Brisbane, Australia      Year 4 - May 2014 - May 2015
beetle thingo.

We've been home about a year. Rattling around in our seemingly oversize house. Which gets smaller by the day.

But its nice to have things around us, and a workshop, and a bigger screen.

And a rest from moving almost every day. A different set of pressures.

Following is pics mostly of birds that have come and gone in the garden. Sort of milestones for us during the year.

rainbow lorikeets

There's an old large gum tree in the neighbour's garden, just on the border, which is home to a colony of lorikeets.

The tree is like a town square. It seems every bird that flies up the river stops by.

The lorikeets seem to have survived the flood well. The garden is a bit overgrown, but we knew that.


We've come home at a time when the corellas and cockatoos seem to form flocks.

A bit like the roosting noises of other bird colonies we've seen. 

But these seem to move up and down the river a bit.


May / June seem to be getting ready for the mating season.


A bit boring perhaps, but they lurk in a different place every day.

The tablets seem to be keeping the Polymyalgia at bay, but it could be a longish haul. Stiff and very tired.


So the birds keep me occupied. That and helping Ali in the garden where I can.

Which includes a bit of terracing to expand veggie garden.

Sounds awful domesticated.

Not sure if the corella is looking for bugs to ear or eyeing up a nest hole.

wood ducks.

We are slowly, and unfortunately, getting used to the rampant commercialism of Aus. Everyone seems to want to sell us something, at exorbitant prices. Then upsell.

And always at lots of percent off .... which leaves one wondering "off what?".

At most there are sometimes 25 or so ducks in the garden. Less 20% discount equals 20 or so.

cuckoo shrike.

We've seen this but a few times. But it  disappeared about October.

We are thinking we are quite lucky. All the birds are in our garden. Most of the photos taken from our deck.

butcher bird.

This wee fella got close as Ali was digging the veggie garden.

A bit cheekie. Looking for worms.

fig bird.

We don't have any figs. But we do have a fig bird.

I started on truck repairs but really a bit too much for me. It will have to wait.

brahminy kite.

Just before Christmas. Which means we've been home 6 months.

Someone had caught some fish from the rocks on the opposite side of the river. Left the cleanings.

We see the kite high in the sky quite often. But a hint of the camera and it moves away.

Maybe I should try fishing.

sulphur crested cockatoo.

Nothing special in Aus. But my Dad's "favourite bird".


It seems a long way to the river side at the bottom of the garden.

Not so bad getting down, but up is steep.

There's a clump of trees along the riverside. All on a lean from successive floods.

Full of vines which need clearing.


There are quite a few different birds which are black and various bits of white.

Magpies, currawongs, blackbirds, crows, butcher birds,  magipie larks, etc.

We are beginning to recognise their calls.

The currawong is distinctive now we are used to it.

sulphur crested cockatoo.

At last, crest on display. Looking for grubs.

Definitely Christmas.

Two daughters and other halves joined us. A lovely time.

Had some help to waterproof the ridge on the house. Couldn't have done it on my own. So frustrating.

Also help removing tanks from truck.

blue eyed honey eater in jacaranda.

Jacarandas are in flower. Beautiful purple.

Not native. And its grown lots. Have to cut it back.

I initially thought the truck sub-frame may be repairable from underneath. Have now decided to dismantle the whole box, remove sub-frame, then rebuild.

I'll put that bit of saga in a separate blog entry.


Storm season.

We don't get much wind but today its making things a bit horizontal.

The lorikeets are looking a tad uncomfortable.

I've picked up a bit of software development work.

Like lots of these things its turned out more complicated and longer than expected.

magpie lark (peewit).

Chasing worms. But not as bold as the butcher birds.

spangled drongo.

Just here for a couple of days.

Reminded us of the drongo at Pokhara.


Its taken many years to appreciate gum trees.

I was brought up with the rounded fuller trees of England. Gum trees always looked straggly.

This is part of the big gum tree after a storm.

dollar birds.

And on the next tree past that one this pair.

They sat there at the same time every day, just before the sun disappeared,  for a couple of weeks.

We wonder if they'll return next year.

female koel.

Wondered what it was for a while.

Its a cuckoo.

Very secretive. It flies into the nearest bush whenever it spots us.

We've been incredibly anti-social since returning. Just getting round to being sociable again.

female koel.

This time it didn't hide itself very well.

We've been thinking of thinning a few trees and palm trees. Hopefully it won't leave us.

female Koel.

Caught a photo in the open.

Just opportunistic.

I thought I saw the male once. But not quick enough with the camera, and it was probably a crow.

scaly breasted lorikeet.

We are getting used to the sillhouette and behaviour of different birds.

Getting easier to spot these lorikeets. Not as many as the large colony of rainbow lorikeets.

noisy miner is a honey eater.

After a bit of rain.

There's been lots of rain this year. Keeps the grass growing.

Have to keep cutting it. As well as removing weeds.

We've had a bit of trouble remembering mynahs and miners.


I guess the birds have to eat.


Our bird book is very good. Our looking up birds in the bird book skills need a bit of honing.

We don't see many small birds. The honey eaters are quite aggressive.

butcher bird, same colour after a year.

We thought it might be young, but either its a different bird or its always going to be this colour.

Knows no fear.

laughing kookaburras.

Apparently there are blue winged kookaburras as well as these laughing ones.

A nice sound. Occasionally.

Its now April. Almost a year.

The garden is nearly under control.

fig bird.



Cheated a bit here. There's a park a couple of km walk away.

A good walk, but takes a bit of recovering.

We've decided to plant trees and bushes to hopefully attract small song birds.

Indian Mynah.

But these and the noisy miners may chase them away.

This is an import.

juvenile blue faced honey eater.

Its taken us a long time to realise that this is a juvenile.

Didn't know there was honey in the gum trees. I guess its nectar.

crow family.

Mum, Dad and the kids.

Just enough noise to let us know they are around without taking over.

juvenile blue faced honey eater.

The last one had a reddish face, this one a greenish face.

One day it will be blue.

Or we'll be wrong.

storm clouds.

Lots of storms this year. But all keeping their distance.

Cutting the grass every couple of weeks.


Wouldn't be Aus without galahs.

We only ever see a couple at a time rather than flocks.

common bushtail possum.

It knocked on our kitchen window so we took its photo.


Its amazing what difference 50m from the house to the river makes.

Around March my leg swelled up. I thought an unusual reaction to insect bite. Whatever it was it had a mild attack of shingles (well known side effect of PMR and medication). A good catch by Doctor meant just more tablets and a bit of rest rather than lots more pain.

pacific swallow.

I finally got round to doing a bit of work in the garage. Its only been 9 months.

There's a pair of swallows that nest above our back door. Much easier to catch a photo as they watched me work.

I didn't do much. But at least I found some energy from somewhere. I've been slowly reducing the tablets as symptoms subside.

straw necked ibis.

Arrived one day. Haven't seen them before.

Over a few days there have been four.

masked plover, masked lapwing.

These have been here all year. Just took a while to get close enough to them.

Birds are very good at casually keeping their distance.

white heron.

An on and off sort of visitor. Turned up again in April.

There's been enough rain to raise Wivenhoe Dam so water is released.

Easier pickings for the heron on our side of the river.

blue faced honey eater.


Finally got stuck into the truck repairs in earnest.

With a bit of help took the roof off and body to pieces in a week. Easier than I thought.

blue faced honey eater.

Ah. But in our pom-pom plant this time.

It was covered in vines (the bush that is) when we returned.

This year its got lots of red pom-pom flowers.

Not a native, but the honey eaters like it.


They've been closer. Either paddling majestically along the river or flying up and down it.

Just never when I have the camera.

The tide is out. We think there are fish in the pool. The floods scour the river of weeds.

white faced grey heron.

And here's a new comer.

For some reason it came up the garden away from the river.

Seemed to find lots to peck at.

juvenile brahminy kite attacking white faced grey heron.

So pre-occupied were both the heron and I.

The heron saw it at the last minute. I thought it was about to fly away so pressed the camera button.

Bit of a surprise really.

corellas and sulphur crested cockatoos.

They usually spot the kite first, take flight, and make lots of noise.

This time it was after the heron squawked.

The lorikeets went the other way.

So. Basically a quiet year since return.

We needed a rest. The Polymyalgia hasn't taken over, but its slowed me down. I can easily sleep 12 hours, and still need a nanna nap in the afternoon.

A general feeling that my energy levels are slowly increasing, but of course if I don't pace myself, or I overdo lifting, I suffer for a few days. Chronic diseases can wear one down, but I seem to have managed to remain reasonably positive. We also have "knees and hips".

Ali has occupied herself in the garden. I help occasionally with chainsaw, mulcher, terracing (of course after all the Asian terraces). We feel like we have it nearly under control.

Ali started on writing up our adventure as a book in about February. Three years of diaries and 70,000 photos.

The software project is stable. Just a few things lingering. The truck repairs have past dismantling, past redesign, and started rebuild.

Probably about October we'll help a daughter build a bagged earth house. And we have a vague plan for a lazy desert trip next year.

This last year has been very different to the previous three. Equally enjoyable, but in a very different way. Wonderful times, wonderful people, wonderful places. If nothing else we have a greater appreciation of "home". And of course the restlessness will seemingly never leave us.

The world has changed of course. A new conservative, far right, government that sadly doesn't believe in climate change. The rise of a muslim fundamentalist group attempting to create a caliphate in Iraq and Syria which is overflowing into the rest of the world as terrorism. And recently the beginnings of change in FIFA. All things which we haven't had to worry about during our travels. Hopefully they won't really effect us. 

Truck Rebuild Year 5 - April 2015 - November 2015

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