AN UPDATE (for the regular followers)

NOISY MINER

Thanks for all your lovely messages Blogging Friends, but I’m not supposed to use my right shoulder so won’t reply to each of you (who kindly commented on my previous post).

Just got the U/S results for my right shoulder this afternoon……

To put it simply…..full thickness tear (supraspinatus), bursitis (subdeltoid), tendonitis (sternoclavicular joint) and now…….will be going for a cortisone injection and getting the other shoulder scanned (which still hurts from 3 weeks ago).  The right shoulder also showed evidence of an old ligament tear.   (now, which fall was that I wonder to myself???  😀  )

An interesting one was the “synovitis in the sternoclavicular joint” – my doctor had never seen any patient with that before.   It basically means that where my collarbone joins my sternum (in the centre of my chest) it hurts like hell  😀

Have to try and not use my right shoulder AT ALL.    Full Rest!   Duh!    No picking up that heavy Sigma 150-z500mm lens to photograph birds on my balcony for a while (and no more typing or clicking with the computer mouse).

That’s all Folks   🙂  🙂

MARIBYRNONG WETLANDS POND AS SEEN FROM THE ROAD

 

 

ABSENT FROM THE BLOGASPHERE

I will be off the Blogasphere for the immediate future and that includes reading and commenting on the blogs I follow.

My shoulder injury from 3 weeks ago, which I have been struggling with and which I had u/sounded at the local radiology centre last week, has just got dramatically worse (literally an hour ago) and typing is extremely painful.

 

 

 

A LITTLE ADVENTURE – 13th July 2014

As I sit indoors watching the wild winds toss the foliage and trees around outdoors and the blue sky shines down upon our lovely quiet housing estate, I can’t help but long for a little adventure.

A trip up the country.

THE GOLDEN HOUR OF THE DAY- COUNTRY VICTORIA

Scenes of some mountains.

Or hills would do.

Anywhere but here indoors.

Then I feel a little embarrassed in talking about such longing as the wildfires devastate the west coast of the U.S.   I watched some of the YouTubes on the fires a short time ago and once again,  was horrified at so much loss on top of the massive COVID surges in the U.S.   Then I thought about the other countries crushed with war and civil unrest.   I thought about the millions starving and how each crisis was faced with courage and determination (to survive).

So I hope you won’t think me insensitive in wanting a little adventure at the moment.

Just like my maternal Grandmother, second from the left, in the picture below.  it looks like she was a great walker and adventurer.  Check out the old boots my female ancestors were wearing up in this gold-mining town.

Irene, Helen, Margaret (Daisy)? their Aunt?, amd Mine Mgr at Morning Star Mine Woods Point – Early 1930s

OR my Mother in her youth – shown below with her bushwalking friends.   I always think of my mother in her garden, cooking, sewing or doing something indoors.

It wasn’t until I found the photo below and a few others that I discovered she was a great bushwalker before she came to Melbourne and got married.

MY MOTHER ON THE FAR RIGHT WITH BUSHWALKING FRIENDS

Back to the story………

Back in winter 2014, I felt like a little adventure too.  Not having a car means some outings (or adventures), have to be fairly close to home or at least close to public transport.

I decided to catch the train down to the bayside beach I visited many times in my childhood.

One of my paternal Uncles lived there with his family so I knew it well.

(or I thought I did)

I remembered the fun we used to have in the large sand dunes and picnics on the soft deep sand, sheltering from the wind with our large colourful beach umbrella or spreading the large beach towels and picnic rug between 2 high sand dunes.   My younger brother was still a baby, but that never stopped us having little adventures, either with just our parents,  or with the family friends we shared so many happy school holidays with.

Note: the family beach scenes below were made at Portarlington, not Carrum, but they serve to illustrate the scene.

My older brother and I used to take running jumps from the top of the highest sand dune we could find…..as long as it had lots of tufts of coastal grass to make climbing in the deep soft sand easier.

I don’t remember much of my childhood but I do remember those jumping competitions.

I don’t have any photos of us walking along the beach at low tide, on wet sand at dusk or even exploring rock pools or shell strewed wet sand at low tide.  But that’s what we did many, all those years ago.

I also loved to search for jellyfish in the receding tide.   To find one of those fat, curly jellyfish was considered a rare prize.

I still love walking along the beach looking for unusual shells or clambering over rocks,  peering into rock pools.

Anyway, I set off pretty early (for me) and walked down to the local train station on the 13th July 2014.

I ignored the weather forecast……….

…..despite it being mid-winter, very overcast and poor light for photography:  for, after all, that’s the reason for my nature walks since retirement.   Photography.

Something like an hour or more later, after stopping about 20 times for each suburban train station, (should have checked the time-table for an express train), I arrived at the tiny seaside town of Carrum.

It was nothing like the childhood memory.   It wasn’t like a quaint seaside town.

No smell of hot fish and chips either.

Did we eat hot fish and chips down the beach on family outings I ask myself now?   Probably not as we always packed a picnic lunch from home.

Carrum beach was all so very ordinary.

I finally found how to get to the beach via a side street from the train station platform and walked through a gap next to a beach house.

Where were all the spectacular sand dunes I remembered?

Why was the beach so narrow and what was that long boardwalk stretching far into the distance?

Had some of the beach washed away?   Or was it just high tide?   (Note: I didn’t think to look at the tidal info online before I left home).

I took a few quick photos and then dark storm clouds finally opened up and lashed the area with a torrential downpour.

Within about 15-20 minutes I gave up on my little adventure and still struggling to keep my umbrella from turning inside out and my camera bag and tiny backpack getting wet, I walked as quickly as I could back to the train station and caught the first available train home.

By the time I reached my own suburban train station the sun came out and it turned into a beautiful afternoon and a very enjoyable walk home.

There’s still that child in me that loves to explore, but perhaps I should REALLY look at the weather forecast in more detail AND perhaps I should just set off with no expectations in mind to avoid disappointment.

Some of my favourite memories and little adventures have come about in retirement, by just setting off from home, with no destination in mind, just out to enjoy whatever comes my way.

A (very) SHORT WALK

Towards the end of last week the weather fined up considerably – definite signs of spring were everywhere from the lush green Barley grass (below), ripe from heavy rain earlier in the week, to tiny buds on bushes.

BARLEY GRASS (Hordeum leporinum)

I was determined to get some sun and fresh air.   I’ve been indoors for most of this year and let’s face it, there’s only ‘x’ amount of things you can do when you live in a tiny studio apartment and don’t have the eyesight for reading much or the desire to spend time on the computer.    I’ve watched so many series on TV I can tell you what happens with my eyes closed   😀

The image (below), made last year, gives new followers a sense of how close my apartment building is to that patch of trees in the background which denotes Frogs Hollow Nature Reserve (and Wetlands)…….actually – a man-made area in an attempt to re-vegetate up and down the Maribyrnong River.

Here’s a little history from Wikipedia for those interested in the local history.   If you’re not interested, just jump to the next image in this post.

The river was initially named Saltwater River[7] by early settlers, due to the tidal nature of its lower reaches. The name Maribyrnong however, is derived from either mirring-gnay-bir-nong which in Woiwurrung, the language of the local Wurundjeri people, is said to mean “I can hear a ringtail possum”[7] or “saltwater river”[8] (Gunung or Gunnung is Woiwurrung for river,[9] as seen in the names of other watercourses in the area, such as; Koonung Creek and Birrarung).

Marriburnong is an alternate spelling listed on a map dated from 1840.[8]

The inner western and north-western suburbs of Melbourne are located in the vicinity of the Maribyrnong River and the river has given its name to the suburb of Maribyrnong and the local government area, the City of Maribyrnong.

The Maribyrnong River valley has been home for the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation for up to 40,000 years. Human remains dated at least 15,000–years–old have been found along the river, with much older signs of human habitation also present.

The first Europeans to explore along the river were the party led by Charles Grimes, Deputy Surveyor-General of New South Wales, in February 1803. John Batman is likely to have explored up the river in early 1835. With the establishment of the colony of Melbourne later that year, sheep runs were soon established by Edmund Davis Fergusson and Michael Solomon in the Avondale and Sunshine areas. On Solomon’s sheep station the ford now near the west end of Canning Street in Avondale Heights soon became known as Solomon’s Ford. This was the lowest crossing on the Saltwater (Maribyrnong) River, and the furthest inland point of tidal influence. Batman is believed to have crossed the river at this point probably in the well worn steps of Aboriginals. It was for many years the only way from Melbourne to Geelong and land west.

During the second half of the 19th century much of Melbourne’s industry was located along the river, and the water became very degraded. With the closure of many industries since the 1960s and 1970s, much river front land has opened up to parkland and highly sought after residential estates.

The tiny dead-end road curves to the right after my building carpark entrance and steeply descends to the lowest apartment building in this relatively new housing estate (built around 2013 I think).

It was close to 4.00pm before I exited my ‘back gate’ on Friday.

THIS IMAGE WITH THE BLOWN-OUT BRIGHT SKY SHOWS HOW MUCH THESE 2 BUSHES HAVE GROWN IN THE LAST COUPLE OF MONTHS.

I didn’t have to walk far to find signs of Birdlife.   I heard a constant stream of tweeting and ‘tjit’ and ‘tzeert’and up popped a New Holland Honeyeater in the white-flowering Tree Lucerne (or Tagasaste).

Fortunately the honeyeater and bush were in shade and the background filled with lots of sunlight.

Very soon after, another honeyeater popped up to join it, but as they were moving fairly fast over the enormous bush, I could only get a photo of the first one.

I stood and watched them both for several minutes and then was distracted by a couple of male Superb Fairy-wrens on the concrete kerb gutter.

The one on the left (below) was in full breeding colours and the one on the right was flecked with sky-blue on its head and breast.   These fairy-wrens, once you have familiarized yourself with their accelerating ‘trill’, (perhaps a bit like the sound of a squeaking mouse), is one sound you can’t miss once heard.

I always know the difference between fairy-wrens and house sparrows on my balcony while I’m lying in bed in the morning.

The Tree Lucerne and Gorse bushes had grown enormously since I last stepped out the back door about 2 months ago.  They are both classified as weeds in my Field Guide to Weeds in Australia.

I walked around the curve in the road and stepped up on the pebble pathway leading past the lowest apartment building and stopped to look over the last of the mulched formal landscaping and spotted another fairy-wren a bit closer.

It was standing right next to a lovely white-flowering gum.   I couldn’t identify which variety of gum it was due to several similar varieties on Google images.   I spent half the weekend trying to find its name.

Behind it was a particularly attractive red-flowering eucalyptus.

I looked over to the nature reserve and then zoomed in on the bare-limbed tree on the right-hand side of the image below.

I couldn’t see any splashes of bright red which might signify another Crimson Rosella which I’d seen same time last year.   The images below are from 2019.

I might add this is the only time I’ve seen a Crimson Rosella in my immediate surroundings in the 4 years I’ve lived here, but I’m forever hopeful of seeing another one some time in the future.

I walked over to the low-lying field where 2 large puddles of water must have filled up with recent winter rain.   That’s the most water I’ve ever seen in the nearest ‘puddle’.

I walked forward about 20 feet anticipating a very slow walk down to the river (some 7-8 minutes brisk walk to the river).   I then stood quite still for some time peering through the long telephoto lens at the chain wire fence marking the start of the nature reserve on the left.

I have often seen Red-browed finches in the area….. on the ground….. or on the fence (in the past).

But the fence was empty last Friday and I continued on.

I walked another 20 feet and scanned the ‘puddle’ on my right.  (note: I suspect this raised pathway to the river is to gain access in the event of the river flooding the surrounding area.   I read somewhere that a little further downriver it flooded in 2014).

I spotted a pair of Chestnut Teal ducks diving underwater for some tasty tidbits on the puddle floor.  The water surface was flecked with some sort of pondweed.   At first, I wasn’t sure they were Chestnut Teals as the constant stream of water washing over their heads darkened the bright green head of the male to more of a brown colour.

I eventually captured the pair below as they swam to the other side of the puddle and the male’s green head was a bit more visible.

These ducks nearly always travel in pairs and this was the only way I could identify them as the female in the image above – with the red eye and pale neck – looked a lot like a Grey Teal.

It’s easy to mix up the two species.

After a short while, they finished their meal and clambered up onto the grass and settled down for an afternoon nap.

I was having a bit of trouble holding the heavy long 150-500mm lens steady as my shoulder was not quite over the injury of the previous week, so I hope you’ll excuse the lack of sharp focus.

To be honest, in that brilliant sunlight it was pretty hard to see through the viewfinder so I just tried to focus on the head/neck area as best I could.

Next minute I spotted a White-faced Heron.

I’ve only ever seen one Heron (and one Egret) in this location beside the river, so one might assume it’s the only one living here.

I spent ages trying to get the heron’s eye in focus, but the bird kept moving around, constantly dipping its head in the water searching for something to eat.

Up, down, up, down, step forward, up, down, another step forward, and then turning it’s back to me – it was on the constant move.   So much fun to watch and even more fun trying to get the eye/head in focus as it moved.

I was wishing it would stop and pose for a while like this one below in 2016 on the north-east side of Melbourne down by the Yarra River drying its feathers.

WHITE-FACED HERON (Egretta novaehollandiae)

or this one in 2017 near my local pond….

WHITE-FACED HERON (Egretta novaehollandiae) – Maribyrnong River

I’m rather fond of Herons – White-faced or Nankeen Night Herons in particular (which are supposed to also call this area home).   I’ve only seen Nankeen Night herons in the Royal Botanic Gardens or Melbourne Zoo though.   I’ve never seen one of these pinkish/terracotta-coloured herons in this area.

Some Nankeen Night Herons from my archives to show you their beautiful Salmon pink cloak of feathers and grey cap (with 2 white feathers erupting from the back of their neck).

……and back to the local White-faced heron from last Friday below.

Finally, I gave up watching and since my hip was already painful, decided to walk back up the slope and home.  Having some new photos to share for a change made me eager to get indoors and download them.

It wasn’t that late, but my side of the river and the steep hill on which the housing estate was built had already cast long shadows on the fields, nature reserve and eastern side of the apartment buildings.

When the sun dips behind the hill, it grows dark very quickly.

It wasn’t quite the golden hour, but the grass, still damp in some places from the previous night’s rain, seemed to reflect the light in such a way as to make any photography hard.

Sometimes I prefer a cloudy sky for photography, so the highlights are not blown out in the glare of the Australian sun.

On Friday, I walked back indoors via the front entrance of the building so I could pick up my mail from the ground floor postboxes.

This was the ‘allowed’ 1 hour of exercise outdoors with a mask on in Melbourne’s current Lockdown – only 73 new COVID cases and 8 deaths in the last 24 hours – very promising that we will end the lockdown in a couple of weeks and start opening up the stores and businesses again.   My shopping list is getting longer by the day from light globes, to herb seedlings to clothes and a new desk chair.   I also need a few cooking items for my tiny galley kitchen also.   I don’t like shopping online.   I like to look and try on before I buy.

I didn’t walk more than about 100-150 feet but it was such a  joy to feel the hot sun on my face and the wind in my hair on Friday.

…..and although I didn’t take a photo last Friday, the various low-growing bushes of Shrubby Bindweed were visible next to the path and steps, so I’ve included a photo taken last year to end this post.

SHRUBBY BINDWEED, SILVER BINDWEED (Convolvulus cneorum ??)

BEACH SALVIA, DUNE SALVIA, GOLDEN SALVIA (Salvia africana-lutea)

From the archives

30th September 2012

Salvia africana-lutea is one of the first flowers I photographed when I took up Photography as a hobby.   Its also probably one of the few flowers I actually know by its botanical name (instead of the common name).

 

STAGE 4 LOCKDOWN in my state (of Victoria, Australia)

As from yesterday, Melbourne and its suburbs have gone into Stage 4 lockdown with a curfew starting last night – Melbourne city was virtually a ghost town from 8.00pm – 5.00am with only police (and the homeless ?) last night and will be deserted in the streets at night for the next 6 weeks at least.

Mask wearing is now mandatory in country Victoria also, as it has been mandatory for the last couple of weeks in the city.

We have to stay within a 5km radius of home and only 1 person is able to shop once a day and that must be within the 5 km radius.   Obviously, there is an exception if you don’t have shops close to your home.

I just watched an interview with a Melbourne mother who works from home and has had to go back to teaching her 7-year-old from home and she said “Trying to be present in each moment is a struggle.”

This is my focus every day and has been for about 95% of the last 18 months as my hip and spine pain reached new levels.   I have no commitments (except buying food & medications) and if you think I have an easy life, you’re right.   I do have an ‘easy‘ life, but that doesn’t mean to say I like staying home all day with chronic ill-health and pain.

I miss my walks outdoors.   I miss my Photography hobby.   I miss my rare, but thoroughly enjoyable visits from my few friends.

It IS doable.   It’s hard, but once you work out the fine details of managing your life home-based, in some ways it can be liberating.   You are not alone in this new way of living.    You are one person among the millions that are being affected.

No rush to get to work.  No rush to meet social, sport or any other outside-home appointments.   No need to get dressed or perfectly-groomed, unless you want to appear so in a video link-up.   Even then, it’s only the top half that needs to be groomed (if you wish).   You can still wear your PJ pants and ‘Bunny’ slippers on the lower half.   Imagine how much washing and ironing that will save you?

….and with face masks mandatory for every single person outside the home, a doctor I saw on an E.R. hospital visit on Saturday night said it’s really hard to read some patients as you can’t see their facial expressions.  I guess he’s not the only one that finds masks a wee bit harder.

Many businesses and most shops are closed (except for pickup and delivery) and you will need a pass to be excluded for travel outside your local bubble.

Food shops will remain open, but there may be some items out-of-stock – mainly those from interstate or when raw materials for processed food are needed from interstate.  Actually, I’ve found some fresh food items missing from the shelves for about 3 weeks.

There is some criticism about these stricter rules/laws, but to be honest, I’d rather be stuck at home than exposed to the ‘virus’.

I feel most sorry for those in high-rise apartment buildings with babies or chronic health problems, particularly those with young children under 7 – single parents who were totally dependent on their jobs to survive.  But the Government is rolling out financial assistance as an ongoing measure well into 2021 (whereas originally the financial assistance was only to September 2020).

It’s the aged care sector that is being badly hit with nursing home residents being transferred to other care.   So many suffering and many dying prematurely.   I’m so glad my 93 year old Father passed away in December 2019 as he wouldn’t have had a hope of understanding much of what is happening, or the limitations within his nursing home (where he resided for the last 10 months of his life).

I don’t mind wearing a mask outdoors at all – saves me a fortune on lipstick   😀  but my glasses do tend to fall off if I bend over to get something off the bottom shelf in the supermarket – not funny    😀

Compared to other countries (except N.Z.) Australia is extremely very well off with a minimum of COVID cases, but this is because our Government and state Premiers have acted fairly quickly and brought in wide-sweeping severe restrictions, so if you’re one of those protesting wearing masks/restrictions in other countries, I implore you to think carefully about your movement in the community and interaction socially and at work.

Some folk are STILL going out at night and socializing in past weeks, despite the restrictions in Melbourne. They are deliberately flouting the restrictions.   I feel like giving them a good k*** u* t** b*******.

I implore you to carefully consider travel and activities outside your home.

Start thinking about a new way of living if you reside in an urban area.

Start adapting……..now (if you haven’t at the start of the year).  See it as a challenge – as to the creative or innovative ways you can live your life in this difficult time.

Learn to cook.   From scratch.

Make some soup.   Butternut pumpkin is my favourite.

But Spinach (or Spinach & Watercress) comes a close second.

Seriously, making soup from scratch is really easy.

Try making your own bread.   (OK, so I didn’t make the bread, but uploaded the image from my food photography folder, but I suppose I COULD…..if I wanted to).

Take up meditation.

Catch up on some sleep – you’d be surprised how much better you feel with plenty of deep,  restful, restorative sleep.

Turn off the computer or TV at least one hour before bed, preferably longer.   Listen to some calming music instead of your usual loud beat.   Read all the books you’ve always promised yourself you’ll read….one day.

 

 

OR re-read all the books you’ve already read…..

 Study a new language online.   Take a yoga class online.

Take some time out to just sit and be in the moment.  Sit outside and breathe deeply and slowly for 10-15 minutes (assuming you don’t live in a polluted city).

Look up to the sky (instead of down) and enjoy the sunset (or sunrise).

Go on a ‘virtual’ adventure.   Follow some travel blogs and sail down the Nile.   Climb a virtual mountain and plant a flag at the top of Mount Everest.

*******

For the time being, stop being complacent and start living Mindfully.   Think about how you’d feel if you gave the virus to family and close friends.   Think about how you’d feel if you were responsible for their demise after terrible suffering in ICU (or worse, at home on their own with no one to notice their absence in the community).

A ex-nursing friend made the comment on her facebook page.   “If you think wearing a mask is uncomfortable, try being on a ventilator in an ICU unit.”

….and if you live in the country in an isolated area, start feeling blessed and grateful that you don’t live close to anyone and can live your life as you’ve done before the Virus.

If the Virus disappears, it will be easy to return to the old way of living, but in the meantime, consider your mindset and review your actions now, not tomorrow or next week/month/year……now.

Right Now Is the Time to Be Kind.
You cannot do a kindness too soon,
for you never know
how soon it will be too late.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Be kind to yourself and those around you.  Be polite and considerate of the elderly and those at high risk or disabled.   If you’re healthy, pause to give others a place in the queue, especially if they’re mothers forced to take babies and young toddlers to the supermarket (and their young are fractious).   It won’t hurt to step back a pace and let someone else into the queue before you.

Respect the police, the army, health-care professionals, security staff, delivery drivers and shop servers etc – they are only doing their job.   Don’t take it too personally if you are given directions you don’t like.

Don’t be rude and aggressive.

Treat others as you would like to be treated.

…..and if you’re bored, suck a straw and ‘deal with it’.  

If the zoo animals can cope with being in one space every day, why can’t you?   😀

Smile, wave, slow down when out in the car or in public.

Say thank you and smile to the person who stocks the supermarket shelves, delivers your post or makes a difference in your life.  Don’t glare or show unkind gestures to others in public at this difficult time.   It only degrades and makes your own appearance ugly.

Show some sympathy for those who have lost their jobs, their homes (and possibly struggling with mental health issues).

Show some patience and understanding for those who are fearful and stressed.

We are all unique and react to difficult situations in different ways.    What stresses me may not affect you at all (and vice versa).

When life’s problems seem overwhelming,
look around and see what other people are coping with.
You may consider yourself fortunate.

~ Ann Landers ~

NORFOLK ISLAND PINES (Araucaria heterophylla) – ALTONA

I fully intended to get back to posting daily since I returned to my old riverside apartment, but got caught up in lockdown restrictions and tedious emailing/phoning back and forth trying to organize food supplies and medical appointments, so am a bit slow off the mark (so to speak).  Seems some of our restrictions are tighter than earlier this year in Melbourne.

When I was living down at the beachside suburb of Altona for 8 days recently, I did 3 very short walks ‘around the block’ (taking in the shops, supermarket, pier, beach etc).   I admit the Fish n Chip shop(s) featured heavily on those walks.   After all, there’s no place to indulge in my love of hot Fish n Chips (and Calamari) than the rare times I’ve gone down to various beaches to do some photography in the last 10 years.

When I was a small child these hot, salty treats were wrapped up in recycled newspaper (which is now banned I might add – has to be clean, new butcher’s paper mostly, but cardboard takeaway boxes do feature at some beaches).   They rarely featured on the menu in our household when we were young as our diet mainly came from what my Mother grew in her large veggie garden.

Now, as an adult, I only buy them when down at the beach and they have to be really, really crisp and light and super fresh and piping hot.   (Nothing is worse than cold, soggy fish n chips – except to throw to the seagulls to entice them closer to my camera lens).

I usually ended up with 3 times as many hot chips than I could eat on those short walks though.  A few times the seagulls came so close to where I was standing at Altona Beach I thought they were going to ‘wrestle me to the ground’  (to steal the remaining chips).

I think that might have been the closest encounter I’ve ever had with Seagulls.

One of the lovely aspects of my short walks were the beautiful line of Norfolk Island Pines planted along the esplanade.

Historically, they were significant in demonstrating the improvements to the foreshore in the 1950s due to the popularity of the area in the postwar period.

The tall trees cast long shadows on the sand at certain times of the day and I, for one, love their attractive shape and foliage.  I was really taken with the efforts of the local council to plant further trees in more recent times to ‘fill the gaps’.

I couldn’t help but wonder exactly how far this row of pines extended.   They seemed to go on as far as the eye could see.

A SAD SIGHT

After the red dust storm and the bushfire season which filled our suburban and city skies with smoke haze, I lost about 1/4-1/3 of my Balcony Garden.

Early March I noticed a distinct browning of the Japanese Maple leaves on the footpath, (or road), side of the young tree in front of my apartment balcony.

IN THIS SHOT LOOKING OVER THE TOP OF THE TREE, YOU CAN SEE THE HEALTHY LEAVES IN THE FOREGROUND AND THE DYING LEAVES IN THE CENTRE TOP OF THE FRAME. THIS IS NOT WHAT THE PREVIOUS COUPLE OF YEARS LOOKED LIKE IN AUTUMN.

Autumn colour in the golden hour of the day looks a bit like the images below made in Autumn 2019.

My side of the tree was young(ish) and relatively healthy-looking.

The last 2 Wednesdays, when I went downstairs to wait outside the apartment building main door for my supermarket delivery, I took the opportunity to photograph the tree from the side.

Maybe the image below with the cooler white balance setting of the camera shows the changes that have occurred.

This is not the usual Autumn change of colour.

This is defintely one whole trunk/limb/branches that are dying (or dead) – more clearly seen in the images below when the sunlight changed.

Since we’ve had plenty of rain in the last 3 months, I can’t help but wonder if the apartment building construction site across the road has blown toxic raw materials or chemicals across to my side?  Is this perhaps too wild a notion?

We do have extremely strong winds blowing down my steep little road at the best of times, and at least twice, my herb and veggie garden has been completely covered in white dust since construction began in January 2019.

I won’t say how bad the dust indoors on my furniture was  😀

At the best of times I have to dust my furniture every couple of days and I’ve been through the occasional coughing fit so I know there is dust in the air since the construction began.

My first-floor apartment, on this very steep hillside, is in direct line of the building site.

Hmmmmm……..?

To be honest, I am not happy about all this (including the building of a tall apartment block towering over me and blocking the late afternoon light and most of my usual sunset colour, either).  I’ve lost my privacy too.

 I rent this apartment and don’t own it, so my options are always open (but so are my negative possibilities, as I’d had to move apartments 3 times due to the landlords selling my apartment space and the new owner wanting to move in).  In that scenario, the new landlord has to give you 60 days notice to vacate I seem to remember.

The old images (below) were pre-gouging out the cliff face and constructing a multi-storey apartment building.   I could go out onto my balcony to watch the sunset each evening OR, even, sit at my desk and watch it – 6th image in the series below.  If you’ve followed my nature blog for some time you’ll know how much I (loved) this sight.

The photos below are a good sampling of what I used to see most nights.  It was gorgeous.

I also wonder about the lack of bird species in the area in the last 4-6 months too?  I’ve mentioned that in an older post.   I initially put that down to the extreme summer heat, smoke haze in the air, or even just a change in the whole environment and bird migration?   Bird Migration doesn’t make sense as the first 3 years in this location had plenty of bird species.

That’s one of the reasons I loved living in this new housing estate.  It’s the Birds, the enormous green parkland up and down the river, as well as nature reserve directly behind my building.

Last year’s acquisition of a net to deter the bugs and birds from my new seedlings.

Melbourne and most of its suburbs normally have excellent air quality (unless there’s a bushfire close to the city in mid-summer).

This past Summer, at the height of the horrific bushfires, there were days when we had the worst air quality in the world.   Even beating highly populated areas in India and China.

Now we’re back to superb air quality in the last couple of months (improved even further by the lockdown and fewer cars on the roads).

The image below was made from the main road running along the river valley ridge and shows the city of Melbourne about 10 kilometers away – made a couple of weeks ago.