Patty’s Epic Trip To The US part 2. Death Valley 2

In the previous post, I already said that we enjoyed Death Valley a lot. We stayed overnight in Beatty, just outside the park boundary, and when we got the park ticket, they said it was valid for three days. We were not meant to be in Las Vegas until in the afternoon, so why not go back?


Pretty much nothing grows in Death Valley.


But the rocks are of all different kind of colours. We learned that people used to mine borax there. To be honest, I wasn’t even sure what borax is. Apparently, you can use it to get rid of ants nests.


This picture doesn’t show how windy it was here. The little silver speck in the middle is our rented Toyota Corolla, when it was still clean LOL.


On the salt flats. The ground was actually a bit wet here.


The lowest point of the valley.


Patty’s epic trip to the US. Part 1


When I returned from the US two weeks ago, it seemed that I took a little nasty passenger called a chest infection and I’ve only just recovered.

I promised to post some pictures, so here is the first lot. I have no idea how many there will be.

First off: I was away from 6 January to 4 February. The first 13 days of the trip were a tour with a community wind orchestra. We did some touristy stuff (Disney!) but a lot of those days were dedicated to music and musical things (none of which produce great photographic material).

When the rest of the group was dropped at LAX, my second daughter met me there. I had hired a car and we did an epic 2500km through California, Nevada, Utah and Arizona. I managed to drive all this without once venturing on the wrong side of the road, although I’ve distributed dust (or snow) over the windscreen plenty of times, because the position of the windscreenwipers and indicators are swapped.

Anyway, after staying for one night in Santa Monica, we made for Death Valley.

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We enjoyed Death Valley much more than expected. I’d expected it to be dead-boring, but the colours are amazing.

So we stayed overnight in Beatty, and then went back the next day, because we only had to drive to Las Vegas.

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The evil kangaroos of DSS and other things Canberra

At the back of the Department of Social Services in Tuggeranong, there is a paddock adjacent to the staff car park. When you’re there at dusk, you’re greeted with this sight:


Seriously, how many kangaroos is that?

They’re not cute little weeny wallabies. These are kangaroos. KANGAROOS. Look at the one in the middle of this picture, with his arse to the camera, and the department building in the background:


I mean LOOK at him (definitely a “him”). That’s the biggest kangaroo I’ve ever seen. If he stands up on his hind legs, he’s taller than a person. The lawns are irrigated and in summer, the roos invade the courtyards. They don’t tend to be afraid either. They’re quite intimidating.
No Australian city does kangaroos like Canberra. They’re everywhere.


Out of all of the places in Canberra, I like this one the best. That paddock in the first picture? If you cross it, there is a bush path that leads straight to the Murrumbidgee River which has swimming holes. But this here is Lake Tuggeranong in the morning.


Another pretty view, with complimentary galahs:


Photography: a rare misty morning

When there is fog in Sydney, this is an event that gets mentioned on the national news. We had some serious rain last night and this morning heavy fog that, while I’m writing this, at 11.30am, still hasn’t lifted completely. And that is definitely rare.

Misty road in Lane Cove National Park.

Misty path

The Lane Cove River looks very peaceful.

Lane cove river mist

A white-faced heron on the overflowing weir.

white-faced heron

Birds, birds, birds!

My husband had a dental appointment this morning, which meant that I didn’t get to take photos of the sunrise. In hindsight, this was just as well, because it was raining.

Instead, I bring you some pictures of birds which I’ve taken over the past few weeks.

In the header: click the title of this post if you’re not seeing tawny frogmouths asleep on a branch at the National Zoo in Canberra.

Black swan, taken at the lakeside in Belconnen.

black swan

Sulphur-crested cockatoos on the ocean cliffs at Coogee (agree, this is a very unusual place for these birds)


A darter, or snake bird, on a post in front of the Westfield Belconnen shopping centre.

darter snake bird

Domestic pigeon overseeing Bronte Beach.

domestic pigeon

Kookaburra on our washing line.


Magpie on the Randwick Golf Course.


Wood ducks lakeside in Belconnen.

wood duck

Tidbinbilla nature life

First serious science write-up of the Tweetup can be found here.

I couldn’t get over how pretty this country at the back of Canberra is. Here are some photos without telescopes:

Mist over the hills.

Pretty rainbow.

Rocky outcrop.

Local wildlife. There are 26 wallabies on this hill


Some more inquisitive wildlife. Two out of a group of six emus