I’ve finally unpacked everything and got 97% of my possessions back in place after my apartment move on Monday this week.
(I seem to have more possessions than 2 weeks ago 😀 but that’s impossible, merely that I’ve done a bit of re-arranging in this move to try and eradicate so much bending and/or twisting in daily activities for my degenerative spinal condition and right hip OA).
Anyway, this means I’ve found my photographic field guide Birds of Australia by Jim Flegg.
By the way, if you live in Australia and are interested in Bird Photography, I can highly recommend this relatively small, (well, about 8″ & 6″), book to help you identify any Australian Birds you’re keen to put ‘name to face.’
Most of the images in this guide are very clear in both colour and bird shape, sometimes the eye colour being the only thing to help you identify between 2 or 3 similar birds. Jim Flegg has inserted a small map of Australia with shaded blue areas of where the bird species is usually found for each one and a very concise description of the bird, the differences between male and female, its call and whether it’s common or rare etc.
I believe the couple of photos I made of a large black bird last week in the local children’s playground have now been identified correctly, (although please let me know in the comments section if you believe I’ve got the name wrong).
There are 6 species of Raven or Crow in Australia, with the 3 Currawongs adding to an easy-to-mistake identification.
First I cast aside any bird photo that didn’t fall into my state of Victoria, then dismissed the ones with dark eyes and carefully read the description to reveal the name Australian Raven (Corvus coronoides).
I think Jim’s description finally clinched it.
47-56cm Large, familiar, and the largest Australia Crow. Entirely glossy black, with an oily sheen in sunlight. Throat feathers of adult bushy and bristly, especially during calling, when body is characteristically held horizontal. (yes, this description definitely looked like the bird on the right side of my photo). Eye white in adult. Beak long, strong and black, with slightly convex ridge to upper mandible.
Immature duller with brown eye. Mated pairs characteristically sedentary, roaming flocks of non-breeders small, not cohesive as in very similar Little Raven.
And so on………
This identification was a hard one for me as I’m not good at judging bird size from any distance and 8 (out of the 9) birds in the book have white eyes.
Last week I got up close & personal with lots of Seagulls. Not quite 101, but there were lots of them.
I love watching seagulls.
I make no excuse for buying several lots of hot fish n chips down next to the pier to warm up in the brisk winter wind and then, when the excess got cold, threw them to the many gulls on the sand to bring them closer to my camera lens.
There’s something about the smell of the sea air and the screech of gulls that makes for a holiday atmosphere (despite the virus restrictions).
On the first short walk of the week, the sun continued to tease me. One minute coming out and warming the temperature up to quite a comfortable level and then, next minute, going behind the clouds and the temperature dropping suddenly to a distinct chill.
The sun had gone behind the clouds so I decided to head for home – only 5 minutes walk away.
Gosh, it must be truly lovely to live near the beach in the summer when there is no waiting for the sun to shine and the screech of gulls is joined by the shrieks and laughter of children and their families.
I wonder what the summer of 2020/2021 will bring this year (in times of so much uncertainty DownUnder)?
it is a serious thing just to be alive on this fresh morning in the broken world
You’re probably thinking I’ve gone on holiday, but no, here I am, back in my old apartment next to the Maribyrnong River and Frogs Hollow Nature Reserve.
Yesterday, this tiny female House Sparrow (above) reminded me of how lucky we are in Australia and how lucky I am to be content with the simple things in life.
2 apartment moves in 10 days was not easy for someone like me with a heart condition, severe pain and other chronic health issues. But I did it and it now seems like a distant dream (except for the packaging littering my lounge floor – the removalist company picked up the empty boxes yesterday).
My move to a south-western beachside suburb of Melbourne was a complete disaster healthwise and amidst a complete lockdown of suburban Melbourne due to a large cluster of COVID cases in several high-rise apartment blocks, I did some phoning and emailing and was lucky enough to just be able to move back into my old apartment block.
I had to move out of the new beachside ground floor apartment as quickly as possible.
It would have been almost impossible (without a car) and the current lockdown conditions to look elsewhere anyway.
I was welcomed back ‘with open arms’ by both the property agent and the landlord. When I moved back in on Monday of this week, different tenants/friends I saw were so thrilled I was back. Seems my occasional chats in this building had endeared me to more than one person. I never realised how much I would be missed when I moved out which was a big surprise. A heart-warming spot in the day on Monday amidst the busyness of the removalists going back and forth making the pile of boxes higher and higher in my tiny studio-style modern apartment.
The first evening in my new seaside apartment, amidst a mound of boxes, I sat at my desk with 2 heaters on high, a coat…….and a woollen blanket around my knees. I have never, ever experienced such mind and body numbingly cold interior conditions.
Even waking up on the Swiss-Austrian border in 1976 with my tent covered in snow was ‘a walk in the park’ compared to the icy chill that pervaded my bones right to the core that first night (and the subsequent nights last week).
The musty smell in the 2 carpeted bedrooms, which the property agent had said would disappear once the long-empty apartment was thoroughly aired, made breathing difficult at night (for me). I have MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivity) among my long list of chronic health conditions and am allergic to mould (and damp?). I suspect the carpets, having been steam cleaned weeks before, had not dried properly in the midst of Melbourne’s cold winter nights.
I had opened all 3 doors and the rusty, stiff window chains the best I could, but the smell never really left in the whole 8 days I was there.
I need fresh air to be truly alive. I need to feel like I’m Living in Nature now I’m more housebound.
It was very cold outdoors when the sun went behind the clouds
A random shot on the esplanade, but I DO like to mix it up a bit with the photography subjects.
Rather mean-looking, but they didn’t bother me.
Threatening rain clouds forced me to quicken my pace on the 5-minute walk home.
By the second night, my heartbeat seemed weak and erratic. (I also have intermittent SVT – Supraventricular Tachycardia – which can be a weird sensation when the heart starts beating very fast. It was diagnosed in 2007 & again in 2009, but seemed to resolve itself without drugs or a procedure to ‘zap’ the faulty electrical function in the heart muscle.
It reared its head last October when I was admitted to the Cardiology ward for 6 days with a mild heart attack, but again resolved itself naturally. The fluttering sensation in my chest feels a little weird, but not as scary as a serious ongoing dramatically fast heartbeat experienced by some sufferers which requires treatment.
The tap water, of which I normally drink quite a lot, tasted disgusting and a faint chemical smell wafted to my overly sensitive nose each time I filled the water glass. The lighting in the apartment, which I had expected to be fixed before my move-in, was obviously going to be a problem (even when it was fixed).
I need light.
I need warmth to help cushion my chronic pain and other symptoms.
There were other issues with the seaside apartment of course. I don’t make hasty decisions in retirement, especially not decisions that cost $$$. Last week was the most expensive ‘holiday‘ I’ve ever taken 😀 My bank account is still grumbling to itself every time I check the balance each morning.
Besides, I missed the birdsong which I wake to every morning here. And, I would have got obscenely fat on the wonderful hot fish n chips in which I indulged last week.
Why does hot fish n chips taste much better down the seaside?
I go with the flow and live my life Mindfully each day. Enjoying the simple things and ‘stopping to smell the roses’, if not every day, then certainly each week at some time or other.
But my health comes first (in retirement). I can’t afford to get chilled in Winter (or over-heated in Summer) with a serious heart condition, which was upgraded from mild to severe last October.
So I’m now back online with 101 seagull images to share – well not quite 101, but I did take a lot of photos of them in the 3 wonderful short walks I did last week. They had to be short walks due to pain levels, but they were definitely ‘sweet’.
Oh, it was glorious to live beside the sea. The smell of the sea air outdoors was a heady balm to my senses. The screeching of the seagulls as they dived in when I threw my rapidly cooling chips in the air was really a delight. Twice, they even lined up on the old weathered pier edging waiting to pounce each time I lifted my arm.
But now I’m back home. There are still all the issues that made me leave this riverside multi-story building, but I’ll just have to overcome them and make this tiny apartment ‘work’.
The beachside apartment never felt like home. It felt like an empty freezing cold concrete shell to me (that just happened to reside in a fantastic location near the sea and 3 nature reserves). Anyway, at least I now know how to get there in the summer via a (long?) 2-bus trip if I wish to.
I have some ongoing health issues to investigate, but I’ll be back online more regularly soon.
I’ll leave you with some wonderful images of a mural that was visible down a tiny side lane in the main shopping area. I only had one camera over my shoulder – the Sony a6000 with its 55-210mm kit lens, so couldn’t fit the whole mural into the one shot.