In our neck of the woods around Christmas time it gets a bit hot, usually in the high 70’s  to the low 80’s (Farenheight that is). There is sometimes a bit of rain, usually in the afternoon and the combination of heat and moisture brings out the flies in their millions.

When outside, we are pepetually waving at non existant people , not because we are demented but waving keeps the flys away from our face.

Now the positive side of the heat and the moisture is the arrival of the Christmas Beetle.

A quick check at the Australian Museum rreveals that there are 36 species of Christmas Beetle, of which only one is not unique to Australia.

The Christmas Beetle is a type of Scarab and is of the genus Anoplognathus. 21 members of the of the species are found in the State of New South Wales where I reside.

Their arrival at Casa Creekingbones  was heralded the other night by large nubers of them crashing into our windows, lured by the lights.

Now Christmas Beetles enjoy munching on the leaves of Eucalypt trees and swarms of them have been know to denude a tree of all leaves, to the extent that the tree dies.

Well, yesterday I went out to the shed and noticed shredded eucalypt leaves  covering the ground. The culprits, Christmas Beetles in their hundreds, munching away  on the leaves of the treasured eucalyupts we planted as tube stock about sixteen years ago.

Does shaking them out of the trees help you may ask? Not at all. All it does is get them to fly off, hover for a moment or two and zoom straightr back in. Those that don’t land in your hair or on your clothes that is.

Fortunately for us, their life span is relatively short and with luck, by the time they have had their fun, our trees will have sufficient foliage remaining to regenerate.

Our invaders are Emerald Tip Christmas Beetles and certainly make a pleasant display on the leaves and in their own way are quite interesting to watch so we have decided not to spray them with insecticide and let nature take its course.

Here are a few images of the little devils at work:


You can see why the name Emerald Tip applies. This is the rear view of the beetle.


The saw tooth leaf edges are testimony to their munching style.


They certainly don’t mind sharing and just hanging around.

blog-christmas-beetles_30dec-2016_0004-copy    They form quite orderly queues too.


As you can see, they don’t leave very much of the leaves, no pun intended.

blog-christmas-beetles_30dec-2016_0018-copy-4You can see how many beetles there are on this section of one of our eucalypts.

All of these images were made using a Nikkor 24 to 70mm lens, various f stops and shutter speeds on a D810 body.

In a week or so I’ll follow up with a couple of images of the trees and their remaining foliage.

Hoo roo for now.







A few weeks back, She Who Must Be Obeyed suggested that I roll the Harley out of the shed and go for a ride, just to clear the cobwebs.

It sounded like a great idea, weather was perfect, traffic almost negligible and both the Harley and I needed a few hours on the road.

After the usual checks, lights, indicators, oil, fuel and tyre pressures, I rolled the bike out onto the launching pad. For the first time I really noticed that my beloved HOG weighs in at 317 kilos or 698 lbs unladen. Throw in the wet weather gear, camera, phone, tyre repair kit, tool kit and a few other odds and ends and the bike certainly is no lightweight.

When I threw the leg over the seat, a further little issue arose. My right boot came into solid contact with the pillion perch and threw me quite off balance. As I always hold the bars when mounting I didn’t fall but I frightened the tripe out of myself, not to mention putting a dirty scrape over the perch.

So there I was, all kitted up to hit the road only to encounter unwelcome distractions before I’d even hit the starter.

Of course, being a bloke, it’s important to always have someone or something to blame when things go a bit pear shaped.

In this instance I was fortunate that there was something to blame. Oh no, not advancing age, buggered knees , a bad back and stiff joints generally.

It was obviously the fault of the pillion perch. Too wide, too high and all together far too prominent.

A solution was close at hand. MJM Custom Motor Bike Seats is located just around the corner from Casa Creakingbones and Mick, the proprietor is well know to me.

Now as luck would have it, I just happened to have a spare Harley pillion perch tucked away in my man cave. Identical dimensions to the one installed on the Harley of course.

Post haste, spare pillion perch under my arm, I was at Mick’s front counter and we discussed practical solutions to my dilemma.

Mick drew a few lines on the spare and I decided that it’s proposed reduced surface area and new shape would solve my problems.

Today I collected the finished perch and fitted it to the bike. To say I’m delighted would be an under statement.

It fits the bike perfectly, my right foot clears it by miles and it still retains its little back support for me when I’m in the saddle.

Here are before and after photos so you can see the difference.






On the odd occasions when carriage of a pillion passenger may be unavoidable, the new perch will fit the bill, provided that the journey is not too great.

After the Christmas break when the traffic eases and the desperados have reached their destinations I’ll venture out and about to show my motorcycle mates the fantastic job Mick has done and demonstrate that despite bung knees and all the rest,  my Harley suits me to a ‘T’.

Hoo roo for now.