CAIRNS BIRDWING BUTTERFLY (Ornithoptera euphorion)

Now I’m into reviewing 2012 (and have given the rest of 2011 a miss) in my archives, there is a bit more variety in photography subjects.

I’d gone to Melbourne Zoo on 21 February 2012 (having already to take out a membership on an earlier visit).  Entry for a pensioner as I was, meant paying the concession rate of about $19(?) a visit back in those days.   Membership per annum was about $70+ for all 3 of Melbourne’s zoos, so it would only take 3-4 visits a year to make membership worth the money.   If you’re a tourist visiting Melbourne and planning on seeing all 3 zoos (which includes Healesville Sanctuary in the country and Werribee Park Open Range Zoo in the western suburbs) and have children, defintely take out a year’s membership.  It’s much cheaper than visiting all 3 zoos on a day pass.

As it turned out, I had so much fun photographing the animals, birds, insects and reptiles, I ended up visiting over 100 times over 3 years – (I counted the dates of each photo folder to work that total out).

Furthermore, the beautiful Temperate Rainforest landscaping was so cool and refreshing, I would often go 3 times in the one week mid-Summer.   I guess the enormous Great Aviary really confirmed my newly found love of Bird Photography also.

This main zoo in North Melbourne is small enough to cover in one day, but large enough to make all the newer enclosures, including the walk through ones, interesting.

The Butterfly House with its humid artificially controlled atmosphere became the first port of call when I entered via the large entrance on the main road.  The back entrance/exit was used from then on as it had a tram stop (& train stop) close to the gate.

CAIRNS BIRDWING (Ornithoptera euphorion)
MAINTENANCE DAY THIS DAY WHEN ALL THE BUTTERFLIES WERE ABSENT THAT I COULD SEE. HOW DID THEY REMOVE THEM ALL IS THE BIG QUESTION.
THIS DAY MIGHT HAVE BEEN DURING THE SCHOOL HOLIDAYS AS IT WAS QUITE CROWDED AND HARDER TO PHOTOGRAPH THE DIFFERENT SPECIES.

 

# A PHOTO A DAY KEEPS THE DOCTOR AWAY – Day 34

Today’s image is from last week, not my old archives.

Last Thursday the 23rd to be exact.

female SUPERB FAIRY-WREN

With the overnight rain leaving a trail of droplets on my lounge windows, all the photos I took this morning are blurred which is a shame.

With rain forecast for the next 5-6 days, I suspect I won’t get any more bird photos in reasonable focus until next week.   That’s one of the downsides of using AF (autofocus) instead of MF (manual focus).   It can autofocus on the water droplets and not on the bird itself.  I doubt even the most experienced nature photographer would be able to capture fast-moving wrens as they dart about the ground or foliage.

But, you can bet if I put my 2 cameras (with their short and long telephoto lenses) away in their soft pouches on the floor, a bird will visit and stand still with a clear shot 😀

Here’s another shot of a male wren I took when living over the north-east side of Melbourne.  This time the bird was relatively still for a longer period of time.

I found a great YouTube to share – highlighting how fast the wrens move and their call.   Thinking about it this morning, I realise it’s more like a mouse squeaking than a bird call.

I’m sure you’ll have an appreciation of how hard they are to capture in really sharp focus on my potted herbs or balcony fence railing.

If you’re a bird-lover you might also enjoy this YouTube of some exotic bird species, their calls and feather displays

I played it through a couple of times while having my morning coffee this morning.

IF ONLY BIRDS COULD TALK….

Last Thursday, I moved the long plant troughs around on the old table in front of my lounge window.  I placed the one full of Rocket leaves to the right and the (now) empty one next to it on an angle with a few scattered bird seeds to entice the birds.   I wanted a clear shot with no Rocket leaves in the way.

The House Sparrows turned up in pairs and triplets and I watch them for 20-30 minutes before slowly lifting my camera off my desk to take a photo.

I watched them (watching me, I presume) and thought to myself……if only birds could talk.   Here’s the best shot through the lounge window.  While not as well-focused as some others I took of the Fairy-wrens that day, this is the shot that I liked the best as they seem to be looking straight at me.

What do you think?

Can they see me?

Watching the birds on my balcony has to be the most relaxing pastime since I moved to this apartment 3 1/2 years ago.

There seems to be a hierarchy.  There is one very bossy male House Sparrow, one with a white neck ruffle of feathers, one female with an all-white left foot.  Another with a ‘bib’ of tiny black feathers and also, I’ve noticed one slim young female whose feathers are nearly all the same shade of a warm honey-coloured brown.   I haven’t managed to get a shot of that slim female yet.

GOSH, IT’S HARD WORK FEEDING THESE TWINS. WHY COULDN’T I HAVE PICKED A WIFE WHO ONLY HAD ONE CHICK AT A TIME.

Here are some more shots made over the last couple of years……

FAR TOO HOT TO BE OUT IN THE SUN. THE SHADE FROM THIS POT MAKES A WELCOME BREAK FROM FLYING AROUND LOOKING FOR FOOD AND THERE’s A HANDY BOWL OF WATER RIGHT NEXT TO ME IN CASE I GET THIRSTY.
IS THIS A GOOD ANGLE FOR A PORTRAIT?
ARE YOU TAKING MY PHOTO AGAIN? HOUSE SPARROW PORTRAITS ARE ‘A DIME A DOZEN’ AROUND HERE.
TAKE THE SHOT! TAKE THE SHOT! I CAN’T SPEND ALL DAY POSING LIKE THIS. I’VE GOT WORK TO DO.

# A PHOTO A DAY KEEPS THE DOCTOR AWAY – Day 32

From the archives

14th July 2011

HELLABORE 

Canon EOS 500D

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro

ISO 1600

f/10

1/25s       (much too slow a shutter speed for a handheld macro shot, but I didn’t know any better back in the early days of my photography hobby).

*********

I’ve got way behind in replying to comments and blog reading this past week, but do know I’ve read most of your comments and enjoyed hearing from you.

Apologies to those who I haven’t answered.

My energy envelope is only 5-6 hours every day.   Due to bad (sometimes migraine-type) daily headaches and neck/shoulder pain from my Fibromyalgia, I can only do so much on the computer and then have to switch off and do something mindless like watching movies, or pottering in my balcony garden (depending on the weather).  I have to change position and alter my wrist/elbow/shoulder movement regularly to avoid that arm or body part becoming totally unusable – something that happened from time to time when I was still working on a computer in an office all day pre early retirement in 2010.

Sometimes, when I’m really fatigued,  I just sit and watch the birds drinking and playing in the birdbath for hours, just picking up my camera occasionally to try for a few bird shots or standing upright and walking around my lounge for a while to relieve my lower back and hip pain – a most relaxing way to while the hours away when you have chronic pain, fatigue and other symptoms.

I try to live my life Mindfully, just concentrating on the present moment.   With the present ‘lockdown’ I suggest you try to do that too.

Take time to enjoy the little things,
for one day you may look back
and realize they were the big things.

~ Robert Brault ~

Rather than getting stressed, and feeling a wee bit guilty about not replying to blog comments, or when I get behind with blog reading, I give myself permission to switch off.

In fact, one of the best things about modern technology (i.e. the computer), is that I (or you) CAN turn it off.

A SAD SIGHT

After the red dust storm and the bushfire season which filled our suburban and city skies with smoke haze, I lost about 1/4-1/3 of my Balcony Garden.

Early March I noticed a distinct browning of the Japanese Maple leaves on the footpath, (or road), side of the young tree in front of my apartment balcony.

IN THIS SHOT LOOKING OVER THE TOP OF THE TREE, YOU CAN SEE THE HEALTHY LEAVES IN THE FOREGROUND AND THE DYING LEAVES IN THE CENTRE TOP OF THE FRAME. THIS IS NOT WHAT THE PREVIOUS COUPLE OF YEARS LOOKED LIKE IN AUTUMN.

Autumn colour in the golden hour of the day looks a bit like the images below made in Autumn 2019.

My side of the tree was young(ish) and relatively healthy-looking.

The last 2 Wednesdays, when I went downstairs to wait outside the apartment building main door for my supermarket delivery, I took the opportunity to photograph the tree from the side.

Maybe the image below with the cooler white balance setting of the camera shows the changes that have occurred.

This is not the usual Autumn change of colour.

This is defintely one whole trunk/limb/branches that are dying (or dead) – more clearly seen in the images below when the sunlight changed.

Since we’ve had plenty of rain in the last 3 months, I can’t help but wonder if the apartment building construction site across the road has blown toxic raw materials or chemicals across to my side?  Is this perhaps too wild a notion?

We do have extremely strong winds blowing down my steep little road at the best of times, and at least twice, my herb and veggie garden has been completely covered in white dust since construction began in January 2019.

I won’t say how bad the dust indoors on my furniture was  😀

At the best of times I have to dust my furniture every couple of days and I’ve been through the occasional coughing fit so I know there is dust in the air since the construction began.

My first-floor apartment, on this very steep hillside, is in direct line of the building site.

Hmmmmm……..?

To be honest, I am not happy about all this (including the building of a tall apartment block towering over me and blocking the late afternoon light and most of my usual sunset colour, either).  I’ve lost my privacy too.

 I rent this apartment and don’t own it, so my options are always open (but so are my negative possibilities, as I’d had to move apartments 3 times due to the landlords selling my apartment space and the new owner wanting to move in).  In that scenario, the new landlord has to give you 60 days notice to vacate I seem to remember.

The old images (below) were pre-gouging out the cliff face and constructing a multi-storey apartment building.   I could go out onto my balcony to watch the sunset each evening OR, even, sit at my desk and watch it – 6th image in the series below.  If you’ve followed my nature blog for some time you’ll know how much I (loved) this sight.

The photos below are a good sampling of what I used to see most nights.  It was gorgeous.

I also wonder about the lack of bird species in the area in the last 4-6 months too?  I’ve mentioned that in an older post.   I initially put that down to the extreme summer heat, smoke haze in the air, or even just a change in the whole environment and bird migration?   Bird Migration doesn’t make sense as the first 3 years in this location had plenty of bird species.

That’s one of the reasons I loved living in this new housing estate.  It’s the Birds, the enormous green parkland up and down the river, as well as nature reserve directly behind my building.

Last year’s acquisition of a net to deter the bugs and birds from my new seedlings.

Melbourne and most of its suburbs normally have excellent air quality (unless there’s a bushfire close to the city in mid-summer).

This past Summer, at the height of the horrific bushfires, there were days when we had the worst air quality in the world.   Even beating highly populated areas in India and China.

Now we’re back to superb air quality in the last couple of months (improved even further by the lockdown and fewer cars on the roads).

The image below was made from the main road running along the river valley ridge and shows the city of Melbourne about 10 kilometers away – made a couple of weeks ago.

# A PHOTO A DAY KEEPS THE DOCTOR AWAY – Day 31

From the archives

over several visits to my younger brother’s 10-acre farm

This time I thought I’d introduce my brother’s current dog, Badger.   He’s the most amazing loveable dog I’ve ever met.   He never ever barks (that I’ve heard).   I asked my brother about that once and he said Badger does bark – but only in front of strangers.

How come?

Training, my brother replied.   I’m not a doggy sort of person, but every time I see Badger, I feel like picking him up and giving him a big hug.  He’s that sort of dog  😀