Another shade of Red

I passed this gorgeous red flowering bush near the end of my walk yesterday.

I haven’t got the slightest clue what it is, but I love the way the flower splits into feathery fronds.  It looks like an Australian native, but I’m only guessing, as many of the plants in the formal landscaping on the western side of the Maribyrnong River are native grasses, so I imagine that the flowering bushes are too.

If anyone knows what it is, please let me know in the comments section so I can update this post.

Advertisements

BOTTLEBRUSH (Callistemon)

A lovely specimen of red Bottlebrush was growing opposite the front door of the local Pharmacy yesterday.   I wished I’d taken the time to walk off the boardwalk to the other side where the light was better, but my long river walk and then bus trip up the steep hills had left me wanting to make only a quick stop before the supermarket and then, the walk along the main road home.

I must say it was a beautiful patch of colour in a (mainly) overcast day.

RED WATTLEBIRD (Anthochaera carunculata) – Frogs Hollow Nature Reserve

The image below was a lucky shot on yesterday’s walk.  Most of the birds I saw – cormorants, grebes, ducks and moorhens were too far away for my Sony ‘mirrorless’.  I didn’t take my long 150-500 lens with me as I was going to the Pharmacy and Supermarket (the long route).

I didn’t go in to Frogs Hollow Nature Reserve, but made the image (above) from the gravel path which goes from my apartment block down to the river.  With the sky overcast, there wasn’t that much light looking north-west and to he honest, I’m surprised the bird shot came out at all.

I am standing on the 6-7 foot high raised gravel path looking over the chain-wire fence into Frogs Hollow Nature Reserve in this shot (above).  As you can see by the sky and water colour, there was not a lot of light for photography.  Lovely cool wind and from time to time, the sun peeped from behind the cloud cover as though it was afraid to come out in full (to make my walk too hot).

I’ve missed some lovely sunny days recently as I had stayed home to start my new project – putting my Mother’s family history research onto the computer for family and extended family to read.  I’ve been meaning to start this project for about 3-4 years and finally………..got it going.  It’ll be a new hobby for the days I’m stuck at home through either, inclement weather, or, when my back pain levels keep me housebound.

Just got to take regular breaks at the moment, as continually hitting the space bar on my keyboard with my injured thumb inevitably makes it sore after a while.

Yesterday, it was not supposed to rain until evening, but I was chased by ominous looking cloud cover as I slowly walked down-river (towards the south?).

I saw lots of lovely pink flowers on the succulents that grow next to the rocky river banks in this area, so I’m keen to go back to Newells Paddock Nature Reserve (located further down-river) on the next sunny day to see if the whole pond surrounds are covered in pink flowers.

I can’t quite remember if the ground cover at Newells Paddock was the same succulent that is growing along my area of the Maribyrnong River though.

Here’s a repeat of the Newells Paddock Nature Reserve and Conservationa Area to remind you of which Nature Reserve I’m referring to.  All that bright green colour in the images below are spongy succulents  The whole half of the second- last image (with the dead tree trunk) is 2-3″ deep.  Wouldn’t it be a wonderful sight if it was all in flower 🙂

Rain most of today according to the forecast so it looks like a stay-at-home day.

Changing of the Seasons

Sometimes when I walk along the Maribyrnong River path, I think I’ll never find something new to photograph and share online.

At a glance one might think that there’s never anything much happening, (compared to the many other locations I photographed when living on the south-eastern side of Melbourne city 3 years ago).

Yesterday was hot, (as is today), but my walk revealed plenty of new sights with the changing of the Seasons.  It’s the small details that I seem to notice most.  So when you cast your eyes over some ordinary green space in a residential area, it’s worth walking slowly and looking down towards your feet every now and then.

While I can no longer bend down low, or kneel to photograph ground cover up close, I managed to do well enough by using a telephoto lens and standing a bit further back and zooming in close.

POLYGALA (Polygala myrtifolia x oppositifolia ‘Poly Ball” ) – my balcony garden

The Polygala I’m growing on my apartment balcony is in full bloom at the moment and I can make a close-up photo with my 150-500mm lens by leaning my elbows on my desk.   Very handy and saves carrying the heavy weight outdoors.

(this is not the first time I have shot a good flower close-up with a long telephoto lens which goes to show it doesn’t always have to be a short or a macro lens for close-ups).

and just to give you an idea of how lovely my view is from my desk at the moment……….

The two rows of trees on the upper right of the frame hides tiny birds like Splendid Fairy-wrens, New Holland Honeyeaters, House Sparrows and tiny finches (I think they’re finches – I don’t know their names).

On my side of the road next to the footpath there is also a row of similar trees, but I can’t see them while sitting at my desk.

Can’t complain about not living on the rear of my apartment block overlooking Frogs Hollow Nature Reserve and the Maribyrnong River when I’ve got a view like this.

MARIBYRNONG WETLANDS

“When you live in the moment, you are always on time” 

Dave Rauschkolb

Plenty of bird life and water in the Maribyrnong Wetlands yesterday – mainly seagulls enjoying a bath and a good feather wash.

A couple of Pacific Black Ducks and what I think was a young Grey Teal paddled in and out of the water reeds too.

I have a bit of trouble identifying Grey Teals from female Chestnut Teals from a distance, but my Bird Guide says the Grey Teals have lighter neck feathers and a slate grey beak, compared to the female Chestnut Teals, (which are also slightly larger).  I did see a male Chestnut Teal with its glossy green head and russet brown chest feathers, but it was too far away to photograph.

This particular section of water dries up completely by the end of the summer, whereas the pond on the other side of the island has plenty of water all through the hot months.

The best way to time my walk is so that I end up at the deep Maribyrnong Wetlands Pond (or Bunyap Park pond – name varies on the signposts) at the golden hour – it really is a pretty place to watch the bird life with the dying sun reflecting off the water as you can see by the images below which I made back in June.

The Ducks below are Khaki Campbell Ducks.

Had to believe this is all on a causeway of land connected to an ordinary residential road with a row of townhouses on the other side.  The images below were made in Winter.

If one looks to the right of the images above (not shown), one can see the residential area (below) and in the centre of the frame, the bus stop where I usually catch a bus most of the way home so I can stop at the local pharmacy.  I’d much rather walk the long way along the scenic river path, than the short 10 minute walk to the shops along the busy, mostly boring main road.

(Probably full of petrol fumes and traffic noise too).

Even when I had a car pre November 2003, I always took the long scenic route going anywhere in my daily life.

Now, with no car, I still follow the same routine.

RED-FLOWERING GUM (Corymbia ficifolia) – beside the Maribyrnong River

I’d barely walked past Frogs Hollow Nature Reserve on to the Maribyrnong river path when I spotted this Red-flowering Gum in the middle of a calf-high grass field this afternoon.  I believe its Corymbia ficifolia (originally called Eucalyptus ficifolia).

Feel free to correct me in the comments section if I’m wrong.  I know nothing about indigenous flora.

If it is this species, the one I saw was a baby at about 7-8 foot high, as it can grown up to 10 metres (or about 30+ feet).  It was gorgeous, even from some distance away when I made this first photo with my long 150-500mm lens.

With the same camera lens, I got a bit closer, but there were so many flowers, I couldn’t isolate one particular one.  I suppose I could have cut off some surrounding foliage, but that’s not my thing to do when walking in nature.

I prefer to see images of the real plant with no disturbance of its natural habitat if possible.

This red-flowering eucalypt is often used as a street plant in residential areas due to the profusion of flowers, but this specimen was definitely the most colourful I’d ever seen.

I stretched what is essentially a 30 minute walk to Maribyrnong Wetlands into a 2 hour stroll, (slower than snail pace), in the Spring sunshine.  But was glad of my light windproof jacket as the breeze was cool, despite the heat of the sun.

Some more images of that beautiful Wisteria in Pipemakers Park

I think this might be Wisteria ‘Caroline’ (Japanese Wisteria), but I am only guessing.

I had a dream the other night

When all was quiet and still

I dreamt of flowing masses

Wisteria on my window sill

Nature blessed my tranquil hours 

With curling, tangled vines

She sent the fragrant blossoms o’er

To fill the long dark hours.

Next morning I awoke refreshed

With lingering visions from the past

Of last week’s images photographed

From within Pipemakers Park.

AUSTRAL INDIGO (Indigofera australis) – Pipemakers Park, Maribyrnong

Success!

(well, sort of).

I’ve tried to photograph this gorgeous small pink native flower half a dozen times, but the fine straggly branches bend and sway in the slightest breeze.  I finally identified its correct name from a fellow blogger’s site the other week though.

Austral Indigo is a slender shrub of the Pea family found in all states of Australia, varying in size, habit and colour.  I’ve seen this flower in the north-western end of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne and it was obviously pruned and more compact than the straggly 3-4 bushes in Pipemakers Park near my home.  As its name suggests, the leaves can also be used as a dye.

I’ve tried high shutter speeds, high ISO (well, up to 800), apertures from 3.5 right up to 11.0, but being in mostly shade this is the best I can do so it seems.

NOTE: Bruising and swelling has gone down on my injured thumb, but the more I ‘cup’ or ‘curve’ it, the more it hurts, but at least I can use my homeopathic Arnica Cream more now it’s not in a ridiculous cast and swathed in bandages up to my elbow.  Seriously, the herb Arnica, is the best thing since ‘sliced bread’ when it comes to injuries, sprains, bruises etc.  It also helps with pain.  

The 2nd (more senior?) emergency physician I saw the other day said the cast was definitely ‘overkill’ and they took it off and re-Xrayed my thumb and all other digits.  As an aside, apparently I have quite a large bony ossicle on/near my second thumb joint right where I hold my cameras and this is now hurting more than the upper bone which was directly hit.   In turn my wrist is also ‘playing up.’  

Grrrrr! 

I can’t use scissors or computer mouse easily, but can type for about 20 mins and then it gets sore.  

So I’ll press on with blogging regardless…………….albeit at a much slower pace.  I seem to remember when I broke a small (non-weight bearing) bone in my elbow, the head of the fracture clinic at the local hospital said light use encourages blood flow and helps with healing in these small hairline fractures, (or something like that).

I think it’ll be some time before I can use my heavy long ‘birding’ 150-500mm lens, but I’ve been having a bit of trouble holding the weight before now anyway.  It doesn’t take much to set off a new series of pain locations for days/weeks/months, (or even years), when you have Fibromyalgia.

WISTERIA (Robinia) – PIPEMAKERS PARK

The Wisteria growing over the small rotunda and an arbour in Pipemakers Park is almost as breathtaking as the yellow Lady Banks rose I shared in another post this week.

The only way to get a good view is to shoot facing into the sun, roughly facing North, as there’s too many other trees, plants and bushes forming distractions from the other side.  This is not ideal for any photograph in general, but I suppose I might do better on an overcast day.

But Tuesday of this week was sunny and you can’t tell the Sun to go away after so many inclement days for the first month of Spring.

Besides I need more sun for my freshly planted Tomatoes on my apartment balcony 🙂

Here’s an image made on the 21st August to give you a comparison.

The Wisteria in the Royal Botanic Gardens near the lake restaurant is all mauve/purple, whereas the petals of each flower in Pipemakers Park are whitish with a mauve/purple tip.

AUSTRALASIAN GREBE (Tachybaptus novaehollandiae)

I often see Grebes in the centre of the Maribyrnong River near my home.  I might add, this river is fairly wide so I need the birds to swim over to my side of the river to be easily identified.

Unfortunately, even with my 150-500mm lens I can never get close enough to really make them large within a photo frame to share online, but I still photograph them as I love the challenge of trying to get them in focus in a hand-held shot with this heavy lens.

2 days ago, I spotted an Australasian Grebe in the pond near Pipemakers Park, whereas the Grebes in the centre of the river have been Hoary-headed Grebes (Poliocephalus poliocephalus).  There is also the Great Crested Grebe but I’ve never seen one of these.

I might have done better if I’d had a tripod for the shot below as the bird was fairly stationary enjoying the late afternoon sunshine for quite some time before it dived underwater.

Note: I had the same problem when I lived and photographed these small, dumpy-looking birds in/near the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne.  

This is the best shot I’ve made showing the bird’s feather colouring (so far)

I still live in hope that one day I’ll get a close-up.  In the meantime here’s a small selection of my attempts so far in my western suburb of Maribyrnong.

These Grebes, (and there 3 different ones in Australia that I know of), are one example of how hard Bird Photography can be, as the small birds dive frequently and I’ve ended up with more images of rippling water and no bird, than many other species I’ve photographed over the years.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

TASMAN FLAX-LILY or TASMANIAN FLAX-LILY (Dianella tasmanica)

Yesterday I found my very first Tasman Flax-Lily in this suburb.  It was beside the pond (located between Pipemakers Park and Frogs Hollow Nature Reserve).

TASMAN FLAX-LILY or TASMANIAN FLAX-LILY (Dianella tasmanica)

These tiny blue flowers, appearing in Spring and Summer, are followed by bright violet globular berries.  I’m not sure which is prettier, the flower or the berry.  But I do know they’re a delicate little flower and quite hard to photograph in the ever-present wind we seem to experience in Melbourne and surrounds.

Dianella tasmanica was first described in 1858 by eminent English botanist and explorer Joseph Dalton Hooker. I first saw the plant in the Royal Botanic Gardens and thought that it was just a weed of some type, but apparently many people grow them in residential gardens.

They are found in the wild from southern New South Wales, through my state of Victoria and down south in the island state of Tasmania on the south-eastern side of Australia.

I’ve only seen the one plant in the year I’ve lived in this western suburb of Maribyrnong, but hope to see some more in the coming days.

 

RED-RUMPED PARROT (Psephotus haematonotus) – male – Pipemakers Park

I was so busy observing a couple of these male parrots yesterday, hoping they would hop out into the sun (that moment when the sun reflects in a bird’s eye making a good photo), I didn’t realise several birds were gradually working their way towards my back.

Over the years, I have learned to move very slowly and wear black, or very dark, colours when out on a bird Photography field trip, so as I turned (to walk up to the Pipemakers Park historic garden), I was able to catch a couple of males from about 7-8 feet away.

I never did catch a shot of this species with the spot of sunlight on their eye yesterday.

For the first time ever, the males were on their own, grazing in the flat newly mown field between Pipemakers Park and Frogs Hollow Nature Reserve.  I’ve only ever seen couples grazing – with the plainer olive-coloured female being a little harder to see in this location.  They were only grazing in the deep shade of some Eucalyptus trees so I’ve lightened these images so you can see them a bit better.

I naturally assume the females were at home sitting on nests?

…..and for those new to my Nature Blog, here’s a couple of old images made when I lived on the north-eastern side of Melbourne in Abbotsford (next to the Yarra River).

Different light and different camera as you can see. I seem to remember they were grazing in the sun on this particular day, not shade.

Female RED-RUMPED PARROT
male RED-RUMPED PARROT

…..and the first time I ever saw these lovely Parrots was in the Royal Botanic Gardens in 2012 – in the shade of a few old trees on the western side of the large Ornamental Lake.

Red-rumped Parrot (Psephotus haematonotus)

There are actually 5-6 Australian Parrots that are fairly similar in feather colour, but this Red-rumped variety have a lovely warbling song – unusual for parrots.

LADY BANKS’ ROSE (Rosa banksiae ‘lutea’ ) – PIPEMAKERS PARK

This vine-covered arbor was just stunning in Pipemakers Park.

UPDATE: Thanks to Susan in the comments section who kindly identified this beautiful climbing rose for me.  I’ve now updated the heading and my own photo library.

This vigorous climber also comes in white – Rosa banksiae ‘alba’.

TASK #1 – Balcony Garden

Spring never ceases to amaze me.

One day there are buds on the branches, then the tiny feathery fronds of foliage appear and next minute………………..a young tree full of leaves a couple of weeks later.

My little friend Mr House Sparrow and I looked over the scene today and agreed…..Spring really is the best time of the year.

I beckoned him to come down to look over the last couple of days of hard work I’d put in.  (Not really days per se, afternoons are about as much as I can manage when it comes to re-potting and bending over with a bad back).

A quick drink and then he turned around to see what he could see.
Mr House Sparrow agreed that the sore lower back I earned from my Spring gardening work on my apartment balcony was well worth the effort.  He surveyed my finished and re-configured garden late this afternoon.

Note: none of these plants need staking, but with our ongoing fierce winds in Melbourne in the past few months, I figure I may as well put the bamboo stakes in now and tie the trunks loosely just in case of another gale.