Parting Shots

As the year quickly passes into history, I traditionally post some “parting shots.” This year’s photos were all taken on our trip to Australia this fall. I hope they bring a smile as we finish 2016.

(You can see previous years’ pictures by typing “parting shots” into the search box in the upper right hand column.)


Australian White Ibis, near Daintree Village, QLD

Continue reading “Parting Shots”

A Down Under Carol

We’re all familiar with French hens, turtledoves, and partridges in pear trees, but do you associate Christmas with bellbirds, friarbirds, and currawongs? You might, if you live in Australia!

Having just visited this amazing continent (and we barely got a taste in three weeks!), I am delighted to share this distinctly Aussie Christmas carol with you. It was written by William Garnet James and John Wheeler, is sung by Bucko & Champs, and was posted to YouTube by Shirley Wookie.

Carol of the Birds

Make sure your sound is on. I’m afraid the quality is rather poor, so don’t make the screen too big. And for the record, “orana” means welcome in an Aboriginal tongue.
At top: Currawong (Faulconbridge, NSW, left), and Helmeted Friarbird (Daintree, QLD).

Birding Down Under, Part 2

(Don’t miss Part 1, which I posted last Monday.)

It wasn’t difficult to find birding hotspots to explore. During a visit to the town of Katoomba, I took a short trail leading from Wentworth Falls to the “car park” and turned up an assortment of species, including a Golden Whistler (above, left) and an Eastern Spinebill (above, right). Continue reading “Birding Down Under, Part 2”

Birding Down Under

katoomba-nsw-australia_lah_5599If you could go birding anywhere in the world, where would you go? That was the question my husband asked when he presented me with a pile of frequent flyer miles and credit card points for my 60th birthday. There are so many choices, but after months of careful research, I chose Australia. I wasn’t disappointed. Birding Australia was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

After far too many hours in the air, we landed in Sydney just as the sun was setting. Our friends picked us up and drove us an hour or so west to their home in the Blue Mountains, where we planned to stay for a week. Exhausted from the flight, we went straight to bed. But early the next morning, lying in the predawn dimness, I heard a chirp. And then another. A bird started singing, and was quickly joined by several more. A minute later I was up, dressed, and downstairs with my camera, binoculars, and Field Guide to Australian Birds. I was in Australia!

Continue reading “Birding Down Under”

Gardens Fit for Royalty


One of the joys of traveling is that you can visit gardens in other parts of the world—places with different climates growing plants totally unlike those in we have here in Colorado. I just returned from a long overseas trip that included visits to botanic gardens in both Australia and Singapore. Talk about different! On the one hand, the tropical blossoms and exotic ferns were a delight to the senses. On the other hand, there is no way I could ever grow any of them at home, except as houseplants. And even then, our low humidity would discourage most of these species.

Continue reading “Gardens Fit for Royalty”

Australia Adventures

wallaby_cheyennemtnzoo-co_tim_1660As you read this, my husband and I are on our way to the land of wallabies (right),  waratahs, and wattles. Yup, we’re going to Australia! This amazing country has been on my “bucket list” since I was thirteen, and we’ve been saving for it forever. I might be just a teeny bit excited.

Kookaburra_DenverZoo_LAH_1554While my husband wants nothing more complicated than a well-deserved hammock on the beach, I want to see the continent’s unique birds and plants. That means spending a lot of time outdoors, and that means that, besides the kookaburras (left) and kangaroos, there are a number of less-than-friendly creatures I might encounter.

Continue reading “Australia Adventures”