Owl Boxes


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Many of the big old trees with hollows around this area are dying and hollow nesting birds such as powerful owls may find it hard to find somewhere to nest. In 2011 The Friends’ Group of RIS decided to apply for funding to build some nesting boxes for powerful owls which are sometimes seen and heard around the sanctuary. By 2013 funding was obtained and Jim Greenwood from Melbourne came here one day to show and explain one of the boxes he makes for nesting powerful owls which are sometimes seen and heard around the sanctuary. By 2013 funding was obtained and Jim Greenwood from Melbourne came here one day to show and explain one of the boxes he makes for nesting powerful owls.


Pam brought along a lifelike sculpture of a powerful owl to show us.


.Six boxes were ordered for locations near here including one for a secluded location in the sanctuary.

powerful-owl-box-5At last the boxes were ready. Friends’ member Peter Wilson, appropriately qualified and experienced as a tree climber carefully placed the boxes in the chosen locations, guided by Jim Greenwood on the ground, while a few of us watched in awe.   powerful-owl-box-4

Now the boxes are checked regularly for infestation by bees and other damage by Peter Wilson and another local man.  powerful-owl-box-1

No powerful owls have been reported using the boxes although a Boobook owl was photographed in the doorway of one box and some ducks nested in another.powerful-owl-box-3


Isa Brown/s


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Life hasn’t been the same since we returned from a few days in Halls Gap to find Janice . Jules and Jinger had moved in. Into the chook cage I mean. Ross, our landlord, had fixed up the cage and put in the three chooks he had bought from an overcrowded chook farm with a bag of pellets to feed them. That was a much better surprise than finding out the sore ankle I came home with was fractured.

In no time the three chooks were laying brown eggs Chook house

Chook eggs

And we were eating lots of eggs. There was even a double yolker.Chooks in Illowa lay double yolker

The three hens spent many hours scratching around the big garden  trotting around after Frank  when he went outside.Chooks in Illowa with FrankFrom the Window 004One day we went shopping in Warrnambool and when we arrived home it was just dark. Frank went down the back to put the chooks to bed but no chooks to be found. He looked and looked but no luck. Frank was certain the fox had come in and eaten the chooks. foxSo we sadly went to bed. How pleased we were when the missing chooks were back in the yard next morning! Now when we go out the they get shut in their house before we leave.

In July Django and Ginger visited with their mum and dad. We were very happy to give them one dozen freshly laid eggs to take home. We will be very happy to see them when they come again and I am sure the chooks will be too.

Birds and Beasts



Over the last several dreary weeks of winter my heart has been lifted by watching the graceful cattle egrets flying in and out and enjoying the insects raised by the munching cows.[000087]

I have been happily absorbed taking photos and particularly challenged by capturing the birds in flight.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               [000017]Over the last few days there have been no egrets and I miss them so much.  Cows in paddock (2)

I wrote this poem to celebrate the beautiful birds:

Elegant birds the egrets flying,

The grass so green it soothes my eyes,

it feeds the cows that munch content,

birds and cows, unlikely friends.

The grass so green it soothes my eyes,

Through the window a pastoral scene,

of birds and cows, unlikely friends,

egrets eating insects exposed by beasts.

Through the window a pastoral scene,

cows part of it day in day out.

Egrets eating insects exposed by beasts,

lifting wings they go, I await their return.

Nature’s Balance at the Equinox——



Daddy Emu stands with his chicks between earth and water, beautiful balance between the two elements. Nature’s balance  ensures that the stronger male emu hatches and rears his chicks better able than the female to protect his babies. Meanwhile about three months earlier the female was busy laying eggs in different nests to ensure the survival of the species.IMGP0062

I wish you all a blessed Equinox when we celebrate the balance of twelve hours of daylight, twelve of night. And I wish you much balance in your lives.

Fathers Day (Daddy Emu)



It’s almost a week since Fathers Day. I am proud that my son is a good father to his children   Damian and kids

My grandchildren also have a dedicated mother but baby emus are incubated and brought up by their father. He mates in summer or autumn, builds the nest and sits on the eggs for two months while Madame Emu is off laying more eggs. After the chicks hatch the father has to build up his own strength as well as help his babies feed and protect them from predators. There may be up to eleven young ones but at Tower Hill eagles and foxes are hard to elude and when emu families are seen feeding there are usually no more than four babies.IMGP0034This father has three babies .IMGP0031 IMGP0029

Silver and Gold

In the cold of winter the wattle brings beautiful golden highlights to the bush at Tower Hill.

IMGP0059The lakes are full, their surface glass like and silver—–IMGP0057 Looking down on Tower Hill there are flashes of gold amongst the dark trees and one sees a symphony in silver and gold.IMGP0060

At Mount Rouse in Penshurst the bush too is lightened with patches of bright golden light.IMGP0053The road up the mountain gleams silver with patches of lichen.IMGP0054


Flying above the Sea


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i was spending a quiet sunny birthday looking over the sea when i was greeted by an amazing spectacle!IMGP0045The man supported by just a jet of water displayed amazing balance. Before long he dove gracefully into the water then rose all over again. There were corkscrews and back flips too to marvel at.IMGP0044The operation was managed by another man in a small, not too noisy water scooter.   IMGP0047

Lots to wonder at and discuss about this new phenomenon. A few days later I was able to read in the local paper that the fly board is one of only 120 in Australia and a local farmer had bought it on eBay less than half price, but with lots of regulation ensuring safety of operation.

At the Breakwater


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Wild weather by the sea. Muted blues and green, some grey streaked with white waves that pound fiercely on the shore. Nature surrounds and brings peace. Along come three large men in fluorescent green and orange bearing strange machines to attack the rectangles of couch grass. IMGP0068One mows the lawn loudly. Another small but loud machine, really a wheel on a stick, trims the edges.There is one of those so noisy leaf blowers to pick up who knows what. There is not a tree in sight! Peace has fled.fluorescent vests

Waves pound loudly, rhythmically
White slashes on greens,greys, blues.
Neon colours, noisy machines, peace destroyed.

Mother’s Milk——


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Newborn 2

Spent from hours of labour,

Baby licked clean.

she nuzzles it in adoration.

Beautiful moment in time!

For a short time the cow will suckle her babe,

beestings too rich for us.

But all too soon

mother and baby will be wrenched apart,

their haunting cries  echoing over the paddocks,

the mother’s milk taken for humans,

while the calf drinks from a bucket.

Too soon she too will give birth

and be milked for our nourishment..