WILL IT, OR WON’T IT?

Rain I mean.

There’d been light rain showers on and off for a few days and I welcomed not having to water my balcony garden every night at dusk.  It had become such a chore this past summer that I was close to clearing the whole potted garden out 🙂  Even with the light rain, the plastic pots dry out surprisingly quickly.   I gave up on the more attractive terracotta pots many years ago.

Yesterday, I was determined to go for a short walk to get some fresh air.

The sky looked ominous.

It had been raining lightly overnight and threatening to rain some more as the morning passed by.  ‘Daylight Savings‘ had finished Saturday night in Melbourne too.

So I decided to just walk down the gravel path to the river (and back), with my cameras inside waterproof bags in my wheeled trolley.  Unfortunately, my lower back pain is making it harder and harder to carry my little backpack and camera bag over my shoulders these days.

It’s probably only  a 6-7 minute brisk walk to the river from my ‘back gate’, but I walk so slowly looking around me at the bird life, that it usually takes me 15-20 minutes (or more).

I stopped at the end of the curved gravel path and looked over the small fence (which stops people falling in the artificial water course in Frogs Hollow).This divides the murky water and high water reeds from the riverside walking/cycling track.

I could have lightened the exposure on the image above, but it shows how poor the light was when facing into the sun covered clouds, so I left it slightly under-exposed.  It was not a particularly nice day, but the sky did lighten later as I stood searching the water surface for some bird life.

This small fence is a great place to rest my heavy long telephoto ‘birding’ lens – so there’s really no need to take a tripod for low-light exposures.

There were dozens of tiny birds zooming overhead and a couple of times, they seemed to be only about 4-5 feet over my head but totally impossible to photograph.  I’m just too slow.  I saw one tiny bird on a water reed, but by the time I changed cameras (having just used my landscape lens) it was gone.  I think it was an Eastern Spinebill.  Then I saw a few flashes of blue overhead and conceded those tiny birds were probably male Splendid Fairy-wrens.

There were lots of Willy Wag-tails about, both on the gravel path and even on the water reeds.  They seem to fly down to the ground, wag their tails this way and that just to tease me into taking a few photos.  Then when I got closer,  they fly into the air and land further along the path as though showing me the way.  

It doesn’t take much to amuse me in retirement 🙂

A Pacific Black Duck swum lazily by on the artificial water-course.

Then it came a bit closer and turned side-on, but with the algae-covered water, it made a rather ordinary shot.   The algae seems to have grown quite a lot over the hot summer months.  Perhaps it’ll die back now its Autumn.

There were 2 Purple Dusky Moorhens in the distance.  But a bit too far away to make for a good shot.

Then out of the corner of my eye I spotted a Noisy Miner settle  upon the fence and managed to get a couple of clear shots.  These Miners are quite common in Frogs Hollow, but are usually up on a tree branch with the sun in front of me, so as to form a silhouette.  In fact, there are many bird species which can be seen with the naked eye, but only photographed as a silhouette in Frogs Hollow.

A walker stopped to ask what lens I was using and from then on we had a great chat about the various birds we’d seen or photographed.  He was a Nikon user, but admitted he hadn’t done much photography lately.  Nothing like a chat with a Kindred Spirit to pass the time of day.  He told me about another park which was filled with bird life, but it sounded like it was about 45-60 minutes brisk walk north (around the bend in the river),  For me that would mean a 1 1/2-2 hour walk.  Not that I mind walking, but I tend to walk slowly and keep stopping looking up and around for birds and since I lose track of time when out bird-watching.   I might have ended up walking back home in the dark.   I have my tiny lantern and a pencil-sized LED torch in my backpack, but after a warning from a couple the other week, I am wary of walking home in the dark in this unlit area.

Eventually, the fellow nature lover left me as he had a long walk ahead of him and now that ‘daylight savings’ has finished over this past weekend, it will get dark much earlier on overcast days.

I walked the short distance home via the Frogs Hollow low-lying field (instead of the higher gravel path) and disturbed about 7-8 Purple Swamphens grazing on the low-lying grass. They flew away before I could get close enough for a shot though.

This whole coming week is going to be great weather with no rain – sounds promising for some nature photography.  But Melbourne’s weather is predictably UN-predictable.

Next park to explore will be Footscray Gardens.  I had dismissed it as being rather ordinary-looking when I went past on the bus recently, but it IS relatively close to a bus stop and when I read about it over the weekend on Wikipedia, it sounds like it’s worth a visit.  Might be a good place to do some flower photography next Spring.

  • Footscray Park is one of the largest and most intact examples of an Edwardian park in Australia. The 15-hectare park is located on the south bank of the Maribyrnong River in Footscray in Victoria. It is classified as a heritage place on the Victorian Heritage Register for its aesthetic, horticultural and social significance to the State of Victoria and was the first gardens to be placed on the register. The park is noted for its botanical collection, ornamental ponds and garden structures.

While I’ve been housebound on hot days, I’ve been exploring the local area via Mr Google, so with cooler weather on the horizon, it’s time to explore more in reality.  I’ve printed off a couple of maps and some bus timetables too.

I’ve also cut out reading ‘writing’ blogs for the most, too.  When the weather is good I don’t like to waste too much time online.

 

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17 thoughts on “WILL IT, OR WON’T IT?

    1. You’re so right on that one. I have a new(ish) UV umbrella that I carry every day now. It’s incredibly cool on a hot day (when I get sunburnt in about 10 minutes), but sturdy enough for rainy wintery days. I’ve got a great featherlight short jacket that is good for cool or cold days and rolls up without creasing too. I wear that mainly to carry lens caps, lens/glasses cleaning cloth,keys and phone in my pockets……even sometimes on a warm day. By the time I add in sunblock, insect repellent, bottle of water…..etc I feel like I’m packing for a weekend away 🙂

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    1. They say there’s no such thing as bad light for photography, RR, but yesterday it was BAD light for photography 🙂 Those 2 Miner shots were great and I got some better light too.

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    1. It is about the length of a soccer (?) field from the back gate to the river I think. My walks are getting fewer and shorter these days.
      Such ridiculously unpredictable weather. I had a look at some mobility scooters online last night, which could do about 40kms in a single charge, but then what would I do if I broke down on the river path I wondered. They would only do for flat paths too. I need to do some more research. I even looked at a motorised tricycle with a large ‘cargo’ basket on the back, but you have to cycle as well and my Fibromyalgia pain/inflammation couldn’t take repetitive movement for long.
      I live so close to so many wonderful parks and nature reserves……..if I had a car…… or better feet 🙂

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      1. A friend with Guillain-Barre syndrome has an amazing mobility scooter. Probably much more than you need. This is his third or fourth scooter, so maybe you can find something secondhand. Well serviced I think they are quite reliable. And if you have a mobile phone, you can always call for assistance. Certainly worth investigating.

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    2. There are lots of pros & cons for a scooter, but I hate staying home when the weather’s good. A fair walk keeps me pretty much housebound for a couple of days after (until the swelling and inflammation in my foot/ankle goes down again). My lower back, hips & sciatic pain is every day, but I can take heavy duty analgesics an hour before I leave home for that stuff. It’s not as though I’m too ‘sick’ to walk outdoors.

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  1. You sure got a lot out of that walk! I also spend more time on a hike than I used to, but there is so much to see and study.
    The Miner bird is so cute, especially in the second photo! I also really like the pictures of the ducks. the algae makes an interesting background.

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    1. Thanks Terry. It’s such a short distance to the river. I should do it every afternoon really as sometimes I see lots of birds (and other times none). I got lucky with that Miner shot. The bird landed on the fence very close to me. The walker/photographer I spoke to told me about lots of different birds he’d seen over the years, but not so many recently.

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    1. Thanks Terry.
      I hope to visit all the parks, gardens and nature reserves in the area eventually. Footscray Park seemed miniature compared to the Royal Botanic Gardens, but Wikipedia said it is 15 hectares (compared to the RBG at 38 hectares).
      It seemed more like only about 3 hectares.

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