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Friday, January 15, 2010

Foggy Mountain Jam

The Foggy Mountain Jam is back for 2010!

Promising to be bigger and better, this year the Jam will be held on two nights - Friday 26th 6pm - 10pm and Saturday 27th Feb 4pm - 10pm. Ticket numbers will be kept the same as last year to retain the small and intimate vibe.

Essence Music are excited to announce that this year's line up will once again include Kasey Chambers, Shane Nicholson & Bill Chambers.

Joining them will be Australian Crawl frontman, James Reyne, the magnificent sisters from the Black Sorrows, Vika & Linda Bull and Matt Joe Gow will be returning. They also plan to have a few surprise guests.

The venue will once again be the 100-acre private property 'Foggy Mountain' in Murray's Run Rd, Laguna, 15km from the historic Wollombi Village.

Further Details Here

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Hunter Valley calls for a Northern NSW New State

New England, Australia: Hunter Valley calls for a Northern NSW New State

Further follow up from Jim Belshaw following some comments on The Herald website

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

New England, Australia: New England Story - new states, archives and the preservation of our past

Part of an ongoing series of articles by Jim Belshaw into the establishment of a New England State.

The series commenced here in 2007 but the movement dates back to around 1927 began during the colonial period and was defeated in a referendum in 1967.

More history of the movement on Wikipedia

Eastern Snake-necked Turtle

Five Eastern Snake-necked Turtles (Chelodina longicollis) on a log on Yango Creek, a bit blurry... taken from quite a distance very quickly as they dive when they see you coming. The next shot, focussed and zoomed appropriately five seconds later, only showed the splash of the last one leaving.

I have a dam about 100m from the house which is populated by many turtles. However, I have not yet been able to get a photo of them as they submerge as soon as I get into view.

The are frequently seen on the road and I always stop and move them along when I see one as I can't stand to see them dead.

If you do pick one up to move it along, first be careful as they will spray a foul-smelling liquid from glands (giving them their nickname of "Stinker") so carry them low and with your feet wide apart.

Second, carry them in the exact same direction they were heading. If you alter their course they will likely go back onto the road as they are pretty particular about where they want to go and will deal with obstacles as they come up.

They can live for 50 years with the females laying 10-20 eggs up to three times a year. They are carnivourous, their diet consisting of insects, worms, tadpoles, frogs and small fish that they either swallow whole or shred with their front feet.

Refs: Australian Fauna, OzAnimals

Monday, January 11, 2010

Common Brushtail Possums

Ever since I moved to Bulls Run in July 2004, I have had a close relationship with a number of Common Brushtail Possums (Trichosurus vulpecula). This little guy was the first baby that emerged while I lived here (in Feb 2005), followed by another in October and many since.

The only painting I have ever finished was based on this photo, done in oil pastels, it now hangs in my mother's lounge-room in Colo Vale. Unfortunately, it didn't photograph very well and I'm not really game enough to publish it anyway.

While I see them every evening, I can't recognise them after they grow up so I don't know if this baby is still here as one of two adult males that currently visit.

People in the city tend to get a bit miffed about them but when they are in an isolated environment, they are not at all violent or even careless with their claws. They are totally at ease with me and I have had one come in and sit on the lounge and eat half my sandwich, seemingly watching TV (and making an awful mess with the contents of the sandwich).

I have never been bitten (just an exploratory nip from a youngster who thought my socked foot may be food) and I have become part of the weaning process a number of times with a mother waiting til a large baby was distracted by an apple and running off leaving the baby with me (inside the house) for a while.

Who needs domestic animals... I can happily trade the trust these little companions show me for the perceived love I could get from a dog or cat which would drive them (and the roos) away.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Eastern Bearded Dragon

The Eastern Bearded Dragon (Pogona barbata) is often mistakenly called a "Frill-neck" lizard though the real Frill-necked Lizard only occurs in northern Australia.

Bearded Dragons are frequently seen basking on roads and tend to live in semi-arborial habitats - open forests, heathland, scrub and disturbed areas such as farmland.

They use trees and often fence posts as a means of escape from potential preditors, a safe basking spot or just to survey their territory from a safe place.

They are about 80-90% vegetarian with leaves, berries, flowers and fruit being the main diet, with insects making up the remainder.

When disturbed, their first line of defence is usually to freeze and make use of camoflage. Their second defence is to extend their beard to make them look bigger than they are and to open their mouth showing the bright yellow mouth lining. Last is to flee - they are remarkably quick runners and climbers.

Refs: Burke's Backyard, Australian Reptile Park

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Red-bellied Black Snake

I'm going to blog some of the wildlife shots I have taken in and around Wollombi Valley. The first being this Red-bellied Black Snake that was on Yango Creek Road near Dry Arm in September 2009.

It moved off the road and then sat like this for a few minutes watching me (my car really) allowing me to get to grips with my new camera.

The Red-bellied Black Snake (Pseudechis porphyricus) lives close to water with frogs being a main part of their diet. It is poisionous but not generally fatal to humans.

It is common in woodlands, forests and swamplands in eastern Australia and reproduces by giving birth to up to 40 (average around 20) live young in individual membranous sacs which emerge shortly after birth and are around 22cm in length.

I don't see them at home up on the ridge-top but I see them often on the roads and around other people's houses on the valley-floor... one in Charlie Kessler's kitchen which he gently nudged out the door with a 30cm ruler!

Refs: Wikipedia, Australian Fauna