ROOM WITH A VIEW

I cannot stress enough how important a Room With a View (of Nature) is in my life.

On Tuesday, a blue male Splendid Fairy-wren landed on the top of the pink Polygala bush to the left of my large computer screen (top right of the image below).  There was no way I was going to move, as my DSLR and long 150-500mm lens was set up beside me (for photographing birds in the blue bird bath or the bush behind it) and the wrong focal length to capture the scene.

The wren was approximately 3 feet from my head.

You may well wonder how anyone can get such a thrill  in these repetitive encounters with ‘the local bird life’, but I do.

Except for when I didn’t water it for a couple of days and all the flowers dropped off, the blue Bacopa, (photographed this morning), has now bloomed continuously for about 436 days since the 4th November 2016. After giving it extra water, the flowers came back within a couple of days. Not joking. It went from green foliage to flowers in a really short time. The flowers now cover the round green plastic pot which I’ve placed on top of a tall terracotta-coloured plastic pot filled with soil, so I drench the plant with water which sinks from the top pot to the bottom one and if the plant is extra thirsty, it has two moist pots to draw from.

I watch the House Sparrows fly down for a refreshing mouthful of water a dozen times a day and never get tired of the same scene.  I’ve deliberately arranged my flowering plants to offer the very best view I can see (without moving my head while seated at my desk).

If you know anyone housebound, bed bound or in hospital for any length of time, do try to ensure they have some flowers, a flowering plant or a favourite book of their chosen hobby or interest, with pictures (?) to look at (assuming they can sit up or move).  Even a beautiful card reminding of your friendship with each other.  I’m not a fan of ‘Get Well‘ cards (but maybe that is because I rarely get better, I just acquire more chronic health conditions as the years go by 🙂  I know from my own hospital surgery stays that sometimes the most exciting aspect of any stay can simply be…….when’s the lunch or dinner trolley coming around?  I usually take my Mac Pro Laptop, recharge cord, my book of amusing short stories and a magazine or two anyway, so have plenty to read.

Seriously, being stuck indoors can be a long day for most  (normally active) people.

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Today dawned with another beautiful picture-perfect blue sky.

I opened the sliding door to my balcony to inspect the garden and was (unusually) hit with a blast of hot air.  Normally, the air, even from a forecast hot day, is cool in the shade of the morning until the sun comes over the building and settles across my outdoor scene.

I inspected the long row of Eucalyptus saplings along the front of this building.

No Grey Shrike-Thrushes, (or any other local avian visiter for that matter), to be seen.  The wind was probably too gusty to photograph one in the deep shade of the foliage anyway.

As you can see by this image, my trees and hedges are in shade and the other side of the road is in brilliant sunlight and totally over-exposed in images capturing the 2 extremes of light and shade.

The Eucalyptus to the right of my balcony has grown above the level of the balcony rail about 3 1/2  feet since I moved here 16 months ago.  I wonder how tall they really will grow (assuming I’ve identified the species correctly) – supposed to be 30 foot high I believe.

I notice every little detail (as well as the changing of the seasons).

When I alighted from the bus on the main road after my city dental appointment yesterday, I was touched by the scene of all the young Crepe Myrtles trees in full bloom.  They are nearly all a deep rich pinkish-red (except for the occasional pale pink one which must have had a wrong plant label when the local council planted them).

Can you imagine these young trees when they reach their full maturity, in flower, (shown in the right hand side of the image below).

The scene will be absolutely spectacular.

I didn’t take a close-up, as I was eager to get home and the strong wind would have made it hard to photograph a flower sprig anyway.

I did stop to take a photo of the Red-flowering Eucalyptus half-way down my steep little road though.

I saw a sudden movement while standing looking at the glorious array of bright red flowers.

I waited for the bird to show its face.  It must have been watching me (watching it) from the tree’s dark shady centre, as, when I slowly tried to edge around to capture a photo of it, (whatever it was), it flew off.

I must say its nice to have my new replacement glasses which I picked up late Tuesday.  Now I can see a bit better, I have no excuse for not to get back to putting my Mother’s family history research on to the computer (which will slow down my blogging again).

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I think if it’s still too hot to go out tomorrow, as forecast, this blog might have a Zoo archives review again.  Here’s a few Meekat images to tempt you.

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MELBOURNE ZOO – The Mandrills

2011, 12, 13 & for a short time, 2014, Melbourne Zoo was one of my favourite Photography destinations.  Trying to get a single focal point through tiny 3/8″ (yes, 3/8″) wire in some of the cages proved to be the best way to practice holding my (then) new Canon DLSR & heavy lenses perfectly still in the early years of my Photography hobby.

Primates and Meerkats were my favoured subjects (until I moved on to bird photography) and I went to Melbourne’s main zoo in North Melbourne over 100 times.  The (mainly) temperate rainforest landscaping at that time,  proved to be heavenly on a hot summer’s day and sometimes I could go as often as 3 times a week to escape the blisteringly hot sun and  humidity in Melbourne mid-summer.   The single entrance fees were not cheap, but you only have to visit 3 times in any one year to make an annual membership worthwhile, so I certainly got my money’s worth going something like 40+ times in the first year alone.

In fact, (and this is no exaggeration), there was one Spider monkey who I visited so often, who eventually came to recognise me and would come bounding up to the glass near the top of the large enclosure and put his hand out to ‘touch’ mine through the glass.  I spent ages photographing and cultivating a unique relationship with it (and the Black-capped Capuchins).

But I also had some great opportunities for close-up shots in late November 2011 and January 2012 of the Mandrills.

I never seemed to see them up close in the following years.

Outside School Holidays was the best for photography, but I’m a pretty patient person and also enjoyed watching the delight on the faces of small children, noses pressed up to the glass, squealing with excitement.  There can be no better place to take children to create an understanding of animal behaviour and appreciating the great job zoos do in breeding and increasing nearly extinct or endangered species (as well as gaining a close-up view of Australia’s indigenous birds, reptiles, animals and insects).

Melbourne Zoo is so much fun, is not too large and has great interactive and walk-through enclosures to get up close to birds, insects and animals.  There are also private sessions to ‘Meet and Greet’ some of the animals with their Keepers.

 

THE WOMBAT – Melbourne Zoo

I mentioned in a reply to a commenter in the last post that Koalas are not actually bears.

The koala is an arboreal herbivorous marsupial native to Australia. It is the only extant representative of the family Phascolarctidae and its closest living relatives are the wombats.

So a few images of Wombats  from Melbourne Zoo seems to be worth posting.  I’ve seen many Wombat holes/homes in the wild or Australian bush, but never an animal (that I remember) but then I don’t go out much at night 🙂

From the Archives – 2011 and 2012

In a wombat burrow at Melbourne Zoo (lit by special lighting).  I was standing in pitch black in an underground tunnel when I took these shots, so its pretty hard not to bump into other zoo visitors when you walk though this  area.

…….and above ground

WARATAH (Telopea) – Melbourne Zoo Landscaping

From the Archives – 15th October 2013.

Waratahs are evergreen shrubs or trees that are densely foliated and the large red flowers are among Australia’s best known wildflowers.

The one in this post was photographed at Melbourne Zoo near the enormous lion enclosure.

This particular enclosure is/was? massive, (might have changed since I was there a couple of years ago), and has a high fenced boardwalk going over the top, so no matter where the lions are (outdoors), you get a great view of them.

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I’ve even managed to photograph the animals through the tough chain wire fence.  If you do enough photography practice getting one focal point through tiny wire netting and cages, I can assure you it’s relatively easy.

BACK TO WINTER

After my lovely walk last Sunday, its been pretty much back to the gusty, cold winds and the overcast skies of Winter this week.  I had to go through the city centre on Tuesday to another medical appointment (via taxi this time), but generally, its been too cold (for me) to go outdoors.

My life is based on health and weather.  These 2 subjects shape my Photography Life.

This morning I scanned next week’s forecast and can see Sunday and Wednesday have good forecasts, with Tuesday and Thursday minimal rain, so looks like some more good walking/photography weather might, JUST MIGHT, be a possibility.

It’s the infinite possibilities that make each day in retirement a joy.  You just never know how a day is going to ‘pan out’.  I love the Freedom of (early) retirement and while I sometimes complain about a bad pain day, the reality is, at least I can do nothing on that day and take in a good DVD documentary or book or just watch the House Sparrows on my balcony fence. (or the %#$@! household chores), with a good cup of herbal tea by my side.

Even watching the rat on my side fence (or birdseed stand) in my old ground floor apartment next to the Royal Botanic Gardens had some entertainment value for me.

Of course there was Peter the Possum that kept me entertained around Midnight every night back in those days living on the south-east side of Melbourne and became the subject of many a Google Blog post back in 2010 when I first bought a small point and shoot camera.

Peter the Possum – a regular visitor to my side fence about 4 feet from my balcony.

In the meantime I’d like to share these amazing cloud formations from late last Sunday afternoon (after I arrived home).  While I don’t get the spectacular 180 degree views of the sky as I did in my previous apartment on the north-east side of Melbourne, I still sometimes get some interesting cloud cover.  I’ve learned to appreciate Nature in all it’s forms – good, bad and downright ugly and clouds that float by are a favourite subject of mine as they are never the same.