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.

Advertisements

SOLITUDE

I wrote this on a fellow blogger’s site and he suggested more readers might enjoy it…..

His question was…..where did you find solitude……(after relating his own experience)

 

I find solitude every day in the times that all is silent around my apartment – especially noticeable on a Sunday.

 

 

Just the sound of birds chirping and caw-cawing, the occasional whisper of the wind in the tree tops outside, and very faintly, the low drone or hum of a plane occasionally, almost like thunder as it rolls across the sky.

(This occurs because I live halfway up a steep hill and the sounds of traffic and urban living float over the top without having touched my ears, attuned as I am to the sounds of nature which dominate my senses).

The hum of a plane can be so low you wonder if it was there at all.

For a city dweller it’s a kind of feeling that few would notice. I am enfolded in Solitude’s cloak regularly, but not the solitude you would find in the wilderness.

 

 

At this time of year, the constant tiny cheep of young chicks in nearby nests reminds me I’m never really alone or lonely. I live in Solitude and yet I do not.

 

 

Even standing at the local pond on a weekday is a sort of solitude in that no one walks that way at that time.

 

 

There’s only ever-widening ripples as the occasional Duck or Teal steps off the bank onto the water surface and in ever-increasing webbed feet strokes, darts in and out of reeds, tiny inlets and then slows to a halt and finds shade in the blistering heat of our afternoon Summer sun.

 

 

Tiny flowers sway and dip down in a bow, then spring up a little higher, as a bee, having soaked up the pollen, lifts off with its tiny wings and flies in and around each nearby bloom, before landing once again and pausing in its daily flight pattern.

The new Spring leaves on the Eucalyptus wobble and sway in a meditative dance and then suddenly stop when the wind drops, only to pick up their drooping green ‘feathers’ as the wind re-ignites.

 

I watch the tiny, almost invisible midges slowly move up the large glass window in front of my desk and know that today is a slow and restful day for Mother Nature, (having done her best over Spring to bring new life to Winter’s decay).

DEEP SHADE AT THE EDGE OF FROGS HOLLOW NATURE RESERVE 100 Feet FROM MY ‘BACK GATE’
A rare shot made in deep shade, which when cropped and had the shadows lightened in post processing revealed a NEW HOLLAND HONEYEATER (Phylidonyris novaehollandiae) – FROGS HOLLOW NATURE RESERVE

 

If you only hear Sound, then how do you know Silence. If you only know Heat, how do you know what Cold means. If you only know dark, (like a person born blind), how do you know Light.

 

The GOLDEN HOUR casts sunlight on some bare weeds along the Maribyrnong River bank

 

The Joys of Solitude are impossible to understand without having experienced them.

 

Everything in this life is Impermanent and ever-changing and yet, when you truly know Solitude, time seems to stand still.