Frogmouths, Banksias and other Party Surprises – A Year of Blogging

I’ve been blogging for a year! How did this happen?  It’s only  due to the kind support  of my readers, friends and family so thanks all!  It’s been a rewarding venture and enabled me to meet  wonderful people from all around the globe. Will there be another year? I have no idea. I’m grateful for the last twelve months of interactions though and especially thankful to those experienced bloggers who gave up their precious time to impart advice and encouragement to a technophobe.

In keeping with a celebratory  one year blogging theme and since I haven’t a long hike to write about,  I’m sharing a virtual party with you. I’ll also be adding a few reflections as is common when one reaches a milestone. There may even be another survival story going back hundreds of years if you stay awake for the ending…

Let’s start with birthday decorations. Since I’m a nature freak, you  won’t find any balloons in sight. Instead, how about a floral collection  of one of my favourite Australian native flowers – the banksia.  These pictures have been taken from all my walks this year. They come in many beautiful shapes, sizes and colours…like the people of this world.

Birthdays also involve surprises and the sight of a tawny frogmouth perched low in a palm tree near my front door recently was a welcome one.

Tawny Frogmouth

I’ve been disappointed by the loss of birdlife and reptiles from my back yard in the last twelve months. If you’ve read my post The Shortest Hike in the World you’ll know how much I enjoy backyard visitors. Perhaps the reduced population is due to new arrivals in the street whose cat spends much of its time hunting on my block. The incredible amount of land clearing and development going on in my suburb has no doubt contributed too.

Tawny Frogmout

Some may  describe tawny frogmouths as ugly, but to me they look like the teddy bears of the bird world. Although they are nocturnal carnivorous feeders like owls, there are distinct differences and they’re more closely related to nightjars.  While they both have wide eyes and anisodactyl feet, owls have stronger legs with powerful talons and flexible toe joints which enable them to catch their prey. Tawny frogmouths prefer to catch  their prey with wide forward facing beaks. Owls have narrow downwards facing beaks and their eyes are more fully forward than frogmouths.

If you are a bird and after a loyal and attentive partner, the frogmouth is a perfect candidate as they mate for life and share all aspects of nest building and chick rearing. Frogmouths remain in the same small area for about ten years (their usual lifespan) and can often be found snuggled next to each other on tree branches in breeding season. Males will gently preen the female for up to ten minutes at a time. Tawny frogmouths in defence, position themselves to look like tree branches. I’ve had them nesting in my yard for several years and hear them often but have only spotted them twice.

Tawny-Frogmouth-camouflaged

Unfortunately, tawny frogmouths are often the victim of collisons with cars because they are attracted to insects  in car lights. In a gutter of my street I discovered the remains of one such victim. I wondered if it was the mate of the bird in my yard.

Tawny Frogmouth roadkill

The reproductive behaviour of tawny frogmouths had me pondering the variety of courtship and chick-rearing patterns in the bird world. I’m one of the few people I know who are fond of Australian ibis. They may have annoying habits such as stealing food from lunching students on campus and their harsh croaking cries are far from tuneful but I admire their ability to adapt to our urban environment. While we take away their natural environment through progress, they survive by dining on our garbage.  Here’s a reminder from an older post. How could you not love that face?

Ibis

If you’re after a bit of pizazz in your dating partner the male ibis might be your answer. He positions himself up high in a branch, acts aggressively towards males and offers a long stick to a potential female. When she grabs the end of the stick the bond is cemented. How is that for romance, people? No-one has ever offered me a stick.

The cooling lakes of the decommissioned Swanbank coal power station are a haven for ibis.

ibis-Swanbank-power-station

Ibis-roosting-Swanbank-Power-Station

Recently I made a second trip there so I could write an entire post about it, but after being checked on by a security guard and watched by a few slow moving utes, I decided an extended stay was not recommended. I’d been naively unaware of the controversy regarding the whole area. There are signs pinned to trees, protesting the sale of this public asset.

swanbank

I was able to still snatch a few photos of what is now a haven for water birds, including hundreds of ibis,  ducks, pelicans, cormorants, darters and raptors. I was so nervous about being watched  though that I didn’t see four beautiful quail until they flew off a couple of metres in front of me. I was certainly not in wildlife spotting mode.

swanbank

Swanbank

Swanbank

Swanbank was named after the birthplace in Scotland of the wife of a local well known Ipswich businessman. It’s a rather pretty name for an area that’s had coal and coal seam gas industries. It is an example though of an area once used for human activities reverting back to a sanctuary for native creatures. Unfortunately, the next picture is the opposite case.

Construction site

Do you remember my recent photographs from Fruitful Wanderings of the quandong trees, a leopard wood tree and a strange eucalyptus “window” ?  Well, the grass oval and surrounding trees have now been removed to build a sports hub, including a synthetic playing field. While it’s certainly not a tragedy, I was a little disappointed.

Regular walking helps us  see changes in the environment at close range and in the last year I’ve witnessed  both pleasant and disturbing examples.   My Castle Hill post showed land reverting back to nature. My Platypus post showed development removing creekside habitat.  The decommissioned Swanbank Coal Power Station is now a home for waterbirds. The University of Queensland has removed some of my favourite trees.  One thing remains constant…change!

Birthdays involve gifts and here is one given to me this year by  one of my loving adult children.

tshirt

It’s meant to represent my personality.  A dopey looking sloth parachuting does represent elements of my mildly extreme nature – the desire for adventure combined with an aging, slow-moving body.  I haven’t grown the characteristic green mould  just yet though. This year I became the mother of three people in their 20s. No longer do I need to give the “two in their twenties and one teenager” mouthful of a reply when people ask me their ages. No teenagers means no more worrying, right? And while we’re on the subject of birthdays, this wouldn’t be a blog party if it didn’t include cake. If you’d been  here, I would have shared these with you. Aren’t I generous? Sadly, most   have taken up permanent residence on my hips and waist.

cake

My youngest escapes teenager-hood at last.

I promised readers who stayed awake through these ramblings another survival story. This year my grandfather died. He was almost 104 years old. I rarely saw him but his German heritage was often  emphasised.

My grandparents

Recently,  I was surprised  to discover that my grandfather’s heritage was far more complex than a simple German  background.  On his mother’s side he came from a long line of Spanish Crypto-Jews, many of whom were burnt at the stake during the Inquisition.   By the way, if you confessed and converted at the last minute you could be  garrotted with wire before burning which was a little less painful. This often came after many hours of torture over a period of a few days.  My relatives who escaped or were expelled went to England.

Spanish Inquisition

Later in history,  a Catholic woman had a child with a Protestant King of England.  Because she was Catholic, her private marriage to him was not officially recognised and neither was their child. Against the family’s wishes their daughter married a Jewish gamekeeper’s son  and they eventually came to Australia with their many children. This couple was one set of my grandfather’s distant grandparents.

Meanwhile, a poor, illiterate Irish Catholic servant girl also came to Australia with English employees.  She eventually married an illiterate ex-convict who’d been transported to Australia. This couple were also a distant set of grandparents to my grandfather.  Their daughter eventually married a man from a rich and respected family and they produced inventive, adventurous and financially successful children. A female descendant of one of these men married a German immigrant and they produced my grandfather. Here is a picture of his mother, a descendant of a King of England,   Spanish Jews, a convict and a poor Irish servant. Here is a wedding photograph of her marriage to a German immigrant.

My great-grandparents.

So why am I detailing this? What is the point? Well, it is encouraging to me to know  my own existence is due in part to the ability of some of my ancestors to ignore their differences. Catholics married Protestants. Protestants married Crypto-Jews.  Irish married English.  Spanish married  English. Australians married Germans. Rich married poor.  Royal blood mixed with convict blood. At many points in my family tree, love  conquered hatred, fear and prejudice and I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for their rebellion against cultural, societal and family norms.

Thanks all for reading and supporting my foray into blogging. I would never have continued without you.

113 thoughts on “Frogmouths, Banksias and other Party Surprises – A Year of Blogging

  1. This is such a beautiful post.. and irony.. most of the blogs I visited today seemed to point out the irony haha.. I turned a year older today and you are talking about birthdays and so did a few other bloggers and friends I follow..
    Secondly, and this is such an amazing thing.. I spent two years in the last four years researching Sephardim.. for a book that is probably never going to be written haha.. and suddenly, I put up a blog and it seems to me now, every fifth blogger I meet has some Sephardic connection.. and now you too 🙂 wow.. I am simply amazed..
    Lastly, when the world is becoming such an intolerant space, it is not just refreshing but also touching to read your words on “live and let live”. I appreciate it very much, thank you so much for this wonderful post. 🙂 Take care, hope you are well.

    • Yes, I am reading a lot of irony in blog posts these days. I hadn’t come across many posts about Jewish history though. I think many of us will find some kind of link if we look deeply enough into our past. Most of us are connected in some way. 🙂 I hope you do manage to write your book one day. I’ve been reading accounts written by witnesses to the torture and burning of my relatives during the Inquisition. Sobering stuff! I’m glad some managed to escape.
      Thank you for your words of encouragement about my blog. I appreciate the time you take to read the posts and comment and am pleased you get something out of them. Have a beautiful weekend. Best wishes. 🙂

    • Thank you very much, John. You’ve been there right from the very start and I always always look forward to your comments. One day soon I’m going to get myself a kindle so I can read your books! Your simple but thoughtful posts are a nice way to start the day or end the night. 🙂

  2. I’m not sure what I enjoyed more–the Banksia photos, the t-shirt, the Frogmouths (never heard of them before), or your grandfather’s story. Wonderful post and blog. Congratulations on your one-year anniversary.

    • It was a bit of a throw together post of images as I didn’t have a hike to share so I’m glad you actually enjoyed the mix! Thanks for your lovely comments about my blog and the congratulations. I wouldn’t be blogging without nice people like you encouraging me. I also enjoy your wonderful blog! Have a lovely week. 🙂

  3. Congratulations Jane for your milestone and for sharing your history. You have always showcased a wonderful selection of our Australian natural heritage. Thanks so much, and I hope you continue to do so, as our friendship has grown over the past year my dear blogging friend:-)

    • Thank you so much for those lovely words. I do appreciate the support you’ve given me and also the friendship. It’s very encouraging. Thank you also for sharing your wonderful nature photos, videos and information about our country. I am behind in reading your latest posts. I hope to catch up on Saturday when I can look at them without rushing and a cuppa in hand! I hope you both have a beautiful weekend. 🙂

  4. Congratulations on your first anniversary! And a great party! I really enjoyed all the pictures and your stories. So many unusual plants, so unlike anything here in Canada. The diversity of our planet is simply amazing and it is unfortunate that more and more of that biodiversity and habitats are lost to development. Loved the picture of a frogmouth. We’ve heard owls a few times on our trips but still haven’t seen one up close. And the ibis looks awesome. We saw ibises on our trip to Florida but those looked different.
    I agree blogging is a great way to meet people across the globe and share our love for nature and outdoor adventures. Looking forward to reading about your future adventures!

    • Thanks very much! I wasn’t sure I’d make it past a few months actually so a year has been a nice surprise. The best part of it has been the nice interactions with readers/bloggers. I doubt I would have felt motivated to continue without the kind contact. I’m not very confident.
      Owls and frogmouths are both wonderful birds. I rarely see either but certainly hear them at night. Yes, our ibis can be quite different to some I’ve seen in the northern hemisphere.
      I hope I’m able to head up to Canada one of these years. I’ve got friends who live there I’d like to visit. Your stunning landscape shots also tempt me! It’s very different country to what we have in Queensland. Looking forward to enjoying more of your wonderful family camping trips. Best wishes. 🙂

    • They are one of my favourite birds. When I first heard their rhythmic “oo…oo…oo” sounds I was a student at uni and thought someone must be using a washing machine late at night. After a few weeks of this I realised there was a frogmouth nest in a gum tree nest to my second storey flat! I could see the chicks in the nest.
      I was very surprised to see this one near my front steps and so low down. I wondered if it was ill or hurt. Normally they are much better camouflaged. As I wrote, I did find the remains of a dead one on my street so perhaps it was missing its mate. They are also affected by pesticides and I know my neighbours have been using a lot of yard chemicals lately for insects and weeds. I haven’t seen it again. I’ve never seen a cassowary in the wild. That would be an experience! Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. I hope you get a replacement macro soon! I feel your pain. Best wishes. 🙂

      • Oh my gosh! Chicks!!!! Now that would be something amazing to see. I did have an amazing experience with that cassowary…I was out alone in the rainforest at dawn. I had my camera the whole time but I just stared at it with my mouth hanging open. Alas, haha. Poor frogmouths 😦

        • Yes, there were two chicks and then there was only one. I never did get a good photo of them. Those were the days of student poverty when a decent camera or binoculars were out of reach. Oh, to see them again now! 🙂 Yes, I can just imagine the trance you would have been in when you saw the cassowary. Sometimes it’s a good thing to actually just experience it and not take photos. I’ve rarely done that though! I’m addicted to my camera now. Not sure that’s a good thing sometimes actually. 😉

    • Thanks very much for the congratulations and for reading and commenting. Frogmouths are one of my favourite birds, even though they aren’t very colourful or easy to see. Best wishes. 😀

  5. A beautiful and thoughtful post . . . both images and words! I’m glad I “found” you in the blog-o-sphere; congrats on your first “blogging birthday,” and best wishes for many more years/words/photos.

    A favorite quote from this piece:
    “Regular walking helps us see changes in the environment at close range and in the last year I’ve witnessed both pleasant and disturbing examples.”

    Yes! I think more folks could benefit from getting out and walking and learning about their critter and plant neighbors . . . this has certainly helped me appreciate the “wildness” that is right in my own yard/town/local hills.

    • Thanks very much for those lovely words. You’re very kind. I’m also glad to have found your blog and still marvel at the whole barefoot hiking thing. Of course, it makes sense and is more natural. I love walking on the beach barefoot. If I didn’t have such terrible ankles and knees now, I’d try it more often in other places! The venomous spiders and snakes here are probably a deterrent too. Our Indigenous population managed without shoes for 1000s of years though!
      I’m pleased that my words about the benefits of walking resonated with you. I’m sure as a regular walker you’ve gained a lot of knowledge and experience about the environment.
      Thanks again for your enthusiastic support! Happy hiking! 🙂

  6. Congratulations on a year of blogging! I’ve been enjoying your posts for the past few months, and look forward to each new one. This one is no exception, I loved the photos of the Banksias flowers and the frogmouth!

    I also liked the way that you used your own family’s history to point out how silly the prejudices that many people have are, and how tolerance for the religions of others would lead to a much happier world, if humans were smart enough to see that.

    • Thank you very much, Jerry. I get a lot of inspiration from your nature posts and have learnt many handy tips about photography too. When I upgrade my camera equipment, I will revisit those earlier blog posts as tutorials! You are one of my early supporters and I really appreciate your continued interest in my blog.
      Banksias and frogmouths are great examples of some of our unique flora and fauna here, and a couple of my favourites. That’s one reason I wanted to share them, so I’m pleased you enjoyed the pics.
      Delving into my family tree has been productive experience for me. Knowing all the threads that make up my existence is a bit humbling really and makes me more appreciative of what my ancestors went through. Yes, if only we didn’t fight over religion…what a different place this world would be. Looking forward to more of your wonderful posts, Jerry. 🙂

  7. Happy first anniversary! I had never heard of Frogmouths before, and I think they are BEAUTIFUL! And what an interesting family history. Recently my husband delved into his family genealogy and discovered several outlaws, bandits, and one well-known murderer! I have not looked into mine much. I know of a few skeletons in the closet, and that’s enough for me! Ha ha. I think more than anything, having some understanding about the times and conditions, makes us a little more empathetic to how it must have been back then… and to realize in a way, things really are not so different from now as far as what people must deal with and overcome. Oh, and I love the old family photographs. Isn’t it great to flip through those and find characteristics or physical features that have carried on? 🙂

    • Hi Lori! Thanks very much for your enthusiastic support of my blog. You are another experienced blogger who has been there from my early posts and you’ve been such an inspiration and encouragement to me. It’s always very kind of you to take the time to read and comment on my posts. Becoming online friends with you has been one of the highlights and made this blogging business worthwhile. 🙂
      Haha…I’m pleased you also appreciate the beautiful frogmouth. They are lovely in nature and adorable in appearance. My daughter describes them as huggable. 🙂
      Lori, I also found out some not so nice facts about some of my ancestors…reading about the slave trader was not a pleasant experience! I’m sure that we’ve all got nasty skeletons somewhere in our history. Sometimes it would be nice to have some sort of filter when doing ancestry searches that just shows the inspirational relatives. 😉 As you say though, people lived in different times and we don’t know what motivated them to do seemingly evil things. Perhaps in the same circumstances we would have acted similar! Heheh.
      Please keep sharing your beautiful nature tales, reflections and photographs from life on the farm. I look forward to them so much. Have a beautiful weekend, Lori. 😀

    • Thanks very much, Susan. I’m pleased you found my family tree of interest. That’s only my grandfather’s maternal mother’s side. I’m still overwhelmed by some of the detail I’ve found out about the rest. I really had no idea it was so complicated! One thing I’ve discovered is how well travelled and adventurous some of my relatives were. I’m a bit of a homebody compared to them. 🙂 From reading your own blog, it seems you’ve also done quite a lot of travelling in your time, Susan. I was fascinated to read of your place in Greece. Thanks for your continued interest and support of my blog. 🙂

    • Thanks very much for those encouraging words! It is great to hear from you and know that the posts are enjoyed. It helps motivate me when I feel like I have nothing of interest to offer people. It’s getting dry down Brisbane way. I hope it’s a bit greener up there. Cyclone season coming up soon I guess. I hope you get some good rain, but not too much too quickly! Best wishes. 🙂

      • Lovely to hear from you, Jane. As two of our daughters are at UQ we are regularly down your way exploring St Lucia and other SEQ places. Our daughter showed us the small reserve near Taringa last time we were there. A lovely short walk. Would love to hear about it in one of your posts sometime. 🙂

        • Hi Tony, after reading your comment I’ve been having a look at google maps to see which reserve you mean. I wonder if your daughter can remember the name of the place or the street it was near? Was it Perrin Park? It wasn’t in neighbouring Indooroopilly was it? I’ll certainly check it out and share some shots if I can find the one you mean. I wish your daughters well with their studies at UQ. It’s good of you to travel so far south to visit them. 🙂

  8. Your family tree is almost as intricate and fascinating as the natural world that you record so skilfully for us. I have enjoyed reading your blog and hope to continue to do so for many years.

    • Thanks very much for your kind support, Tom. I also really look forward to your daily reports from Langholm. It’s such a different part of the world from here and your dry wit is very entertaining. You often help give me ideas about how and what to photograph for my own blog. I also enjoy following the progress of your adorable grandchild. I hope you and Mrs T have a lovely weekend. 🙂

    • Thanks very much! I’m glad you enjoy them. I also look forward to your interesting photographs and information from your part of the world. Best wishes. 🙂

  9. Congratulations on a year of blogging! I hope you do continue posting as I really enjoy reading about your encounters with nature. I loved your photos of the frogmouth and was wondering where I’d seen that face before. You then said they were related to nightjars and all became clear. Not that I have seen more than a flying silhouette at dusk but I have looked at pictures of them. The assorted banksias are beautiful! Congratulations too, on becoming the mother of three twenty-somethings. It is always disappointing when land is cleared to make way for buildings and roads. One less haven for the wildlife.

    • Thank you very much, Clare! I didn’t know you had nightjars in your part of the world. I will have to look them up. It sounds like they are as rare to see as our frogmouths. I wonder if it will be a few years before I see another one! 🙂
      Banksias have been a favourite native flower of mine since I was a child. I love their funny shapes, colours and textures. We often played with the dried seed capsules and called them banksia people.
      As a mother of grown children yourself I am sure you know that the worry/concern doesn’t stop once they hit their 20s… 😉
      Yes, it always makes me a little sad to see the disappearance of bushland, especially when I’ve been walking there regularly and am familiar with the wildlife that live there. I do wonder about their demise.
      I’ve also enjoyed reading your lovely posts, Clare. They are a treat! I hope you also continue to share beautiful pictures and thoughts from your part of the world. All the best to you and your family. 🙂

  10. Congratulations on a year of blogging! What a pleasure it’s been to follow your always interesting and fascinating blog. The Banksia is splendid. Who knew a plant could offer so much variation? I loved the way you brought it all around to celebrating our differences. Hope it inspires some folks to be more tolerant. Here’s to another year of great posts from you! ❤

    • Thanks very much, Gunta! Your encouraging email when I first started blogging and your continued support made a big difference to my experience. The help and kindness from established bloggers such as yourself towards beginning bloggers is very much appreciated! Your quotes, photos and thoughts from your own life are inspiring to me. I hope you’ve managed to catch up on all that washing after the trip… It’s not easy coming back sometimes from a great escape! 🙂

      • I am on the road to recovery. Seems that age plays a big part in how quickly I recover from these adventures. My next post will highlight the worst night of the trip and possibly what slowed my recovery.

        As for encouraging you. It was a given because you always have such interesting things to say about new stuff I knew nothing about.

        • I’m younger than you and feel exhausted by short trips. I hope your full recovery does not take a long time. Oh dear, it seems your next post will reveal all… I’m so sorry it’s affected you this way, Gunta. Best wishes!

  11. Jane! Its been a long time since I stopped by, I know – lovely post! The swanbank pics – I remember a few power-station employee family Chtistmas picnics held there. And the story of your heritage, wow so interesting! I agree it is so inspiring to read what previous generations have gone through, what they have accomplished. Happy blog-birthday!

    • It’s wonderful to hear from you again! I’ve been thinking I should email you as I’ve wondered how the move and other things are going. You’ve got memories of Swanbank? Around the lakes used to be popular as a recreation area but areas seem closed off now and I didn’t see anyone at the picnic grounds. I’m not really sure what is going on. Thanks so much for reading and commenting. I’m pleased you enjoyed the heritage story. That’s just my grandpa’s side. There’s a lot I’ve kept back because I didn’t want to bore people (and some of it is not quite nice!) I hope we can catch up one of these days. Take good care of yourself. x

  12. Happy 1 year of blogging Jane! As I read you post I realised I probably am close to a 1 year anniversary in blogging myself. i will have to check out the date of my first post and plan a blog party! You are off course invited:) Thanks for a lovely revisit of some of you earlier posts and a dash of ‘new’ old history! Your t-shirt is awesome by the way:)

    • Thanks very much, Inger I’m looking forward to attending your own party! 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed my post. It was a bit of a mix of things. Hopefully I’ll have a hike for next time. Ah, yes, I am fond of that tishirt, partly because it was a present from my kids and partly because it probably does suit my nature these days. It’s always great to hear from you. Best wishes and happy blogging! 🙂

    • Thanks very much, Terry! It’s lovely to have such encouraging words from an established blogger such as yourself. I’m enjoying the return of your beautiful photos and hope that you are healing from your recent loss. Best wishes and thanks again! 🙂

  13. That was the best blog party Jane! 🙂 Congratulations on your anniversary!

    We have a pair of tawny frogmouths in a paperbark tree near the sports oval down the road. Two weeks ago we spied two chicks with them. It’s been beautiful to watch the chicks grow and I love how the adults look at us so keenly when we visit.

    This post is such an interesting story about change and adapting to difference, told through the lens of your personal experience this past year and ancestrally. It’s a fascinating read Jane.
    Thank you for sharing your stories and may words keep flowing.

    • I’m glad you enjoyed it, Gail. Thanks for the lovely comments! It’s always appreciated. 🙂 Oh, how wonderful that you’ve been able to watch frogmouth owl chicks grow. They are funny looking things. Frogmouths are currently one of my favourite birds, particularly during magpie breeding season when I try to cycle. 😉 Sometimes I wish the magpies were a little more like frogmouths. Heheh
      I really struggled trying to think of something to write this time as I didn’t have a hike or a great collection of nature shots. When I remembered it was the one year blog anniversary, it gave me a good excuse to do some reflection and add a mix of pics from here and there. I’m glad you found it interesting, Gail. 🙂
      I’m looking forward to Part 2 of your commuting experiment. May you remain safe on those roads and keep enjoying the magic of pedalling and writing! Best wishes. 🙂

  14. Happy blog birthday to you, Jane!!!🎂 And here is to many more! Cheers!🍷

    “If you were a bird,…” made me laugh out loud. Lovely post. Very informative and personal as usual. Keep it up. Here is a balloon for your party. 🎈

    • Thanks very much for the words of congrats, the cake, the wine and the balloon. 😀 I wonder which bird partner you would choose? Heheh. Sometimes I think pets are much easier! I’ve enjoyed reading about your hikes with your own adorable furry pal. I hope you continue to have much fun together. Happy hiking. 🙂

  15. Hey Jane, congratulations on your first anniversary, another post full of great writing and photos. I love the shirt! That’s a real shame about the number of animals in your backyard, it’s a bit sad to see the urban sprawl getting bigger all the time, I sometimes wonder what the end game is? Here in Melbourne we are not only losing bio diversity but also prime agricultural land to the urban sprawl. Anyway I hope I have the pleasure of reading your posts and checking out our photos for many more years to come.
    Cheers Kevin

    • Thanks very much for your encouragement, Kevin! Early on when I had only written a few posts you kindly mentioned my blog in your own fantastic blog:
      http://goinferalonedayatatime.blogspot.com.au
      I really appreciated your support and I am sure that helped me receive readers! You are one of those kind and generous people who aren’t afraid to promote other people.
      I love my ti-shirt too. Very appropriate I think. 😉
      Unfortunately, we are also losing a lot of precious fertile agricultural land to development too. One wonders what they think we will eat without farms? Crazy stuff.
      By the way, I went to Binna Burra yesterday just for a quick look. I can’t wait to try out the really long walks. There were plenty of ticks about but also heaps of birds and pademelons. Beautiful!
      Thanks again for your support. I’m looking forward to reading your own blog for years to come. Happy hiking! 🙂

      • Thanks for that Jane. I look forward to reading about Binna Burra, everything is still on track for me to head up next winter and do the Great Walk so hopefully we can do part, or all of that together:)
        Cheers
        Kevin

        • The photos turned out quite badly but I’ll give it a go. Will be great to share some or all of the Great Walk next winter. I’ll need to improve my fitness though! 🙂
          Best wishes.

  16. I hope you will continue blogging because you do it excellent, Jane. Congratulations on the one year.
    The story of your ancestors is very intriguing and you hold me captured on the edge of my chair to the very end. It’s a feat, some would say 🙂
    The situation at Swanbank coal power station must have been unpleasant. It’s often a good practice to abide by intuition – I speak from experience 🙂
    If your animal life are diminished in your backyard, grasps it as a sign that you need to take the cakes with you on your excursions 🙂
    We were on a hike the other day and our lunch have grown significant, and there is no expense spared. Gives a lot of energy with many small pauses. That’s a feast too.
    Thank you for sharing a great story, Jane ❤
    Hanna

    • Hi Hanna,
      Thanks very much for your lovely comments. I’m very glad you enjoyed the ancestry story. There was a lot more detail I could have added but it would have turned into a book! It also gets very complicated and that is just my grandfather’s maternal side. Heheh
      Yes, I just didn’t feel safe at Swanbank that day. It’s the kind of place that one could disappear in very easily. I was disappointed but such is life.
      Cakes on my excursions? Now that is a great idea! I will try to remember that next time and take a picture to share on my blog, especially for you. 🙂
      Actually, you’ve given me an idea for a hiking feast blog post. I wonder how much food I can take with me.
      Looking forward to reading more of your lovely words and pictures in your blog. Thanks! Best wishes. 😀

  17. I’m glad you’re finding this one-year anniversary a milestone rather than a millstone, Jane, although the second one may not be bad either, given the many things that have proven grist for your posts.

    When I read the beginning or your statement that “If you are a bird…”, my strange mind wondered whether any of your readers are birds. (A quick reader could be a swift.)

    Texas was once a part of Mexico and before that a colony of Spain, so it’s not unusual here for people of Hispanic descent who check into their genealogy to discover that they have Jewish ancestors. One such story featured in the Austin newspaper this summer:

    http://www.mystatesman.com/news/lifestyles/rabbis-academics-say-more-latinos-discovering-thei/nmymy/

    In any case, we’re looking forward to the adventures you’ll bring us in this your second year of blogdom.

    • Thanks, Steve! I think it is fitting that your comment on my birthday blog post should include your trademark clever play on words. Thanks for coming up with that. 🙂

      You never know, I may well have a few clever birds reading my post, Steve. 😉

      Thank you for including the very interesting link. My relatives were in parts of Mexico as Crypto-Jews when the Spanish Inquisition occurred. Perhaps I even have some distant relatives in Texas? One of my relatives in Australia who was a descendent of these people still secretly practised the Jewish faith apparently. With the first part of his name being Simeon Levi, it must have been obvious to some I would think.

      It has been a pleasure to know you through your own blog, Steve. Thanks for your support of my blog and also for providing us with such interesting and beautiful photographs and witty Steve-isms. 🙂

      • By the way, a couple of the banksias in your pictures look to me like corn on the cob. Speaking of which: you’ve probably never heard of a town in Connecticut called Cos Cob. One website has this to say about the strange name: “The name of the historic community of Cos Cob has been attributed in lore to either an English derivation of a Native American word, Cassacubque, meaning ‘a great ledge of rocks,’ or to the description of a cob, a round clay structure, built by a man named Coe, hence ‘Coe’s Cob;’ but neither has been verified.”

        • Hi Steve,
          Yes, some of the stages do look like corn on the cob don’t they. I’ve had other things suggested to me as well but this is a “G” rated blog so they won’t get mentioned. 🙂 Thank you for the interesting info. The word “cobs” just makes me hungry! I love corn on the cob with plenty of butter and salt. My heart probably doesn’t though. 🙂

    • Thanks very much, Cameron, not only for those comments but also for your support of my blog by linking it in your post! It’s very much appreciated. I’m assuming you two have been really busy of late. Best wishes for your eventual move south. It will be exciting to have more places to explore and less heat and paralysis ticks to combat! Have a great week. 😀

  18. Congratulations on a year’s wonderful posts Jane, well done. A great collection of stories and images.

    Loved the photos of banksias, frogmouths and ibis. It’s a wonder there are any tawny frogmouths or blue-tongued lizards around at all these days, I see so many dead on roads. Somehow, they seem to survive in the suburbs, and I hope they continue to do so.

    Interesting read on the family background, great stuff.

    Here’s to survivors and to continued rebellion against cultural, societal and family norms! Oh, and to many more enjoyable blog posts.

    Cheers and all the best, Rob

    • Thank you for those lovely words, Rob, and for your support of my blog. I’ve also enjoyed your excellent nature shots and stories. I hope to see more of them in the future when you are less busy. 🙂
      I do love our banksias, frogmouths and blue-tongue lizards. I used to have a few blue-tongues in my yard but sadly I think they’ve been killed by dogs, cats and people when they venture into neighbouring yards. I miss them. My elderly neighbour died this year and her wonderfully wild large house block has just been sold. Her block and mine are the only critter friendly back yards in the street. I’m crossing my fingers that the buyers don’t clear it all away and build flats. My suburb is growing rapidly. At least my little yard will still be a haven.
      Yes, here’s to the survivors and the rebels! Best wishes. 🙂

  19. Congratulations Jane on your blogging achievement! I am glad for you that your time spent tapping on the keyboard and sharing your stories, has bought you much pleasure, and in so doing, you have been able to share a little of yourself, which after all, fulfils one of our basic human needs: to connect to others. Thanks for sharing your informative and entertaining posts for one whole year!! 🙂 Leah

    • Hi Leah, thank you very much for the lovely words. This blog has been a chance for me to overcome some fears. I learnt to become invisible at school and at home as it seemed safer. I did not learn to embrace achievement and attention and I tended to apologise for it as it could end in negative repercussions. That’s something I needed to get over by putting myself out there. There is a quote that I just read today which probably sums up what I have had to learn to do:
      “Yes, you’ve failed at times. Yes, you’ve made mistakes. But what matters is you kept going. You grew the courage to face another day. So be unapologetic about enjoying the fruits of your labor. Don’t shrink back so others won’t feel insecure around you.” Mosely
      It’s taken me a while to enjoy the blog’s success and not feel nervous about how others will react.
      The other reason for the blog was not just to connect to others but also to share some stories about what it was like to grow up in traumatic family conditions. It is something people tend to keep quiet about as it’s not a pleasant topic and there is fear of bad consequences. If revealing those aspects helped someone a little bit then I am glad. I also wanted to share the healing benefits of nature. Revealing my personal life was not a very comfortable thing to do and I debated whether people were thinking I was attention seeking because of it. But there will always be those who think negatively of what we do and it’s another lesson for me to learn…
      I’m not sure there will be another year, but I’m grateful for everything it has given me so far.
      Thank you for your ongoing support. I wish you much success and satisfaction with your own blog and also the forthcoming book! You deserve it. 🙂

  20. Thanks Jane, for sharing such sensitive info about yourself and where you’ve come from. I have yet to get my hands on a copy of the manual that must be out there somewhere on how to be the perfect human :/. We all endeavour to do the best with what we have, and to learn the lessons that are only ours to learn, but where are the jolly answers when you need them the most??? But you’re right about the benefits of nature, that’s for sure, and to return a quote to you: “I go into Nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in tune once more.” – John Burroughs, that pretty much sums it up for me 🙂 On with the blogging , Jane, as I’m sure you’ve contributed a lot to the bloggersphere in the last 12 months. 🙂 Leah

  21. Fabulous pictures as usual Jane – both your Banksias and your daughter are beautiful! What an interesting family tree. There must have been some human equivalents of the Tawny Frogmouth amongst them – 10 minutes of grooming at a time might have overcome significant religious differences! Congratulations on a year of blogging… May there be many more!

    • Thank you for the nice compliments. I’ll be sure to tell my daughter. She’s currently in stressed out uni student mode!
      Haha…yes, 10 minutes of dedicated grooming could certainly help one ignore religious differences. I’d be swayed I’m sure. 🙂
      Thanks very much for your support. You’ve given me plenty of belly laughs and information with your own blog! I hope I’ll be reading more Berowra Backyard tales for a long time. Best wishes. 🙂

    • Thanks, Brittany. You are kind. 🙂 I do hope I’ll be able to keep reading your inspiring blog for many years to come. Love that smile of yours! Have a lovely week. You always brighten my day. 😀

  22. Hi Jane! Congrats on creating such a beautiful and engaging blog in just a year. I love this celebratory post. I have a soft spot for a frogmouth and I think your photos are lovely. You’re lucky to have them as garden visitors. More importantly, I am committed that tolerance and people with the courage for embracing our differences as an opportunity for growth and love are the most important things on our overcrowded planet. It is great to see your history of people overcoming their differences. Love the t-shirt, make sure you scrub your back in the shower, before the algae takes a hold! 🙂

    • Hi David,
      Sorry this reply is late. I’ve been a bit busy and need to catch up.Thanks very much for your supportive comments. Much appreciated!
      Yes, I am lucky to have frogmouths in my garden. I hear them often and it was such a treat to see this one at close range.
      Thanks for your words about tolerance. It is good to know we share the same commitment.
      Hahah…yes, I will scrub that back well.
      Thanks also for your wonderful nature blog, David. The pictures and information are a great resource and encourage many people to become incidental naturalists like you! Happy wildlife spotting. 😀

  23. Hi Jane,
    I just wanted to say how much i enjoy reading your blog. I must apologise, I read this blog post 2 weeks ago and haven’t commented until now (life has been very chaotic lately unfortunately). One year. Wow. How time does fly. I really hope that you continue with your blog as I love your posts, both the words and the gorgeous photographs. Keep up the great work 🙂

    • Hi Amanda,
      Thanks very much for your support and kind words. I have loved reading your blog too. I’ve been checking for new blog posts and have assumed that life has been crazy busy for you. It’s been a bit full on here as well and so I’m not sure blogging will be very regular for me over the next couple of months. The lead up to Christmas is often hectic.
      I hope you and the family are well and you get that opportunity to do the Warrie Circuit as planned. I hope that our own schedules align one day and we can do a walk or have a cuppa together. Have a great weekend. x

    • Thanks very much, PK! I’m glad you enjoyed it. I have another post coming up in a few days which I hope you like. I’m not sure if I can keep the hiking stories going as regularly in the hotter months but I’ll try. Very best wishes. 🙂

    • Thank you very much, Lucy, for the kind comments and the follow. It’s much appreciated. I had a look at your own blog. It looks very interesting and I like what I’ve seen so far of your artwork. I look forward to reading more. Have a great weekend. 🙂

      • My pleasure and thank you in return for your follow! Lately I’ve been mostly painting, but I hope to get back to writing as well, soon. 🙂 You too have a lovely weekend!

  24. I’m so glad you continue to write your wonderful blog, Jane!
    I had no idea Banksias were so diverse. That is really neat. I’m saddened by your loss of birds. It is so distressing to see “development” go on around you to the great loss of the natural world. Still, you have a faithful owl to greet you. Long may he be there. Now, if I could just find someone to offer me a stick…

    I love it that you have such a rich heritage, and that you know the stories behind the names. Thank you for sharing it! 🙂

    • Thanks very much, Melissa. Sorry for the late reply. I’ve been unwell for a while.
      It has been a bit of a disheartening week here as the neighbouring 1/2 acre belonging to my deceased neighbour has been completely levelled by bulldozers. Her many trees and shrubs which were homes to critters are now gone. It will be subdivided to build houses. People need to live somewhere though and my place was once bushland too I suppose. Still, I am avoiding looking in that direction for a while… My block is the last oasis of predominantly native type vegetation in the street now.
      But on a more positive note I am also seeing more interest in reclaiming areas for native wildlife in some areas. It’s about finding some sort of balance I guess. I just hope we don’t lose many species forever in the juggling process!
      I feel rather glad to have such a mixed heritage and delight in the fact that my ancestors ignored certain norms in society to love the “enemy.” Heheh
      Thanks for your encouragement of my blog, Melissa. It is much appreciated. 🙂

      • I’m awfully sorry you have been unwell, and that the neighboring property is being destroyed. Disheartening, indeed!
        I just finished reading your wonderful post on your walk with your Lycra-clad companion. You are gifted with words and your camera! Thank goodness there are such places, and it sounds like they are well-protected.
        I wish you speed recovery!

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