IF ONLY BIRDS COULD TALK….

Last Thursday, I moved the long plant troughs around on the old table in front of my lounge window.  I placed the one full of Rocket leaves to the right and the (now) empty one next to it on an angle with a few scattered bird seeds to entice the birds.   I wanted a clear shot with no Rocket leaves in the way.

The House Sparrows turned up in pairs and triplets and I watch them for 20-30 minutes before slowly lifting my camera off my desk to take a photo.

I watched them (watching me, I presume) and thought to myself……if only birds could talk.   Here’s the best shot through the lounge window.  While not as well-focused as some others I took of the Fairy-wrens that day, this is the shot that I liked the best as they seem to be looking straight at me.

What do you think?

Can they see me?

Watching the birds on my balcony has to be the most relaxing pastime since I moved to this apartment 3 1/2 years ago.

There seems to be a hierarchy.  There is one very bossy male House Sparrow, one with a white neck ruffle of feathers, one female with an all-white left foot.  Another with a ‘bib’ of tiny black feathers and also, I’ve noticed one slim young female whose feathers are nearly all the same shade of a warm honey-coloured brown.   I haven’t managed to get a shot of that slim female yet.

GOSH, IT’S HARD WORK FEEDING THESE TWINS. WHY COULDN’T I HAVE PICKED A WIFE WHO ONLY HAD ONE CHICK AT A TIME.

Here are some more shots made over the last couple of years……

FAR TOO HOT TO BE OUT IN THE SUN. THE SHADE FROM THIS POT MAKES A WELCOME BREAK FROM FLYING AROUND LOOKING FOR FOOD AND THERE’s A HANDY BOWL OF WATER RIGHT NEXT TO ME IN CASE I GET THIRSTY.
IS THIS A GOOD ANGLE FOR A PORTRAIT?
ARE YOU TAKING MY PHOTO AGAIN? HOUSE SPARROW PORTRAITS ARE ‘A DIME A DOZEN’ AROUND HERE.
TAKE THE SHOT! TAKE THE SHOT! I CAN’T SPEND ALL DAY POSING LIKE THIS. I’VE GOT WORK TO DO.

THIS TIME LAST YEAR

It’s always interesting to see what was happening in my life at the same time in previous years.

This time last year……

I was trying to come to grips with the fact that the severe osteoarthritis in my R hip was going to be a permanent fixture and I could no longer go for long walks doing Nature Photography…….even on a good pain day.  (other pre-existing conditions precluded total hip replacement surgery).

 

The tiny female Superb Fairy-wren made its presence more visible.

 

It even posed for a formal picture every now and then.

 

This Eurasian Tree Sparrow came to call and I suddenly realised that this was a different bird to the House Sparrows I saw regularly.   I never saw it (or any other Eurasian Tree Sparrow) again.

 

The Asian Climbing Spinach seeds my brother gave me were making a promising start.   (Note: they died after only a couple of harvests.   Never found out why).

 

This male Superb Fairy-wren was a regular visitor.

 

These tiny female House Sparrows started to visit more often than the Brown-capped males.

 

The (male) Superb Fairy-wrens loved to visit the baby spinach crop.

 

But maybe the females looked the cutest.

 

I also accepted that there were more back views of these tiny wrens in my Photo Library (than front views).

FIRST BIG HARVEST THIS SPRING

It was very windy and quite cold when I got up this morning but decided to step outdoors to check on the Balcony Garden and make my first really large harvest for the season.   I do cut herbs regularly, but it was about time I cut some more leafy vegetables (including the lettuces).

So out came the baby veggie ‘shoot’ clippers (about 2 1/2 – 3 inches long) which I use to cut my pea and bean shoots I sprout, and a big plastic bowl to gather in the harvest.

(Gosh, it sounds like I’m a real farmer LOL).   I have pretty vivid imagination 😀

I’d been meaning to cut the lettuces for over a week as they weren’t doing as well under the hot, gale-force winds that plagued Melbourne (and the whole eastern seaboard of Australia) for so many days in this last month.

I hope they taste OK.

In fact, my harvest has been pretty ‘ordinary’ compared to Spring last year.  Even the lettuces last Spring fared pretty well and they made such good photos that I couldn’t bear to harvest them (below).

SPING 2018

By the way, I can see the Purple Coral Pea over the road is in flower at the moment.  The images (below) are from when I lived on the north-east side of Melbourne, not here in the western suburbs where I live now.

Purple Coral Pea (Hardenbergia violacea syn. H. monophylla) is a species of flowering plant in the pea family Fabaceae, native to Australia from Queensland to Tasmania. It is known in Australia by the common names false sarsaparilla, purple coral pea, happy wanderer, native lilac and waraburra. Wikipedia

I might add, the flowers really are this bright purple at the height of flowering, especially in the blue hour – late afternoon.

Last Spring (2018), the Harlequin Bugs and Cabbage Moth Caterpillars ate nearly every leaf in the Garden except for the lettuces which I’d already harvested.

My trial of growing Capsicums was a failure in the sense that I got about 6-7 ripe red Capsicums at the end of a 13-week wait and only one was ripe at any one time.   I think the Possums might have jumped down off the apartment roof and broken 2 of the main branches also.

ROASTED RED CAPSICUM SALAD – one of my favourites in mid-summer

I need at least 6 large red Capsicums to make my favourite roasted Capsicum salad.

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Even the pest control hatch/net I bought last year didn’t keep the birds off the seedlings. One tiny Superb Fairy-wren crept under a loose corner and squeaked pitifully until I went outdoors and lifted the netted hatch up to release it.

So today, first up were the French beans and I gathered enough for one meal.   They were still relatively small compared to the supermarket ‘offerings’, but I could see many more 1 – 2″  sized babies and they will be ready to harvest in another 2-3 days at the rate they are growing.   The Plant Nursery label DID say they’d come ‘thick & fast’ as soon as they were large enough for the first harvest.

French Beans were a trial on this west-facing hot balcony this year.  Actually, I’m always trialling different vegetables these days, but French beans seedlings will be on the Plant Nursery shopping list for 2020.   If Melbourne is going to exposed to these severe gusty winds permanently, I’ll have to trial quite a few more vegetable varieties I think.

Then some English Curly Parsley and lots of Mint to make some Tabbouleh this afternoon.   I had bought a big bunch of Italian Flat-leaf parsley from the supermarket this week as I still haven’t got around to buying another potted plant for the Balcony Garden to replace the one that went to seed.  I was going to go earlier this week but other issues took up some time.

(I make my Tabbouleh with Quinoa, not Bulgar Wheat, by the way).

I’ve had Chick Peas soaking overnight to make a batch of Humus this afternoon.

I clipped a few Beetroot leaves to add to my salad bowl, which together with 3 different lettuces and lots of herbs splashed with home-made French oil & lemon dressing will do for lunch tomorrow.

I had a heaped tablespoon of finely chopped Sweet Basil from my garden with light olive oil on my Buckwheat Pasta a couple of days ago.

Divinely Delicious (is all I can say).

The Sweet Basil, planted at the base of my 3 Heirloom Tomato plants as Companion Plants, has grown a wee bit more than the last Balcony Garden update, but nothing like my usual Summer harvest.

My brother tells me “it’s the weather, its The Weather – so don’t get too disappointed with the slow growth rate of your crops”.

I think he may be right.

There weren’t enough ripe Truss Tomatoes (Heirloom Tomato #1) to harvest so had to rely on supermarket produce yet again.

The whole idea of my Balcony Garden is to be a new hobby (now I can’t do much in the way of Nature Walks), handy to cut a few herbs for dinner each night (as opposed to buying a whole bunch which means I waste half of it being just one person in this household) AND well………….. just for the fun of it 😀

I must admit Bird Watching does come into play as a reason for a Balcony Garden too  🙂

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.

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  🙂

 

SUNRISE

In my previous apartment on the north-east side of Melbourne, I had an extraordinary view over the rooftops to the south (from my 3rd floor level).

 Long-time followers will remember some of those beautiful sunrise (and sunset) images, but I thought I might repost some of the sunrise images for the many new followers who have kindly ticked that FOLLOW box in recent months.

For some strange reason, I nearly always woke up at dawn back in those days, 2015/16, and was able to quickly get out of bed, go out on to my apartment balcony and take photos of the sunrise.  I often wondered if it was the Birds that woke me at this time of day, especially the Spotted Turtle-Doves which became so tame and frequented my bird seed bowl and bird bath on my balcony.

I was looking for some heron photos in my archives yesterday and I came across these images made in early 2016 and I was reminded of that special time in my life.

Another bonus of arising at that time and living in that location was that the hot-air balloons originated in a field not far from my apartment block.  Not sure exactly where that field was, I just know I got to see the balloons as they drifted across my side of Melbourne’s inner suburbs close up and perhaps they could even see me in my PJs at that time of morning (pointing a camera in their direction).

 

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I’ve deliberately stayed off blogging and uploading images in an attempt to reduce my online time until my current internet plan ends on 30th August (when I’ll update to a larger internet package and can use the internet more liberally, including blogging).  I have been reading some of the blogs I follow though.

Yesterday, I never did find the heron images I wanted to re-share, so I switched over to the Apple Mojave software forums and WordPress forums in my ongoing hunt for the elusive answers to some computer issues I continue to experience with the new iMac desktop.

I’ve also kept some records trying to find patterns of each problem.

  1.  I still have to log on to WordPress every morning, despite ticking the box – remember my Password or logon details.
  2. I still have to type in my website details and name on sites where I never had to do this before.  Wordpress seems to continually think I’m a new user and logged out,  OR that blogger’s website seems to think that.
  3. I’ve finally found a more interesting fact.  I cannot press the LIKE button on the front page of every WordPress blogger I follow who is using a name with…..  .com, .net, .photo etc ……….only those @wordpress.com.  If you are a wordpress blogger who has the same problem, you may not have noticed that every .com site you can’t register a LIKE.

The only way I can press the LIKE button on those .com sites is to press it on my gmail inbox first and then open the bloggers website via the link, to read it. (note: I can’t use the WordPress Reader as I get dizzy scrolling through.  I use my gmail inbox for email notifications of new blog posts).

See my gmail inbox new post notification in my gmail inbox.

 

This is the area where I have to press the LIKE button first (centre of screen below).  This gmail inbox page is the only place I can get the LIKE button to register (located in the centre of the photo below) for those using .com site names.

 

Then I open up the blogger’s new post in the actual website below…

 

……After reading it, I usually then go to the bottom of that new post to doublecheck my LIKE has registered.  My ‘eye’ gravatar is second from the left below, so I know it’s registered.

 

Another interesting observation is that in those bloggers with dozens or hundreds of ‘LIKES’, my gravatar seems to randomly appear halfway through,  or towards the right of the line (of LIKES), even though I’ve only just pressed it seconds before via my Gmail inbox.  Normally when you press the LIKE button on the new blog post front page (of a blog site) it appears first in the line (of LIKE gravatars).

Not a problem.  Just an observation.

I have another problem with my Photo library screen freezing and the only way I can fix it is to log off the computer and then back on again.  I have to do this many times in the one day.  My Photo library screen keeps going blank (white) too.  It seems to ‘time-out‘ or something after only about 20 minutes.  When I switch over to the Safari to use the web, there are no blank screens or frozen screens, only the Photo Library screen does that.

It’s very hard to register a bug or problem and ask for help on a forum when it happens intermittently.  I noticed many other users have intermittent problems too.

Anyway, I spent some time reading the latest forum, or question and answer,  on Apple’s latest software Mojave version 10.14.5.

There are still so many ‘bugs’ and problems some users are having with this software release.  All I can say is that I hope they fix them in the next software update 1o.14.6. (supposed to be released in September ?).

I couldn’t find my issues listed in the forums though.

It seems some users, at random, experience ‘bugs’ with the latest software release and some users do not.  There didn’t seem to be any ‘rhyme or reason’.

Another observation was that when I was in hospital last Thursday and most of Friday, my Data Usage continued to show during that time, despite me not being at home with the computer on.

Is this my auto back-up disc working in the background as it automatically does a back up every hour on the current day?

NOTE: I connected my old Mac Pro laptop yesterday and once again tried to transfer some of the missing heron images to my new iMac and it continues to give me a message saying these images are incompatible and can’t exported.  Yet, other images either side of those heron images, taken at the same time, of the same day, did get perfectly exported and appear on my new iMac.  (I used the ‘heron’ images merely as an example.  There are still hundreds of images I can’t export, despite the 9381 I did successfully transfer a few weeks ago).

This new computer is still a mystery to me.

I don’t think it’s a ‘dud’.  I think I’m one of those users who merely has problems.

I used to have an extraordinary amounts of computer problems in my working life and my immediate Boss and the whole I.T. department, (who supported the staff), could never figure out why some processes or screens worked for them and not for me, even when they stood behind me and watched my fingers and processing routine.

I am definitely not a computer ‘nerd’.

 

HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus) – Winter

The dying Autumn leaves have mostly drifted down to the ground now and the Japanese Maple in front of my apartment balcony is revealing the tiny birds – House Sparrows and Superb Fairy-wrens that visit me each day.

They bring so much joy into my day now that I’m more housebound.

I put some seed on the balcony fence rail to tempt them this morning and was quickly rewarded by a number of House Sparrows peck-pecking and spitting out the husks.  The bag of canary seed I’m using up, isn’t much use to the tiny Fairy-wrens though.

One of my veggie troughs is almost bare and I ran a stick through its surface to allow more of the Winter rain to soak into the roots of the last baby Spinach plant in that container and to my surprise, the Fairy-wrens seem to find something tasty to graze on.  I can’t see what they’re eating, but they do seem to enjoy whatever it is.

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I’ve resolved 3 problems on my new iMac, including the main one whereby my gmail and web browsing sites keep opening to a window I don’t want.  I might add this particular issue should have been easily resolved by the AppleCare Helpdesk who screen-shared with me last week.  Hmmmmm……….

The saga continues with the new computer gobbling up my limited internet allowance each month so I am continuing to keep off the internet for the most part.  Today, I’m making an exception, although I continue to monitor my internet data usage each morning to keep within my limits this month.  It cost an extra $40 last month and I fail to see why as I was mainly working offline on my Photo Library.

On Saturday I went to Apple Store with some photos I’d taken of my issues to explain my problems more fully and I was fortunate to have an exceptionally good staff member who gave me some answers, although I do await the home visit of a technician in the coming week (?) who has been booked by AppleCare Helpdesk over the phone.

While the Apple Store staff member did say photos take up more internet due to the exceptionally high resolution screen of the 2019 27″ iMac, I really can’t believe they take 2 1/2 months worth of extra internet each month.

I also went to the Telstra (my internet service provider) store in the same shopping centre and sought some advice on what affordable larger internet packages I might sign up with.  Unfortunately my current contract doesn’t end until the 30th August, 2019, so other than paying extra $$$ for every GB I go over my limit for the next couple of months, I can’t do much about that.  I will continue to reserve my internet use to mostly banking, checking emails and bill paying online with the occasional visit to a few blogs I follow.

I had a quick look at a few blogs I follow in WordPress this morning, but can’t press the LIKE button on some sites.  This is an old problem I had years ago and I can’t remember how I fixed it.  I also have to keep logging on to WordPress each day……and 500px……and National Geographic Shot of the Day (which I occasionally submit images to).

I have to admit this new computer is testing my patience, but with brilliant winter sun and glorious blue skies filling my view out my lounge window, methinks I should turn off that pesky computer and attempt a walk to the local pond.

NO NEED FOR AN UMBRELLA TODAY 🙂

 

SOME MISCELLANEOUS SHOTS FROM early 2011

This week’s goal is to file 2011 images (and re-create their respective folders with names).  If you’ve read the last few posts you will know I have a new computer and have had trouble importing my Photo Library (and lost my whole image filing system).

With a very cold wet windy weather forecast for this week, I should make great headway stuck indoors (again 😀 ).

I came across these images (above) made in first few weeks in 2011.  I’d been using a small Canon ‘point and shoot‘ camera since taking up Photography as a hobby in May 2010 and became totally addicted to the art of Photography.

In December 2010 I bought my first Canon DSLR and 100mm macro lens intending to do flower photography, but soon found the brisk winds in Melbourne made it difficult, so I did lots of research and ended up buying a 18-200mm lens a couple of months later (and borrowed my SIL’s 55-250mm lens for a month also).

I experimented a lot.

After using full Auto for most of 2010, I never used Auto with the Canon DSLR.  I dove straight into Manual mode (although I had to use Auto Focus with such poor eyesight).  I had no idea about the ‘exposure triangle’ and how to use Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO, but somehow I ended up with fairly good exposure all the same.

I’d also dug a ‘big hole’ in my $3000 photography budget.  A small $6000 inheritance is well and truly gone today – 2019.

Photography is not a cheap hobby.

To this day, I still think the 18-200mm lens is the perfect all round general lens (especially if you’re new to Photography and can only afford one lens).  Both 18-200mm lenses I bought for my Canon DSLR in 2011 and my Sony a6000 in 2015 have died and I have other lenses now.

 

I also became addicted to shallow DOF (Depth of Field or Bokeh or background blur).  

????? An Acacia (wattle) of some kind ?????

…..and started photographing leaves, seeds and tree bark.

The images in this post are a random collection of whatever I saw on my afternoon walks in the nearby Royal Botanic Gardens, (where I used to work opposite for 16 1/2 years so knew the area well).

I walked to wherever I could get to via public transport at that time.

Even Melbourne Zoo – but that’s another Story……..

 

Birds, birds & more Birds – Jawbone Flora & Fauna Conservation Reserve, Williamstown

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.

Royal Spoonbills – 1st February, 2018

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.

ROYAL SPOONBILL (Platalea regia)

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……

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’?

Nor much.

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.

 

I’ve better go outdoors and fill up the water.  It’s nearly evaporated again.

WHEN THE WEATHER GETS ROUGH & THE GOING GETS TOUGH…………..TAKE A PHOTO OR TWO

Yesterday, Melbourne had the equivalent of the whole month of December’s rain………..all  in one day.  I woke in the early hours of Wednesday morning to the heavy patter of rain drops on a plastic bag I’d left on my apartment balcony and the sound didn’t seem to let up all day.

The rain was far too heavy to go out and rearrange the plastic bag (full of pots I’d emptied over recent weeks).

It was almost like mid-winter.

Today was not much better and there was flash flooding in Melbourne city and the inner suburbs.

Roads and lane ways were virtual little streams and I’m sure most shoppers and office workers would have done better to take shoes and socks off to walk across the flooded roads.

On the TV news tonight,  rivers of water swept down long flights of stairs to the underground rail stations and I’m sure Christmas shoppers would have had a rather soggy trip home.

I’ve had a very busy week with family and health issues and trying to do a lot of organising of things I don’t normally have to deal with, so I didn’t get around to scanning my flower archives for some images to share.  I thought we’d had enough on the subject of birds on my Nature Blog, but when I sat down mid-afternoon for a rest, I couldn’t help but be drawn to the most extraordinary sight.

It had been raining so heavily, the top of the balcony fence was literally covered in one long gigantic puddle.  

Next thing……up flew a juvenile female Superb Fairy-wren and with a hop, skip and jump proceeded to dance along the fence rail like a small child in rubber boots jumping in puddles for the first time and skipping in sheer delight.  Every 3rd or 4th step she would scoop up a drink with her beak, splash and kick up her feet  to make a larger splash.

To say she was dancing would definitely be the best description.

Then the tiny Fairy-wren would turn, look around and ‘skip’ back along the fence.

Back and forth she went over and over, and of course, as is always the case with me,  the cameras were put away as I was doing some Spring-cleaning and didn’t want to trip over camera gear on the floor.

Grrrrr!

The Canon DSLR and long telephoto lens case was the closest to where I was sitting, so I pulled the case to me and whipped out the long heavy lens (fortunately with the camera still set on Shutter Priority for bird photography) to try and capture some of the action (mostly unsuccessfully).

Still, I did manage to capture a few shots.

The Sony a6000 with its fast 11 fps (frames per second) on continuous shooting mode would have been far better.

Next minute a juvenile (?) male flew down behind her, looked left and right as though to check no one was looking, then briefly mounting the poor little female, had his way (ehrrr……unsuccessfully as far as I could see), jumped off and flew away.

It was so quick I nearly missed it.

The fluffy down-wrapped young female looked one way down the fence, then the other as though to say “that was fun, but it was so quick, I nearly missed it too 😀  ”

Then with another hop, skip, jump & splash, she flew off across the road.

Anyway, here’s the few shots I managed to get, with the fourth one being out of focus (except for the wet feathers), but I’m sure you can imagine the scene.

A few days ago, I was surprised to see the Fairy-wrens walking all over my net-covered blueberry bush, pecking here and there through the cotton threads, at what I assumed were young shoots, as I’m sure I ate all the ripe berries when I lifted the net and checked the bush each morning.

NOTE: Most of these images were made though dirty windows.  Where the birds are sharper in focus, no doubt that would have been when the sliding door was open and I was able to photograph the birds direct,  and where the images were less sharp, the photos would have been made through the glass window/door.

Enjoy……….

…..and I REALLY will get around to choosing some flower images, but you know what its like when Life gets Busy.

The Blog(s) suffer first.

I THINK THIS MIGHT ALSO BE A JUVENILE OR YOUNG CHICK – HER FEATHERS LOOK VERY SOFT AND DOWNY AND HER BEAK AND HEAD LOOKS QUITE SMALL.