I’ve been so busy watering the southern end of my Balcony Garden, where my herbs and veggies are as far as possible from the Air-conditioning outlet’s hot blast of air, I hadn’t noticed the Eucalyptus tree in front of the fence rail had some frothy new flower blooms.
Since Eucalyptus is a genus of over seven hundred species of flowering trees, shrubs or mallees in the myrtle family, Myrtaceae, I’m going to guess and say my Gum tree is a Southern Blue Gum.
The flower is really pretty.
There are 7-8 of these small young trees in a row in front of my apartment block on the northern end and they have grown approximately 5 feet in the 3 1/2 years I’ve lived here. My tree has grown broad and slightly lower than the others and from the regular noise from the thick foliage, I suspect it is home to a few avian creatures.
I rarely see a bird in the thick foliage although regular long-time followers may remember I photographed a tiny New Holland Honeyeater chick 2 years ago towards the end of December.
New Holland Honeyeater chick
Please let me know in the comments section if I have the wrong tree species name.
I’d just turned on my computer and settled down to my morning coffee and Sunday morning scrambled eggs on toast, when I spotted a new bird out on the Japanese Maple in front of my balcony. I could only see the outline on the bare-limbed young tree through several layers of dirty glass, but had a fair idea of what it might be due to the shape alone.
(Yes, I eat breakfast at my desk, always prepared for early morning avian sightings).
Unfortunately it flew away before I could drop the fork and pick up the camera with the long 150-500mm lens and turn it on. I’d set up the 2 cameras (Canon DSLR and Sony ‘mirrorless’) last night with Shutter Priority and cleaned the lenses having ‘wasted’ half the day following the Superb Fairy-wrens around my balcony garden yesterday afternoon.
Thick fog surrounded my apartment building and the construction site over the road so it was an exceptionally chilly Winter morning.
Tomorrow is supposed to be colder and I wouldn’t be surprised to hear on the News that the low-laying hills surrounding the outer eastern suburbs of Melbourne had got a thin dusting of snow. My younger brother, who lives on the other side of these hills up in the country, is at a much higher altitude than me and would be sure to email me some photos if this weather phenomenon did occur.
I braved the full force of the chill and flung open my sliding glass door to my balcony, took the lens caps off both cameras and got prepared for the wait.
I’d been about to reply to overnight blog comments, but completely ignored the computer screen and sat watching for the slightest movement outdoors signally bird activity, instead.
I slowly lifted the piece of toast piled high with creamy eggs and a heavy covering of chopped English Parsley and started to open my mouth, when……..
…….all of a sudden, I got such a fright, (or, should I say….thrill 🙂 ), when a bird flew in the open doorway and nearly into my armchair by the window about 4 feet from my desk chair.
The bird crashed around indoors frantically trying to find the open doorway and freedom again.
$&#! How could I catch it. No way with my hands that’s for sure.
I’d caught a Spotted Turtle-Dove in my hands and released it when it got stuck under the glass balcony fence in my previous apartment, but those Doves were relatively calm since I’d been feeding them every day for months. Towards the end of that tenancy, I could go out to the balcony fence and fill the seed and water bowls with the Doves sitting about 12-15 inches away from my hands (if I moved very, very slowly).
I’d also caught a tiny Fairy-wren in my hands when it got stuck between a flower pot and the glass fence in my current apartment and released it into the air only a year or so ago.
But this was a New Holland Honeyeater – wild, not used to close human proximity, and frantic, desperate for escape. It was flying and crashing fiercely into the dusty lounge windows and flying so fast I thought it might hurt itself.
There was nothing I could think off on the spur of the moment, so I picked up the DSLR with the long 150-500mm.
$&#! I said again.
“Zoom back out, you idiot,” I said to myself.
I was too close.
I’d left the 150-500mm zoomed ready for Birds on my Balcony as approximate camera settings save time when these fast-moving birds land on the garden or balcony fence.
So I put the camera back on the desk and picked up the Sony a6000 with the shorter telephoto lens and blow me down if the lens didn’t jam.
I frantically pushed the shutter button, willing it to release, but the camera wouldn’t work.
I softly said a different expletive (as though a different swear word might magically unlock the ‘mirrorless’ camera 😀 ).
I rarely swear now I’m a little old(er) lady with greyish hair…… (as though my age and appearance might somehow preclude me from the uttering of such language).
Gosh, I only used to swear when I hurt myself, or the computer acted up in my working life, but I admit to more than a few expletives since I’d bought my new iMac on the 3rd May this year. You’ll understand if you’ve read my previous few posts. This is meant to be a nature blog, not the saga of my current computer/internet issues.
Anyway, back to the story……
I picked up the Canon DSLR again and zoomed back out and managed to fire off a few shots, before the bird suddenly found the open doorway and flew away.
I had no idea if I’d got the Honeyeater in focus as the area was relatively dark at floor level this time of morning, (while the west-facing lounge room and balcony was in full shade on this frigid cold Sunday morning).
I quickly transferred the photos to the new 27″ iMac and carefully reviewed the multiple shots (as both cameras were set on continuous shooting).
I found 4 images that were good enough to share.
Here ’tis…………. (and not a word about my lousy internet troubles).
Do the long-term followers remember when I found 2 tiny New Holland Honeyeater chicks in December 2017 – one on my balcony fence and one on the Eucalyptus sapling between my balcony and the road?
Now, that……..really was a thrill, especially when I went out to attempt a photo of the chick on the fence railing from about 12 inches away and it opened its eyes and stared straight at my camera lens without the slightest fear at all.
New Holland Honeyeater chick
(and thanks to all those followers who’ve offered suggestions about my computer and internet problems – I’ll follow some of them up).
I’ve finally discovered the best way to deal with these pesky computer/internet issues.
Stop thinking about them and stop writing about them 😀