Monday, December 31, 2012

A Bird Nest - Three is a Crowd

Unknowingly my domestic helper snipped off the two yellowed leaves of the Hydrangea macrophylla bush where the bird nest was attached.

I held the nest wondering what to do with it when we heard the mother bird chirping frantically away on top of a tree nearby.

Hydrangea macrophylla
Bauhenia kockiana

22 Dec 2012: I then used some green garden twine and secured the nest to several stems of Hydrangea and to a metal stake for Bauhenia kockiana. I then tied the upper stems together so that the leaves arch over the nest forming a protective canopy to shelter them from the elements.

 No sooner had I finished the job, it rained cats and dogs. Phew, just in time!

24 December 2012: As the babies nestled in the cramped nest, Santa and Rudolf, the red-nosed reindeer visited.

 25 December 2012: The fluffy yellow down was beginning to show.

26 December 2012: I went to check on them early in the morning. Their feathers have grown longer and thicker. 


27 December 2012 am: Both parents took care of their progenies. They constantly flew to and fro with grub in their beaks while at the same time chirping shrilly.

The babies stirred from their sweet slumber. It was feeding time.  
 "God gives every bird its food, but he does not throw it into the nest"
~Josiah Gilbert Holland

27 December 2012 pm:  By evening, they've acquired a thick mantle of downs and feathers and were more alert.

28 December 2012 pm
Nest Address:    No 27, Hydrangea Lane, Lake Edge.
Nest Residents: Tweety, Peety and Weety

29 December 2012 pm:   Early this morning, Tweety, Peety and Weety had flown the nest with mum. I was too late to record their maiden flight. Now, I'm suffering from empty-nest syndrome. The nest is framed by the Hydrangea, Jasmine and Bauhenia kockiana shrubs.

Friday, December 28, 2012

A Gift of Hand-Crocheted Snowflakes

These three hand-crocheted Snowflakes came all the way from Australia by air. They were give-aways from from Geoff and Gill of Africanaussie They arrived on 27 December, past Christmas but still in time for the festive season stretching to the New Year.

These lovely snowflakes were well made and came in three colours; pristine white, old rose and orange. A greeting card of the Nativity scene also popped out of the envelope. I was thrilled to bits.

I first hanged them on my dried pussy willows but felt that they were overwhelmed by the other ornaments.

I then had them suspended on the ends of the stringed crystal balls chandelier over the dry kitchen island. The hot-air and microwave oven are in the background.

This is the view from the other side, the dining area.

Thanks, Geoff and Gill. You make this festive season extra special for me!


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Olive-backed Sunbirds on Quisqualis indica

Birds are common visitors to my garden. One such visitor is the Olive-backed Sunbird (Cinnyris jugularis). Sighting these birds gave me an opportunity to have a fruitful session with my new tele-lens.

The Olive-backed Sunbird has a yellow belly and dark metallic blue throat on the underside of the neck and spreading to upper chest area. The upper part of its head and body is a dull, dirty yellow colour which we describe as olive.

This sunbird did a through inspection of this cluster of flowers ...

before thumbing his beak away. It then sat prettily on this bunch of flowers and sang, making for a rather good composition.

"Sweet bird!  thy bow'r is ever green,
Thy sky is ever clear;
thou has't no sorrow in thy song,
No winter in thy year."

~  John Logan 

I've always enjoyed looking at the Quisqualis indica when it is in full bloom. The fragrance that wafted down made for a heady olfactory experience.

On another day, I saw this sunbird peering down from the midst of this inflorescence.

It perched in a haughthy manner, knowing that it was safe and sound, high up way above human reach.


"Be as a bird perched on a frail branch that she feels bending beneath her, 
still she sings away all the same, knowing she has wings" ~ Victor Hugo

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

It's Christmas!

This year I decided to use my two-year-old Norfolk Island Pine as a live Christmas tree. I bought this 8 inch tall plant from Ikea, had it planted in a container and now it has about 8 tiers. It is not very tall but I thought that it should suffice for this year.

 Well, next year it will be different as I planned to be more diligent in applying nutrients and molly coddle it for the next 12 months.
This plain, chocolatey moth flew and rested on a leaf next the colourful tinsels.

It scrambled around for a while and then laid motionless, which to all appearances has become part of the tree ornaments.

Santa visited this bird nest of three baby birds.

Tasha was also enomoured of the ornamented tree.

Tasha getting into the festive mood by

donning a diamante tiara.
This huge wooden dog door stopper present a merry welcome to guests.
This Dracaena draco houseplant was tarted up for the occasion.

Santa teddies on a rope of acrylic garlic.

Dried home-grown bamboo stems are used as props for these ornaments, some of which are decades old.

Some concrete garden animals at the base of bamboo props.

Ornaments on pussy willows from last year's Spring Festival.

The tall one at Berjaya Time Square.

Wishing you a joyous Christmas!


Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Water Monitor Lizard on a Walkabout

Through the glass from inside the house I looked out into the backyard garden and saw this snake-like head peeking out from below a ledge. My immediate reaction was to jump back. Then I saw its claws and heaved a sigh of relief as it was actually a water monitor lizard (Varanus salvator). These lizards can reach up to six feet long and weigh up to 100 lbs. It is carnivorous, feeding on small mammals and are also scavengers.

I observed it from behind the sheer curtain so it was not awared of my presence. This one was about one and half feet long. It was cautious; looking out intently in all directions for a while before deciding that the coast was clear to emerge.

The dorsal surface of its hands and feet were patterned in mehendi fashion.

It then moved out towards the pool, turning to skirt round it.

While trying to get the best angle to reduce the reflection through the glass, I noisily knocked on some furniture. That's when it immediately made a complete turn around.
It scampered back,

towards the safe sanctuary

of its hideout under the ledge, 

near a container of Red Dracaena marginata.

It paused for a moment on the deck before disappearing reluctantly into its abode. The pattern of its hide can be considered to be beautiful. Hmn ... wondering whether its hide would make a nice wallet or a fanciful belt. Just kidding.

This arboreal lizard was spotted on a green Dracaena marginata plant in the patio.

While on  a trip to Sandakan recently, I was at the waterfront of Four Points by Sheraton looking out to sea ...

when I saw this large monitor lizard of about five feet long swimming to land. It swam with the undulation of the tail, propelling it forward. 

"Precisely the least, the softest, lightest, a lizard's rustling, a breath, a flash, a moment - a little makes the way of the best happiness."~ Friedrich Nietzsche

it then climbed onto the rocks.

And stuck its forked tongue out which was not pink like humans but bluish-black.

Why does the lizard stick his tongue out? The lizard sticks its tongue out because that's the way its listening and looking and tasting its environment. It's its means of appreciating what's in front of it.
- William Shatner


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