Thursday, 30 August 2007

Bird Spot: 'Hello Cocky'...

An icon of Australia, the Sulphur Crested Cockatoo, or 'cocky', is not common in Tasmania. I usually see small flocks along the Midland Highway south of Launceston, and very occasionally, we see a small number of birds near our home, but generally that's about it. On the mainland of course, they are sometimes regarded as a pest when in large flocks.
I came across this small flock while driving to the west coast on Tuesday. I didn't take a photo, but they were still there today (Thursday) so I stopped to take a photo or two. They make a good contrast with the black cows. This photo was taken near Ouse (pronounced 'ooze'!).

Saturday, 25 August 2007

Sun Spot: Spring on its way...

There might be a week of Winter still left, but the last few days have been very Spring-like. Today is grass mowing day, and it is mild enough to wear a T-shirt and shorts.
Mild enough too for early insects to take wing and gather some nectar, like this fly on a diosma flower.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Mineral Spot: Gypsum...

Gypsum is a common calcium sulphate mineral. It often occurs in evaporite deposits in arid areas (places where the moisture evaporates faster than it builds up). It often breaks along cleavage planes, giving a pearly lustre on the cleaved faces. Sometimes it forms as 'fish-tail' crystals, twins that resemble, well, fish tails! It is a very soft material, softer even than your finger nail which will scratch it!
The specimen pictured is from South Australia, probably from the Mt Gunsen area.

Saturday, 18 August 2007

Mineral Spot: Campylite...

Mimetite is a relatively common lead arsenate mineral found in the oxidised zone of lead ore deposits. It forms hexagonal prisms and comes in a range of colours including white, cream, yellow, green, orange, red and brown.
A rarer form is campylite, a name sometimes used for mimetite that occurs as barrel-shaped prisms. The most famous occurrence of this is at Dry Gill, Caldbeck Fells, Cumbria, England.
The ones photographed are from Broken Hill, New South Wales, and individual crystals are about 3mm long. These ones are actually cream in colour, having been coated with brown iron hydroxide.

Friday, 17 August 2007

Silhouette Spot: Zeehan in the mist...

I love the west coast of Tasmania! The light, the atmosphere, the views, are all continually changing. This image was taken this morning near the Zeehan township, looking towards the Dundas district, whilst on my way to work. Hard to take, working that is, in this part of the world!

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Rock Spot: Basalt Columns...

Not the Giant's Causeway I admit, but a nice little example of basalt columns all the same. This 'specimen' sits just offshore at Don Heads, near Devonport, northern Tasmania.

Thursday, 2 August 2007

Mineral Spot: Kidney Ore...

Hematite, a common iron oxide mineral, comes in a variety of habits. One of the more unusual-looking forms is what is known as a reniform, or 'kidney ore' habit, such as the one pictured. This specimen is from the well-known Cumbrian (England) locality, the Florence Mine, at Egremont. It will be listed in one of my up-coming auction lots this weekend.

Night Spot: Brisbane Lights...

Just come back from a business trip to Brisbane, Queensland, and I thought I'd share one of my photos taken from the balcony of my hotel room...