A Rude Awakening and Dawn and Dusk Discoveries

Sunset over Mt Greville

I looked into the security officer’s brown eyes and saw compassion and uncertainty. My offspring had warned me this would happen but they’d predicted it would take place in a park, not a busy shopping complex.

Yes, I was finally mistaken for a homeless person. Regular readers may recall I have a habit of falling asleep on park benches. Given I usually carry a couple of bags and my attire these days resembles a hippy rather than a professional businesswoman, it was only a matter of time before a mistake would be made.

The reason for this misunderstanding is related to why I haven’t posted for a while. I had my fourth occurrence of the mystery malady, purple potato face. Although I was feverish, my car needed urgent repairs and after dropping it off early in the morning, I dragged myself across the street into an air-conditioned shopping complex to escape the summer heat. With one side of my face hot, swollen and red, I needed to rest while the mechanics tried to save my ancient petrol guzzler. I settled into a quiet corner to work on my laptop. It wasn’t long before my sleep deprived brain began protesting. A little snooze was in order.

A deep male voice wrenched me from my pleasant dreams. People who know me are used to my panicked, incoherent state when I am woken suddenly. Picture a cat after a bucket of water is thrown over it – that’s me. Red-eyed, frightened and bearing a suspiciously swollen jaw and eye from my illness, I probably looked like a victim of domestic violence.

Apparently, the cleaner had seen me arrive early and rather than approach me after I fell asleep, called the security guard. Perhaps she thought I was a terrorist or a drug addict?  I know I’d been in a rush and looked a little dishevelled but really, did I look that scary? Okay, perhaps I did. Sometimes I scare myself when I look in the mirror these days.

After I’d stopped hyperventilating, I explained my situation, but the burly guard still lingered and looked suspiciously into my crazed, bloodshot eyes. By this stage I was also feeling mildly grumpy. Can’t a woman get some sleep these days without being accosted by a  uniformed Goliath? Actually, I was a little impressed that someone had taken the time to check if I was dead.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I avoided being thrown out or imprisoned and have survived to waffle on again. The illness meant I’ve been restricted to car jaunts and short nature walks in my local parks though. My face is back to normal after a long dose of antibiotics so I’ll eventually be plodding along the trails again.

I’m thankful for having had less mobility as it’s meant I’ve developed a deeper appreciation for what my local area has to offer and I’ve also made a few discoveries.

Late afternoon on Valentine’s Day, I drove to the lakes of the decommissioned Swanbank Power Station. Since my last visit, signs have been erected all around the lake, warning that it’s now private property. This curtailed my activities as I didn’t want another embarrassing interaction with a security guard. I did manage to see my first nesting black swan though.

Black swan at sunset

Black swan nesting at Swanbank

Black swan nesting at Swanbank

I decided to venture along the highway out towards the Fassifern Valley in the hope of capturing a few interesting shots before sunset. A bird-filled waterway  caught my eye and I pulled off the road to test out my zoom.

Sunset with birds

The birds were a little too far for clear shots but the setting sun gave the area an appealing glow.

Birds at sunset

Birds at sunset

Pelicans at sunset

sunset and birds

I amused myself with grass stalks…

Grass seeds at sunset

Grass seed head

Spider on grass seed

And enjoyed the changing colours of local peaks in the fading light.

Sunset over Mt Greville

The  moon looked small in the distance until I used the Canon’s zoom feature. It was a fitting end to a day meant to celebrate love…

Moon - Valentine's Day

Another day I set out at dawn to look for wildlife at Robelle Parklands in Springfield.

Sunrise - Robelle

Rainbow lorikeets were feasting on nectar in bright yellow blossoms.

Rainbow lorikeet - Robelle

Rainbow lorikeet and yellow flowers

Masked lapwings looked warily at me from an artificial waterway.

Masked Lapwing- Robelle

A lone great heron displayed brilliant white plumage.  Usually their legs are black but the upper legs change to a pink–yellow and the area near the eyes becomes a darker grey-green during breeding season.

great heron standing - Robelle

I was excited by my first clear sighting of a pair of black-fronted dotterels. Unlike my old camera, the Canon Powershot 60SX allows me to see and photograph birds from a long distance.

Black-fronted dotterel in water

black fronted dotteral - Robelle

Black fronted dotteral on sand - Robelle

An Australian raven posed attractively while assaulting my ears with a harsh call.

Australian Raven

Insects were active everywhere – in flowers, mushrooms, and on leaves and trunks. This odd looking tube that  a twitter follower described as a honey coated croissant, belongs to the tube spittle bug, Clastopteridae  (thanks Damian Morrant).

Tube spittle bug

Ants in mushroom

Beetles were feasting on aphids.

Beetle eating aphids - Robelle

And assassin bugs were on the prowl.

Assassin bug at Robelle

In fact, I saw so much insect and spider life, I became a little delirious from the excitement…

beetle on flower

Beetle on leaf - Robelle

cicada being eaten by ants - Robelle

cockroach - Robelle

Huge fly - Robelle Parklands

Brown butterfly - Robelle Parklands

Jumping spider on leaf - Robelle Parklands

butterfly on leaf

Soft scale - Robelle

Giant things caught my eye as well. Majestic flooded gums, Eucalyptus grandis, and  native flowering shrubs provide food and homes to many creatures.

Flooded gums - Eucalyptus grandis - Robelle Parklands



Beautiful colours and patterns on eucalypt leaves are caused by the activity of psyllid nymphs – often called lerp insects. Psyllids have a nymph stage which make protective coverings called lerps out of crystallised honeydew.  The feeding by psyllid nymphs induces chlorosis which is followed by synthesis of anthocyanins, hence the colour changes in the leaves.  (Thanks very much to Martin Steinbauer, Entomologist & Associate Professor of La Trobe University, for the identification and explanation of this process.)

leaf patterns and colours

coloured leaf - lerp art

There are many species of lerp insects in Australia that produce a variety of protective coverings. These ones are made by Cardiaspina retator but the dark colour of the nymphs may indicate parasitism.  Martin and colleagues have written a paper about host-parasitoid relationships in psyllids .

gum leaf attack by lerp insects

lerp insects on leaf

In this shot, a beetle is feeding on rectangular sugary constructions made by another species of psyllid nymph.

beetle eating sugar from lerp

And here are three different species on one leaf.  Repeated heavy psyllid attacks can cause severe damage to trees, particularly during periods of environmental stress.

Three different kinds of lerps - Robelle

Patterns made by lerp activity

single leaf

They may be regarded as a pest  but I find the sugary constructions and the leaf colours and patterns created by their activity, beautiful.  They obviously provide food for many other creatures as well. When my children were young they’d enjoy eating the sweet constructions.

Update: Here are some shots of adult psyllids from the tree taken on a later date for identification purposes.

I’ve been  thankful for my illness in some ways because it has forced me to take more notice of the interesting discoveries closer to home. I don’t need to travel very far at all to appreciate the wonders of the natural world.

Next week I’ll be bringing you some feathered, furry and reptilian discoveries from more local jaunts.

Thanks for reading!


95 thoughts on “A Rude Awakening and Dawn and Dusk Discoveries

  1. Long time no see 🙂 Good to hear from you… But I am also slightly surprised… most of these images are familiar things.. and I am astounded to feel that it is the same as over here.. so far removed from your part of the world…

    • Hi there! It’s good to hear from you too. I’m often surprised also by the similarities of wildlife and vegetation in blogs I read from other countries. Some things are very different but others are surprisingly familiar. Thanks for your interest in my blog and for taking the time to comment. 🙂

  2. You need business cards with pictures of your normal face, and a statement from the doctor that substantiates the proportions and colours your face can take. Do you have a good doctor? I get worried about you, Jane !! … Even while your story makes me laugh. You write extremely well, and your images supports your story apart from the uniformed Goliath 🙂
    Congratulations on your new Canon, it has a good zoom !!!
    Thanks a lot for sharing this great post.
    Take care,

    • Hi Hanna,
      Haha…thanks for the good ideas! 🙂 I’ve been seeing two doctors about this condition and have another specialist appointment in three weeks to do further testing in case it returns.
      I’m glad you enjoyed the images. Sorry I couldn’t capture one of the uniformed Goliath, but I suspect he wouldn’t have been happy if I’d whipped out the camera!
      About my new camera, I still have no idea what I’m really doing. I’m trying to be brave and experimenting a bit rather than having it on “auto” all the time.
      Thanks for your kind comments. Best wishes! 🙂

  3. G’day “purple potato face”….WTF!!! OK I am over that visual image and feel for your predicament. I too am glad you hadn’t expired in the shopping centre. Imagine your daughter having to wheel you out in a shopping trolley 🙂
    Too many things to say wow to….all my favourite things….bugs, leaves, birds, sunsets. I am sure the lerp fanciers would be jealous.
    Hope you stay well enough to get out and about again so I can enjoy your bit of the world through the camera lens.
    A great blog Jane….super xx

    • Hi Brian,
      Yes, I don’t think my daughter would have been pleased to have to deal with my dead carcass, although the life insurance payout is pretty good. 🙂
      Despite not venturing far from home, there was plenty to see. I’m glad you enjoyed the variety, as I enjoy what you offer in your blog. I’m quite fond of lerps, as you can tell. 🙂
      I’m hopeful I’ve had the last bout of “purple potato face” although I’ve said that before.
      Have a great week, Brian, and thanks very much for the lovely comments! 🙂

  4. What an adventure Jane! It is good that you can see something good from your current sufferings with this reoccurring illness. Certainly your post has amazing variety, as usual, and showcases the wonder of the many tiny and often unnoticed creatures that pass us by. You have some great shots, I am impressed by your Powershot, I use to have one before I got into birding, they are a good camera. Love your Dotterel photos, they are not always easy to get clear shots of as they are small, quite shy and keep their distance. It is good to hear from you again. You are one amazing woman!

    • Hi!
      There has certainly been plenty to see close to home and the camera is helping with those tricky birds. I’m pleased you enjoyed the dotterel shots as I thought I might be the only person to care. They are lovely little birds I think. I’d never been able to see them clearly until I got the new camera. It’s a good model for someone who is not very tech savvy, that’s for sure. I’m having fun with it. Thanks for your continued interest and kind comments. Best wishes! 🙂

  5. Wonderful writing Jane. This was hilarious! 😂 I’m glad you survived the suspicions of the security guard and that you’re feeling better. I also really enjoyed your photos – they’re so clear… and beautiful colours. Keep exploring ✌🏼️And thanks for a very entertaining read 👏🏼

    • Thanks, Gail! I’m glad it gave you a laugh. I wasn’t sure how it would be received. I saw the security guard again yesterday and felt most embarrassed. 🙂 It’s been fun to play with the camera and focus on the little things closer to home. It doesn’t matter how often I visit these places, there always seems to be more to discover. Happy writing and riding! 😀

  6. So glad you’re alright and not dead on a public bench with a purple face! I like Hanna’s idea. Next time lick the card and stick it to your forehead if you feel like napping 😉
    Lovely insect pics. Very different than what’s on my island.

    • Hi there,
      Yes, I’m a little relieved that I’m not dead too! 🙂 I am seriously thinking of making a little sign to say I’m just napping and I don’t require assistance. Parks are lovely places to fall asleep. I’m not so fond of shopping centres anymore! Thanks for reading and commenting. I’m glad you enjoyed the different insects. I’m a little nuts about them. 🙂

  7. You write so well, what a situation to find yourself in though. Well done for coping with it all. Sorry to hear you have been so poorly, it sounds a horrid thing to have. Your photographs are amazing as always, I don’t know whether I enjoyed the birds or the leaves the most.

    • Hi Susan,
      Thanks for the sympathetic words about my illness. I’m feeling a lot better now and hope that is the end of it. It forced me to spend time reading the camera manual to relieve the boredom though and now know a fraction more about how to “drive” the thing! 🙂 I gave up trying to decide which photos to include so threw them all in. I’m pleased you enjoyed the selection. I’m looking forward to your next adventure! 🙂

  8. No need for selfies … your description told it all. I hope you have a speedy recovery from all illness.
    AWESOME Macrophotos. AMAZING Microlife in your neighbourhood.
    Thank you for sharing.

    • Thanks very much, Marina! I’d be worried about scaring people with selfies of my face, so I’m glad you think the description is enough. 🙂 I hope you are well and the weather is being kind to you. Thanks for reading and have a great day. 🙂

  9. Sorry to hear you’ve been sick again and had to go through that interaction at the mall. Although you make it sound funny. I agree that lots of discoveries can be made close to home. I’ve been doing all of it myself lately. Liked your post and all the little critters. And those leaves don’t even look real. Nature creates the best art!

    • Thanks very much, Isabel. I’m pleased you found something in my blog to enjoy. Thanks for the follow. I took a look at yours as well and am following back. I look forward to your posts. Kind wishes. 🙂

  10. Sorry to hear of your illness. I can definitely relate. I’m thrilled to finally feel healthy after a two year roller coaster ride. I just hope it continues. Amazing how I no longer take good health for granted.
    Wonderful photos. I especially like the lighting in the pelican shots. Sending you healing wishes.

    • Thanks for the kind words of support, Ingrid. I know what you mean by a roller coaster ride. The last year has felt like that for me. I’m hoping this will be the last illness for a while but I’m trying to be calm about it and just take things as they come. Yes, I agree that when you get health scares it really reminds you to appreciate being well. The pelican shots aren’t very clear, but like you, I quite liked the way the afternoon rays changed the colour of the water. I still have a lot to learn about this Canon. Have a lovely week. 🙂

  11. I had to laugh when I read the beginning of this post, Jane, because just yesterday I had to sit on a bench halfway through my walk with my dog, and nearly fell asleep! All the way home he kept looking over his shoulder at me with concern. Have I become old, or do I have undiagnosed Lyme’s disease, or…??? And my face turns red and puffs up. What a scare we could give people if we worked together 🙂
    Loved the spider hiding in the grass stalk and the other photos~gorgeous!

    • Your experience made me smile, Melissa. I can fall asleep in many strange and uncomfortable places these days but it’s not so easy to snooze in my bed! Your face puffs up and turns red too? I hope it’s not Lyme disease! There is a lyme-like illness here in Australia although it’s a bit of a controversial topic. The antibiotics I just finished were meant to cover that possibility. Oh, yesss…it would be fun to work as a team! 😉
      Thanks for reading and your kind comments about my photos. 🙂

  12. Oh my, I hope your purple potato face isn’t some brand new tick disease for which you will become the poster child. Here’s hoping you figure out what’s ailing you and get it resolved. Bag lady, indeed. You and your Canon seem to have a happy marriage–such gorgeous shots. Although, I have to say some of the insects give me just a bit of the heebie-jeebies. I’m picturing them crawling in an ear looking for a nice warm home ….

    • I hope I won’t become a poster child for a hideous tick disease either! I must admit it has crossed my mind. The last doctor gave me antibiotics meant to cover that possibility so I’m hoping that will be the end of it. If not, at least I may become famous for something. 🙂
      I had a bit of a rocky start with the Canon. Too many settings for my simple brain to handle and everything was in a different place. I’m gradually learning how to make the best use of its features…with the emphasis on gradually! Thanks very much for reading and your kind comments. Best wishes. 🙂

  13. it sounds to me as if some of your health problems may be stress related, you need to get out with that new camera more often! Another reason to do that is because you’re shooting such great photos with it already! You really like the zoom, and it is getting you some great photos of birds, but I’m really impressed with the macro photos that you’re getting. I can see all the details in the photos that you explained so well in your writing. You’d think that a mall security guard would be used to tired mothers going to the mall to snooze away from the hubbub at home. Take care of yourself!

    • Thanks very much, Jerry! Yes, I think you are right there. Stress has played a role in recent months. As you say, taking pictures is a good way for me to relax so I will try to do it more often. Close to home or far away, there is still plenty to see and enjoy. 🙂
      I probably overdo the zoom thing and I know the shots aren’t as clear as they should be, but it is lots of fun at the moment. I’m even more fond of macro shots. Both require me to hold the camera still though which is trickier these days so I’d better take as many shots as I can before I get worse!
      Yes, I was a bit surprised by the security guard’s actions. I think it was more so the cleaner who was a bit suspicious of me. I went back yesterday and saw her again. She gave me a suspicious look and I felt like a naughty child. Oh well. Thanks for the kind support. You be careful on those roads too. 🙂

  14. Oh Jane! I am so sorry you have been unwell again. The trouble with living on your own is having to do things like take the car in for repair when you are unwell as there is no-one else to do it for you. I remember it well. Your photos are beautiful! I find your posts endlessly fascinating – there are so many new (to me) creatures and plants to learn about.

    • Thanks, Clare, for your kind words. I am feeling much better, thank you. I do have some family members to help out but on this occasion no-one was available. Early mornings are a difficult time. It can be hard to juggle people’s work and study schedules. I remember it was much harder when my children were young and I was ill. Life is a lot easier these days in many ways, even though my body is falling apart… 🙂
      I’m pleased there is something in my posts that you enjoy. I also gain a lot of pleasure from your beautiful blog, Clare. Have a lovely day. 🙂

    • Hi Oahn! It’s so great to hear from you. I feel privileged as I know you are very busy with your baby. I do hope you are getting enough rest. It’s pretty draining in the first year even though they are such precious bundles. Thanks for reading and commenting. Stay well! 🙂

  15. Let’s hear it for antibiotics and the return to a normal face.

    In the first photograph after the paragraph that begins “There are many species of lerp insects…”, my first impression was that I was looking at shells. It’s clear that insects are indeed among your favorite subjects.

    I looked up your Canon camera and found it has an impressive 65x optical zoom that provides an equivalent range of 21mm to 1365mm. No wonder you could get such a detailed image of the moon.

    You’re right that there’s plenty to see close to home if we take the time to look.

    • Hi Steve,
      Yes, I would probably be dead without antibiotics! The risk of sepsis was very high. Apparently in the old days, many people died from complications of parotid infections. While I miss some things about olden times, I am thankful for modern medicine.
      I thought of seashells too when I first saw the constructions you mention. My shots don’t really show the intricate details of them. They have more texture.
      I originally wanted the SX50 as friends had recommended it, but Canon had brought out the SX60 and had none left of the other in stock. As you know, although the zoom is good, there is compromise with the graininess and depth. I’m still learning to work out the best combinations. Using a tripod will help as my hands are quite shaky. I’m pretty impressed with it though. I just wish I had a better memory and head for technical details. 🙂
      Thanks fro reading and commenting, Steve. I always look forward to your thoughts. 🙂

  16. You certainly made the very best of your enforced confinement. What a gorgeous and varied selection of photographs. Your face may be like a potato but your eye is as sharp as a knife.

    • Thanks very much, Tom! I’m delighted you enjoyed the selection. Your blog is always a pleasure to read and your pictures are a treat. Your posts often make me hungry too and also more appreciative of my warm weather and blue skies. Scotland is a beautiful country but certainly a challenge in winter for cyclists! I hope you have some pleasant weather for cycling in the next week. I’m relieved about Dropscone. It just didn’t seem right that he was in hospital. Best wishes. 🙂

  17. Oh my goodness! Hope you are recovering. You managed to make it into an interesting story, but being accosted by a mall security guard can’t be a great deal of fun. Get better soon. Your great photos have been missed.

    • Thanks very much, Gunta. I appreciate your kind words. You are right about the incident. It wasn’t much fun. Writing about it actually made me feel better though and I had a good laugh about it in the process. I might as well use my experience for a bit of fun. 🙂 I enjoyed your wonderful houseboat fantasy… 😉

    • Thanks very much, Terry! I was really excited to see the swan nesting. I love watching black swans anyway, but the nest was the icing on the cake. I should go back and see if the eggs have hatched, although that may mean an encounter with a security guard… 😉

  18. Hi Jane. You have taken us on another thoroughly enjoyable journey. Scary start, followed by escape to the more friendly wilds!

    Great selection of images. Your switching between superzoom and macro is really fun, visually keeps us on our toes, particularly given your ability to detect interesting patterns and hidden life.

    I know that it is actually quite hard to get good images with the superzoom on this type of camera, as the lens becomes quite ‘slow’ at the super-zoom end, meaning slower shutter speeds and higher ISOs. In spite of this you’ve captured some terrific images, very skillful!

    There’s some really fascinating writing on lerps and ‘manna’ and their importance to Australian birds in Tim Low’s book “Where Song Began”, and here on BirdLife Australia’s website: http://birdlife.org.au/australian-birdlife/detail/exuding-abundance

    Hope you are permanently on the mend now!! Take care and all the best, Rob

    • Thanks very much, Rob! I appreciate your encouragement and advice about photography. I’ll never be as good as you, but it’s fun to experiment and see what happens. The super-zoom is tricky. I lose out on some things by focusing so close. I know many of my shots end up being a bit grainy or lack depth of field. Sometimes things work ok though and I just like being out there and enjoying the natural world regardless. The photos help me recall those happy moments.

      Thanks also for sharing the great link and the book title. I saw a lot of birds taking advantage of the high lerp population. While they can cause a lot of damage sometimes, they are an important food source.

      I am feeling much better now and hope to remain this way for a long while. Looking forward to more of your excellent posts, Rob. 🙂

  19. Jane, all you need to say (if ever you are rudely awakened) is that you were off “Borrowing” (i.e. like Granny Weatherwax in Terry Pratchett’s Disceorld novels). I propose this is will be the easiest way to sort the chaff from the grain. Mind you, there may be a lot of good-intentioned ‘chaff’ (to continue the analogy) out there, so maybe practice holding a card (or wear one on a string around your neck if you must) stating “I aten’t ded” – though you may wish to use proper English spelling.
    Fantastic photos, as always. Your talent for finding curious critters is quite remarkable.
    Regards, Dayna 😊

    • Oh Dayna, you’ve sparked my interest there. I’m afraid I’ve not read the Discworld novels but now I want to know what “Borrowing” refers to in regards to sleep. I will have to do some googling now! I’m not sure how the security guard would respond though! He’d probably look at me like as though I was barking mad, unless of course he has read the books. One thing I know though is a sign seems like it would definitely save me a lot of hassle in the future. Perhaps I need to run a competition with my blog followers for the wording. I’ve had a few suggestions so far. Thanks for your great ideas. 😀

    • Thanks, John! It’s always so nice to read your comments. You remind me of when I began. I was very nervous, but people like you were so very encouraging. Have a beautiful day. :).

  20. I’ve been out of pocket lately (death of a friend and lots of family and friends gathering around), so I’m finally able to catch up a bit on reading. I’m so glad the antibiotics are helping, though I realize they bring on their own set of problems. I know you have got to be very ready to be healthy and on the path of a different kind of adventure soon!! 🙂 I am very impressed with your photos… those bird shots at the start of your post are exceptional for such a small camera. I loved the black swan! I may have to consider purchasing this Canon for my hiking excursions. But I’m a bit wary about the technical side of it as I’m not very good with that. Perhaps it’s psychological and I just need to get over the mindset of it being too difficult for this old dog! Most of all Jane, it is good that you’re feeling up to posting again. I knew when you remarked about the excitement of spotting spiders and bugs, that you were back on the road to good health and some hiking adventures!

    • Hi Lori,
      I’m so sorry to hear of the death of your friend! I find the whole funeral business can be very difficult. A loved one dies, lots of arranging has to be done quickly, decisions have to be made when people are still feeling numb or distraught. There’s a large gathering of people who often haven’t seen it other for a while. Then suddenly it’s over and the people have gone, but that’s when the other emotions set in and often that’s when people need more support than ever, as the grief unfolds. Sending you hugs and caring thoughts.
      With regards to the Canon Powershot SX60, the zoom is great for a camera that isn’t a DSLR. It doesn’t come with a manual so I had to print one out from the website – 123 pages long! There are many features on the camera but given the beautiful shots you take already with your DSLR, I’m sure you’d have no problems managing the instructions. It’s great for those sneaky animals that you can’t get close too.I’m amazed at what I can now see from a distance. I didn’t want to have to buy a DSLR and a tele-lens and I wanted something lightish. I bought it for around $370. It may be cheaper in the States. Having said that, there are a few other brands such as Lumix that have similar features and have great reviews. The zoom aspect is getting better and better. My model had mixed reviews when it came out. I’d read them all first to see if they would suit you if you are considering a new one. It is very light which helps when hiking. I love the gorgeous shots on your blog though! They are much superior to mine. I can understand though that you may not want to lug your heavy camera gear along on one of your long walks with Daisy!
      Thanks very much for your wonderful support these past months while I’ve been unwell. I owe you an email!!
      I’ve been checking your blog for new posts and hoping things were ok.
      Best wishes. 🙂

  21. Get well soon, Jane! I have to say that the idea of the cat hit by a bucketful of water made me chuckle, and I can relate to the feeling of being mistaken for a homeless, sometimes I get that stare when I happen to walk in places like Richmond or Chelsea, here in London, dressed in my usual weekend attire (sun-dyed clothes, muddy boots..).
    The nature shots are just incredible. I’ve never seen such strange “decorations” sprouting on trees, Australia really is another planet, I know I said this before!

    • Hi Fabrizio,
      Well, I’m glad it’s not just me who gets mistaken for a homeless person. I’m much more relaxed these days about my apparel. I prefer comfort and practicality over fashion. In some suburbs I venture, I really stand out. I prefer walking around the university where anything goes. 🙂
      I’m glad you enjoyed the shots as taking them gives me pleasure. I am my happiest outdoors in natural surroundings. I’ve never been overseas but from what people such as you tell me, we do have some unique and beautiful features here. Another planet? That appeals to me. So if I go to another country I’ll be experiencing space travel… 😀
      Thanks for reading and for taking the time to share your interesting thoughts again.
      Best wishes. 🙂

  22. Hi Jane,
    Loved the shots of the swan nesting, I’ve never seen that myself. Hopefully you’ve beaten your mystery illness now and everything is OK. Yeah the bag lady look….its a bit like the dishevelled look that I’m cultivating, only thing is I’m not crook, I just look like that normally:) By the way what mountain was that in the sunset photo?
    Cheers Kevin

    • Hi Kevin,
      Yeah, I was stoked to find the swan nesting so I’m glad you thought it was exciting too! It was way out in the middle of the lake. It must be on top of some sort of old log or post. I was puzzled by that aspect. Oh don’t worry, my usual state is very relaxed looking, whether I am sick or not. These days I value comfort over fashion. I’m not certain which mountain it is. At first I thought it was Mt Greville as it was in the Moogerah Peaks area but now I’m wondering if it was Mt French. I get a bit disorientated when I am driving along the Cunningham Highway. I am better at recognising them from the Boonah direction. Gorgeous scenery out that way along either road! Thanks for reading. Yes, I hope I am finally finished with whatever causes purple potato face.
      Best wishes! 🙂

      • Jane, could that be Flinders Peak? Walked up there many years ago, it looks like it (but I could well be wrong). Not sure if there’s still public access. It used to have Brush-tailed Rock Wallabies living on it, hope they are still there. Cheers, Rob.

        • Thanks, Rob. Yes, it probably is. I’ve been there a couple of times but only approached it from the road to Purga and it looks very different from that angle. I just pulled off the Cunningham Highway at a random spot with no signage to orientate me. My navigation is not great at the best of times! Given there weren’t any other peaks near it, it probably wasn’t one of the Moogerah Peaks. I must get back to Flinders Peak in the cooler weather. Thanks, Rob. 🙂

    • Thanks very much, Jan. I’m hoping this was the last bout of purple potato face. If not, I’ll just keep enjoying the natural world closer to home. Have a lovely weekend. 🙂

  23. I am sorry about your illness. Hope it goes away soon. Great pictures and enjoyable writing as always! 👌 I must admit I am not a fan of insects so I fast forward the pics of insects but I still appreciate the quality of good photos. 😊

    • Thanks very much. 🙂 I’m hoping it won’t return but I’ve said that before! Insects aren’t everyone’s cup of tea that’s for sure, but I’m glad you found other things of interest in the post. The next post will have less – perhaps even none. 🙂 Happy hiking with your furry pal! 🙂

  24. I hope you recover from the mystery illness soon. It doesn’t sound too pleasant. Beautiful photography as usual. Loved the picture with the multi-coloured leaves, didn’t expect to see such a variety of colours. I guess you’ll have to be a little more careful where you take your next snooze though 🙂

    • Thanks for your concern, Rob. I’m fine for the moment – no face symptoms, just slightly wobbly legs which I hope will resolve in time. The colours of our leaves and tree trunk surfaces is something that makes our Australian bush special. While we don’t have the distinct autumn leaf colour change in Brisbane like other parts of the world, throughout the whole year we see colourful gum leaves as they die and drop to the ground, and the variation in trunk textures and patterns. I would like to experience some snow and the less venomous creatures in your part of the world! I hope you manage to get out again soon for a hike, in milder conditions. Best wishes. 🙂

  25. Sorry to hear about your ongoing illness Jane but wow what wonderful things you have found in your local area. Gorgeous photos too – as usual! Your description of the psillids was really fascinating – I will have to read more around it. Great to have something you see all the time wandering around and have become accustomed to explained so clearly. Best wishes for your recovery!

    • Thanks Nic. I am actually feeling a lot better the last few days apart from slightly wobbly legs and aching joints. I went gentle walking today in a rainforest to test my legs. It was muddy but great fun to get out again. I need to try to be active so that if there is a recurrence it happens before I see the specialist on the 22/3. I just love the beautiful colours and patterns that the activities of psyllid nymphs create on our eucalypt leaves. The shapes of their sugary covering can be quite intricate and beautiful as well. Thanks for reading and for your supportive words as usual. It’s always great to hear from you. Best wishes. 🙂

  26. I couldn’t help but laugh at your story even if bet the situation was a bit annoying for you. I love your attention to details and the bird photographs. Thanks for sharing this with us and big hugs, hoping you will feel better soon

    • It’s glad you laughed as that was my intention. 🙂 While it was a little distressing at the time, it was amusing to think about later and I enjoyed writing about it. I am much improved at the moment although that happened after the last three episodes so I will have to wait and see. I went on a long but gentle walk today to test my body out. Cool, crisp mountain air did wonders for my lungs. Thanks for the lovely comments about the photographs. I’m enjoying the new camera. Best wishes! 🙂

        • It’s not a DSLR, it’s a Canon Powershot SX60 – I think they’re called bridging cameras? It has a great inbuilt zoom. Fairly cheap and lightweight for hiking. No lenses apart from a polariser my son bought me for the harsh sunny days here at the beach or in the middle of the day when glare is bad – I haven’t had a chance to use it much yet. 🙂

          • Oh yeah, a bridge camera ! I had one a long time ago, I had fun with it but was a bit frustrated when I had to take picture of flowers. Maybe these days they have a macro option that is great !

            • Yes, the macro option on this one is not great but I wanted it for the zoom so I could have a chance at some bird pictures. A bit of a compromise, really. 🙂

  27. MY goodness these photos are stunning, I say this all the time but this post is really on another level with the close up shots. I’m glad you weren’t lugged to the lock house after sleeping on the bench, but I can say I’d have been quite startled too being woken by a stranger in public.

    • Thanks very much, Brittany. I’m enjoying the features on the new camera but it’s a bit hit and miss at the moment. For every reasonable shot there are about 50 that are dodgy! I need a lot of practice. 😀 Yes, I was very startled by the security guard. He’s lucky I didn’t scream at him as that’s what I often do when I am woken suddenly! Have a wonderful week, Smiley. 🙂

  28. While that does sound like a fun adventurous story, I was kind of stunned reading it. It sure had its funny moments, but still it’s not that easy to let go. I would be thinking about it for a while now. I hope everything turns out well for you Jane.

    Now about your photos. They are absolutely brilliant. And they are so so many in number. I thought the scrolling would go on forever. Absolutely loved them. 🙂

    Take care, Jane. And happy photographing! 🙂

    • Hi Nandina,
      I must admit it certainly wasn’t very funny at the time but later on I had to laugh and it amused me to share the story. I am feeling much better now. My face is more normal looking and I just have a few residual symptoms which I hope will lessen in time.
      Thanks for the lovely comments about my photos. I always have difficulty deciding which pictures to leave out so sometimes I just include them all. I am still learning how to work my new camera. I take hundreds of shots in order to get a few that are reasonable. 🙂
      Thanks for reading and commenting. It’s lovely to hear from you. Best wishes. 🙂

  29. Hello Jane, I finally got a chance to read your blog and it was a beautiful accompaniment to my breakfast! Hearing of your deliriousness about the insects made me feel very happy. Hope you feel better now too.

    • Hi Paula, sorry for the slow reply. My face appears to be fixed but my Internet cable connection has been very sick. Just loading HTML version of gmail is slow/not working. I haven’t been able to load my blog or read other blogs or work on the Internet from home for a while. I’m hoping the problem is resolved now. Thanks for your kind support. I will have to catch up on your blog too. I hope you are well and enjoying the new year so far. Best wishes. 🙂

    • Thanks very much. I am always missing blog posts in my WP reader as my eyes don’t cope well with the scrolling. I’ve had a broken/slow connection for a couple of days so have not been able to read or comment on blogs. It’s amazing how much one can miss in such a short time! 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed the colours of the creatures and plants from my wanders. Venturing into these surroundings cheers, relaxes and excites me at the same time! I do hope all is well in your world and I’ll be catching up on your blog soon. Best wishes. 🙂

  30. Gorgeous photos! I love the microcosmos shots, as well as the shots of the birds. And I’m so sorry you’ve had health problems – getting taken for a homeless person must have been icing on the cake of a stressful day!

    • Hi! Thanks for popping by and commenting. I’m glad you enjoyed the diversity of shots. I’m fascinated by the little things as well as the bigger ones when I go walking. I’m feeling a lot better and hope I’ve said goodbye to “purple potato face” forever. Best wishes! 🙂

  31. Aahh, Jane!
    Fantastic photos! I’m buying a new camera. My Nikon coolpix is dying a slow painful death while my pictures are getting blurrier and blurrier. I am so inspired by your zoom lens.Is it not amazing how life in all it’s incredible beauty exists on such a small leaf? And most people just pass by and never notice.

    • How exciting that you’re getting a new camera! I know how frustrating it can be when your equipment fails. I’ve always wanted the ability to zoom in on birds from a distance but I didn’t want the cost and weight of a DSLR and added lens. The Canon Powershot SX60 is a nice compromise. I am more interested in birding now that I can focus in on the details more. It’s like having an easy to use pair of binoculars within a light camera. There are quite a few brands that sell cameras with the same features as mine that may be cheaper or better overall. Mine has mixed reviews. Thanks for the nice comments. Yes, it’s amazing the beauty in tiny worlds that we often miss. Best wishes! 🙂

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