Birds on Green Path

three pelicans in flight
Pelicans soaring in the distance, above Ross River

There’s a new page on this site, Birds in a Townsville Garden (see menu). It is an index to all the species of birds I have recorded in my suburban (Mundingburra) garden, with links to blog posts and/or photos. I compiled it both as a resource for anyone wondering about birds around Townsville and as an index to the birds I have written about here on Green Path. It threw up a few gaps (why, for instance, have I never written about bowerbirds?) and I will try to fill them in coming months.

The title of the page is not strictly correct. ‘Seen from my garden’ – including birds flying high overhead, foraging on the nature trip or perched on the powerlines – is more accurate. This post includes two of the most distant shots – the Pelicans high above Ross River 400 – 500 metres away, and the Sea Eagle and its pursuer so high above me that ‘in’ my garden is too big a claim.

My garden is typical enough that most of the birds in it will be seen in most others, and vice versa. However, every garden is different and the differences do affect the wildlife. Mine was established sixty years ago. It has some very large trees (poplar gum, mango and paperbark) with many tall palms, two large poincianas on the nature strip and an understorey of frangipani, hibiscus, bottlebrush, bananas, ixora and more, providing food and habitat for many species – almost 50 so far, in fact.

grey and white eagle in flight
Sea Eagle pursued by a White-breasted Woodswallow

Townsville update

It is six weeks since this blog has mentioned Townsville or any other part of North Queensland, but plenty has been happening whether I have been there for it or not. I still want to write a little more about Europe but, first, here is some local news.

Strand Ephemera 2015 coincided, deliberately or not, with the Australian Festival of Chamber Music. Locals with day jobs trying to get to the AFCM may have had trouble squeezing in a visit to the Strand but I’m sure our visiting AFCM aficionados loved the free show; I hope to put up some of my photos soon.

Umbrella Studio has a small (stairwell space) exhibition with an environmental theme, Mapping Climate Change. I know that the opening this evening (with two other shows in the Studio) will be the first chance to see it, but even its FB page doesn’t seem to show a closing date … better get along soon to make sure you don’t miss it.

Meanwhile, Wildlife Queensland folk (including me) have enjoyed another of their (our) regular field trips, this time to the beach near AIMS. The branch blog has a full report here and information about the next trip, to Rowes Bay at low tide on Sunday 30 August, here. For more environmental news in the region – cassowaries, the passing of Felicity Wishart, a coal and climate change forum, etc, see the home page of WQ Townsville.

Service interruption

Green Path was taken off-line by my host over Christmas because traffic to the site exceeded the bandwidth I pay them for. It is (very obviously) back on-line now.

I would love to be able to say that you, my real readers, were responsible for the high usage but, sadly and irritatingly, it wasn’t true. Robots crawl around the web harvesting content for purposes both good (e.g. identifying content for search engines) and bad (e.g. grabbing email addresses for spammers’ lists), and the latter were responsible for the excess. Now that I know about the problem I can control it by blocking specific users so we might be all right from now on.

Technical note: social media

After thinking about it occasionally for months, I have finally added “like” buttons for FaceBook and other social media. They don’t show up on the main page of the blog, http://malcolmtattersall.com.au/wp/ (yet, anyway), but they do appear on each individual post, e.g. this one, when a user goes to it as a separate page. Let me know if they don’t work for you, and I can try to fix the problem.

I have also modified the menus down the right hand side of the page as some of them were beginning to take up too much space.

And I have (at last!) chosen one of my own photos for a header instead of the stock image.

WordPress SEO installed

The great temptation, once you have got a website up and running, is to forget about its machinery to concentrate on its content. That’s what I have been doing here, too, although I should know better. Belatedly, I have just looked into optimising my site for search engines – the idea being that I can make its content more easily findable by people who want to read it, which must be a win-win scenario.

How? In WordPress, you browse through a long list of plugins which add the extra functionality; you check out the functions each of them offers, and the user reviews and rankings; you install your chosen plugin (and donate to the writer, if you feel so inclined); and you’re done – in some cases, anyway.

Having selected and installed WordPress SEO, I have made some global changes but need to add to each page some hidden content indexed by search engines. That will take some time, unfortunately, but on the other hand there’s no particular need to hurry.

The only change my readers may notice is that permalinks (the individual URL’s which take you straight to a particular post, e.g.  http://malcolmtattersall.com.au/wp/2011/04/launching-bugblog/) are now words rather than numbers.