MARIBYRNONG WETLANDS POND

MARIBYRNONG WETLANDS POND WITH THE LARGE ISLAND AND TREES IN THE CENTRE – 31st May 2017

At the risk of getting too repetitious, my trip to the Maribyrnong Wetlands pond on Monday of this week revealed all the usual ducks and scenery, but I’m a great believer in ‘making hay while the sun shines’.

If it’s sunny in mid-winter, any outing is worth all that lovely fresh air and practice with photographing the local bird life.

THERE WERE SEVERAL PACIFIC BLACK DUCKS AND MOST SEEMED TO BE IN THE SHADE/PROTECTION OF THE WATER REEDS, 2 DUCKS SWAM IN MY DIRECTION (IN THE HOPE OF SOME FOOD PERHAPS?)

The bus from right outside my local shops and medical centre takes me straight down the steep river valley to a stop about 20 feet from the large pond next to the river walking path.

ONE (OF TWO) DUSKY MOORHENS SWAM BY SO FAST I NEARLY MISSED THE SHOT.

When I got off the bus on Monday, I was rather taken aback at the strength of the wind and was wishing I had my walking stick, (or even my shopping trolley), to anchor me to the ground (and I am no lightweight).   If it had been raining and I’d had an umbrella, no doubt the wind would have blown it inside out.

THIS IMAGE TAKEN ON THE RIVER SIDE OF THE POND SHOW THE WIND SENDING THE WATER REED LEAVES NEARLY HORIZONTAL.

There weren’t many birds visible on the water surface which was rather strange in many ways, as the local children’s playground is next door and I can well imagine families with young children ‘feeding the ducks’ at any time of the day (or season).

The wind gusts almost seemed gale-force at one stage (and bitterly cold despite the warm sun and blue sky), that I quite literally, photographed the ducks, walked around to the other side of the pond, where I nearly got blown over, back across the rocky causeway and across the road to catch the bus home again 😀

 

There’s some lovely succulents in the long broad garden strip next to the bus stop and being on a raised garden bed means I can photograph them without bending down low.

The bus wasn’t due for another 35 minutes according to the timetable on the lamp post, so I crossed back over the road and caught a bus heading the other way to the local Asian fresh food market to get some vegetables and fruit and then…………………home again 🙂

That must be about the quickest, shortest walk I’ve ever done 😀

Note: I’ve added a couple of images from 2018 & 2017 to show the area (one at the start of this post and one below that I shared not too long ago).   The trees and water reeds you see in the top half of the image below are actually on the island, so you’re only looking at the eastern side of the large pond.

In summer this portion of the pond you see below is nearly dried up and the ducks tend to go around to the road side of the pond to find some water to swim in.

Near one of the other ponds, shown in the map below, about 10 minutes walk from my home, you’re more likely to see the birds near the end of this post.

THE BROKEN LINE DENOTES MY OLD WALKING PATH (BEFORE MY HIP OSTEOARTHRITIS GOT TOO SEVERE TO WALK VERY FAR) AND THE UN-BROKEN LINE DENOTES THE BUS ROUTE I NOW TAKE TO VISIT THE MARIBYRNONG WETLANDS POND. AS YOU CAN SEE BY THE LETTER “H” (FOR HOME), I LIVE ON THE EDGE OF THE GREEN BELT (UP AND DOWN THE RIVER). I’VE LIVED NEXT TO RIVER, PARKLAND OR THE ROYAL BOTANIC GARDENS FOR OVER 30 YEARS – HOW LUCKY AM I.

The large expanse of lake-like water between the main river and the housing estates is often quite empty of bird life, but sometimes I get lucky (with the shots below).

WHITE-FACED HERON AT THE NEAREST POND ABOUT 10 MINUTES WALK FROM MY ‘BACK GATE’

THIS TIME LAST YEAR

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.

Reinhold Niebuhr

Is it only a year ago, I was still doing long nature walks and outdoor photography?

Life is impermanent and the most important thing is to accept, adapt and move on with the next stage of one’s life when things change.

Images of the Pacific Black Duck (Anas superciliosa) made at the Maribyrnong Wetlands  pond.

PACIFIC BLACK DUCK (Anas superciliosa)

One of the most common ducks I see in public parks, gardens, on lakes, rivers and nature reserves is the Pacific Black Duck (Anas superciliosa) and the image above, made at Ringwood Lake, in the outer eastern suburb of Ringwood where I was born, is my favourite image.  It’s not necessarily the best shot in my Photo Library – I just love the natural setting.

Here’s a few more of the many images I’ve made over the years, since I’ve been photographing Birds.

PACIFIC BLACK DUCK – RINGWOOD LAKE, RINGWOOD (outer eastern suburb of Melbourne).  This Lake was an excursion when we were very small children as it had a playground and swings.  Nowadays, it has more formal landscaping, a bridge and little sun shelter shed in the middle of the lake.
PACIFIC BLACK DUCK fast asleep next to NYMPHAEA LAKE, ROYAL BOTANIC GARDENS, MELBOURNE
Not a good shot per se, as the head & eye is out of focus, but I love this photo as it shows the colours beneath its wings. NYMPHAEA LAKE, ROYAL BOTANIC GARDENS, MELBOURNE
PACIFIC BLACK DUCK – ORNAMENTAL LAKE, ROYAL BOTANIC GARDENS. This image is one of only a few where I had the long 150-500 telephoto lens on a tripod. I don’t think I had a remote shutter release cable back in those days, or even if I remembered to turn the image stabilising switch off (as you do when using a tripod).
PACIFIC BLACK DUCK – ROYAL BOTANIC GARDENS, MELBOURNE
I was crouching low on the ground to take this photo and was so intent on getting the focal point on the eye, I accidentally chopped off the bird’s feet from the image, but I like the photo all the same as it reminds me of the fun I had crouching down so the duck wouldn’t see me. JUST BELOW DIGHTS FALLS ON THE YARRA RIVER, ABBOTSFORD (an inner north-eastern suburb of Melbourne).
Not a great photo per se, but I saw this female PACIFIC BLACK DUCK (with her 12 ducklings – not all in the frame) down a slope near a bank of THE ORNAMENTAL LAKE, ROYAL BOTANIC GARDENS, MELBOURNE

The Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne are actually located in the inner south-east suburb of SOUTH YARRA (where I used to live on/off for about 25 years).  I WORKED across the road from THE HERBARIUM on the south-west corner of the Royal Botanic Gardens for 16 1/2 years, so my 15 minute walk to my office was often made through the RBG (and even around the whole 38 hectare site after work).

As I have often said on my various photo blogs, I’ve probably walked through, or around the Royal Botanic Gardens, somewhere between 8,000-10,000 times and know the Gardens intimately.  This estimation is no exaggeration.  If I was blindfolded and led around its many pathways, I could probably tell you exactly where we were by the flower and/or leaf scent alone.

It would be both interesting and great fun to see all the landscaping changes since I moved away from the area in April 2015.  There is just so much to see throughout the seasons in Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens, but as to  the right time of year to visit, I suppose it must be Spring – the first 2 weeks in September, although the Perennial Border is re-furbished so that the flowers and colours are at their best in around mid-January (as shown in the image below which covers about 1/4 of the Perennial Border’s floral display).   The old restored buildings below are now Function Rooms and host to many weddings, large dinners and parties.