Birds, birds & more Birds – Jawbone Flora & Fauna Conservation Reserve, Williamstown

After walking the restored Paisley-Challis Wetlands a couple of weeks ago (see previous post), I kept walking along the asphalt path (through the start of Jawbone Flora & Fauna Conservation Reserve) which winds its way over 2 islands in the middle of the lake system near the residential area (shown by the continuous line in the map below).

It then extends through the grassed area between the residential housing and the restored salt marsh and lakes, right down to a car park (and Bus Stop to take me on the first stage of my journey home).

Initially, I was only going to look for the Royal Spoonbills (Platalea regia), first sighted back in February, 2018.  I wanted a better photo than the one I took with my shorter telephoto lens.

Royal Spoonbills – 1st February, 2018

Disappointingly, there weren’t standing in the shallow water near a mound of water reeds where I I’d seen them last year, so I walked a little further and finally spied them, partially obscured by the tall grass right next to me, which were way too high to get a clear shot, so I kept walking,

…….and finally spied them in a better location.

Further away than I’d hoped, but on this day, I had my longer 150-500mm lens.  No tripod, but there were several fences along the way on which I hoped to steady the heavy long lens.

So, finally, here’s the shot.

ROYAL SPOONBILL (Platalea regia)

I was happy.  These water birds weren’t as close as I would have liked, but the image was certainly ‘good enough’

As my hip/back pain was relatively low on this day I decided to keep walking.

Despite my wire shopping trolley front wheels (containing all 3 camera and lenses) catching on a piece of broken old footpath, flipping over, taking me with it and shattering the filter and glass of my long 150-500mm telephoto lens, I had a lovely long walk and was thrilled to see (literally) hundreds of Black Swans, 2 types of Cormorants, numerous Australian Pelicans and other water birds.  There’s still a painful lump on my shin today, but my fractured wrist seems much improved.

For me, it was a superb afternoon’s walk and well worth the journey to this western side of Port Phillip Bay (on which Melbourne was first settled and built around 1835).

Here’s a rather blurred shot below – I only took one shot and must have not held the camera steady.  It does give you some idea of the number of wild birds at low tide on the distant foreshore.  As well as the huge number of Black Swans with their elegant long necks and red beaks, a fellow photographer I met, showed me his images of Cape Barren Geese which had over-wintered in the area, Black-winged Stilts and a host of other water birds whose names escape me now.

I’d never heard of most of the birds the other photographer reeled off, much less seen them.

I did manage to get some shots of the swans and cormorants closer to the walking path though.

I must visit again…….. checking the tide levels first, in an effort to reach this area so I can walk over the sand.  Of course, next visit might mean the scores of birds have left the area 🙂

I was amazed, thrilled and just……soooooo excited to witness such an enormous number.   I had to be content to finish my walk, talking images along the way with my Sony a6000 and 55-210 lens, or my Canon DLSR and 17-50mm lens.


BTW As I had to go through the city last Monday, I stopped in at the city camera store repair department and after a lengthy discussion with 2 of the Technicians, decided to spend the $88 inspection fee and have my long telephoto lens sent off to Sigma (or wherever they send it) and get a quote for what it might cost to put new glass in the lens……….assuming it can be done.  It was actually only the top 2 layers of glass that fell out and were damaged (together with the UV filter).  The technicians said the lens barrel and remaining glass was in excellent condition and it would be a pity not to at least send it off for an assessment (and possible quote).  Sigma don’t make this 150-500 lens any more, only the newer one of 150-600mm which is about $1600 – way over any $$$ that I could afford at the moment.

Here’s a few more images (below) which show the area and some of the bird life.  I had to be content with staying on the asphalt walking path as I had my old wheeled wire shopping trolley with all my gear, water bottle, lunch, backpack etc.  Not something that I could take over rough ground, rocks or sand, but handy to use as a sort of ‘walking stick’ with my (now) constant hip pain, something I’ll just have to get used to, now my total hip replacement surgery, booked for the 22nd February, has had to be cancelled due to ‘pre-existing’ conditions.

Hope you enjoy my walk……

After a couple of really stinking hot humid days in Melbourne, (Thursday topped out at 42.3C and Friday 45.2C, which is about 115F), I’ve got new herb seedlings to plant and a host of Balcony Garden chores to keep me amused for a couple of days.

So what’s on my 2019 ‘bucket list’?

Nor much.

I like to live my life Mindfully in enforced retirement, just concentrating on the current day and taking time to ‘Smell the Roses’.  The cool change came through Melbourne late yesterday afternoon, so the constant birdsong is ringing in my ears this morning and my tiny blue ceramic bird bath is  a constant source of bird life, mainly the House Sparrows and occasionally,  Superb Fairy-wrens, as they go about their day.

 

I’ve better go outdoors and fill up the water.  It’s nearly evaporated again.

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17 thoughts on “Birds, birds & more Birds – Jawbone Flora & Fauna Conservation Reserve, Williamstown

    1. Will be interesting to hear if its fixable, Ted. I’ve always been happy with it. In fact, its my 2nd. I sold the first one to raise funds for the Sony a6000 and missed it so much, I bought a 2nd one. I’m missing that lens length already and its only 2 weeks since I ‘killed’ it 🙂

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    1. So many birds at this time of year, Cindy. Hoping to go back if the weather cools down some more. Still a bit warm for me even though the cool change came through yesterday afternoon.

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  1. Wow! I’ve never seen wild swans or spoonbills (too cold here, I guess). I can’t believe you saw them both on the same day! Good luck with the lens assessment!

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    1. ’ve never seen so many black swans in the one place either, KD.

      I suspect if the broken lens could be fixed, the repair quote might still be out of my price range, but we’ll wait and see. Should be another 2 weeks before I hear back.

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  2. That magpie lark is a stunner. And it just penetrated my thick skull that you said ‘royal spoonbill.’ It is in the same genus as our roseate spoonbill. I just never made the connection. It’s wonderful that you’re able to get to these places. We don’t have any sort of public transportation, so if I weren’t able to drive, things would be complicated a good bit. It will be interesting to see what they can do for you, lens-wise. I hope the repairs are affordable; sometimes those things do turn out well, and I hope this does.

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    1. Thanks Linda.
      (only another 60+ different bird species to share 🙂 )
      I fear the cost of the lens repair (if they could actually repair it), might be beyond my purse. Small repairs cost a fair bit, so expensive things like ‘the glass’ and re-callibrating the lens would probably be expensive. Still, maybe I might keep it and get it repaired later in the year, rather than throw it out as a dead loss. I really do miss it.

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  3. Oh my! It certainly took me long enough to find my way over here. I’m not much of a black & white fan, so this is far more to my liking. I truly enjoyed seeing all the wonderful birds you captured. It’s so fascinating to see the different creatures on the other side of the globe.
    I was extremely sad to hear of your pain and hip problems, not to mention the lens accident. I do hope very much that both problems are resolved happily and to your liking soonest.
    PS (I know you tried to explain to me the different blogs you have, but somehow it didn’t penetrate my muddled brain. I’m just glad I’m here now!) 😀

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    1. Feel free to UN-follow my B & W Blog, Gunta.

      I genuinely felt you would enjoy my Nature Blog more as the birds and plants are more in your realm of interests. There’s not much in the way of landscapes though. I just can’t get out walking for all those long afternoons like I used to.do 3,4 or more, years ago.

      The hip pain won’t be resolved unfortunately, but sitting down is even worse than walking. Must be something to do with position of my hip grating against bone as I rise from my desk chair. Then there’s the FM of course.

      I’m planning another trip to the Jawbone Conservation reserve when the extreme hot weather settles a bit more. Those hundreds of birds on the foreshore were amazing. Gosh, it’s been so hot here.

      I am also planning another trip to the Newells Paddock Conservation and Nature Reserve soon (about 2-3 miles away, but a fair walk from the nearest bus stop). Without a long telephoto lens, I may not capture much in the way of bird life though.

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