Nature's Place

Frogs and Others …

The eastern dwarf tree frog, resident in amongst the growth of the crucifix orchid. They come out most nights, unless it’s too cold – around 7C.

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It’s a job sometimes, getting a clean background with so much foliage about. But they are getting used to me manipulating their platform/s for the shot.

Plenty of snails about too, and I encourage them with plenty of rotting leaf litter kept moist. They are often seen climbing about the orchid too, where frogs wait.

They have their ways, and their character. Calm and silent, alert and reserved. Lovely gentle creatures, to me. Even entertaining, one could say. Could, do … :-)

Holding on in the rain. I’ve built a frog hotel for them now too. Will picture it another time, too late here. Don’t know yet if they are using it, but they will, or something like it.

And from another time, sighted on the plant pot under the greenery. He or she, who knows or cares, except another huntsman. Magnificent creatures either way.

Once more about the crucifix orchid. Seen often enough to suspect a huntsman spider home being made hereabouts. And unusually bold, unfazed by a near miss of the diffuser.

And then, after all the recent spider activity – see previous frog posts – we can see who is the male and female. She came along and presented herself, hanging upside down. He approached gingerly from beneath, loosely enwrapped her and gently delivered his seed to her opening with his pedipalps.

Did someone mention frogs? It’s more or less all there is right now, where I am, in the heart of Brisbane’s winter. The sun shines too.

I suspect they came in on the flood water earlier this year, from the upper fields. I’m looking to make them at home, so they stay.

As they have taken to the crucifix orchid I have given their spawn/tadpoles somewhere to swim, a pond, an upturned bin lid.

They pray simple, like a gentle light in the darkness. Sitting still, silent and solitary amongst the orchids greenery.

Silent to their neighbours near and far. Especially to a stalking huntsman, who ignores a nudge of the stick.

Bold spider she is, unafraid, who will have to sustain her own young too. Then came the male.

So tread carefully little ones, don’t want to lose you now.

© Mark BerkeryClick on those pictures for a closer lookand click again.



Frog Hunt …

Hmmm, what’s this I see. Rather deadly to me. Better keep still a while or I might no longer be.

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A huntsman spider, probably female, hanging motionless – swaying, apparently lifeless – above something dark beneath.

Ooh, that looks dangerous. I’ll just tuck in here a while. Hope my mates have the good sense to stay out of this one’s way.

Something tethered beneath, a last breath, a final struggle against the bonds of inevitability.

I see said the frog, who could probably see very well indeed. Well enough to know not to go that way, this time.

Yes, cockroach, caught out by her need to constantly move. Which at other times would serve her well, but the huntsman hunts by that very need – of others to move, across her carefully laid trip threads. She feels them …

The frog hunts differently, by sitting still enough to see in the dark with their big eyes anything that moves. Each hunter has its ways. The frog’s way is probably less dramatic but equally poised.

The ‘coup de grace’. Until this the spider was hanging there apparently lifeless, swaying in the breeze, maybe exhausted from the cold with little to eat, gathering her energy to extract the life from her prey.

And nobody noticed this snail, going about its grazing in the dead of night. No hunter this one.

Hunter or hunted, there is more to the story unfolding on the crucifix orchid in the dead of Brisbane’s winter.

It gets too cold for the frogs to come out some nights, but I check the crucifix orchids regularly anyway – gotta do what we enjoy.

On some nights I had been seeing other creatures, snails and recently one black cockroach. And occasionally signs of Huntsman spiders, cast off skin for instance, and this night found one feeding.

Looks like a cockroach, The cockroach perhaps. Unlucky creature, or unprepared – the huntsman senses its prey by its movement, and frogs don’t move like the cockroach.

I’ll be back … said the spider to the frog.

© Mark BerkeryClick on those pictures for a closer lookand click again.



Into Winter’s Cold

Master of all he surveys, below.

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Food foraging … As above, so …

Meetings along the byways on the orange crucifix orchid.

The observed observing … alert to sound and movement.

A place for everyone on these mighty orchids.

They do a lot of sitting and waiting, these frogs.

These beetles do a lot of eating, on the pink crucifix orchid.

At the ready, ready to jump for dinner.

Dinner … who knows. She lost a claw, and gained a headdress.

Green tree frogs are making themselves at home, amongst the crucifix orchids where beetles and their larva roam. Along with some others.

Plenty for all to eat it seems, to keep them coming back, for now. But everything’s always changing, never the same for long.

We have just passed into winter in the southern hemisphere, from humid drenching rain to cold dry windy days.

The sun seems suddenly to have fallen in the sky so not much shine for those that need it.

Everything adjusts, or dies, we do. Nature is a reflection that way, and any way really.

Except there’s no problem in nature, none.

Just changes passing, passing now.

© Mark BerkeryClick on those pictures for a closer lookand click again.



When Gods Play

Careful now, examine, sense, taste, before diving in and calling out the house guard to join in.

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Let the feast begin, with giants leaving space at the table for their tiny neighbour to take its place.

And once determined to be true let’s play ball, why not … what’s good for me is good for you.

One might even pray, for deliverance of such a bounty. Higher than can be seen, on any other day.

Kick, catch … Nah, this is mine and mine alone. Until I meet my kin and s/he can have the bone.

To be enjoyed, even delighted in, by the sumptuous appearance of the honeyed play of gods.

What else to call it, that this creature will only know once in its life. But play and pray … delightful day.

Tucked below the retaining wall of the raised garden beds, these green head ants do live and die.

Head heavy on shoulders lean and strong, focused in the darkness, marching to an invisible beat.

And then, a sniff, a touch, a sense of something unforeseen, perhaps a sign of gods at play.

A bounty, of honey, nectar of gods of another time, that no creature dares deny.

Cautious, curious, furious energy spent exploring this gift delivered, by what amazing feat.

Excitement, disbelief, if such can believe at all, the boon received and in their way these little giants, they pray.

And play, and so we learn the simple way, of being and delighting, from which their nature does not sway.

In ordinary living, day to day. Though it is not always so.

So they say.

© Mark BerkeryClick on those pictures for a closer lookand click again.



Raining Frogs …


Some locals or visitors to my area might be interested in this – Meditation In Nature and Macro Photography


Content to pose a short while as I positioned myself for a few shots. Remarkably passive to my handling of it.

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Flexible frog, all the better to get around while evading the predators – birds and snakes and lizards. Same colours as the leaves and stems too.

In the palm of my hand. Where we have nature in fact, and not doing so well with it – with our biblical dominion, surely means responsibility.

Hello little one. On my arm. … No sense of alarm or urgency, just frog being frog. Not calling out though, still absorbing the sense of the newness.

On an orange I have staked in the garden, for other creatures to call home. Fungus weevils live their lives here as it decays.

By the tree s/he calls home, taking position to jump into the big black darkness. About two feet through the air and it was home again. Home again …

Since I got to the new place on acreage, next to a remnant native forest, the tree frogs have been very vocal in harmony with the unrelenting rain.

Every time it rains, and many evenings as the light fades, they are up and about singing their hearts out to their neighbours near and far.

And though I carefully stalk the darkening green for a sighting of these elusive creatures they are all but invisible, until they move.

The contrast enables cog-nition, so re-cog-nition is that much easier. Once seen it’s easier to see again.

It’s the same with self knowledge, movement (inside) that is reflected in the situation enables re-cog-nition.

Re … because we already know. We just need re-minding before the knowledge sticks.

But the frog doesn’t care. Being free of self reflection frog is content being frog.

Nature is remarkable that way … human nature is another story.

© Mark BerkeryClick on those pictures for a closer lookand click again.



Beautiful Bees

Dancing with delight, on a hot summers day, on the edge of the birdbath filled with cool clear rainwater. … Why not …

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Taking water up to bring back to the hive, instinctively. One of the functions of this form. With an invisible, but divinable, heart of gold that is the beauty behind.

Sustained by another form, a flower, serving its function. All for us to delight in, if we can. But what is de-light, the light. Could it be when the veil of shadows disappears …

Beauty, of clarity transcending the appearance in form and the mechanics of function – of anything, everything.

In the eye of the beholder, naturally, since everybody sees some of the time. When the quiet is, here, now.

What gets in the way of it? Just self-reflective thinking, but a substantive veil of obscurity. Shadowing …

Obscuring the simple with complications we love to entertain, they’re entertaining.

Until we’ve had enough … or enough have had enough.

It’s not for everybody.

© Mark BerkeryClick on those pictures for a closer lookand click again.



Ant On A Stick …

Sounds almost edible, not uncommon in some places, to eat them, insects.

Oh no, please don’t eat me too … and look at all the small hard bits to get stuck between your teeth.

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I’m going to jump … ok, ok, I’ve got wings so that’s not going to work.

But really, let’s talk about this first. Or let’s not, let’s just forget all about it.

Look how fine a creature I am. Perfectly formed to function in my place, as an ant.

Not somebody’s dinner … I’ve got things to do on this earth too you know.

Apart from looking fine, and as if I know what I’m doing on top of this stick.

I know, I’ll just fly away, and forget we ever had this conversation. And you can do the same. … Right? Right?

Here in the ‘West’ there has been recent talk of eating insects, ostensibly as a food fashion but really because unsustainable practices in food production have made sourcing unpredictable, insecure.
It’s what happens when we take our eye off the ball, looking towards a ‘better’ (for someone) horizon. The ball being here and now, the horizon being there and then, unrealistic – not here now.
No doubt certain strata of society will come to enjoy them (insects) immensely. I could say more … about insatiable human nature.
But all is well, evolution is right on time.
The sun shines, the wind blows …
Water is wet. Here and now.

© Mark BerkeryClick on those pictures for a closer lookand click again.



Birdbath Life …

Not sure any more who’s is who’s but this is one of Katie’s, I think. Thanks for the pix Katie. :-) … Birds loving the water on a sunny day.

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The same kind of bird as last one, maybe even the same individual. Don’t know the names. I just see them obviously enjoying themselves.

Another kind, sharper because of the brighter light, checking out the quality of the water. Is it good enough?

“Mmm, I’ll have a go.” Lovely cool clean rainwater. Nothing like it to clear out the dust ‘n’ things.

And then there’s this wagtail, noisy little fellow, always announcing himself. Even brought a friend one day. Thoroughly enjoys the bath regularly.

As you can see, just about. They must feel vulnerable in the bath, in and out in the blink of an eye. Predators about perhaps. Kookaburra maybe … but not this time.

And then the bees showed up, and came again for a few days.

Gathering a little water for the hive. … The dark coloured dish heats up in the sunshine but the bees didn’t seem to notice or mind.

I had to work a little to capture one in a more photogenic posture and position or angle. A little sunlight breaking up on the eye.

Hot, hot, hot … but that’s the thing about these hive honey bees. Individuals are expendable – if that’s what’s happening regards the heat of that dish.

As I got the garden going at the new place a birdbath seemed appropriate, and I just happened to have one Kate no longer wanted when she was also moving recently.

I put it where it can be seen from the table where I write this, indoors, and also from the table on the veranda outside where we sit and relax now and again.

The pix are as good as they get from my gear, which was chosen for macro, not for fast moving birds in shadow = slow shutter speeds = blur.

But never mind, a few bees also found the birdbath attractive in recent days. They make up the sharper few – I do like to see the detail.

How can anyone not see the intelligence in nature, isn’t it obvious from the form and function of the small creatures, if nothing else.

Even the rain that’s falling right now, the form and function – fluid in every way, and wets every thing.

Beautiful too, in its own way.

Nature is …

© Mark BerkeryClick on those pictures for a closer lookand click again.



After The Rains …

What nature provides in the aftermath, to those who adapt and can see.

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… everything gets on with it, everything that’s left.

This honey bee appeared between downpours and found a little nourishment.

Amazing in all the debris, and that everything was washed away, it stopped for a couple shots.

A little welcome to the new place that hasn’t had a chance to register the changes I’ve made to the garden.

Maybe next year, if I’m still here – who knows what may be – in a place that’s weathered the worst downpours in decades.

The owner is working hard to ensure the place is ready for worse to come, and so much else is good about the place, why not.

If things work out I might soon have the space and dry to work and get some of my bees to market this year –

We’ll see …

© Mark BerkeryClick on those pictures for a closer lookand click again.