WHAT BIRD IS THAT?

Identifying birds around my home location are not always easy.

Especially when you’ve only got blurred shots and no, (or not much), head and beak visible.

Yesterday, I photographed a new bird in the Japanese Maple in front of my balcony fence.  The  windows, through which I was viewing the bird, were dirty so the autofocus kept zooming in and out – one minute on the bird and a couple of seconds later the dusty raindrops on the window (or green foliage blowing in the breeze).

In the shot below, you can see what looks like a grey or dark blue back, so it’s definitely not a Silvereye which is olive-green.

I was just about to delete the blurred shots this afternoon thinking it was just another Silvereye, when I realized the back of the bird was grey or bluish-grey……and the beak was dark and too long for a Silvereye.

The mystery deepened with the faint splodges of yellow on the bird’s back below.   They were very faint.

I can see this bird’s outline fairly easy on my 27″ iMac, but if you have a small laptop or ipad, you probably can’t see anything much.

Then I managed to get the back half of the bird in better focus showing the rump as being pale whitish.

Then it moved almost upside-down showing more of white-greyish underparts.

I cropped the photo down so that only the bird showed.

I could see what looked like black bands on its neck (above).

The images were just too blurred.

With that downy-looking soft feathered rump, maybe it’s a chick or young bird?

I finally decided it was a young White-plumed Honeyeater (Lichenostomus penicillatus), a bird I’d seen last year but not close enough to get a sharply focused image.

The only image of a White-Plumed Honeyeater I could find just now is the one below – photographed from quite some distance away and the image cropped down a fair bit.   It was made at the Jawbone Conservation Reserve and Marine Sanctuary in Williamstown on the nearest coastal area to my home.    (I’ve been there 4 times since I moved to the western suburbs and am keen to go back in Summer……..one day……..when the lockdown is over perhaps).

WHITE-PLUMED HONEYEATER (Lichenostomus penicillatus) ???

But then I remembered the bird I photographed on my balcony fence in 2017.   I thought it was a Grey Thrush-Shrike but a follower suggested something different (I can’t remember what he suggested).

GREY SHRIKE-THRUSH (Colluricincla harmonica) on my blacony fence rail.

Keep your fingers crossed the bird comes back another day so I can correctly identify it.

In the meantime, the first thing after breakfast this morning, I cleaned the exterior glass on my lounge windows.

Then I opened the sliding door wide open and set ALL 3 cameras beside my desk with the lens caps off.

I kept glancing up to the Japanese Maple and listened intently as the Superb Fairy-wrens chirped away to each other.   I can do this for hours, but I was catching up on the latest TV news between each glance to the outdoors.

Finally at 2.20pm I saw it.

I tried in vain to get a clear shot –  rather unsuccessfully – but here it is.

A female Superb Fairy-wren singing her little heart away to any male in the area.

It wasn’t a clear view, but it was in much better focus than yesterday’s efforts.

On a sadder note, another couple of branches on the Japanese Maple have died (see upper right in the image below).

Below, you can see where the dead branch from last year was cut off.

The Body Corporate who administer this apartment  building called out a horticultural expert and he said that the heavy rains hadn’t drained away last year and this was what was killing it – water-logged due to insufficient drainage.

I noticed at the start of winter that not all the leaves dropped off in Autumn.   I didn’t realize those dead leaves clung to a dead branch.

The best way to capture moments is to pay attention.  This is how we cultivate mindfulness.

Jon Kabat-Zinn

Hopefully, when I look back on this strict lockdown in Melbourne, I’ll remember the little moments that kept me entertained and gave me something to write about in the absence of nature walks.

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 ??)

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……..