather.