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.

AUTUMN IN THE DANDENONG RANGES (east of Melbourne’s outer suburbs)

From the archives

18th May 2014

These trees would be mainly English and European trees planted in this small park.   The late afternoon sun was still present at the start of this series, but later, just before we left, the light had mostly gone.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower
 Albert Camus
Despite the gusty wind and overcast day yesterday, I couldn’t help but admire the Japanese Maple leaves tossing around above my balcony fence.  Thank goodness the dead branch is on the other side of the tree next to the road and I can barely see it from my desk chair.
I sat and watched the leaves in lazy silence as I ate my lunch at my desk.   Who could resist getting the camera out and making a few images.   For a change, I didn’t actually worry whether the results were in focus or not.   I just enjoyed the tangle of colour as the wind picked up speed, died down, and then picked up and raced faster than ever down my steep cliffside short road.
The Fairy-wrens and House Sparrows are out in great numbers today and I’m hoping the sun will stay out and give me an opportunity to get out in the fresh air.   Hard to believe Winter is on the horizon and the last 3 months of Autumn have flown by in a haze of TV News and mostly deserted streets.
I feel as though I’ve missed Autumn altogether this year.
I came across this sunset captured in early Autumn – 3rd March 2018 BC (before construction across the road) as I looked back to see what was happening the same time in previous years.
It never ceases to amaze me how one minute the sunset is gold and orange and next minute……..pink, mauve, blue or purple…….in the same night.
SUNSET up on the clifftop opposite my apartment balcony – 3rd March, 2018

 

GRAPE HYACINTH (Muscari armeniacum)

GRAPE HYACINTH (Muscari armeniacum)

I first saw this tiny blue flowering plant on a corner flower bed in a residential garden on my route to my office back in my working life.   (I worked across the road from the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne for the benefit of new followers).  I loved its delicate tiny blue flowers and used to look for it each Spring.

When I bought a camera and took up Photography as a hobby in May 2010 after taking early retirement, it was one of the early flower images I was pleased to capture.

The image above date back to 22nd August 2012 and after reading about it this morning I delayed my offline tasks and decided to share it.

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As an aside, I spent ages over the weekend making a copy of a couple of seascapes and converting that copy to Black & White for my other blog.   I must have spent an hour editing them and creating what looked like a pen & wash type of image.   I also re-edited a whole series of images made down at St Kilda Beach and Boat Marina in July 2012, but after a software update in the last couple of days, they’ve completely disappeared – the copies and the edits.

I did the same for a scene showing a Father and 2 children walking along St Kilda pier.  That is……making a copy of the colour image first and then converting it to Black & White and editing the copy (leaving the original in colour).

Now, the colour version has completely disappeared so I’m left with a B & W version that won’t reset back to colour since the software update.

Actually, none of my B & W images will revert back to colour since I bought a new computer and had the latest software installed last year.   After buying an Apple Mac Pro back in 2012 I used to always be able to revert images or retain editing after software updates.

Has anyone else done an Apple Catalina software update in the last couple of days and found images changed or disappeared?   The photo library which I’ve had trouble with since I bought a new desktop computer and updated to Catalina software in May 2019 drives me crazy anyway.   The worst problem is the images freezing within minutes of opening the library each morning and the only way to resolve it to log off and reboot the computer…….sometimes many times in the one morning.   There is nothing wrong with the rest of my Catalina software.   Only my photo library and ability to edit images.  It’s version 10.15.4

 

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