Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Wildlife Wednesday - Eastern Great Egret

Last week I did a few bird surveys and I noticed that many birds seemed to be scarce when I was out counting, and arrived afterwards. How did they know!?! Except for the Black Swans on the river who tested my counting skills - 105 of them. I think that's more than my count for them last year.

Anyway, when I wasn't doing a count I saw an Eastern Great Egret. It was majestic.

I was driving out of the carpark at the beach and it stood in the grass at the edge of the road. About 1.2 m tall, it had its eye on something and stalked very slowly towards it, allowing me time to stop the car and snap photos out the window.

I've seen lots of the smaller cattle egrets, and I've often wondered if  I was mistaking them for the Great Egret, but now I know that there is no mistaking them. This bird stands about twice or three times the size of the cattle egrets.

And a great thing about this bird - I knew it, as soon as I saw it - and an even better thing - when I read the Birdlife website's description and it said the Great Egret had a distinctive kink in its neck, my heart temporarily sank, and then I looked at the photos again and there was that kink. I'm always excited by kinks, but this one was special! I got an id right :) :) :)

Friday, October 25, 2019

Footy Friday

Three International Games today

3.10 pm Junior Kangaroos vs France

Oh, I can't wait for this. The Junior Kangaroos are young guys who mostly play 1st grade, so there's not a lot of junioring about it. There are some speedy guys - Kalyn Ponga, Reuben Garrick, Ryan Papenhuyzen, Campbell Graham, Zac Lomax. Some big clever runners and offloaders - Angus Crichton, David Fafita, Victor Radley. There's bucketloads of enthusiasm - Brodie Croft and Reed Mahoney. And I can't wait to scream myself silly - or cheer loudly anyway!

Then there's Jillaroos vs Silver Ferns (Australia vs New Zealand women's game). Last week, the Silver Ferns beat the Jillaroos in the World Cup 9s, and I don't think the Jillaroos were very happy about that. Let's see if they can fight back and take the win. There are some cracker players in both teams, so this will be brilliant! I can't wait.

And then there's the Australian Kangaroos vs New Zealand Kiwis (men's game). My favourite player has retired so I'm without a specific player to watch. I'll be cheering for the team in this one.

I love how the rugby league season has drawn out a little longer this year. Although, it's forecast to be in the 30s, so maybe the players won't be so thrilled at the drawn out season. I'm going to bask and enjoy the games.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Wildlife Wednesday - Bird Count Week

It's the week for counting birds, of the feathered kind, if you're in Australia.

Aussie Backyard Bird Count details are here.

This is a really easy and fun thing to do.

Download the app, sit outside for 20 mins, and record the birds you see and how many of them.

If you count like this, it's absolutely decadent!
If you're not sure about birds, there's a handy look up system, with photos and location maps.

The app sends the data in for you after the allocated time is done (there's a counter). Or you can log in on a computer and send your counts through that way.

Up until the 27th October, you can sit outside in 20 min blocks and claim you're doing science - a citizen science project. That's almost like working!

How many birds have you counted?

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Sunday Story - retiring heroes

My sporting hero retired last weekend with a Grand Final win as a fitting farewell (as well as a professional foul and 10 minutes in the sin bin, but we'll forget about that for now).

His rugby league achievements are phenomenal in terms of statistics, wins, and trophies. For me, it's other things that have made him my hero. I think the Australian coach summed up what I've always noticed - that's he's the greatest team player. And many said the same after the Grand Final - how he made them a better player, how he made the team a better team.

And so, he's left the playing field a little emptier but as a person, I'm much changed by having watched him play the sport he loves.

The lasting 'gifts' my two greatest sporting heroes have brought to my life are:

Mindfulness. I'll always associate that with him.

My previous hero gave me the gift of knowing that it was okay for my car to have a good, sheepskin car seat only on the driver's seat. LOL! This is not something Mr E is real thrilled about - but then he only gets in my ute occasionally!

Have your heroes left lasting impressions on your life?

Friday, October 11, 2019

Phallic Friday - Erotic After Dark Workshop

Erotic After Dark is a workshop, hosted by the South Coast Writers Centre and Wollongong Library that's beginning next week, find out more here. If you'd like to book, the link is here.

This is a series of four gatherings to work on and discuss erotic writing. Too often this sort of writing is shunned and not talked about, but I don't think it's so bad. Erotic writing has always occurred. It's not something new.

Many times 'erotic' has been a catch-cry to shock or garner attention, but in my mind erotic writing is something that fills the mind, touches the senses, and engages.

What is erotic writing?

To me, it's writing that is primarily centred around sex. So much so, that if you remove the sex from the story, there is no story.

It doesn't have a specific genre or literary component to fit. It can stand alone.

It can also slip in with any genre, e.g. erotic thriller, erotic horror, erotic romance, erotic suspense, erotic crime. But whatever genre it works in, sex is still the focus of the story. If the sex was removed, the story still does not exist.

Let me illustrate with an example. After the huge success of Fifty Shades of Grey, quite a few books came out claiming to be erotic (in many genres), or claiming to be the next thing to read if you liked Fifty Shades. Most claims were false, in my mind. I bought an erotic thriller. It wasn't. It was a thriller, suspenseful, dark, crime novel, certainly, and it had sex in it for sure. But the sex was added to the story - loads of sex, sometimes only a couple of sentences to indicate that there had been sex. This isn't erotic by my definition. I could have taken all that sex out and there was still a story - less provocative but still there. The sex didn't add to the character development, it just happened. It wasn't described to engage the reader, it was there as words to show it had sex, as a marketing ploy. Sometimes I had to re-read sections to see why/if she'd had sex, but then I still wasn't clear as to the motivation or reason. It was just an event, like smoking a cigarette or walking down the street.

If you look back in time at erotic writing, it's been used for many purposes, but whatever the purpose, the central theme was sex.

The writings of Sappho, who lived between 620 and 570 BCE, are some of the early erotic poetry still read today. It's poetry of love and lust, to delight the senses. The Song of Songs in the Old Testament of The Bible is again a love story of a couple coming together in marriage and then being apart before coming together again. The Kama Sutra is probably one of the most well-known pieces of erotic writing. Vatsyayana is thought to have lived somewhere between the 1st and 6th century CE. It's many lessons on how to live and love.

The Carnal Prayer Mat bu Li Yu was written in the 1650s in China and is an erotic comedy which also gives social commentary. In 1748, John Cleland's erotic novel, Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure, Fanny Hill, was first published. A story of a young woman's debauchery after being orphaned. The work of the Marquis de Sade came later, after the 1760s and were dark erotic stories also with social commentary (although there is some dispute about this). Most had themes of sexual awakening /education /debauchery.

Erotic writing changes through time, as all literature does, but the central theme of sex does not change. It's the hallmark of the term.

Sex is a fascinating way of looking at humanity and making comments on society. If you're interested at all, come along and join in the discussion.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Wildlife Wednesday: Jellyfish and periwinkles

I was roaming along the river the other morning and found this jellyfish covered in periwinkles. I've never seen anything like it before but there were a few periwinkles on jellyfish but not as many as this specimen!

The river is starting to silt up again after being flushed open a few times in recent years. It's also been rather dry, so not a lot of fresh inflows into the river system. The water is getting murky, and there's quite a lot of brown algal growth and dying seagrass weed.

We had an influx of jellyfish in the river the last time it opened to the sea near me (it opens further around usually, but in flood it also breaks open here). There were hundreds of the round jellyfish with tentacles, and quite a few reports of people being stung by them, however, I hadn't been.

Jellyfish with tentacles
So, I googled and found out about these tentacled jellyfish. They're jelly blubbers (Catostylus mosaicus) and there is more information from Australian Geographic, here.

There has always been a few of the crescent shaped jellyfish, but there have been quite a lot more of these lately too.

OMG! I googled again. These crescent-shaped things aren't jelly fish but egg masses laid by moon snails. Holy cow! All my life I've had that wrong - imagine that! LOL!

This article is from SA, but relevant here in NSW, I hope! Read about egg masses here. And here's one from Victoria, here.

I started wondering if the shells on the egg mass were moon snails and not periwinkles...but I haven't been able to find that yet.

My mind is blown. I'll have to look later after I recover from the shock of that not being a jellyfish!