SOMEONE ELSE IS LOOKING FOR BLUEBERRIES…..

I mentioned the other day that I had one ripe blueberry on the bush so far this season.   I think I also mentioned the birds were landing on the bush looking too – mainly House Sparrows.

This morning, after fumbling around getting the little Sony ‘mirrorless’ out of it’s soft ‘storage’ pouch, I managed to catch a male Superb Fairy-wren landing on the soil underneath the Blueberry bush looking up to see if it could spot a ripe blueberry.

Yes, definitely time to protect the bush from the birds.Note: this was the only shot in reasonably good focus out of about 7-8.   Gosh, those fairy-wrens move fast.   I had several shots that were just a blur of blue and one shot with no bird at all in the image.

A CHANGE IS AS GOOD AS A HOLIDAY

I figure its time for a change of subject matter as the sky is flawless with not a cloud in sight and I’m stuck at home listening to the construction crew across the road belting out nail gun ‘bullets’ at lightning-fast speed.   The sound is getting a wee bit tedious and boring today, but far too sunny to close the sliding door out to the balcony.

I’ve had a constant stream of House Sparrows dropping in for a drink at my birdbath on such a warm afternoon, but none staying long enough for a real photoshoot.

Well…….maybe one or two……many of the avian visitors are slim and quite small so I can’t help but wonder if they’re this Spring’s House Sparrow offspring.  The stripe behind the eye denotes a female, but as far as I can see all the young sparrows have this stripe.   Makes me wonder at what stage House Sparrows reach puberty and turn into little boy sparrows with their rust-coloured caps.

 

Time to raid the archives for some uplifting images of times past…..back to 2013…… down at Brighton Beach with its iconic colourful bathing boxes (in both Summer & Winter excursions).   You don’t need me to point out which of the following was made in Summer and which images were made in Winter.

Enjoy the excursion, whatever the weather.

HOUSE SPARROWS (Passer domesticus)……….and the weather

The wind has been more than a little gusty in my area over the last 5-6 days.    In fact, the Spring winds have been downright ferocious and threatened to blow my garden away.

Check out the background in the image below.  Can you see the Japanese Maple branches and foliage are near horizontal?  At one stage, the Maple’s branches seemed to bend over in half and almost touched the ground.   I had grave fears for the tree’s well-being, but it seemed to bend and sway with the elasticity that most young saplings have.

I’ve stood at the lounge window each morning in hope of seeing more Spring shoots on my Herbs and Veggies, but they have made little headway in the last week (for this time of the year) and slowed right down in their growth.

Not enough sun I fear.

No Superb Fairy-wrens in sight and just a few very tiny House Sparrows.   To the casual observer, they are just faded-looking females, but on the ground here, I can see their tiny frames and washed-out looking head feathers denote very young juveniles.   They are almost as small as the adult Superb Fairy-wrens.

The 2 sparrows I photographed last week stayed on the balcony fence for some time, seemingly motionless.   Last night, it was not until I reviewed the 4 photos I’d taken that I realized their tiny claws were hanging onto the frame that holds the blue ceramic birdbath in place (so they didn’t get blown away?).

The bird that stood on the fence bar itself didn’t stay long.

I made 4 very similar photos and can’t tell which is the best out of them, so thought to post all of them.

Today, the wind has finally dropped and I can see by this morning’s weather forecast I have 4 clear, rainless days to do something outdoors.

Perhaps prune the herbs to start encouraging them to flesh out into more robust bushes perhaps?   Doesn’t sound much, but at least it’s better than lying in the hospital hooked up to a heart monitor 24/7.   Those 6 days in the hospital were the most boring I’ve experienced in many years.   I don’t survive too well when I’m out of green surroundings and don’t have a Room With a View.

A SAD SIGHT IN THE BALCONY GARDEN

I’ve only just got up and the morning is nearly gone.   I seem to need more and more sleep these days and I’m all the better for it.   One of the most healthful and rejuvenating remedies for me is Sleep.   Deep restful restorative sleep.  Many people just don’t get enough of it.  Our bodies need sleep to rest, repair and replenish our vital organs.

I stood at the lounge room windows and surveyed the little garden earlier.   I didn’t water the potted plants last night in the hope that today’s forecast rain would suffice.

I could see my newly planted seedlings were starting to make great leaps in their young lives with the veggies promising hope for a good crop this Summer.   They look even better than last weeks images.

The French Beans look absolutely perfect in their growing cycle.

I say a little prayer each morning that the Cabbage Moth Caterpillars and Harlequin bugs don’t put in their annual appearance.

The Lemon Verbena, which I grow for the sheer pleasure of running my fingers through its lemon-scented leaves, has put on a massive growth spurt in the last week alone.   It got eaten by ‘you-know-who’ last Spring so I bought a new seedling this year.

IF the number of flowers on my Blueberry bush means fruit, it will be a sight for sore eyes indeed.

Have I mentioned this fact before?

Only a dozen times you might well reply LOL.

Last years crop gave me a small handful nearly every day for about 3-4 weeks.   (Just repeating this fact for the new followers).

Most of the plants that had wilted in my 6-day absence have bounced back with astonishing growth.

As usual, the Mint, which wilted badly, has put on a growth spurt with the deep watering I gave it on my return to home base, with each stem sprouting fresh young leaves in a matter of days. Note the new leaves in the image below.

I only lost one lettuce from the punnet of 8 young seedlings and it was looking like the ‘runt of the pack’ even before my absence.

Then I spotted it.

The sad sight of a motionless Spotted Turtle-dove (above), one of my favourite bird species, of which several had become quite tame in my previous 3rd-floor apartment on the north-east side of Melbourne (below).

The Spotted Turtle-doves used to wake me at dawn with their gentle cooing.

Sometimes, it seemed as though their sound would be all that louder if the water or seed bowls were empty.

I often had the feeling that they knew who I was and that I was their friend.

They spoke to me regularly with their gentle sounds and growing trust.   I have to admit I miss these lovely birds although I had seen one 2-3 times on my balcony fence on this western side of the city and sometimes in the nearby Frogs Hollow Nature Reserve perimeter (below).

2 SPOTTED TURTLE-DOVES ON THE EAST PERIMETER OF FROGS HOLLOW NATURE RESERVE (BEHIND MY APARTMENT BUILDING)

Life just isn’t the same when I don’t have a Room With a View.

I noticed the construction across the road has started it’s 4th floor this morning.   My photos at dusk each night are showing less and less of the sky as each storey unfolds on the construction site.

Oh well, that’s Life.

You win some, you lose some.

Our life on this earth is impermanent.   Nothing stays the same.

So saying, I’d better get on and select the Quote and Image of the Week. 🙂  I’m selecting a ‘gardening’ quote each Wednesday and one of my images to go with it.

THE SUN IS OUT, THE SKY IS BLUE……..

The sun is out

The sky is blue

Hardly a cloud in sight

To spoil the view………

 

………and the male Superb Fairy-wren is back again.

I haven’t seen a female Superb Fairy-wren for about 3 weeks, only what appears to be this one male Superb Fairy-wren in his best breeding coat of blue.

I wish we got the Spendid Fairy-wrens this far south in Australia, as their breeding colours are the most vivid blue and really outstanding.   Check out their blue coat in this image photographed by Mark Eatwell for example.

I spotted my Superb Fairy-wren and the Grey Fantail deep in the foliage of the Japanese Maple in front of my balcony on Thursday and silently begged the Fairy-wren to come up to the fence railing so I could photograph him.

He obliged very briefly and then turned around to face the road and let out the sweetest bird song I’ve heard in quite a while.   Hearing these magical sounds makes me all the more aware of what a wonderful location I live in and how lucky I am with my urban outlook.

Now the Maple is covered in its thick Spring cape, I think it unlikely I’ll be able to photograph much more from my desk.   It has grown about 2 feet in the 3 years I’ve lived here and it had much more dense foliage.

I’m missing the Fairy-wrens, but the House Sparrows have still kept up their morning and afternoon visits to the Bird Bath for a quick refreshment stop on their way to pastures new.

The Japanese Maple is now so thickly clothed in its Spring coat of leaves, that I haven’t a hope of getting any photos.   Still, sometimes I get a faint view.

…….even through three layers of dusty glass as in the image below.

THIS IMAGE HAS HAD THE CONTRAST AND SHADOWS OVER-EDITED TO SHOW UP THE SHAPE OF THE BIRD.

Long-time followers will remember I caught a female House Sparrow feeding its offspring once.   I edited the contrast and sharpness of this shot below, managing to make it more visible despite the glass fence.

All my avian visitors love the fresh green shoots of the Maple.   Two sparrows even chewed on a few Violet leaves and Asian lettuce leaves earlier this afternoon, but unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera lens cap off and by the time I picked up the heavy long lens and took it off, the movement must have startled them and they flew off.

Soon I hope to get sight of the New Holland Honeyeaters and the Eurasian Goldfinches, but even a Willy Wagtail, Thrush or Magpie Lark would be a welcome sight.

Spring is the season to be grateful for a Room With a View  🙂