A SENSE OF PLACE

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.

IN THIS SHOT YOU CAN SEE THE SKYSCRAPERS, OR OFFICE TOWERS/APARTMENTS OF MELBOURNE CITY IN THE DISTANCE ABOUT 10 kilometres away.

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).

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GOOD NEWS & BAD NEWS

17th June, 2019 – Maribyrnong Wetlands pond – PACIFIC BLACK DUCK (Anas superciliosa)

Actually, I lie.

There is no good news (on the computer front).

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).

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.

A SAD, BUT FREQUENT SIGHT, IN OUR WATERWAYS THESE DAYS

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).

LOOKS LIKE A YOUNG GREY TEAL (very much like a female Chestnut Teal but has a paler neck).

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.

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.