Browsing through my archives last night, I came across the images I took at Newells Paddock Nature and Conservation Reserve, located about 4 kms (2.3 miles) along the river path, around this time in 2017.
Photo below was actually made on 26th March 2017 and is a great view of this remarkable area.
Photo taken in summer of NEWELLS PADDOCK NATURE RESERVE main pond. Melbourne city in the far upper right background.
You can read a little more of the history behind this wetlands and conservation area here.
It’s Rounded Noon Flower season now as I noticed a tiny patch at the opposite end of my apartment building last Wednesday (left).
In the meantime, here’s a few images made in 2017 to remind long-time followers of the stunning display of Pigface (or Rounded Noon Flowers) below. These fowers have various names so you might know them by a different one.
I’m hoping to go back again this year to photograph more of the bird life, but since it’s a bit far from the bus stop, it might have to be a taxi journey there and back, as I can’t walk as far as I used to pre hip osteoarthritis. I’d rather use my limited walking range to walk around the wetlands and reserve, than waste it on walking from the bus stop through ordinary residential areas to actually get there.
I did walk home along the river path back when I first moved to this western suburb of Melbourne to live in 2016, so I know by the walking trail signposts exactly how far it is.
Not far for normal healthy fit people to walk, but nowadays, too far for me.
In the meantime, here’s a sample of that stunning splash of colour on the ground at Newells Paddock.
This area is also where I was so engrossed with the camera up to my eye, I didn’t notice a White-faced Heron walk up to about 10 feet away from where I was standing.
For the new followers benefit, I ‘copied’ a Real Estate Agent’s photos off the internet, but unfortunately can’t give credit to the Photographer as there was no name mentioned.
It is not my deliberate intention to steal someone’s photo per se, but I can’t get the same view with any of my cameras. I’d say this photo was made about 2 years ago going by the height of the trees in front of my balcony. As I live on the road side of the building, my apartment is in shade up until about 1.30 – 2.00pm (and then the sun rises over the building and hits my balcony as the sun sinks in the west) – cool mornings even on the very hottest summer day. But an extraordinary amount of sun up to about 9.00pm (daylight savings time in mid summer).
This hot sun enables me to grow vegetables on my balcony as well as herbs.
BUT the offside of the location and building placement means the wind gusts are sometimes gale force blowing between the buildings in the cooler weather.
It’s a bit like a wind tunnel.
There are 5 apartment blocks or rows of townhouse in my housing estate. My suburb and river valley, first explored in 1803 (before Melbourne was built around 1835), was once natural bushland and a lush hunting ground for the Australian Aboriginal people before white settlement. I live on a hill that was used to quarry bluestone, on which most of Melbourne’s early buildings were made from.
Much of the residential area you see in these photos has been built in the last 20-30 years (on the upper right hand side of the frame). Even though you can’t see it, the river valley has very steep sides and my building is built halfway up a steep hill – well above the old flood line of the river.
Looking for images for this post, I suddenly realise just how many images from the last 3 years I lost in my computer crash at Easter. It’s quite odd how some photos were able to be transferred by me from the old Mac Pro laptop to my new desktop, and other photos taken on the same day, came up with a message that their format was incompatible (with the new Apple iMac desktop).
I said at the time that losing 3000-4000 images really didn’t matter – they were only photos. But…….why did I have to lose some of my best bird shots.
Anyway, the river is about 6-7 minutes walk from my ‘back gate’ and that large clump of trees on the upper left side of the image below, is part of Frogs Hollow Nature Reserve. You can faintly see a pond, but this is not accessible due to the thick undergrowth and 8 foot high water reeds surrounding it.
On the upper right of the frame are more scattered trees which line an artificial watercourse, or canal, which joins the river. There is another pond which IS accessible and where I photograph many birds (near the upper right hand corner of the above image).
In fact there are about 5 naturally landscaped ponds in the area.
If you’ve read the previous post, you will know the Developers are half-way through construction of a new apartment building opposite my apartment.
BUT to my dismay, that large field on the lower left (in the image above), which is enormous & very steep and only has about 1/4 of the field showing in the cropped image above, has now got a planning application lodged with the local council to build a whole new apartment and housing estate (on it)……..approximately 250 houses and apartment dwellings I gather.
If I lived on the eastern side of my building, overlooking the nature reserve and river, my view (from another real estate agent’s website) would look something like the shot below.
This side of the building faces east and gets the sunrise. It also has owls and kestrels and other larger birds landing on the balcony fences according to my neighbours. I’ve never seen an owl myself. And if I’ve seen a kestrel high in the sky, I wouldn’t have known what it looked like.
While there wouldn’t be any loss of the actual council land, nature reserves and green belt which goes up and down the river (far out into the bay on the other side of the city), I really worry about the impact, more urban housing, car noise, new access roads and general residential noise would have on the bird life and many of the indigenous flora and fauna.
Sorry to say I’ve lost some of my favourite bird shots, but the selection below gives you an idea of the potential birds and nature reserve which might feel the impact of 2-3 years of construction noise and extra residential noise a new housing estate next to mine might entail.
The estate agent’s images don’t really show the current landscape very well.
My images below certainly do 🙂
Since I moved to the area in October 2016, you can well understand how lucky I felt to live in such a unique urban environment – half in the suburbs and half in the country – (well, sort-of half in the country). I didn’t choose the location for it’s nature reserve. I chose it because it’s hard to get affordable rental properties in Melbourne at the best of times (and my apartment application won over many other applicants).
Looking over the southern fence of Frogs Hollow Nature Reserve in Summer
A short tractor made path partway into Frogs Hollow Nature Reserve looking back to my building in the upper left of the image.
A large pond of water in a low hollow looks like a pond but is not on Mr Google’s map of the area.
COMMON STARLING (Sturnus vulgaris)
Looking over the chainwire fence over to FROGS HOLLOW NATURE RESERVE pond on my walk down to the Maribyrnong River in Spring. Note the yellow WATTLE flowers in bloom.
WHITE-FACED HERON in the local pond.
WHITE-FACED HERON & 2 PACIFIC BLACK DUCKS
CRIMSON ROSELLA seen in the grass on the small field behind my building
RED WATTLEBIRD on a tree near the perimeter of Frogs Hollow nature reserve
A female SUPERB FAIRY-WREN in the trees behind my building. The same fairy-wren that frequents my balcony garden.
EURASIAN COOT near the rocky causeway
Female AUSTRALIAN WOOD DUCK
A nest in the forked branch of the Japanese Maple in front of my building entrance.
Looks like A GREAT EGRET.
MASKED LAPWING (Vanellus miles) with a Silver Gull in the background.
Male SUPERB FAIRY-WREN in the tree next to my ‘back gate’
RED-RUMPED PARROT (Psephotus haematonotus) – Pipemakers Park
Juvenile GREY TEAL
A female HOUSE SPARROW feeds her offspring in the JAPANESE MAPLE in front of my balcony. This shot is through 3 layers of glass which accounts for the lack of sharp focus.
From my back gate, looking across the open enormous field where a new planning application designates a new housing estate to be built.
PACIFIC BLACK DUCK (Anas superciliosa)
Another SUPERB FAIRY-WREN on the small bush near my ‘back gate’.
The natural bushland which was cleared and has now been re-vegetated up-river past Frogs Hollow Nature Reserve.
The Apple Technician came to my home on Thursday and spent ages going through my new iMac desktop computer – settings, preferences and operating system. He also checked how large I was uploading my images and daily use (activity monitor). He said my usage was miniscule compared to most internet users, and in the last month, since buying the desktop on the 3rd May, could in no way account for the large internet usage (and also compared to my normal usage in recent years on the old 2012 Mac Pro laptop).
LOOKING STRAIGHT INTO THE SUN OVER THE ‘LAKE’ AREA THAT RUNS PARALLEL TO THE RIVER
MARIBYRNONG WETLANDS AND POND FROM THE RIVER SIDE OF THE AREA.
THE ROCKY CAUSEWAY
The technician was brilliant and even set up my spare 2T drive as an auto back-up for me (as the proper Apple Time Machine back-up drive I bought some years ago wasn’t recognised by my new computer).
No wonder I couldn’t set up the Apple Time Machine myself – it would seem it was no longer compatible with my new iMac.
He suggested I ring my Internet Service provider (again!!!!) – Telstra – and ask if someone else was logging into my IP address (to account for the way I was losing my limited internet allowance). I rang Telstra that night and they insisted I was the only person using that IP address and the connection and WiFi was ‘just fine‘ from their end. Same answer as when I rang them a couple of times before.
The Apple Technician did untick ‘advertising’ and another ‘preference’ as I don’t use them, but left all the other settings exactly as I had aligned with my old 2012 Laptop (for the most).
So……… I’ll just have to wait until my current internet plan finishes on the 30th August, 2019 and buy a new, much larger one. All you working folk with wages/salaries may think this is the obvious choice, but when you live on a frugal pension as I do, any increase in regular monthly bills is frowned upon.
With no resolution in sight, I’ll just have to restrict my online time for the next 10 weeks or so. It will be interesting to view the data usage for this long post tomorrow morning when I log in to my Service Provider’s website and check out ‘internet data usage’ on my account. Hope it didn’t wipe out the next fortnight’s date allowance.
I saw a White-plumed Honeyeater((Lichenostomus penicillatus) on my Japanese Maple tree on Thursday afternoon, but with my cameras tucked safely up in their soft pouch storage bags awaiting the Apple technician’s arrival, I could do nothing but admire this rarely seen honeyeater in my area.
Apparently, they’re quite common, but I’ve only seen one once before near my local nature reserve and once down at Jawbone Conservation Reserve in the bayside suburb of Williamstown.
A KHAKI-CAMPBELL DUCK
A BAD SHOT OF THESE SILVER GULLS, SO I JUST CROPPED OF 75% OF THE IMAGE AND GAVE YOU THE UPPER LEFT QUADRANT OF THE IMAGE
A BETTER SHOT, BUT THIS SILVER GULL TURNED TO FACE THE OTHER WAY AND WOULDN’T POSE FOR ME
TAKEN FROM SOME DISTANCE AWAY AND THE GREBE WAS MADDLY PADDLING AWAY FROM ME, SO I CAN ONLY GUESS THAT IT’S A (non-breeding) HOARY-HEADED GREBE
= A PURPLE SWAMPHEN
TOO FAR AWAY, BUT IT LOOKS LIKE A MALE AUSTRALIAN WOOD DUCK (going by the brown head)
A MALE RED-RUMPED PARROT
…..A FEMALE RED-RUMPED PARROT.
…another quick shot (BEFORE THE PAIR QUICKLY FLEW AWAY)
YOUNG MALE CHESTNUT TEAL
juvenile GREY TEAL
male CHESTNUT TEAL – a juvenile by the looks of the beak and head shape.
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE POND
Since most of next week is going to be dry and sunny, time to do some maintenance in my Balcony Potted Garden perhaps. I’m pleased to say we’ve had lots of rain in Melbourne for the start of Winter – just hope the farmers got some out in the country.
I ended up catching a bus down to the Maribyrnong wetlands pond (also known as Edgewater Wetlands or Bunyap Park) last Monday (instead of the local pond near Frogs Hollow Nature Reserve behind my apartment building).
It was such a beautiful Winter day.
I took lots of photos of the bird life, although with the bright sun bouncing off the soft fluffy cloud cover, I couldn’t see much through the view finder, much less the LCD screen on the back of the camera(s).. About 85% of myshots were blurred, heads or feet chopped off etc.
Of course some of those ducks swim very fast and constantly diving down to the pond floor searching for some tasty morsel to satisfy their appetite, so like the Fairy-wrens who fly around my balcony garden, you’ve got to be quick thinking and focused to catch them within the frame.
Didn’t stop me trying to photograph the birds – I figure if I took enough photos last Monday, there was sure to be a few ‘keepers’ through sheer good luck 😀
NOTE: I was also misinformed when I bought my computer. AppleCare, (for which I paid 3 years support), DO NOT SEND OUT technicians to your home for software issues, only hardware issues. All software issues are dealt with over the phone or in-store. I must have sounded pretty desperate on the phone for AppleCare to send a technician out to my home for my issues which have been keeping me frustrated and at times, verging on taking the $@%#& iMac back to the store for a full refund 😀 I’m exaggerating of course, my old Mac Pro laptop, with it’s slowed speed (since updating the software over Easter which made it seriously ill), would send me insane well before the new, fast-as-lightning iMac desktop (with ‘hiccups’).
BTW the construction site opposite my building is abysmally slow with all the rain we’ve had. It’s a real eyesore looking out my lounge window, but I guess it does make for jobs and income for the locals, so I just have to be patient (until it ends). As I walked down my steep road from the bus stop on the main road, I couldn’t help staring at its ugly mess which spoils my view from my desk located in front of the windows of my lounge room.
After walking the restored Paisley-Challis Wetlands a couple of weeks ago (see previous post), I kept walking along the asphalt path (through the start of Jawbone Flora & Fauna Conservation Reserve) which winds its way over 2 islands in the middle of the lake system near the residential area (shown by the continuous line in the map below).
It then extends through the grassed area between the residential housing and the restored salt marsh and lakes, right down to a car park (and Bus Stop to take me on the first stage of my journey home).
Initially, I was only going to look for the Royal Spoonbills(Platalea regia), first sighted back in February, 2018. I wanted a better photo than the one I took with my shorter telephoto lens.
Disappointingly, there weren’t standing in the shallow water near a mound of water reeds where I I’d seen them last year, so I walked a little further and finally spied them, partially obscured by the tall grass right next to me, which were way too high to get a clear shot, so I kept walking,
…….and finally spied them in a better location.
Further away than I’d hoped, but on this day, I had my longer 150-500mm lens. No tripod, but there were several fences along the way on which I hoped to steady the heavy long lens.
So, finally, here’s the shot.
I was happy. These water birds weren’t as close as I would have liked, but the image was certainly ‘good enough’
As my hip/back pain was relatively low on this day I decided to keep walking.
Despite my wire shopping trolley front wheels (containing all 3 camera and lenses) catching on a piece of broken old footpath, flipping over, taking me with it and shattering the filter and glass of my long 150-500mm telephoto lens, I had a lovely long walk and was thrilled to see (literally) hundreds of Black Swans, 2 types of Cormorants, numerous Australian Pelicans and other water birds. There’s still a painful lump on my shin today, but my fractured wrist seems much improved.
For me, it was a superb afternoon’s walk and well worth the journey to this western side of Port Phillip Bay (on which Melbourne was first settled and built around 1835).
Here’s a rather blurred shot below – I only took one shot and must have not held the camera steady. It does give you some idea of the number of wild birds at low tide on the distant foreshore. As well as the huge number of Black Swans with their elegant long necks and red beaks, a fellow photographer I met, showed me his images of Cape Barren Geese which had over-wintered in the area, Black-winged Stilts and a host of other water birds whose names escape me now.
I’d never heard of most of the birds the other photographer reeled off, much less seen them.
I did manage to get some shots of the swans and cormorants closer to the walking path though.
I must visit again…….. checking the tide levels first, in an effort to reach this area so I can walk over the sand. Of course, next visit might mean the scores of birds have left the area 🙂
I was amazed, thrilled and just……soooooo excited to witness such an enormous number. I had to be content to finish my walk, talking images along the way with my Sony a6000 and 55-210 lens, or my Canon DLSR and 17-50mm lens.
BTW As I had to go through the city last Monday, I stopped in at the city camera store repair department and after a lengthy discussion with 2 of the Technicians, decided to spend the $88 inspection fee and have my long telephoto lens sent off to Sigma (or wherever they send it) and get a quote for what it might cost to put new glass in the lens……….assuming it can be done. It was actually only the top 2 layers of glass that fell out and were damaged (together with the UV filter). The technicians said the lens barrel and remaining glass was in excellent condition and it would be a pity not to at least send it off for an assessment (and possible quote). Sigma don’t make this 150-500 lens any more, only the newer one of 150-600mm which is about $1600 – way over any $$$ that I could afford at the moment.
Here’s a few more images (below) which show the area and some of the bird life. I had to be content with staying on the asphalt walking path as I had my old wheeled wire shopping trolley with all my gear, water bottle, lunch, backpack etc. Not something that I could take over rough ground, rocks or sand, but handy to use as a sort of ‘walking stick’ with my (now) constant hip pain, something I’ll just have to get used to, now my total hip replacement surgery, booked for the 22nd February, has had to be cancelled due to ‘pre-existing’ conditions.
Hope you enjoy my walk……
Here the path leaves the Paisley-Challis Wetlands and enters the Jawbone Reserve lakes system AND hopefully the Royal Spoonbills.
GREY TEAL (Anas gracilis)
View from one of the island bridges
Another bridge to the second island in the lakes system.
ROYAL SPOONBILL (Platalea regia)
I took this shot from hundreds of feet away and was surprised to find it in pretty good focus when I downloaded it back at home. PACIFIC BLACK DUCK (Anas superciliosa)
The first of 2 bird hides. Nothing to see from it though.
This clump of trees is one of the few shady areas on the mostly flat landscape.
Plenty of signs to welcome and inform (you).
Detail of the red berried bush on the lower right of the frame follows……..
SEABERRY SALTBUSH (Chenopodium candolleanum)
Yes, the constant onshore winds make it hard to stand up straight on a windy day, let alone allow the trees to grow straight.
The Altona Oil refinery in the background makes a stark contrast to the restored nature reserve.
I’ve never seen swans so close and in such numbers before.
RED WATTLEBIRD (Anthochaera carunculata)
RED WATTLEBIRD (Anthochaera carunculata)
RED WATTLEBIRD (Anthochaera carunculata)
PURPLE SWAMPHEN (Porphyrio porphyrio)
The water reeds have grown very tall since I last visited making the PIED CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax varies) hard to photograph.
PURPLE SWAMPHEN (Porphyrio porphyrio)
PURPLE SWAMPHEN (Porphyrio porphyrio)
MAGPIE LARK (Grallina cyanoleuca)
BLACK SWAN (Cygnus atratus)
The broken old asphalt path can be seen in the lower right-hand corner.
Initially, I thought it was just the UV filter I have on all my lens to protect them. I took the broken filter off and turned the camera upside down and the glass fell out of the lens barrel.
CRESTED PIGEON (Ocyphaps lophotes)
The boardwalk curved around a small beach towards the Fishing Club.
The fenced-in Fishing Club meeting room.
AUSTRALIAN PELICAN (Pelecanus conspicillatus)
Here’s a cropped image of the previous photo so you can see the AUSTRALIAN PELICAN (Pelecanus conspicillatus)
The Fishing club grounds are surrounded with chain-wire fencing.
This tree near the Fishing Club entrance gate was filled with the chattering of what looked like honeyeaters, but all in the dark foliage so couldn’t catch a shot with only the Sony a6000.
A close-up of the flower covered tree.
After a couple of really stinking hot humid days in Melbourne, (Thursday topped out at 42.3C and Friday 45.2C, which is about 115F), I’ve got new herb seedlings to plant and a host of Balcony Garden chores to keep me amused for a couple of days.
So what’s on my 2019 ‘bucket list’?
I like to live my life Mindfully in enforced retirement, just concentrating on the current day and taking time to ‘Smell the Roses’. The cool change came through Melbourne late yesterday afternoon, so the constant birdsong is ringing in my ears this morning and my tiny blue ceramic bird bath is a constant source of bird life, mainly the House Sparrows and occasionally, Superb Fairy-wrens, as they go about their day.
Flowers on the young Eucalyptus in front of my apartment balcony
female SUPERB FAIRY-WREN snacking on my Blueberry Bush
I’ve better go outdoors and fill up the water. It’s nearly evaporated again.
It’s been a couple of weeks since I made the trip down to Williamstown’s coastal walking path to try and capture another photo of the Royal Spoonbills(Platalea regia) in the Jawbone Flora and Fauna Conservation Reserve – that shot will come in the next post.
I’ve been a little slow in posting some images of that walk partly due to a sore wrist (hairline fracture so it’s in a splint), but more importantly because I wanted to read up on the area known as the Paisley-Challis Wetlands.
The restoration of this area of wetlands/saltmarsh is a resounding success and to be honest, I wish I’d made many more photos of the low-lying plants close-up.
Maybe next visit.
This post is about the last few hundred yards of walking path which I last looked over, but did not walk, on 1st February, 2018 – shown by the broken line in the top left-hand corner of the map. Or you could say, ‘the start‘ of the walking path I suppose. It’s accessible by bus or car (or if you want to do a longer walk back to Williamstown Beach – via train – far right-hand side of the image).
This post was also delayed due to the fact that most people might find this area fairly ‘ordinary’ to view from my images and since my blog is about photography, I wondered if followers might find my images rather mundane.
I hesitated to include it on my nature blog.
But its the very ordinary nature of this last few hundred yards that make it extraordinary.
You can read more about Saltmarsh and its importance to the local flora and fauna in this excellent article here.
While the article was written by the New South Wales (state to the north of my state of Victoria) Department of Primary Industries, it was instrumental in my understanding of Saltmarsh areas.
The restoration was started in 2003 and the information board, at the Maddox Road end, provides the image which shows what a marvellous feat of renewal this project was (courtesy of Hobsons Bay City Council). I felt you can better appreciate what appears to be low-lying scrubby landscape by seeing the ‘before’ image – slightly blurred as it is.
NOTE: As always, if you think my plant identification is incorrect in this post, please let me know in the comment section so I can update the name.
So here’s an overview of this small area which covers approximately 5 acres. I found it interesting and well worth the trip, but reading the background of these Wetlands on the internet brings the story to life.
Looking back over this short boardwalk to the carpark in the top right-hand corner.
First view of the area
DRYLAND TEA-TREE (Melaleuca lanceolata)
GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba)
GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba)
Bare patches or salt pans might yet prove to be a way to see more of the drainage ditch plant life up close. I’ll go back again and see if I can find a way through the delicate low-lying saltbushes.
on right is Black Seeded Glasswort (Tecticornia plrgranulata), but the main part of the photo and pink flower are Rounded Noon Flowers.
The birds were a long way away but my 150-500mm lens can only reach so far
A bit closer……AUSTRALIAN WHITE IBIS (Threskiornis molucca)
MASKED LAPWING (Vanellus miles)
AUSTRALIAN WHITE IBIS (Threskiornis molucca), MASKED LAPWING (Vanellus miles)
There were so many interesting plants and colours in the landscape. I only wish I’d made more images of the plant-life up close.
The 5 acre area is very close to the modern townhouses in the nearby housing estate. The walking path is broken up with wooden boardwalks over the water ditches.
Many cyclists use this path which is very close to the main road.
Far in the distance the Altona Oil Refinery provides a stark contrast.
Don’t know what this plant is called, but worth a shot as the branches waved wildly in the wind gusts that sprang up on my walk.
KNOBBY CLUB RUSH (Ficinia Nodosa)
At the top of the rise in the landscape where the path meets the Jawbone Conservation Reserve and lakes system.
WILD OAT (Avena fatua L) ??????
GREY SALTBUSH ?
I caught an image of this photographer/bird watcher who later came over to me to chat and show me all the bird species he’d photographed that day.
THE GOOD NEWS…….yesterday was perfect weather….cool, light wind, overcast (clearing to sunny) and was the day I finally ended up going back to the Jawbone Flora and Fauna Reserve to try and get a decent photo of the Royal Spoonbills(Platalea regia) in the middle of one of the lakes..
“Once a highly degraded site, Jawbone Flora and Fauna Reserve has been transformed into an ecological haven and a place of beauty for the whole community. Stretching from the Westgate Bridge to Williamstown, Altona and down to the Cheethams Wetlands and Point Cook, the park consists of open grasslands, wetlands, a saltmarsh and mangrove conservation area, Wader Beach and the Kororoit Creek.
The Bay trail, popular with cyclists and walkers, runs through the north of the park.”
THE BAD NEWS……I…..ehrrr…..had a slight accident and killed the long telephoto ‘birding’ lens. Initially, I thought it was just the $139.95 UV filter.
I took the UV filter off and turned the camera/lens upside down to look through the viewfinder and all the glass fell out of the lens barrel and on to the asphalt walking path. (in hindsight, now why didn’t I turn it upside down over the grass)?
Not even worth taking it to the repair department in the city – even if the glass could be replaced it would probably cost hundreds of dollars (or half the price of a new lens or more).
THE GOODNEWS……Yes, I got the shot!
Not close-up, but good enough (and many more before the accident – these will come next week when I’ve reviewed the images and my wrist is less sore. It’s just in a splint at the moment as I didn’t want a plaster slab on it for a week restricting everything I do). I can type ok.
In the meantime, this morning the swelling on my knee has gone down, but very painful so maybe I should have had that X-rayed (as well as my hand). Funny, how the worst of the pain comes out the next day.
THE BAD NEWS……by the time I picked up the pieces, finished the walk, sore in more than a few spots……..$1141.45 hadgone down the plughole (as they say)……in taxi, lens, UV filter, bus……later that night, taxi, hospital E.R, taxi home.
THE GOOD NEWS……only a hairline fracture in my (X-rayed) wrist……..but my knee hurts like hell this morning…..lets hope it gets better with rest.
THE BAD NEWS…..I can’t afford a new lens & filter (at the moment), so this may be an end to any close-up bird shots in the future.
I didn’t even shed a tear over the loss of my beloved ‘birding’ lens – all I thought was ‘another one bites the dust’, kept walking and shooting with the other 2 lenses I had with me.
THE GOOD NEWS.….It was a glorious day and there were hundreds, if not thousands of birds to be seen. I had a lovely chat to another photographer who told me some of the names of the other birds and showed me his photos taken further along the foreshore – (it was low tide).
Another couple of photographers (on bicycles) stopped to chat and tell me more about the whole Marine Sanctuary and Nature Reserve.
It was late in the day (6.30pm DST) when I went outdoors for some fresh air yesterday.
I walked to the end of the row of townhouses and back to my front door with my Mother’s old walking stick. It had been one of those days when my back/hip/knee pain was absolutely excruciating and no amount of painkillers worked. Having successfully achieved this short ‘stroll’ I decided to walk down to the nearby Maribyrnong River and back home.
(note: photos below were made at various times over the last 2 years since I moved to the area, not yesterday).
Looking over the low-lying field on the right-hand side of the path leading down to the river.
Looking across the field to the walking path and Frogs Hollow Nature Reserve in the background.
Standing at my building’s basement garage door looking down to the nearby river.
FROGS HOLLOW NATURE RESERVE pond on my walk down to the Maribyrnong River in Spring. Note the yellow WATTLE flowers in bloom.
My Sony a6000 ‘mirrorless’ with its one (and only) lens – the 55-210mm – was over my shoulder and I figured I’d probably not see any birds close enough to the walking path to do any bird photography and besides…….if I did, I would have needed my DSLR and long 150-500mm lens to capture them up close.
But what the heck – a walk with a camera is better than a walk without 🙂
Of course, as you can all imagine, I DID see a bird.
A new one I’d never seen before in this area.
Its stopped me in my tracks and I never did get to the river.
Despite the fast dwindling light, the bird’s brilliant red head stood out like a beacon in the pocket of dry grass next to Frogs Hollow Nature Reserve.
It was a Crimson Rosella (Platycercus elegans).
I’d seen this Rosella in the Dandenong Ranges National Park in the wild (and also at one of the bird feeding stations on my brother’s farm in the country), but NEVER in an urban area or near my current home, despite being a very common bird.
The Crimson Rosella is a large broad-tailed parrot, conspicuous and familiar in the east and southeast of the country. The adult is predominantly deep crimson, heavily mottled black on back, with blue throat/cheek patch, blue shoulder to the wing and blue-green tail.
The Southeast race (Platycercus flaveolus) is strikingly different with a golden-olive body, crimson forehead, breast and under tail.
Despite the cold wind which pierced my thin jacket and made me shiver, I managed to hold the camera quite still and captured 3-4 relatively well focused shots. The last 6-8 months practice of photographing those fast-moving tiny Fairy-wrens on my balcony…… paid off.
And here’s a cropped version of the image on the left. Sorry the grass is in the way, but you bird photographers know how it is. The best camera is the one you’ve got with you and while I could hope for a better shot on another day, this nature blog is about what I see on my walk (not what I hope to see in the future).
I carefully used my walking stick to balance as I gingerly side-stepped down a steep 4 foot embankment (in the hope of getting closer to the parrot).
I couldn’t get closer than about 20 feet, but once again my shot was good enough to crop to show you the back of the parrot as it turned in the dry grass.
(for the zillionth time I wish I had my Canon DSLR and could pin point the bird’s head with one focal point).
Then it must have sensed my stealthy approach and flew away to the tree on the corner of the nature reserve.
…and once again, here’s a cropped version.
Then it hopped down to a lower branch….
For those new to my nature blog, the corner of Frogs Hollow Nature Reserve, which is so overgrown and has no pathways through it, is approximately 100 feet from my ‘back gate’ (the entrance to my building’s basement car park). You can walk around the perimeter, but not through it. In fact the area close to my home has a pond surrounded by 6-7 foot high reeds and various species of waist-high densely woven grass. In the warmer weather the signs warning of snakes are not to be ignored.
Note: Australia has 9 out of 10 of the most poisonous snakes in the world.
Yesterday, just before dusk, the wind was bitterly cold and I probably should have gone outdoors earlier, but it was a last-minute decision. I certainly wasn’t prepared for the chilly wind on this late Spring afternoon.
I spotted 2 Rounded Noon Flowers near the local supermarket on Sunday which reminded me of the magnificent display at Newells Paddock Nature Reserve I’d photographed on the 2nd November 2017.
Since the image above looks pretty ‘ordinary’ to most of us, (I only had one camera hooked to the back of my shopping trolley and couldn’t bend down low), I thought the newer followers might like to see the series of images I took last year.
If you live in Melbourne, Newells Paddock Conservation Reserve, next to the Maribyrnong River, is well worth visiting any time of the year. But when the Rounded Noon flowers are in bloom, a visit is almost mandatory. I don’t know whether our driest start to Spring on record, this year, might affect the timing of the display.
There’s a car park near the entrance of the general picnic area, but you need to walk from the car park (on the left side of the map above), through the tree area (image on the right) and out into the open pond area near the river, to see the Rounded Noon Flowers.
Here’s a few photos of the Conservation area near the river to give you an overview. Have a quick read of the history of the area – it will give you a sense of this amazing restoration project.
NEWELLS PADDOCK NATURE RESERVE main pond. Melbourne city in the far right background.
The city in the distance.
NEWELLS PADDOCKS NATURE RESERVE (from the walking path)
Hard to believe this was a rubbish dump at one time
One of the few images I’ve got of the bird life on one of the islands.
I was so busy looking into the distance, I didn’t notice a White-faced Heron had walked up to about 10 feet away from where I was standing.
The images (above) were made on my first visit to the area and if it wasn’t for my current exacerbated back, hip and knee pain keeping me mostly housebound in the last 6-8 months, I’d be down at this Nature Reserve every other week. There’s just so much bird-life to see.
The whole colour scheme of the landscape changes in Autumn (above). It’s one of those places which is so damn close to where I currently live……and yet so far away when you can’t do much walking.
Last year I walked home from the Reserve once and I think it’s approximately 3.7 kilometres to my back door (via the river walking/cycling path).
….anyway back to the subject of this post….Rounded Noon Flowers.
NEWELLS PADDOCK NATRE RESERVE (with the ramp leading to the viewing platform in the background)
You could never miss identifying an Australian Pelican (Pelecanus conspicillatus).
….and they’re found all over the country except inland to the west.
They have a short tail, very bulky-bodied appearance with a long neck and stout short legs. The head, neck and body are all-white.
The adult has a short rough crest. The wings are long and broad, white, with flight feathers producing a broad black trailing edge above and below.
The immature is dark brown and off-white. While the image below is a wee bit over-exposed, it’s the only photo I have of a young Pelican so it belongs in this post.
It soars frequently and is one of the very few birds I’ve ever captured in flight. They were probably standing still in the air held aloft by wind gusts LOL 😀
I suppose I am exaggerating as I have photographed the odd bird mid-flight, but its more through luck, than skill with the camera. Methinks not enough practice (when it’s so much easier to photograph birds that stand still for me).
The best photos I’ve got in my bird library were made at Melbourne Zoo, where, if you know the right winding path through some thickets below the tree-top Orangutan enclosure, you can get very close indeed.
This shot was taken from the bank in a thicket of bushes through the winding path which is not normally used by zoo visitors.
This water area with an island on the right of the image is a great place to see the Nankeen Night Herons also.
It’s such a thrill to get up close to these magnificent birds.
I’ve photographed quite a few down at Brighton beach (a southern bayside beach from Melbourne City – accessible via public transport from the city), but now I live in the west, a little too far away from my present home location to re-visit at the present time.
The other images I’ve made were at Jawbone Conservation Reserve and Marine Sanctuary in the western bay suburb of Williamstown. I’ve been there via bus (and taxi 🙂 ) a few times now, but still haven’t got around to taking the heavy telephoto lens down there to capture the birds perched on the islands or marshland stretches. The first 3 images below were captured through a wooden hide, so if I’d had the long lens, I would have been able to capture them up close (as I did at Melbourne Zoo).