GREY FANTAIL (Rhipidura fuliginosa)

After such a woeful outpouring a couple of posts ago, I’ve had a most thrilling sighting this afternoon.

At first I thought it was a baby Willy Wagtail I saw out of the corner of my eye (whilst typing at my desk).   I opened the sliding balcony door and stepped out into the wild gusty wind and went over to the balcony fence.

There was a tiny flash of black darting continually around the Japanese Maple (located between my balcony and the footpath).

I went back indoors and grabbed the long 150-500mm ‘birding’ lens and quickly flipped the 9 focus points to 1 and went back outdoors to try to get that between the Maple foliage.   Not thick foliage at this stage of Spring, but thick enough for me to quickly go through something like 50 shots in an attempt to get the tiny bird in focus.

Here are a few attempts…..

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I was totally mystified by the white wing-like patches behind the white ‘eyebrow’ feathers (which would have made it a Willy Wagtail chick flashing its tail backwards and forwards faster than the eye or camera could follow).

I got my Australian Bird Guide Book out and after downloading the images onto the 27″ screen I realized I had captured some images of a new Bird I’d never seen before – a Grey Fantail.

What a thrill!

Fantails are common birds all over Australia, but I’d never seen one before.

My excitement started to die down and all those long months of photographing the fast-moving Superb Fairy-wrens on my balcony started to pay off.

I finally got some better shots……

The white chin feathers clinched it!  Besides, Northern Fantails are restricted to the far north of Australia, so it wasn’t one of that species.   If you think I’ve got the ID wrong, please let me know in the comments section.

This was about 1.45pm or so.   I was so engrossed in my efforts I nearly forgot I had a doctor’s appointment at the local clinic.

Anyway, 2 hours later, when I returned home, the bird was still frantically flying around the Maple tree, then to the hedge next to the footpath, to the young Eucalyptus sapling and then back to the Maple.

Before I left home it had crashed into the glass balcony fence several times.

It’s 6.00pm at the moment and it’s still madly (and somewhat erratically) moving from branch to branch and tree to tree.

I wonder if it’s looking for its Mother or nest?

I wonder if crashing into the balcony glass fence a few times has hurt it somehow?

I’d never be able to catch it.

If it’s still in the tree tomorrow……. crazily flying around, I’ll be on the phone trying to find the appropriate wildlife association or the local Park Ranger to come and try to catch it and take it to a vet or something.  It is probably a bit premature to phone now this late in the day.

I’ve never seen a bird flying so fast and behaving in such a crazy fashion.

Except when a Rainbow Lorikeet, who flew into my lounge window, crash-landed and fell down dead in my plant pot.   Its body was still warm when I picked it up and surveyed the broken body.   I have to admit a tear came to my eye at that moment.

 

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SPRING

Spring is definitely upon us here in Melbourne, Australia.

The earth is warming up and my balcony garden plants have astonishing signs of new growth.    Not just a leaf or two, but half the length of plant branches are bright green and refreshingly attractive to the eye.

I walked to the local Plant Nursery on Tuesday to purchase the larger pot for my Blueberry bush and a few other miscellaneous items.   (the walk itself was a big mistake with the ensuing exacerbation of joint inflammation, but we’ll say no more about that except that I won’t be walking anywhere, any time soon, again – I’m thinking of changing the title of this blog to ‘My Balcony Garden’ OR ‘Room With a View’)  😀

I took the lightweight Sony a6000 ‘mirrorless’ camera along for the walk and couldn’t help but photograph a few signs of Mother Nature doing her very best to put on a great show.

Almost flawless blue skies and the sunshine so brilliant I couldn’t see through the viewfinder due to the glare.

I had to shoot blind, with the resulting images not necessarily in focus when I downloaded the afternoon’s shots onto the large 27″ screen.   There wasn’t anything in particular to photograph as I walked along the residential streets, but I made some photos anyway.

I’ve always been interested in the small details in Nature.   

Sure, I love a great landscape, but my current home location presents me with few of those.   If I want to go to the nearby Newells Paddock Nature Reserve and Conservation area which I’ve written about here, or the bayside Jawbone Marine Sanctuary, Nature Reserve and Coastal path (written about here), I’d have to get a taxi there and back nowadays.   My Taxi budget is exhausted after so many trips in the last couple of months.  Frogs Hollow Nature Reserve is less than 100 feet from my ‘back gate’, but you can’t walk through that due to the thick high undergrowth, only around it.

Both the other Nature Reserves are too far from the bus stops with my current joint pain levels.   If you’re new to my nature blog you can read about these wonderful nature reserves via the links in the previous paragraph.

In the meantime…..

……when I walked out my front door on Tuesday and a few feet along the footpath I couldn’t help but be uplifted by the sun hitting the new growth on my Japanese Maple.

….or the everpresent Sun casting her warmth over the patch of Wood Sorrell (Creeping Oxalis) on the grassy verge next to my apartment building.  After all, the Sun shines 24/7 with only the Winter clouds and Rain hiding it from our view.

YELLOW WOOD CORRELL or CREEPING OXALIS (Oxalis corniculata L.)

……but the sight overhead of Spring blossom in a residential garden at the top of the hill was just about the most perfect sight in the area.

There were so many flowers in bloom in nearby residential gardens, but after I’d already crossed the road once (to walk in the warm sunshine, instead of the shady side of the road), I just photographed a few more sights before arriving at the nearby Bunnings Hardware Warehouse (and Plant Nursery).

Such a beautiful day and it will be even warmer today and tomorrow.

Yesterday afternoon, I re-potted the Blueberry into a larger pot as the finale of my Spring Balcony Garden preparations.   I couldn’t afford to buy too large a pot as it would be too heavy to lift.

I had trouble getting the Blueberry bush out of the old pot despite a thorough soaking of water to release it from the old pot’s strong grip.   I do so hope I didn’t damage the plant’s roots too much or give it transplant shock!

The volume of flowers on the plant is astonishing …… I think I’ve already mentioned that in another post.

…..WHICH BRINGS ME TO A NEW CONCLUSION.

  • My WordPress media library is nearly full and I don’t want to delete any images as many are the only copies since the Easter Computer crash and new iMac desktop purchase in early May (in which I lost thousands of old images).
  • It’s quite clear I can no longer do the nature walks I used to do due to severe osteoarthritis (among other health issues), so I can’t do much in the way of nature photography any more. While I’ve limped along with using my Photo Library archives for the past year or so, this blog, in its current format and content, will end.

OR

  • I start a new blog totally devoted to my My Balcony Gardens – Plants and BirdLife – and that would have its limits.

I closed down my Sunrise, Sunset (and Clouds that Come in Between) blog as the construction over the road will block out most of my sunset colour when the 3 story construction is completed.

 

 

But as a mainly housebound person these days, I’m not sure what else I can do with my day (with the current health restrictions).

………take up Jigsaw Puzzles again 🙂   I used to do those a lot when I was young.   I bought a really difficult one at a ‘pop-up’ stall in the nearby shopping centre a couple of weeks ago.

But ultimately, all you’re left with is a pile of ‘loopy’ pieces (to put back in the box).

Life is impermanent.   One might say……… as Impermanent as a Jigsaw Puzzle.

The Buddhist concept that life is full of suffering is not something new.

But after all the ‘suffering’ and 39 years of chronic pain and fatigue (and other severe chronic health issues), what comes next?

I live my life Mindfully, just living in the current moment.   I used to get great joy from Photography which I took up after being forced to take early retirement in early 2010.

But what comes after that?  What comes after 7-8 years of full-time Photography and Blogging online?  

(These are rhetorical questions).

What happens when you can’t paint, draw, do craftwork, read (a whole book), listen to music, can only work on the computer for short bursts and can’t drive (or own a car), afford travel, (or even have the health to visit friends)………?

What happens when every hobby and pastime is no longer viable (due to eyesight, hearing and health decline)?

Does the whistling of the wind as it ruffles the tree tops, or the calling of birds and the tweeting of chicks fill your afternoon?

How long can you do nothing at all?

(This is a rhetorical question too).

The wind gusts have now sprung up to VERY gusty indeed in the last half hour.

The sound of the wind is whistling through my apartment building like a Storm in Winter.  I’ve mentioned this phenomenon before.  Must be something to do with the number of floors/stories in this building, architectural design and ‘wind tunnel’ effect of its location on the side of this hill (river valley).

All of a sudden the picture of the bayside beach of my childhood springs to mind.   I re-visited the shores and high sand dunes one day in Winter 2014.   It was a dull overcast day, but I hadn’t checked the weather forecast before I left home and within 20 minutes of arrival, a severe Winter storm send me and my sturdy umbrella scurrying back to the train station and homeward bound with just a glimpse of sadly-changed sand and sea.

A long boardwalk had replaced much of the sand dunes from my childhood.

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Enough of my ramblings this morning.   If I keep typing I’ll have written the first chapter of a book (and they say you should never have more than 800 words in a post of a blog.   Readers lose focus after 800 words).

I do hope the seedlings are not sorely affected with today’s wind gusts.