NEW BIRD SIGHTING

I’ve had a busy couple of weeks with medical appointments, scans, tests, ordering online and the hundred and one other tasks when you have chronic pain & illness and don’t have a car to get around.

The current lockdown, curfew and having to keep within a 5km radius of your home in Melbourne only adds to the difficulties when you don’t have a car and have to rely on taxis to go anywhere.

The one good piece of news is that at the end of the month ‘elective surgery’ is going to open up again in our hospitals.   Despite a backlog of over 100,000 surgeries which have been on hold and will now take something like 6 months to clear, I have finally sourced a new orthopaedic surgeon and am cautiously optimistic that I might REALLY get to the stage of getting a hip replacement.   Even so, I have to pass a medical since I have a severe (inherited) heart condition and multiple other severe health issues.    Then there’s the……..well, I won’t bore you with the details, but daily life is getting to be really hard work – both physically and mentally – at the moment.

I’m totally fed up with this ever-increasing hip pain and I’ve watched so much TV or movies online that my eyes are getting ‘distinctly square’ (overseas followers might not know this expression from watching too much TV).

I live in one of the most picturesque urban areas in the western suburbs – including a nature reserve and river behind my apartment building (for the benefit of new followers), but without the ability to go for a lovely long walk, I’m restricted to indoors – mostly.

After I dismantled and re-homed most of my balcony garden a couple of months ago, I don’t get as many birds visiting my balcony.   Long-term followers will know how much that garden and its avian visitors meant to me over the last 4 years, especially in Spring.

Some images of the old balcony garden below (for the new followers).

ASIAN CLIMBING SPINACH (from the seeds my younger brother gave me).
A female Superb Fairy-wren standing on the rim of the veggie trough.
Part of the balcony herb & veggie garden Spring 2019
Heirloom tomatoes grownn for the first time.
Herbs, beans & leafy greens cut for today’s meals.

Apart from the stores and plant nursery being closed in the current 6 week lockdown in Melbourne,  there’s no point setting up a new Spring garden with the potential of  surgery and several weeks of recovery on the horizon.

It would cost a fair bit of money to start my garden all over again, although I’ve got all the plastic pots from last season and the plastic plant ID tags ready to purchase seedlings sometime in the future.

I have a list.   Gosh, I have an enormous ‘to do/buy’ list if it comes to that.

Although I did have my DSLR and long telephoto lens out of its pouch, I haven’t been holding out much hope of some avian visitors in the deep, dark shade of the eucalyptus tree.

One of the luckiest shots ever – A BABY GREY FANTAIL chick in the eucalyptus tree from 2 weeks ago.

The incredible sound of many chirping birds in its depths was almost deafening this morning, but with so many leaves, pretty hard to catch a bird in focus within the frame, for it’s a nature photographer that I am in retirement – the Grey Fantail above, caught by the lens was in a very lucky series of shots.

But the Japanese Maple on the left-hand side of the fence is bursting with new growth and a powerhouse of young buds and leaves for the bird-life in the area.   It’s also much less densely foliaged at the moment.

I was watching a YouTube online of some Willy Wagtails singing and a mother feeding it’s tiny offspring (which I’ll share next time I see a Willy Wagtail) when I noticed a flash of movement out of the corner of my eye.

I turned and saw the rear end of olive-green feathers and knew without a doubt I was looking at a new bird in my tree.

For ‘my’ tree it is as I am the tenant to benefit the most from its bird-attracting new foliage in Spring.

At first, I thought it might be a White-plumed Honeyeater which I’d seen a couple of times in past years, but there were more olive-green feathers on the bird (below) than a honeyeater.  The photo below actually looks like the rear or back of a Bell Miner.

I watched as the bird jumped from branch to branch between the bright green young leaves.

The #$@%! autofocus on the telephoto lens wouldn’t focus.

I’m actually fairly good at getting one focal point between branches and foliage after practising so much in recent years, but for some weird reason, it wouldn’t autofocus today.   My eyesight is too poor to use the manual focus ring on the DSLR/lens, but on autofocus, well, let’s just say I’ve had plenty of practice photographing the local birdlife.

I waited patiently for the bird to appear near the top of the tree where I’d have a clear view.

I knew that time would come as its the tiny new shoots that the birds like to graze on in Spring and those tiny leaves are in profusion at the top of the tree where the sun kisses the young branch tips.

Then the bird flew up to the top, turned so I could see its white eye-ring and I knew straight away it was a Silvereye (western race)  which doesn’t have the blue feathers of the eastern race – Zosterops lateralis chloronotus to be exact.

This is the first time in 4 years since I moved to the area that I’ve seen a Silvereye.

So I’m thrilled to share this shot with you today, as I can see by the fine downy feathers and small beak, it’s a young chick………very young-looking in the following shot.   I would say only days or a week old?

Every time I get a bit ‘down’ and dispirited in Lockdown, it’s the birds who uplift me with their presence and song.