Cyclone Frogs

It's been a wild and woolly couple of days here in the north (and west I hear). I trust that that no one has been hurt (I'd check on the news, but the news and I aren't friends ...). What I have heard is that Terry Pratchett has died, with his last tweet reading "The End". I hope he left us on his own terms as he wished. People should be allowed to die with dignity - those who disagree oughta be taken outside and flogged with a wet face-cloth, before being marched off to do volunteer work in a hospice ... nutters that they are.

Anyway, where was I?. Oh yeah, cyclones - this one's called Nathan, which made me grin (I've a brother called Nathan - and believe me, he can be a destructive force of nature too).

But despite the wind and rain, the wildlife seem to be taking it all in their stride - in fact some critters are positively exploiting the situation - most notably, the frogs ...

I shot these two male graceful tree frogs last night as they braved the elements like troopers - determined to prove their metal to any passing female. The first shots were a bit tricky, that leaf was bouncing around like a politician in a maternity ward ...

Litoria gracilenta

I managed a bit of audio too, it's not the best quality - but hey, you'll get the idea of what they sound like eh?

And then I got a visit from an old friend - insomnia. However, there are worse things than laying awake listening to the driving rain and choruses of frogs. Whats-more, I had a fist full of gecko's to keep me company :)

Hemidactylus frenatus

Eventually the sand man took pity on me and I awoke to more wind and rain - meaning no work, so I bumbled out the door spilling coffee, seeking out my jandals (who were inexplicably half buried in a flower bed!?) - before wandering around to see who might be about.

I've gotta say - a european honey bee doing her rounds was about the last thing I expected, but there ya go. The tenacious lass wasn't going to let a little damp in the air interrupt her foraging ...

 With time on my hands, I cruised down to the beach to check out the sea - I do enjoy a stormy sea (you know, when I'm on land like ...)

'Morning Nathan' - I haven't said that for years lol.

And wouldn't ya know it ... turns out I took the wrong lens with me. As I was standing there, (asking myself why the hell I was standing there) a pair of frigate birds drifted by - it's a good thing the beach was deserted, as the air went from grey to blue ...

Ah well, ya can't win 'em all eh?

Well, that's about it from me - the F1 is about to begin so I'd best gather myself for three days of yelling at the tele ...

Stay dry and take care -

Paul :)

The graceful or dainty green tree frog is commonly found in vegetation emerging from the water in streams and swamps, often in temporary water. It is found in a range of habitats, including rain-forest, woodland and forest. It is commonly found near human developments, in gardens or farms and often enters houses looking for insects. Due to its common occurrence on fruit and vegetable farms, particularly bananas, it is commonly transported around Australia with fruits or vegetables, frequently becoming a lost frog. This is common among many frog species, and is of concern due to the much faster rate at which it can spread disease.

This species is usually seen after heavy rain during spring and summer. It breeds in flooded grassland and small ponds. The males will call during summer after rain, and the call is a long "waa" or "wee". Others describe the call as a long, growl-like 'aarrrc' repeated frequently. Males form noisy choruses during summer breeding season. The eggs are laid in a clear jelly lump in water attached to vegetation. edited ^

Black And White Wildlife Photography

Black and white or monochromatic photography isn't something I normally indulge in, but recently I've been screwing around with the camera, getting my head around f-stops, ISO, shutter speed, WB etc etc a bit more. For me, it's a great deal of fun, more importantly - when I'm looking through the 'lens', I forget about whatever else is going on. The stresses and minor/major struggles we all face - they evaporate ... at least for a bit.

When I watch the wildlife around me doing their thing, well, that's it - I'm in that moment, and that moment alone - I usually suck at being present in the present.

The great thing, is that when I flick back through the blog or the hard drive, I can remember exactly what was going on. What the critter was doing and all the peripheral stuff around the photo that no camera can capture ...

What follows is a collection of images shot over the last week or so.

The dragonfly's, with their veined wings and fine details, always make interesting subjects.

My favourite shot

click to enlarge

Mmmm a bit dark there eh?

Some colour!

So low ISO (100-200), fast shutter speed (1/100 - 1/125), an f-stop or aperture range of 5.6 - 8 and manual focus seems to be giving me some decent sorta shots ...

At this point, I really should say that having never taken a workshop, class or lessons on photography - (I simply experiment, and for the theory side I annoy Google until I've worked stuff out to the point that I can understand it) - I'm probably not much help to any budding snappers out there ...

I won't pretend to be - instead, here's a helpful article for your perusal: Understanding Exposure

And anyway, despite the header, this isn't a photography blog. I enjoy taking the pics, but I enjoy the wildlife more ... so let's get back to the critters with some photographyness along the way :).

Spiders!, North Queensland and the N.T has more species than anywhere else in Australia (perhaps - dare I say it - the world!).

However, without a microscope and a PhD your chances of identifying them all is pretty limited. Never mind, here are a few that are regular guests in the home and backyard here in Oz ...

Lynx Spider Oxyopes spp

Green Jumping Spider (f) Mopsus mormon

Green Jumping Spider (m) Mopsus mormon

St Andrews Cross Argiope keyserlingi 

As for the herps, some trusted friends have been knocking about - with one, a magnificent white-lipped tree frog being very obliging by taking up residence in a palm tree almost daily - a great opportunity to play with the camera :)

Over the week his colouration has changed a little - the red on his toes and legs means he's looking for love ... it may be autumn, but as this beautiful gravid graceful tree frog, (below) can attest to, that's no reason to stop doing ya do ...

Litoria gracilenta

The rainbow skinks are also still running around the joint, obsessively dashing here and there and squabbling between themselves - they make my day.

Carlia longipes (f)

Carlia longipes (m)

Unfortunately, the cane toads are doing well. But they are amazing little beasties - it's just a shame they're being amazing over here eh?

Rhinella marina

As for the random invertebrates, well we've been getting our fair share such as this resplendent grasshopper:

Orthoptera (for an exact species I.D you'd have to ask David) - here's a link: BunyipCo

And here's a groovy sort of critter. A very 'hairy' caterpillar - I wouldn't advise trifling with it mind, those hairs could very well be defensive rather than decoratively funky ... hey, they may not be, but I'll be buggered if I want to find out eh?

The second pic may be an Australian hornet - but I can't be sure, if it is - the caterpillar may well need every one of those spiky hairs ...


Abispa ephippium?

Sadly, there's been a tragedy in the garden. I'm not certain - but I suspect foul play. This is one of the last shots of my favourite femme fatale of the yard. The extraordinary flower spider - no doubt the other small critters have heaved a collective sigh of relief at her passing ... but I miss her. The queen is dead - long live the queen eh?.

Hypolimnas bolina (m) butterfly. A rather colourful last meal for our flower spider

Same species, a little less colourful - but alive at least

It's been a week of it eh? And in closing, I'd like to say hi to my Mum, who turned 70 last weekend - quite the achievement when I think of all she's been through (not least of all raising her sons - who frankly made the whole process as difficult as possible).

Thanks for everything Ma :)

Right, that's it - I'm off to annoy some critters ... cheers for stopping by, and as always - take care,

Paul :)

You don't make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved.”
~ Ansel Adams
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