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I’m a big fan of the little birds and this is the opposite end of the spectrum to the emu of the last post. Whitefaces inhabit dry areas of southern and central Australia and I captured this one in the hills east of Port Augusta in South Australia while free camping on a cattle property. The Southern Whiteface is a mere 10 cm, rather plain with grey underparts and flanks, but that cute slash of white across the face sparks them up. This little guy was atop a large succulent that was covered in these long red blooms.
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Like many Australians my family has roots in Scotland, certainly those Scots seem to have gotten about here in New South Wales given the number of small towns promoting the Scottish clans. All together I have four Scot clans I can lay heritage to, so in October ’16 I set off to check out some of my family’s old haunts, which in large part centered on Argyll and the Isles in the north west of Scotland. Dunvegan Castle on the Isle of Skye, is the oldest continually inhabited castle in Scotland and has been the ancestral home of the Chefs of Clan MacLeod for over 800 years. While this isn’t one of my family clans, it was an immigration point for Scots heading OS back in the day, and my father’s family’s immigration papers show this as their point of departure. Its a beautiful place with a very large well maintained garden of woodlands, boarders and a walled garden that rivals the garden in the famous novel The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, a book many love as a child and went on to become a wonderful film.
I have been cruising through some of my old travel photos and the flower one caught my eye. It was taken on the grounds of one of the best places I have ever stayed, the Morning Mist Resort near Khao Sok National Park in Thailand. Don’t think western style resort with multi-story buildings and contrived landscaping, this was an immense flower garden with bungalows for guests dotted throughout the grounds. It was amazing to meander back to our digs through such a sensual overload and to wake up amoungst it.
The place had a great restaurant with incredible views of jagged mist covered mountains, delicious local cuisine and the most divine fruit cocktails, decorated appropriately with masses of flowers. The resort was walking distance from an entrance to Khao Sok National Park, Thailand.
Khao Sok is one of the oldest virgin rainforests in the world, even older than the Amazon, and the area is well worth a visit. One of my favourite outings was visiting a monkey colony and being allowed to cuddle a baby monkey, it was even sucking its thumb like one of my daughters used to do. It is memories like these that keep my passion about travel alive. I hope Morning Mist is still there, the people were so lovely. I did this trip in 2010 and the garden must now be a midsummer dream.
I love well designed buildings and adore aesthetically appealing details that leave me nodding with appreciation or gasping with delight.
While most modern buildings in China mimic the traditional rectangular apartment blocks of the West, block being the key word, the older, traditional Chinese buildings and Buddhist temples are full of interesting and beautiful features.
The dragon carving was at the entrance to a Buddhist temple in Fengjing, a water town in Shunde District, that is part history lesson and part living community. The curving wall is part of a Museum Garden, a very old house and garden that is open to the public. Whether it’s the line of a roof at a monastery, a shapely wall or a painting on a temple ceiling, these are the gems to seek out.
These birds are prolific and loud, mostly hanging out in large flocks they can be very vocal about who gets to feed on which flower. This one had opted for a solo meal and was happily feeding on a grove of flowering banksia by itself in the Moonee Beach Nature Reserve on the Coffs Coast, NSW Australia. If you like the coast environment of beach and ocean on one side and nature and mountains on the other, this stretch of coastal reserve, tucked between the city of Coffs Harbour and the village of Emerald Beach on the north coast of NSW, is a great place to walk, wander, swim and surf and has great accommodation options to suit all budgets.