ROCK DOVE (Columba livia)

It was a new bird on my balcony.

(note: the blurred lines are the louvred windows which I rarely clean as opposed to the high floor-to-ceiling windows of my lounge, so was surprised the photo turned out to be in reasonable focus/clarity).

It was late afternoon last Friday and this area of my balcony had fallen into shade by this stage of the day.

I spotted it from the other side of the room and very surreptitiously tiptoed towards my desk next to the louvred window, reached out to unzip my camera bag and take out a camera and medium-telephoto lens.   I knew from previous experience that one quick movement on my part would have scared the bird away, but I managed to get one shot before it actually took fright and flew across to the other side of the road.

These Rock Doves (Columba livia), (or Rock Pigeons as they’re sometimes called,  depending on which website you’re looking at), all sit in a row high up on the top of the new(ish) apartment block facing mine.

In recent weeks a huge flock of them can sometimes be seen flying in circular patterns in the late afternoon above the housing estate where I live – dipping down low, then flying upward 15-20 feet higher in ever-increasing and decreasing circular formation.

I’d never seen one on my balcony before but often saw them from some distance away as they’re a common bird in the city and suburbs of Melbourne.

Last week I found another shot in my photo library which was made on the 2nd March 2015 of an old warehouse air outlet in Chinatown.   I rather like this shot and only recently discovered it as my image library is in total disarray having done no real filing for a few years now.

You’d think I would have filed everything in my photo library during Melbourne’s 2 longest lockdowns, but no, I didn’t do any I’m embarrassed to say  😀

QUOTE – LIFE

It was one of those heavy, sultry afternoons when nature seems to be saying to itself, ‘Now, shall I, or shall I not, scare the pants off these people with a hell of a thunderstorm?”


P.G. Wodehouse

Now THAT……was a thunderstorm.

Not 20 minutes ago.

It was gone as quickly as it came.

I did a quick search of Thunderstorm quotes and the perfect one popped up instantly.

Life’s like that.

It comes.

It goes.

…….and then the gentle rain falls down as though to soothe nature and all the birds.

…….and me (of course).

QUOTE – LIFE

Life is not the way it’s supposed to be,
it’s the way it is.
The way you cope with it
is what makes the difference.

 Virginia Satir

If you’re feeling a bit down and depressed with the Epidemic and the current weird weather across the Planet, check out the YouTube below and it’ll certainly put a smile on your face, uplift your spirits and bring positive energy into your day.

My own Koala image was made at Melbourne Zoo on 5th January 2015.

 

QUOTE – LIFE

Whether your cup is half-full or half-empty, remind yourself there are others without one.

Matshona Dhliwayo.

Conversation with a House Sparrow 10 minutes ago…..

“My water bowl and paddle pool are half-empty,” said the House Sparrow.

“I am not going to fill all the water bowls and 2 paddle pools up today.  There’s going to be a thunderstorm this afternoon and for each of the next 4 days,” said Me.

” Please.  Pretty please.  I do so love drinking from a full bowl.  I don’t have to bend over so far.” replied the Sparrow.

“It’s good exercise for you,” I snapped this time – my hip was growling with pain from yesterday’s walk.

“Seriously?   Do you think I don’t get enough exercise?   Why do you think I’ve got wings?”  said the Sparrow.   “I flap them and flap them wherever I go,” she added (for the Sparrow was a female).

“For the same reason, I’ve got arms to hold the heavy telephoto lens and camera up to my eye,” I replied.

“But.  But.  I’ve been bending up and down, up and down, dozens of times for the last few hot days.   Drinking.  Drinking.  And splashing all about.  Surely, that’s enough back and core exercise?” chirped the Sparrow in a small voice.

” Sorrrrrryyyyyyy.   I’ve been doing back and core strengthening exercises for some 17 years and had 2 lumbar spine surgeries.   Beat that.”  I raised my voice this time….. with a slight snarly tone.

“Ehrrrr…….you win.   The cloud cover is looking darker and darker since we’ve been ‘talking’.  I really should fly away home now.” the Sparrow said with resignation….. and eventually…….took flight.

THE NEXT MOMENT, THE CLOUDS PARTED AND THE SUN SHONE BRIGHTLY ON THE NEW SUMMER BLOSSOM OF THE EUCALYPTUS TREE GROWING IN FRONT OF MY BALCONY.   It’s 4.30pm now and the forecast thunderstorms STILL haven’t arrived in my suburb.

I think I might just have to fill up the large grey drinking saucer/pool, small metal bowl and 2 bird paddle pools after all.  🙂

QUOTE – BIRDS

A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer,

it sings because it has a song.

 Maya Angelou

I’ve been busy with non-blogging tasks lately, so haven’t had a chance to upload a post.

Birds still feature in my day and I’ve been lucky enough to catch a few of the recent Spring (and Summer) bird chicks on my balcony and at the back door of my apartment building.

I’ve shared the image of a New Holland Honeyeater (Phylidonyris novaehollandiae) below, sitting on the Tree Lucerne or Tagasaste (Chamaecytisus proliferus) behind my building before.   I’ll share it again so you can have a better look at the pattern and colours of its feathers.

This past weekend as the sun was going down and my side of the river valley fell into shadow, the native Tree Lucerne bush appears with a bright sunny background and it may, (or may not), be easy to photograph the honeyeaters that visit the bush in the late afternoon.

I’ve never seen more than 2 honeyeaters in this bush at one time so maybe there are not enough flowers at the moment to attract them.

The honeyeater below has a cricket or grasshopper (?) in its mouth, but I didn’t notice at the time of photographing the bird, only after I’d downloaded it onto my 27″ screen.

This bush is usually photographed at the end of a walk, so my long heavy telephoto lens tends to feel heavier as I tire and I wobble a bit trying to hold it steady.  My tripod would be no use in this situation as the bird(s) move so quickly and I can only step back so far before treading on the actual road shown in the lower right of the image (left).

I have more luck photographing the many House Sparrows (Passer domesticus) whilst sitting at my desk these days.   I’ve been indoors so much waiting for my double vaccinations to take effect before I could go to the city for a much-needed haircut, dental visit and other city errands.   Even so, I rarely go out in crowded areas as my health is too fragile to withstand virus attack and/or infection.

It wasn’t until I downloaded these images (below) that I saw the soft downy feathers denoting very young House Sparrows.   I couldn’t understand why a couple of Sparrows were sitting, seemingly asleep, on the extremely hot fence rail 2 days ago when it was 33C.

When I downloaded the images I could see 2 of them huddled together and wondered if they were newly out of their nest and seeking the warmth of the metal?

Other than that, I’ve had as many as 5 sparrows drinking and/or splashing water over themselves in my makeshift large birdbath.   A couple of the birds would jump into the water, find it a bit too deep, but splash water over themselves in the hot humid afternoon and jump out within seconds.   I had filled the birdbath up to the rim knowing the evaporation in the sun would dry it up quite quickly.

When it’s very hot in late January early February I put iceblocks in the water to cool birdbath visitors down.

Other sparrows were not so brave and stood on the rim drinking and surveying the surroundings.

NOTE: I’ve since put in a small metal water bowl and some pebbles to build a sort of island the birds can stand on to make some of the water more shallow.

Whatever the bird’s age, it’s always enjoyable watching their antics.

When the sun is out, birdsong fills the air around my apartment block.   All our lockdowns in Melbourne have ended (supposedly never to return), and we just have to live with this virus, so hope to get over to the nearby nature reserves after Christmas when the traffic is much lighter.

It’s funny to see empty streets for so many months and then after the lockdown ended, very busy traffic just like pre-2020.   Of course, school holidays and Christmas shoppers do make a difference.

The crowds and traffic in Melbourne’s city centre last Thursday and Monday (of this week) were much like pre-covid days. I really noticed the pungent smell of cigarette smoke and strong perfumes in the crowded streets.  Ugh…!!!!!

Even though traffic has returned a wee bit in my steep road since the 6th lockdown ended, most of the day is quiet except for the bird calls (and today, the occasional distant sound of construction workers with some sort of jackhammer).

I have to go everywhere via taxi these days and taxis have been few and far between in this area.   A lot of taxi drivers have switched to other jobs during Melbourne’s 6th lockdown & curfew as there was no (or minimal) work.

I came across this YouTube https://youtu.be/m6STVZeOpg0 in my browsing time and thought to share the sound of the Australian bush for the overseas folk new to my blog.   Hope you take the time to click on the link and enjoy the sounds.

Close your eyes and turn up the sound on your computer to get the full effect.

I don’t receive quite the same degree of bird sounds in the nature reserve/parkland behind my apartment building, but sometimes, on a late Summer afternoon, the sound is pretty close (except I get Frogs croaking too).   After all, the nature reserve is called Frogs Hollow Wetlands.   In the high heat of Summer, I get deafened by the sound of cicadas also.

On the map, you can see I have a great walking path going down the centre of the islands in the river/lake to the Maribyrnong Wetlands, which is a small reed and high grass-covered area around a large pond.   I haven’t got any new photos this year, so I’ll repeat what I’ve shared before.

If I had less hip & lower back pain I could keep walking along the river path for another kilometre or so to get to Newells’ Paddock Nature reserve (below).   There’s a signpost where Newells Paddock backs onto the Maribyrnong river which says 3.9km to the nearby shopping centre, so I figure it’s about3.7kms from Newells Paddock to my home (which is a bit closer).   I did walk home once 3-4 years ago, but I can’t do this amount of walking anymore and, as regular followers will know, I don’t have a car.

One of the good things about the COVID pandemic and fewer car sounds is the rise in bird calls.

A bird is safe in its nest
but that is not what
its wings are made for.

Amit Ray

 

QUOTE – LIFE

Rivers know this: There is no hurry. We shall get there.

A.A. Milne

YARRA RIVER, ABBOTSFORD – Image made whilst walking along the riverside trail in the valley below my (clifftop) previous apartment in Melbourne’s inner north-east suburb of Abbotsford.    I had to leave this beautiful area due to constant (false) fire alarms in my building and having to walk down 8 flights of stairs (with a bad ankle/hip and heart condition) among several other reasons.  About 8-9 shrieking fire alarms over a period of 20 months.   The last false fire alarm was too much for me and I caught the lift down and out the fire escape door instead of using the fire exit stairs.   Too bad if the lift had broken down or there’d been a real fire.   😀

Who would have thought that wonderful ultra-modern apartment with a lift and scenic location: walking trails on both sides of the river, including nature reserve and parkland on the other side of the river, would eventually prove to have such prohibitive living conditions.    I’ve moved apartments for both jobs and financial reasons over the last 40 years and at least 6 locations have been beside nature reserves, walking trails and rivers.   I have been so lucky in this aspect.   I still occasionally look at apartment property rentals in that area to see if there’s a ground floor apartment vacant (for rent).   I think that home location was one of the best areas I’ve lived in (except for next to the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne’s inner south-east next to the Yarra River leading into Melbourne city).

The oldest rocks exposed in Yarra Bend Park are marine sandstone and mudstone from over 400 million years ago. An excellent display of these sediments is at the cliff face at Dights Falls, showing faults and folds, layering and ripple beds of exposed ancient seabeds (image above).

Lava flows from volcanic activity 2.2 million years ago and again about 800, 000 years ago, introduced basalt soils to the Park allowing a wider range of vegetation.

Note: I currently live in the western suburbs of Melbourne.

I’ve been a bit under the weather with an allergic and rather painful reaction to my 2nd Moderna vaccination last Wednesday (which I didn’t get from the 1st ‘jab’ I might add), so haven’t been using that arm very much and have been offline a wee bit in the last week or so.   Too many blogs I follow to catch up on, but this morning, the swelling and fiery-red rash has gone down somewhat, so hope this improvement continues…….and who could have anticipated that my whole lower body would become one mammoth ‘itching’ ground.

I don’t remember reading about this side-effect of the Moderna vaccine.

Looking at my image archives have been much more interesting than watching the latest news of virus variant outbreaks, weird weather…..snow, flood, hurricane, tornado, volcano eruption etc on TV now, hasn’t it?

I never thought I’d say this (being anti-modern technology), but have to admit it’s been a godsend after being mostly housebound for 3 years.

Here are some more images from the northeast of inner Melbourne.

QUOTE – LIFE

I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles.

Audrey Hepburn

 

QUOTE – SOLITUDE

NO NEWS

My hut lies in the middle of a dense forest;

Every year the green ivy grows longer.

No news of the affairs of men,

Only the occasional song of a woodcutter.

The sun shines and I mend my robe;

When the moon comes out I read Buddhist poems.

I have nothing to report, my friends.

If you want to find the meaning, stop

chasing after so many things.

Ryokan

I find it wholesome to be alone the greater part of the time. To be in company, even with the

best, is soon wearisome and dissipating. I love to be alone. I never found the companion that

was so companionable as solitude.

Henry David Thoreau