A (very) SHORT WALK

Towards the end of last week the weather fined up considerably – definite signs of spring were everywhere from the lush green Barley grass (below), ripe from heavy rain earlier in the week, to tiny buds on bushes.

BARLEY GRASS (Hordeum leporinum)

I was determined to get some sun and fresh air.   I’ve been indoors for most of this year and let’s face it, there’s only ‘x’ amount of things you can do when you live in a tiny studio apartment and don’t have the eyesight for reading much or the desire to spend time on the computer.    I’ve watched so many series on TV I can tell you what happens with my eyes closed   😀

The image (below), made last year, gives new followers a sense of how close my apartment building is to that patch of trees in the background which denotes Frogs Hollow Nature Reserve (and Wetlands)…….actually – a man-made area in an attempt to re-vegetate up and down the Maribyrnong River.

Here’s a little history from Wikipedia for those interested in the local history.   If you’re not interested, just jump to the next image in this post.

The river was initially named Saltwater River[7] by early settlers, due to the tidal nature of its lower reaches. The name Maribyrnong however, is derived from either mirring-gnay-bir-nong which in Woiwurrung, the language of the local Wurundjeri people, is said to mean “I can hear a ringtail possum”[7] or “saltwater river”[8] (Gunung or Gunnung is Woiwurrung for river,[9] as seen in the names of other watercourses in the area, such as; Koonung Creek and Birrarung).

Marriburnong is an alternate spelling listed on a map dated from 1840.[8]

The inner western and north-western suburbs of Melbourne are located in the vicinity of the Maribyrnong River and the river has given its name to the suburb of Maribyrnong and the local government area, the City of Maribyrnong.

The Maribyrnong River valley has been home for the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation for up to 40,000 years. Human remains dated at least 15,000–years–old have been found along the river, with much older signs of human habitation also present.

The first Europeans to explore along the river were the party led by Charles Grimes, Deputy Surveyor-General of New South Wales, in February 1803. John Batman is likely to have explored up the river in early 1835. With the establishment of the colony of Melbourne later that year, sheep runs were soon established by Edmund Davis Fergusson and Michael Solomon in the Avondale and Sunshine areas. On Solomon’s sheep station the ford now near the west end of Canning Street in Avondale Heights soon became known as Solomon’s Ford. This was the lowest crossing on the Saltwater (Maribyrnong) River, and the furthest inland point of tidal influence. Batman is believed to have crossed the river at this point probably in the well worn steps of Aboriginals. It was for many years the only way from Melbourne to Geelong and land west.

During the second half of the 19th century much of Melbourne’s industry was located along the river, and the water became very degraded. With the closure of many industries since the 1960s and 1970s, much river front land has opened up to parkland and highly sought after residential estates.

The tiny dead-end road curves to the right after my building carpark entrance and steeply descends to the lowest apartment building in this relatively new housing estate (built around 2013 I think).

It was close to 4.00pm before I exited my ‘back gate’ on Friday.

THIS IMAGE WITH THE BLOWN-OUT BRIGHT SKY SHOWS HOW MUCH THESE 2 BUSHES HAVE GROWN IN THE LAST COUPLE OF MONTHS.

I didn’t have to walk far to find signs of Birdlife.   I heard a constant stream of tweeting and ‘tjit’ and ‘tzeert’and up popped a New Holland Honeyeater in the white-flowering Tree Lucerne (or Tagasaste).

Fortunately the honeyeater and bush were in shade and the background filled with lots of sunlight.

Very soon after, another honeyeater popped up to join it, but as they were moving fairly fast over the enormous bush, I could only get a photo of the first one.

I stood and watched them both for several minutes and then was distracted by a couple of male Superb Fairy-wrens on the concrete kerb gutter.

The one on the left (below) was in full breeding colours and the one on the right was flecked with sky-blue on its head and breast.   These fairy-wrens, once you have familiarized yourself with their accelerating ‘trill’, (perhaps a bit like the sound of a squeaking mouse), is one sound you can’t miss once heard.

I always know the difference between fairy-wrens and house sparrows on my balcony while I’m lying in bed in the morning.

The Tree Lucerne and Gorse bushes had grown enormously since I last stepped out the back door about 2 months ago.  They are both classified as weeds in my Field Guide to Weeds in Australia.

I walked around the curve in the road and stepped up on the pebble pathway leading past the lowest apartment building and stopped to look over the last of the mulched formal landscaping and spotted another fairy-wren a bit closer.

It was standing right next to a lovely white-flowering gum.   I couldn’t identify which variety of gum it was due to several similar varieties on Google images.   I spent half the weekend trying to find its name.

Behind it was a particularly attractive red-flowering eucalyptus.

I looked over to the nature reserve and then zoomed in on the bare-limbed tree on the right-hand side of the image below.

I couldn’t see any splashes of bright red which might signify another Crimson Rosella which I’d seen same time last year.   The images below are from 2019.

I might add this is the only time I’ve seen a Crimson Rosella in my immediate surroundings in the 4 years I’ve lived here, but I’m forever hopeful of seeing another one some time in the future.

I walked over to the low-lying field where 2 large puddles of water must have filled up with recent winter rain.   That’s the most water I’ve ever seen in the nearest ‘puddle’.

I walked forward about 20 feet anticipating a very slow walk down to the river (some 7-8 minutes brisk walk to the river).   I then stood quite still for some time peering through the long telephoto lens at the chain wire fence marking the start of the nature reserve on the left.

I have often seen Red-browed finches in the area….. on the ground….. or on the fence (in the past).

But the fence was empty last Friday and I continued on.

I walked another 20 feet and scanned the ‘puddle’ on my right.  (note: I suspect this raised pathway to the river is to gain access in the event of the river flooding the surrounding area.   I read somewhere that a little further downriver it flooded in 2014).

I spotted a pair of Chestnut Teal ducks diving underwater for some tasty tidbits on the puddle floor.  The water surface was flecked with some sort of pondweed.   At first, I wasn’t sure they were Chestnut Teals as the constant stream of water washing over their heads darkened the bright green head of the male to more of a brown colour.

I eventually captured the pair below as they swam to the other side of the puddle and the male’s green head was a bit more visible.

These ducks nearly always travel in pairs and this was the only way I could identify them as the female in the image above – with the red eye and pale neck – looked a lot like a Grey Teal.

It’s easy to mix up the two species.

After a short while, they finished their meal and clambered up onto the grass and settled down for an afternoon nap.

I was having a bit of trouble holding the heavy long 150-500mm lens steady as my shoulder was not quite over the injury of the previous week, so I hope you’ll excuse the lack of sharp focus.

To be honest, in that brilliant sunlight it was pretty hard to see through the viewfinder so I just tried to focus on the head/neck area as best I could.

Next minute I spotted a White-faced Heron.

I’ve only ever seen one Heron (and one Egret) in this location beside the river, so one might assume it’s the only one living here.

I spent ages trying to get the heron’s eye in focus, but the bird kept moving around, constantly dipping its head in the water searching for something to eat.

Up, down, up, down, step forward, up, down, another step forward, and then turning it’s back to me – it was on the constant move.   So much fun to watch and even more fun trying to get the eye/head in focus as it moved.

I was wishing it would stop and pose for a while like this one below in 2016 on the north-east side of Melbourne down by the Yarra River drying its feathers.

WHITE-FACED HERON (Egretta novaehollandiae)

or this one in 2017 near my local pond….

WHITE-FACED HERON (Egretta novaehollandiae) – Maribyrnong River

I’m rather fond of Herons – White-faced or Nankeen Night Herons in particular (which are supposed to also call this area home).   I’ve only seen Nankeen Night herons in the Royal Botanic Gardens or Melbourne Zoo though.   I’ve never seen one of these pinkish/terracotta-coloured herons in this area.

Some Nankeen Night Herons from my archives to show you their beautiful Salmon pink cloak of feathers and grey cap (with 2 white feathers erupting from the back of their neck).

……and back to the local White-faced heron from last Friday below.

Finally, I gave up watching and since my hip was already painful, decided to walk back up the slope and home.  Having some new photos to share for a change made me eager to get indoors and download them.

It wasn’t that late, but my side of the river and the steep hill on which the housing estate was built had already cast long shadows on the fields, nature reserve and eastern side of the apartment buildings.

When the sun dips behind the hill, it grows dark very quickly.

It wasn’t quite the golden hour, but the grass, still damp in some places from the previous night’s rain, seemed to reflect the light in such a way as to make any photography hard.

Sometimes I prefer a cloudy sky for photography, so the highlights are not blown out in the glare of the Australian sun.

On Friday, I walked back indoors via the front entrance of the building so I could pick up my mail from the ground floor postboxes.

This was the ‘allowed’ 1 hour of exercise outdoors with a mask on in Melbourne’s current Lockdown – only 73 new COVID cases and 8 deaths in the last 24 hours – very promising that we will end the lockdown in a couple of weeks and start opening up the stores and businesses again.   My shopping list is getting longer by the day from light globes, to herb seedlings to clothes and a new desk chair.   I also need a few cooking items for my tiny galley kitchen also.   I don’t like shopping online.   I like to look and try on before I buy.

I didn’t walk more than about 100-150 feet but it was such a  joy to feel the hot sun on my face and the wind in my hair on Friday.

…..and although I didn’t take a photo last Friday, the various low-growing bushes of Shrubby Bindweed were visible next to the path and steps, so I’ve included a photo taken last year to end this post.

SHRUBBY BINDWEED, SILVER BINDWEED (Convolvulus cneorum ??)

IT’S COMING……

Spring is on the horizon and the tiny buds (and new leaves) on the Japanese Maple in front of my apartment balcony are always the first to herald it’s arrival.

It’s a gorgeous day outdoors (despite the forecast for rain this afternoon) and I yearn for a good long walk, but the old hip says “no”.

FROG’S HOLLOW NATURE RESERVE (lower half of this image). Photo made from the 5th floor of my apartment building.
PART OF FROG’S HOLLOW NATURE RESERVE (the lower left). GRAVEL WALKING TRACK down to the river (lower centre). FROG’S HOLLOW loy-lying field (lower right side of the image). GOLF COURSE and RESIDENTIAL AREA ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE RIVER (in the top half of this image).
MELBOURNE CITY approximately 10-11 KMS away from my home.

We are coming to the end of the 4th week in our 6-week lockdown in Melbourne and I for one will be glad when the 6 weeks are up.  Hopefully, our state’s Premier will issue some lighter restrictions OR maybe going back to Stage 3 restrictions and a release from keeping within a 5km limit to home (to stop community spread) and a nightly curfew (8.00pm – 5.00 am) in an effort to curb younger folk partying.

We’ve had only 113 new COVID cases overnight (but sadly, still 23 deaths – 22 in aged care).   This is down from 725(?) 7-8 weeks ago.    Most of the deaths always seem to be in the aged care sector which saddens me greatly, especially as family and friend’s visits are restricted too.  They range in age from 70s, 80s, 90s and 100).   There has also been a 20-year-old male and a 30 yr old male – the young are not immune.   To those of you who live in large countries with higher populations, these figures might not seem like much, but any premature death saddens me.

Our nightly curfew and strict lockdown is working but at what cost?   I’ve seen ambulances and police outside my building twice in the last week and can’t help but wonder if there are any COVID cases in my 6 storey apartment building.   I’m being doubly cautious after my own scare over the weekend (described in this post here).

I don’t usually wish my life away, but I can’t wait for Something to Happen.

Anything.

Just a change in my days indoors.   It’s been something like 18 months since I’ve mainly been housebound with this severe hip OA (and other pain conditions).   I’ve done about 4-5 walks down to the local pond and one visit to the Maribyrnong Wetlands – via taxi.   All aggravating the pain, but worth the effort (at the time) to capture a few photos and some fresh air.

Actually, mid last year, I had to call a taxi to take me to the nearest street post box to post some urgent mail) as it was too painful to walk up my road’s steep hill and the 2 blocks to the post box outside the Aldi store.

I then asked the taxi driver to take me down to the small pond near the river where there are a pair of Khaki Campbell ducks. I walked around the pond just once and then caught a bus home (from the bus stop right next to the pond).

Khakis were originally bred in England and are a combination of Mallards, Rouens and Runner ducks. They generally come in three colour varieties – khaki, dark and white. The drake (the boy) is usually mostly khaki coloured with a darker olive green head lacking the white ring of its Mallard ancestors. The duck (the girl) has the usual underwhelming colour scheme and is khaki (brown) all over.

They are prolific egg-layers and this pair must have escaped from someone’s back yard I think.  They originated in the U.K. in the late 1800s so they must have been imported to Australia.

I suspect the small patch of white water Lillies on this pond are coming into bloom at the moment too.

The next 2 days are going to be clear and sunny so we’ll see what the pain levels are going to be like when I wake up in the morning before I predict my ability to walk outdoors in that glorious pre-Spring weather.

….and GLORIOUS IT IS AT THE MOMENT!

There are lots of other birds in my immediate vicinity and I long to join them, camera(s) in hand, on their daily excursions.

At the moment, all I can hear is birdsong from outside my lounge window.   I suspect the thick foliage in the Eucalyptus tree next to the right end of my balcony is going to host some bird nests this year.

What fun that would be……if I could see them in the dense foliage that is. 2-3 times I’ve seen birds right in the middle, but I have to look hard (and for some time) to pick their dark bodies out in the gloom.

Here’s a sample of the Maribyrnong Wetlands area & pond below.

Enjoy……..

And the pond near my home……

WHITE-FACED HERON (Egretta novaehollandiae) – Maribyrnong River

and a bit further along the river heading for Newell’s Paddock Nature Reserve.

Little Pied Cormorant

To be honest, I don’t miss people, shops, movies, library or even just the supermarket & Asian fresh food market near my home.   I certainly don’t miss the dentist in the city centre.   I do miss my city-based hairdresser at the moment though – my hair looks like an unruly floor mop.

I MISS THE BIRDS (and the opportunity for a nature walk and some photography).

More images from my archives to come.   Hope you’re not all getting bored with the absence of new photos.   Hope the newer followers are enjoying my photo archives.   Long-time followers will have seen all these images before of course.

Another image shot at my local pond – only about 10 minutes walk.

 

SANDRINGHAM BEACH – A coastal walk

From the archives

Why Sandringham Beach some of you Melbournians might ask?

Simply because I have wonderful friends who live there and this gave me the inclination to walk along their beach for some fresh sea air and photography.

Secondly, because it’s a fantastic beach and coastal area to view.   The high rugged cliffs, rocky outcrops and flower-studded cliff faces (in September/October/November – Spring) are in such contrast to my local flat sandy beaches.

I made most of the images in this post between 2011 and 2014.  At that time I lived on the south-east side of Melbourne which gave a fairly direct train route to this southern bayside beach.

In Sandringham, one of the challenges was clambering over some high rocks with my tiny backpack and camera bag(s).   Having some slight nerve damage in both legs after some surgery(ies) means I really should stay on flat paths, but if I can do it, so can you.  More than once I landed on an uneven sandy/rocky surface and stumbled – fortunately not breaking anything – camera, lens or bones.

…..and after seeing a man run up these steps, I decided I would do the same (except I ended up walking up, getting slower and slower, until eventually, I walked up 5-6 steps with a few minutes rest between each segment of my climb  😀  ).

I took the photo below AFTER I reached the top and had to take 15-20 minutes rest before walking along the coastal path (which ran along the cliff top beside the main road leading back to the train station).

Our life on this earth is impermanent and you never know what tomorrow will bring.

“Make hay while the sun shines” is my motto

And if you can’t make hay – plant a seed, tweak an idea, explore your dreams.

After the lockdown is over……. and it will one day……..Melbournians will be able to explore a little more of our wonderful state (with our international borders being closed for quite some time for tourists).

I encourage all my fellow Victorians to look ahead with hope and optimism.   Face masks have become a new fashion statement and there are so many colours, styles and material patterns.   Social distancing will probably become a new way of interacting for the rest of the year, or even a few years, but that doesn’t mean you can’t explore your local area and have fun.

You just have to be open to different horizons and more rustic local destinations.

I travelled both interstate and overseas for many years in my youth, so have that desire to wander no matter what the location.   And now I have some good camera equipment, all the more reason to explore the suburbs – inner and outer.

Back in the old days of car ownership, I don’t think I ever took the quickest route to go shopping, let alone visit friends in outlying suburbs.

I ALWAYS TOOK THE SCENIC ROUTE – (which actually saved my life one day when my car brakes failed I might add).

So I challenge you to make the most of local travel destinations and in particular, country towns.   Support country businesses with food/wine/accommodation/gift shop purchases and craft fairs…….once the current restrictions are lifted from Melbourne and the rest of Victoria..

START PLANNING NOW 🙂

THE (OLD) SOUTH YARRA STATION WHERE I CAUGHT A TRAIN TO GO DOWN TO THE SOUTHERN BAYSIDE BEACHES
I TRIED TO PHOTOGRAPH SOME STREET ART ON THE SIDE OF THE RAILWAY LINE AS THE TRAIN SPED SOUTH

 

WEAR A MASK! WEAR A MASK! WEAR A MASK (and wash your hands & social distance)

I thought it worth sharing my weekend experience that I spent 10 hours in the local hospital’s COVID ward over the weekend and it was one of the scariest episodes of my life.

I cannot stress enough to my friends, family and followers…..

WEAR A MASK!

WASH YOUR HANDS (regularly outdoors, indoors and everywhere in between)!

SOCIAL DISTANCE (and stay at home when the lockdown is in place and keep your distance when out shopping, working, exercising or anywhere else when in public)! 

So the story behind my hospital stay is…..

I’ve had a temperature on/off over the last 2 weeks….. and at night in bed…… trouble breathing and a wee bit of a cough (when lying flat) and more tired than usual, but in general, nothing serious.  No big deal.

I’d spoken to my GP over the phone twice and on hearing on Friday that I still had a temperature and was a little unwell, she emailed me a COVID test referral.

In the meantime, I hurt my shoulder early on…….which got worse……and I ended up calling an ambulance late Saturday around midnight (although I really only needed a taxi to get it checked out at the local E.R.).

The ambulance guys checked my temperature before taking me downstairs and on finding it high, rang ahead to warn the hospital and then did the mandatory trip direct to the COVID ward!

In the ward, the atmosphere was spooky.   Eerie.   Surreal.

YOU DON’T WANT TO GO THERE!

I was very nervous about being in that ward.    I couldn’t help but look around at the other patients with some interest.  Some of them were very unwell/ill.   I was just fine (in comparison).

The room was filled with tension and my heart went out to the nurses, doctors and hospital staff who cleaned the cubicles – floors, beds, equipment, walls & ceilings every time a patient was discharged, or moved on to ICU etc.  They all had full protective gowns, masks, plastic head shields (for the nurses) and gloves (and they changed gloves and sanitised their hands every time they moved from patient to patient doing observations).

Yes, every patient was touched with a fresh set of gloves.   If you pressed the Nurse buzzer on your bed, the nurse had to change gloves and sanitise when she came to attend to you.   You weren’t allowed to go to the corridor toilets/rest room.

Commodes are a funny thing.   More like a King/Queen sitting on a throne.   I kept drinking water with my sore/dry throat and then of course………kept needing to pee  😀

Even the ceilings and walls were cleaned after each patient was moved.

I was a wee bit breathless and uncomfortable breathing in the ward initially as I’m allergic to bleach or strong chemicals, perfumes and strongly scented body products.

The scent of serious illness is not one I like to wear.   I’ve had enough over the last 25 years.

But I seemed to finally get used to the strong odour of chemicals and started to breathe more easily.   I’d held my nose and breathed through my mouth enough for one night.

YOU DON’T WANT TO GO THERE!  (if you’ve been in a COVID ward you’ll know what I’m talking about).

The sound of someone struggling to breathe for hours and hours is something I’d like to unhear.

I felt so much compassion for the suffering of the bed occupants.  

We were all put in the same Coronavirus ward if you had a temperature and weren’t allowed into the ordinary E.R. (Emergency Room).

After an Xray of my shoulder (and my chest, as I’d told them I was having issues with breathing when lying flat in bed which I’d attributed to my worsening heart condition), they did a COVID test.

My bloodwork and Xrays were all fine and they wrote out a referral for my GP to send me off for a shoulder ultrasound in case I’d torn something.   They did a COVID test.  Because I had a high temperature they wouldn’t let me go home in a taxi, so rang and booked a St John’s Ambulance driver to take me home and carry my bags upstairs to my 1st floor apartment and ensure I was safely ‘tucked indoors’ in my apartment.  I was told not to leave it until I had the COVID test result which would take 48 hours to be processed.   I waited just on 4 hours in a chair in my cubicle as the ambulance driver already had a list of people to transport.

9.00a.m. this morning my mobile phone sounded with a text message.

COVID test was NEGATIVE.   HURRAY!   WHOOPEE!

So, on waking with a sorer throat, coughing a wee bit and an ongoing temperature, it appears my body is fighting an ordinary virus or throat infection.

No big deal.   A little of my favourite remedy of homemade chicken soup with lots of fresh ginger and a whole bulb of garlic (about a dozen or so ‘cloves’) will be my personal treatment.   Lots of hot lemon juice and honey will be on my drink menu.

PHEW!

So I implore all of you, in an urban environment especially, WEAR A MASK outside your home and in the community.   If you live in another state or country, wear a mask when you can’t socially distance.

Foggy glasses and muffled voices are a small price to pay for wearing a (correctly adjusted) facial mask and avoiding possibly contracting The Virus.

The news revealed there were only 116 new virus cases in my state of Victoria in the last 24 hours, but sadly, 15 more deaths – all of those in the old age sector – men and women in their 80s, 90s AND over 100).

So, Melbourne and regional areas of my state are winning the battle against the second wave of COVID 19, but this morning our Premier has proposed that Melbourne would continue with a state of emergency for the next 12 months, if no vaccine is found.   Obviously, the 6-week lockdown was not going to be the end of it.

We are winning with the strict lock-down and night-time curfew in Melbourne, but don’t be complacent.   Don’t think it ‘can’t happen to you’.

It could have happened to me and I have been mainly stuck indoors over the last 18months and have obviously caught some ordinary virus despite face mask, hand sanitiser and so on when I did go out to the pharmacy/shops.

This ordinary virus might have been the extraordinary COVID VIRUS.

IT CAN HAPPEN TO YOU.   DON’T TELL ME you’re young, fit and healthy and never get sick.

I’M NOT TRYING TO BE  an ALARMIST, OVER-CAUTIOUS or CREATE SOME PANIC.   I’M USING SOME COMMON SENSE now that this current CORONAVIRUS has touched over 9,000,000 million people around the world (and probably more, as there’s bound to be some asymptomatic folk out there not tested).   To be honest, I’m getting a bit sick of it filling the news on TV, but on the other hand, don’t want to miss any new development or new rules that have arisen overnight, so watch a bit each day.   But I do have the option of turning the TV and computer OFF I suppose.

Take a little time to consider how you’re going to adjust to the new ‘normal’.   Consider how you’re going to adjust to your new lifestyle.  Take the time, not to wait for the VIRUS to go away……but perhaps started thinking about where you might take your next holiday.   Perhaps consider how you’re going to work or earn your living in the future.

Start thinking about some local trips and short holidays.   Explore your immediate area once the Lockdown has lifted (and I’m sure Melbourne’s lockdown will eventually be lifted).  Consider some new hobbies, sport or exercise routine.

Living in Nature doesn’t have to be Overseas.

There’s a wealth of local parks, gardens, nature reserves, hills, mountains, coastal beaches and country destinations you can look forward to.

Take the time to ‘SMELL THE ROSEs’……locally…….and care for your community.

 

This sun came out from behind the clouds earlier today and the House Sparrows came to the birdbath for a drink and play in the water.  I missed capturing the male Superb Fairy-wren when he came to visit a bit later within the lens frame.

Enjoy your day.

Live each day Mindully, fully appreciating what you have, not worrying about what you have not.

I’m way behind with blog reading, but my YouTube addiction got extended to funny babies and toddlers yesterday afternoon when I got home and I laughed myself silly.   Truly, a good belly laugh is the best medicine.

Try it.

BRIGHTON BEACH

From the archives

Brighton Beach is a bayside beach to the south of Melbourne well known for its iconic colourful bathing boxes.

…….and if you start the following YouTube from the beginning, you’ll have a soundtrack to accompany your viewing of the series below.   It’s just a random track I chose which had a nice balance of sounds from waves to seagull cries.

 

Obviously, these images were taken on different days with varying sky and weather conditions (and probably different cameras & lenses – I didn’t actually check before I put this series together).   Also, different seasons of the year as you can see from the figure’s clothing.

*************

Cold, windy and snow down to 1000 metres for this weekend, according to the weather forecast a couple of days ago.   Should be good weather for snow and skiing up in the alpine regions now we’re heading for the end of winter.

But with the current strict lockdown in Melbourne’s second COVID wave and the inability to venture more than 5 kms from your home (without good reason or permit), I don’t think anyone’s going anywhere.

Still, the COVID outlook is good with our second wave virus numbers going from 725 new cases per day a couple of weeks ago…… down to 182 today.   Sadly, there are still deaths each day – 13 yesterday –  mainly in the aged care sector, but they seem to fluctuate.

With genome tracing and contact tracking, the Health Department can trace this 2nd wave to hit Melbourne, from a Hotel Quarantine outbreak.   Gosh, it’s amazing what science can do these days isn’t it?   I was fascinated with this way of tracing where the original 2nd wave of COVID came from.

Department of Health and Human Services epidemiologist Charles Alpren has confirmed the state’s deadly second wave is attributable to outbreaks at the Rydges on Swanston and Stamford Plaza hotels.

“Approximately 99 per cent of current cases of COVID-19 in Victoria have arisen from Rydges or Stamford,” Dr Alpren told the state’s hotel quarantine inquiry on Tuesday.

“However, I cannot be very precise in the number or proportion to have arisen from each outbreak separately.

“It is likely that the large majority – I said in my statement approximately 90 per cent or more – of COVID-19 infections in Victoria can be traced to the Rydges Hotel.”

Dr Alpren said the Rydges outbreak started with a family of four returned from overseas on May 9 and went into hotel quarantine where they developed symptoms over the next few days.

They were moved to the Rydges on May 15 when they were all displaying symptoms.

By May 18, all four had tested positive.

Only 1 new case in the state of New South Wales (to the north) yesterday, so their outbreak cluster has been successfully traced and (almost) contained and several other states of Australia have no current cases at all.   But an outbreak cluster has occurred in the state of Queensland in the last 24 hours.

So Stage 4 mandatory mask-wearing (on leaving your home) in Melbourne & suburbs in Victoria, an evening curfew from 8.00pm – 5.00am (e.g. to stop young folk going out and partying), staying within a 5km distance from your home, social distancing and (with most small stores and businesses closed) and so on, seems to be working.   Only food shopping (by one household member per day), essential workers, carers, no more than one hour’s exercise (near your home – no driving to a park or down the beach) etc are reasons to leave your home.  Rural areas are only at Stage 3,  but there have been outbreaks in 4 rural cities.

We have another 4 weeks (out of 6)  to go before the rules might change.

The fines for breaking the rules are heavy.   One man came up with the excuse for his rule break as…….”there’s no good surf near my home”.    Another night-time curfew break revealed his excuse as……..”I ran out of cigarettes and had to go to the shops”.   That packet of cigarettes cost him thousands of dollars in fines – expensive habit (and lack of planning on his part methinks).

The rain has briefly stopped, the brisk wind has picked up and the sun is trying very hard to break through the clouds at the moment – midday Saturday morning.   But with the temperature outdoors 11C  (52F) and my own temperature fluctuating, I’m not going anywhere.

Oh…….and I have become addicted to YouTube but am restricting my new addiction to 1-2 hours per day so that addiction is ‘contained & being well-managed’ too.  😀

GLOSSY IBIS (Plegadis falcinellus)

From the archives

Late 2012

I’m not sure I’ve shared images of the Glossy Ibis before, but here they are.    They were made in the Great Aviary at Melbourne Zoo.   I’ve seen Australian White Ibises in Nature Reserves or National Parks, but not these Glossy Ibises.   But they’re out there.  Depending on whether its shady or full sun on the day of the zoo visit, makes a great difference to the colour of these lovely iridescent-feathered birds.

Sometimes they look to be more blue/green/grey and other times more a rich russet brown, although I’ve just been reading that the juveniles are more brown so that could account for some of the colour difference.  I suspect I had my camera on AUTO ISO some days and CLOUDY ISO on other days which might account for the mix of cool or warm tones in the images in this post.

Ibises are found over most of Australia, particularly the northern states and eastern seaboard.

In flight they look very dark in colour and carry their heads and neck outstretched.  The image above was the best I could get of one in the air.

This Ibis (below) looks like it just caught a meal from the surrounding landscape.

Most of these images were made from the 10-20 foot high boardwalk that runs through the Great Aviary.

Here are a few photos of The Great Aviary to give overseas folk a sense of how large this enclosure is at Melbourne’s main Zoo in North Melbourne.  It is designed and landscaped to cover 3 climatic zones.

If and when, Australia ever opens it’s international borders to tourists and you’re visiting Melbourne, do make the effort to visit our main zoo (there are 3).  The landscaping, animal, bird and reptile exhibits are worth a day trip to see them all, but after many visits, I often chose the Great Aviary a lovely place to practice some bird photography for the whole afternoon.

I did get caught out on one afternoon visit in that the Aviary was closed for maintenance, but then that can occur with other parts of the zoo also.

It’s usually open 365 days per year, but in our current 6-week lockdown in Melbourne, it’s closed at the moment.

The first time I can remember it not being open.

BEACH SALVIA, DUNE SALVIA, GOLDEN SALVIA (Salvia africana-lutea)

From the archives

30th September 2012

Salvia africana-lutea is one of the first flowers I photographed when I took up Photography as a hobby.   Its also probably one of the few flowers I actually know by its botanical name (instead of the common name).

 

THE ROYAL MELBOURNE SHOW

From the archives

September 2012

Normally, Melbourne would be preparing for the Royal Melbourne Show at this time of year, but it’s cancelled in 2020 (of course).     It’s a great family day filled with the pungent smell of doughnuts, hotdogs and other takeaway food.   The rides and merry-go-rounds cater for the young and old.  The show bags – filled with commercial samples, comics, lollies and such, are usually something to be collected in number (according to how deep one’s purse) and carried home to be treasured and played with for days after the visit by the young at heart.

When we were young, it was always a treat to sample the chocolates, liquorice and boiled sweets and toffees as we usually only ate healthy home-grown food.

Back in the early days of my photography hobby in 2012, I took the afternoon to wander around and look at some of the exhibits – after all, I’m still a child at heart.

I unashamedly have copied these details from Wikipedia……

The Royal Melbourne Show is an agricultural show held at Melbourne Showgrounds every September. It is organised by the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria and has been running since 1848.[1] Each year Royal Melbourne Show attracts attendances of up to half a million people.

The traditional purpose is the display of rural industry, including livestock and produce with its associated competitions and awards however, the show also features amusement rides and a sideshow alley, as well as the peculiarly Australian tradition of ‘Showbags‘, carry bags containing samples of goodies produced by various commercial enterprises.

A prominent feature during showtime is the many rides including a permanent wooden Mad Mouse roller coaster which resided at the grounds until 2001, owned by Wittingslow Amusements. A permanent chairlift also resided on site until 2005. The site has its own railway station, used during special events located on the Flemington Racecourse line. The Thursday of the show was once observed as the Show Day public holiday in Melbourne; this holiday was abandoned in 1994.[2]

While the Royal Show is the main show in Victoria, many cities and towns in regional Victoria host smaller shows, such as the Royal Geelong Show, Bendigo Show, Ballarat Show, Warragul Show, Whittlesea Show and the Shepparton Show.

There was no show in 1915, 1940 to 1945 nor 2020 (of course).

You can read more about the competitions and other details here.   Its permanent location is actually within walking distance of where I currently live but over the other side of the river.   It would be a rather circuitous route via car or taxi as there’s no road crossing the river in this immediate area.

So here’s a few random photos from the baby animal area and some of the craft exhibitions.

I took many more photos at the showgrounds that year, but they disappeared in last year’s laptop crash and attempted photo library transfer to the new desktop.