QUOTE OF THE WEEK (again)

I have a large folder of quotes which I read from time to time.  Most of them are uplifting or inspirational and remind me to ‘keep on, keeping on.’   I keep adding to the file whenever I come across a new one (quote) I like.

Inside yourself or outside,
you never have to change what you see,
only the way you see it.

Thaddeus Golas

This quote (above) reminded me not to forget why I loved this image of an Australian Pelican at Melbourne Zoo – made on 1st August 2012 (below).

In hindsight, now, 8 years later, I can see the outline/detail of the bird’s feathers is soft in focus and these days it just wouldn’t be worth keeping (by today’s photography standards I have acquired).

But the reality is that I loved the reflection and colours in the foreground/background and it was one of the first Australian Pelican images  I took, so I try not to be so critical, but keep my eyes open to why I love bird photography in general.

I keep it because it reminds me of how much fun I had/have doing bird photography and that joy is well worth keeping in my life today.

It’s also a reminder that we don’t have to be perfect in our various creative pursuits whether it be painting, pottery, drawing, craftworks etc.   We just have to enjoy it in that very moment of creation and open our eyes to the pleasure in doing what we love.

PIED CURRAWONG (Strepera graculina)

I mentioned the bird name Currawong a couple of posts previously when talking about the Australian Ravens I’d seen down in the seaside suburb of Altona 3 weeks ago.

I managed to find my (only) 2 photos of what I believe is a Pied Currawong (Strepera craculina) in my archives.  Now that I’ve found these images made in the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne on 6th December 2013 I’ve given them a folder all of their own in my Archives so these images will be easy to find if I need them again.

Pied Currawong (Strepera graculina)

I imagine they were random shots of what I thought was a crow at the time and not particularly good, (as far as Bird photos go), but the second image does show the yellow eye more clearly.

It’s a large crow-like bell-magpie.  Generally black, with a heavy black beak.

Distinguished by contrasting white base and tip to tail. white under-tail coverts, and striking white patch in the wing particularly conspicuous in flight.   The eye is strikingly yellow and this should have alerted me to the fact that it wasn’t a crow at the time of shooting.

The immature is a duller grey-brown, with dark eye according to my Photographic Field Guide Birds of Australia by Jim Flegg.

They have a varied tunefully mellow whistle, plus harsh shrieks and variants of ‘currawock’ and ‘currawong’ and while they’re essentially a forest bird, they’ve adapted to well-treed farms, scrub and city parks and gardens.   I managed to find a very short YouTube of a Black Currawong call.

I’ve been listening to a cacophony of bird sounds outside my lounge windows this morning, broken by the sweet chirping of the Superb Fairy-wrens.   I wish I could see which bird(s) have made a home in the Eucalyptus tree next to my apartment balcony fence, but the foliage is too dense as you can see in the image I just made below.

20 minutes ago, the same(?) young female House Sparrow was sitting on the partition that divides my apartment balcony from the balcony next door (below).

This is an even harder shot due to the louvred set of windows on the right-hand side of my floor-to-ceiling windows in front of my desk.   It’s quite hard to hold the heavy long telephoto lens and DSLR pointing upwards right between the glass panes.   Fortunately, I opened all my windows and door wide open when I got up this morning to let fresh air in.     It’s much easier to hold the heavy lens horizontal with my elbows leaning on my desk when birds actually land on my balcony.

I much prefer images of the birds when they land on my balcony and are doing something interesting that I can photograph clearly from my desk chair.

I saw one Sparrow carrying a rather large bundle of nesting material yesterday.

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Melbourne, Australia, where I live in one of the outer north-western suburbs, is in strict lock-down for at least 6 weeks at the moment as we try to contain a large cluster of virus-outbreaks in the high-rise housing commission apartment blocks to the north of the city, but once the winter fog clears I’ll see if I can manage a quick walk outdoors as it’s going to be a beautiful sunny winter day today (and tomorrow).

Housing Commission, for overseas followers,  as described on Wikipedia:

The Housing Commission of Victoria (often shortened to Housing Commission, especially colloquially) was a Victorian State Government body responsible for public housing in Victoria, Australia. It was established in 1938, and was abolished in 1984.

The main activity of the Commission was the construction of tens of thousands of houses and flats in Melbourne and many country towns between the late 1940s and the early 70s, providing low rent housing for low-income families. The most visible legacy of the Commission is the 47 or so high-rise apartment towers in inner Melbourne, all built using the same precast concrete panel technology.

Those high-rise apartments are small and often house 2-3 families, or extended families in each flat, and have no balconies or Room With a View like I have.   I must admit if I didn’t have a green outlook, I would find it very difficult to sustain living long-term house-bound so I have great sympathy for the Housing Commission occupant’s current plight.

The State Government is hoping after the 6 weeks we can get back to our (new) ‘normal‘ i.e. staying home or working from home (if possible), limited daily outings for food and exercise, or caregiving/medical needs……….and limited cafes, hotels & social get-to-gether numbers.

It’s a very strict indoor lifestyle at the moment.

AUSTRALIAN RAVEN (Corvus coronoides)

I’ve finally unpacked everything and got 97% of my possessions back in place after my apartment move on Monday this week.

(I seem to have more possessions than 2 weeks ago  😀   but that’s impossible, merely that I’ve done a bit of re-arranging in this move to try and eradicate so much bending and/or twisting in daily activities for my degenerative spinal condition and right hip OA).

Anyway, this means I’ve found my photographic field guide Birds of Australia by Jim Flegg.  

By the way, if you live in Australia and are interested in Bird Photography, I can highly recommend this relatively small, (well, about 8″ & 6″), book to help you identify any Australian Birds you’re keen to put ‘name to face.’

Most of the images in this guide are very clear in both colour and bird shape, sometimes the eye colour being the only thing to help you identify between 2 or 3 similar birds.   Jim Flegg has inserted a small map of Australia with shaded blue areas of where the bird species is usually found for each one and a very concise description of the bird, the differences between male and female, its call and whether it’s common or rare etc.

AUSTRALIAN RAVEN (Corvus coronoides)

I believe the couple of photos I made of a large black bird last week in the local children’s playground have now been identified correctly, (although please let me know in the comments section if you believe I’ve got the name wrong).

There are 6 species of Raven or Crow in Australia, with the 3 Currawongs adding to an easy-to-mistake identification.

First I cast aside any bird photo that didn’t fall into my state of Victoria, then dismissed the ones with dark eyes and carefully read the description to reveal the name Australian Raven (Corvus coronoides).

I think Jim’s description finally clinched it.

47-56cm Large, familiar, and the largest Australia Crow.  Entirely glossy black, with an oily sheen in sunlight.  Throat feathers of adult bushy and bristly, especially during calling, when body is characteristically held horizontal.  (yes, this description definitely looked like the bird on the right side of my photo).  Eye white in adult.   Beak long, strong and black, with slightly convex ridge to upper mandible.

Immature duller with brown eye.  Mated pairs characteristically sedentary, roaming flocks of non-breeders small, not cohesive as in very similar Little Raven.

And so on………

This identification was a hard one for me as I’m not good at judging bird size from any distance and 8 (out of the 9) birds in the book have white eyes.

# A PHOTO A DAY KEEPS THE DOCTOR AWAY – Day 45

……and here ends the theme of a photo a day from my archives (while in lockdown).

So what’s next you may well ask.  Probably some more photography, but not necessarily sharing every day.  I might even set up a new website as I quite enjoy changing themes and layouts and I have some new B & W images to upload to my old B & W site which I haven’t used in nearly 12 months.

I have some offline tasks to do also.   I’ve finished rejuvenating my TV table and now about to start on my dining table which got damaged in the apartment move 3 1/2 years ago and I’ve never found the time to repair the surface.

Tomorrow, some of our restrictions in my state of Victoria, Australia, are being eased and we enter a new stage of restrictions – a little looser than the last 3 months, but still keeping up social distancing and encouraged to work from home if it suits. Hopefully, some shops will re-open as I have a long shopping list.

From the archives

8th July 2012

SILVER GULL (Larus novaehollandiae)

# A PHOTO A DAY KEEPS THE DOCTOR AWAY – Day 41

From the archives

17th May 2012

Continuing on the theme of posting a photo a day from my archives while the lockdown is in place.

AUSTRALIAN SHELDUCK (Tadorna radjah)

I fell asleep earlier this afternoon and slept the afternoon away so didn’t have time to review and/or process the photos from yesterday’s short walk.

SHOT(s) OF THE DAY

Today, out of 45 shots, I managed to capture a (blue) male Superb Fairy-wren with a rather large caterpillar and female foraging in the English curly Parsley bush.  It was only a narrow gap between the plastic pot and the plant foliage.

(needless to say, I wash the herbs VERY thoroughly before I use them in cooking  😀 ).  

Today’s female had what looked like a broken claw on her left foot, so from now on she’ll be identified as Miss Broken Claw 😀   I haven’t seen Miss White Foot or Mr Speckled Black Bib for quite a few days now, but I’m sure they’ll return once the intermittent rain showers stop.

It’s freezing cold in Melbourne this week – more like Winter than Autumn – very windy too.   I have to go out tomorrow.   First time in a month (apart from picking up my supermarket delivery from the building’s front door each week).

But the great part about these lazy days at home doing nothing much in particular is that they too shall pass.  So if you’re getting bored stuck at home in ‘lockdown’ mode, I challenge you to take a serious look at how you’re living your life during normal pre-Coronavirus days.

If you look at what you have in life,
you’ll always have more.
If you look at what you don’t have in life,
you’ll never have enough.

~ Oprah Winfrey ~

The cropped shot below shows the broken left claw.

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I couldn’t resist copying this from a friend’s Facebook page.

I hope Barry Evans won’t mind me sharing it with you today.

Having perspective is good, but using it is better.  I received what is written below from a friend. I do not know who wrote it, but I think it makes an excellent point relative to what is occurring now. 

We probably all think that it’s a mess out there now. Hard to discern between what’s a real threat and what is just simple panic and hysteria. For a small amount of perspective at this moment, imagine you were born in 1900.  Many would think that that was a pretty simple time of life. Then on your 14th birthday, World War I starts, and ends on your 18th birthday. 22 million people perish in that war, including many of your friends who volunteered to defend freedom in Europe. 

Later in the year, a Spanish Flu epidemic hits the planet and runs until your 20th birthday. 50 million people die from it in those two years. Yes, 50 million. On your 29th birthday, the Great Depression begins. Unemployment hits 25%, the World GDP drops 27%. That runs until you are 38. The country nearly collapses along with the world economy.   If you were lucky, you had a job that paid $300 a year, a dollar a day. 

When you turn 39, World War II starts. You aren’t even over the hill yet, but don’t try to catch your breath.  If you lived in London, England or most of continental Europe, bombing of your neighborhood, or invasion of your country by foreign soldiers along with their tank and artillery was a daily event.  Thousands of Canadian young men joined the army to defend liberty with their lives.  Between your 39th and 45th birthday, 75 million people perish in the war. 

At 50, the Korean War starts. 5 million perish. At 55 the Vietnam War begins and doesn’t end for 20 years. 4 million people perish in that conflict. On your 62nd birthday there is the Cuban Missile Crisis, a tipping point in the Cold War. Life on our planet, as we know it, could have ended.  Sensible leaders prevented that from happening. 

In 2020, we have the COVID-19 pandemic. Thousands have died; it feels pretty dangerous; and it is. Now think of everyone on the planet born in 1900. How do you think they survived all of the above?  When you were a kid in 1965, you didn’t think your 65-year-old grandparents understood how hard school was, and how mean that kid in your class was. Yet they survived through everything listed above. Perspective is an amazing art. Refined as time goes on, and very enlightening. So, let’s try and keep things in perspective.  Let’s be smart, we are all in this together.Let’s help each other out, and we will get through all of this. 

AMEN!

Barry Evans is a Villager and columnist for Villages-News.com

 

# A PHOTO A DAY KEEPS THE DOCTOR AWAY – Day 34

Today’s image is from last week, not my old archives.

Last Thursday the 23rd to be exact.

female SUPERB FAIRY-WREN

With the overnight rain leaving a trail of droplets on my lounge windows, all the photos I took this morning are blurred which is a shame.

With rain forecast for the next 5-6 days, I suspect I won’t get any more bird photos in reasonable focus until next week.   That’s one of the downsides of using AF (autofocus) instead of MF (manual focus).   It can autofocus on the water droplets and not on the bird itself.  I doubt even the most experienced nature photographer would be able to capture fast-moving wrens as they dart about the ground or foliage.

But, you can bet if I put my 2 cameras (with their short and long telephoto lenses) away in their soft pouches on the floor, a bird will visit and stand still with a clear shot 😀

Here’s another shot of a male wren I took when living over the north-east side of Melbourne.  This time the bird was relatively still for a longer period of time.

I found a great YouTube to share – highlighting how fast the wrens move and their call.   Thinking about it this morning, I realise it’s more like a mouse squeaking than a bird call.

I’m sure you’ll have an appreciation of how hard they are to capture in really sharp focus on my potted herbs or balcony fence railing.

If you’re a bird-lover you might also enjoy this YouTube of some exotic bird species, their calls and feather displays

I played it through a couple of times while having my morning coffee this morning.