Light Colour Shade



Catching the fleeting scenes of many splendored life with a camera.
'Look closely. The beautiful may be small' — Kant

4 January 2016

Birds of Prey. Laughing Kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae), American kestrel (Falco sparverius), Pied Crow (Corvus albus), Turkey vulture (Cathartes aura), Harris's hawk (Parabuteo unicinctus)

Laughing kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae) is a carnivorous bird in the kingfisher family Halcyonidae. The name is derived from Wiradjuri guuguubarra, onomatopoeic of its call which sounds like echoing human laughter. The birds are found in habitats ranging from humid forest to arid savanna, as well as in suburban areas with tall trees or near running water. Native to eastern Australia, they spread to parts of New Zealand, Tasmania, and Western Australia. The characteristic laughter serves to mark territorial borders. Most species of kookaburras tend to live in family units, with offspring helping the parents hunt and care for the next generation of offspring. Kookaburras are almost exclusively carnivorous and hunt by perching on a convenient branch or wire and waiting patiently for prey to pass by. Common prey include mice and similar-sized small mammals, large insects, lizards, small birds and nestlings, and even snakes, including venomous snakes much longer than their bodies. They can also snatch goldfish from garden ponds.
Chicks have a hook on the upper mandible, which disappears by the time of fledging. If there isn’t enough food, the chicks will quarrel, with the hook being used as a weapon, and the smallest chick may even be killed by its larger siblings. If food is plentiful, the parent birds spend more time brooding the chicks, so the chicks are not able to fight.

Laughing kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae). (© LightColourShade. All rights reserved)

13 December 2015

Elusive Guests. Black Rat (Rattus rattus), Water Rail (Rallus aquaticus) and Little Owl (Athene noctua)

Black rat (Rattus rattus, also known as the ship rat, roof rat, house rat, Alexandrine rat, old English rat, and other names) is a common long-tailed rodent of the genus Rattus (rats) in the subfamily Murinae (murine rodents). The species originated in tropical Asia (in India and Southeast Asia) and spread through the Near East and Egypt in Roman times before reaching Europe by the 1st century and spreading with Europeans across the world.
Black rats are generalist omnivores and thus not very specific in their food preferences, they feed on a wide range of foods, including seeds, fruit, stems, leaves, fungi, and a variety of invertebrates and vertebrates. Which makes them a kind of pest in nature (hmm, a lot in common with humans). They are vectors of many diseases including the bacterium Yersinia pestis, an agent of bubonic plague, (which I suspect is just another attempt to blame every mysterious disaster on an animal — the speed of propagation of the desease, as well as its geographic distribution raise doubts about the rodent’s role in the epidemics more likely caused, among other things, by the destruction of European forests, mini glaciation in the Middle Ages, overpopulation and consequent famine, and lack of hygiene).
Like tree squirrels rats prefer fruits and nuts. They are a threat to many natural habitats because they feed on birds and insects. They are also a threat to many farmers since they feed on a variety of agricultural-based crops, such as cereals, sugar cane, coconuts, cocoa, oranges, and coffee beans. The black rat is again largely confined to warmer areas, having been supplanted by the brown rat (Rattus norvegicus) in cooler regions and urban areas. In addition to being larger and more aggressive (I’ve seen big fat brown rats feed with chicken and porks at the same trough and chase cats), the change from wooden structures and thatched roofs to bricked and tiled buildings favored the burrowing brown rats over the arboreal black rats. In addition, brown rats eat a wider variety of foods, and are more resistant to weather extremes
Black rats adapt to a wide range of habitats. In urban areas they are found around warehouses, residential buildings, and other human settlements, especially in dry upper levels of buildings, so they are commonly found in wall cavities and false ceilings.. In agricultural areas they live in barns and crop fields. In the wild, black rats live in cliffs, rocks, the ground, and trees. They are great climbers and prefer to live in trees, such as pines and palm trees. We often see them in the neighbourhood walk up and down the trees and scutter along the power lines that serve as suspension bridges. Their nests are typically spherical and made of shredded material, including sticks, leaves, other vegetation, and cloth. In the absence of trees, they can burrow into the ground. Black rats are also found around fences, ponds, riverbanks, streams, and reservoirs.

Black rat (Rattus rattus). (by-nc-nd)

Flowering Trees: Koelreuteria Paniculata (Goldenrain Tree), Lace-bark Tree (Lagetta lintearia), Lagunaria patersonii (Cow Itch Tree), Parkinsonia Aculeata (Jerusalem Thorn)

Summer Colours: Lemon Yellow, Purple and Pink

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date.
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature's changing course untrimmed.
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st;
Nor shall death brag thou wand'rest in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st,
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

Shakespeare. Sonnet 18


Koelreuteria paniculata var apiculata. (© LightColourShade. All rights reserved)

5 October 2015

Star Jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides).

Star Jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides) aka confederate jasmine, and Chinese star jasmine is a species of flowering plant in the family Apocynaceae, native to eastern and southeastern Asia (Japan, Korea, southern China and Vietnam). A valuable perfume oil is extracted from the steam distilled or tinctured flowers and used in high end perfumery. In a dilute form, tinctured flowers are much used in Chinese, Vietnamese and Thai incenses, while bast fibre is produced from the stems.

Trachelospermum jasminoides (star jasmine) close-up. (© LightColourShade. All rights reserved)

28 July 2015

Freesia fucata, Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica), Melia azedarach (white cedar, chinaberry tree, bead-tree, Cape lilac, syringa berrytree, Persian lilac) flowers

Freesia is a genus of herbaceous perennial flowering plants in the family Iridaceae. It is native to the eastern side of southern Africa, from Kenya south to South Africa.


Freesia fucata flowers. (© LightColourShade. All rights reserved)


24 June 2015

The Common Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) and Wood Pigeon (Columba palumbus).

The common starling (Sturnus vulgaris), also known as the European starling, is a passerine bird in the starling family, Sturnidae. It is about 20 cm (8 in) long and has glossy black plumage, which is speckled with white at some times of year. The legs are pink and the bill is black in winter and yellow in summer. It is a noisy bird, especially in communal roosts and other gregarious situations, with a varied song that sometimes sounds like a wolf-whistle. Its gift for mimicry has been noted in literature including the Mabinogion and the works of Pliny the Elder and William Shakespeare (hmm, that would explain the wolf-whistling). Large flocks of this species can be beneficial to agriculture by controlling invertebrate pests; however, starlings can also be pests themselves when they feed on fruit and sprouting crops.

Common starling (Sturnus vulgaris) on a twig.  (by-nc-nd)
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