Life is like a Merry-go-round, but I feel I sit on the sidelines far too much these days.

Is it the fact I am ageing far too quickly since early retirement in 2010?

Is it modern technology which makes me feel like a dinosaur?

Probably a bit of both.

After 10 days of intermittent wireless keyboard connection and my keyboard not registering some letters as I type OR, at the end of a paragraph, a gremlin, chases and deletes each letter at lightning speed until I’m left with a blank page again, I’ve concluded it was a virus or my 2019 iMac was very, very sick.

My tiny 11″ MacAir worked just fine when I took it out of the drawer, but its size and my poor touchpad skills make it not feasible for long-term use with my eyesight.   It’s my communication and entertainment provider every time I go into the hospital for surgery.

My lovely computer technician James is coming today, but last Friday, the Gremlin left my location and moved on to someone new.

Duh!   How can viruses(?) and Gremlins(?) disappear all on their own.  At one stage I couldn’t even type my password to log on, so I had to turn the computer off and try again later in the day(s).

But I decided to keep the consultation time so James could fix a lot of other mysterious computer-related matters……..I hope.

In the meantime, I got outdoors for a short (2 km) walk down to the local pond and lake last Sunday.   The first real nature walk since the 26th of October last year (according to my photo library).

Very little to see in the way of local bird life and not much else happening as the riverside walking/cycling/jogging trail was almost empty.  Where were the usual Sunday crowd?  I could hear some carnival sounds that day.  But where from?  It was a long weekend with a Monday public holiday but there are always joggers or cyclists on the river path no matter the time or day of the week.

There weren’t any of the local Purple Swaphens grazing in the low-lying field next to the gravel path leading to the river.  They are always there – Summer, Winter, Autumn and Spring (including that crazy new season of storms and floods the eastern seaboard of Australia has acquired).

But not last Sunday.

Note: The images below were made in past years.

All I saw were a few Superb Fairy-wrens grazing on the gravel path edges, a couple of Mapie Larks who frequent this area and, initially, an unidentifiable water bird on the rocky edge of Bundap Lake.

Note: Images below were made in past years.


I had trouble holding my heavy 150-500mm lens steady, but here it is.

Last Sunday’s only bird shot.

I couldn’t get the bird to turn around so I could see its breast feathers, so this was the only view.

The large webbed feet were my clue and I finally narrowed the identity down to a Eurasian Coot.   Google images showed it was a juvenile and missing the sooty-black body and white beak of the usual adults I see.

Feel free to correct me in the comments if you believe it to be a different water bird.

The photo below, made in the Royal Botanic Gardens some 10 years ago, show a Coot looking at its feet as though to say……

“My what big feet I’ve got.  Are they really mine?”

A few more photos of Eurasian Coots taken over the years….



    1. I was also distressed when I notice the fishing line caught in the bird’s neck. I think I wrote a post about it on my old nature blog. I didn’t know what wildlife ranger or association to phone so tried to catch the coot myself. No luck, but then a couple of nature walkers came over and between the 3 of us, we managed to gently catch the coot, open its mouth and carefully detach the fishing line and then……..set it free again. It looked so grateful (if a bird could be described as showing gratefulness 🙂 ).

      I’ve seen dead birds and many small birds on my balcony nearly expiring with the heat here in Melbourne, but the current birdbath has been overtaken by the Pigeons fighting and a couple of Spotted Turtle Doves (who are regular visitors anyway).

      They’ve frightened the House Sparrows, Honeyeaters and Fairy-wrens away. I’ve emptied the bird bath and cleaned it out, temporarily trying to discourage the larger birds. The worst of the summer heat has now gone, so hopefully, the small birds will be able to find other sources of water until I see fit to refill the bath.


    1. Thanks, Peggy.

      James left 45 minutes ago. He spent 1 1/2 hours restoring everything and fixing nearly every issue. He also picked up that my Apple auto back-up was backing up to itself instead of the external hard drive. Fixed my 11″ Mac Air too. Apparently my Telstra ‘dongle’ is too old and needs an update to a ‘Hotspot”

      He also worked with me to figure out why my new digital microscope (Christmas present to myself) camera wasn’t working. Now, whenever I photograph a flower or weed, I can take a sample of some small part, put it under the microscope, use the in-house camera and then transfer the image to my iMac (to include with a new WordPress post perhaps?). The 9″ digital screen replaces the normal microscope eyepiece. I can at least see parasites on the digital screen and pests that the naked eye can’t see. The detail of Mint flowers was another interesting capture under the microscope.

      Maybe next weekend I can get out to catch some samples and give you all a demo online.

      Not as good as a biological microscope that gets down to cellular-level images, but enough to see the fine hairs on a 2mm oregano flower. I’ve been glued to the microscope each night for an hour or so for about 3 months now. It’s absolutely fascinating, especially for me now I’m more housebound.

      James also fixed my DVD player control. I had one battery in the wrong way LOL 😀 Now you know how bad my eyesight is and how much my cognitive dysfunction is that I never thought to check if the batteries were in the right way. I just put new batteries in and couldn’t work out why the controller wasn’t working!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wow VIcki, what a productive afternoon. Exciting to hear about your microscope camera and the amazing detail you are able to see. Looking forward to the demo. And you have the DVD working again. Yippee!

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Your mystery bird sure does look like our coots. Those feet are a dead giveaway. They’re such funny little birds: not ‘pretty’ in any stereotypical way, but quite interesting, and full of personality. I can’t find my few photos of our juvenile coots just now, but I do remember that they mature in the same way that you describe here.

    Your swamphens clearly are related to our moorhens, which now are known as common gallinules. We have purple gallinules, too, and they’re great fun to watch as they make their way over the lily and lotus pads.

    I hope you can get everything straightened out computer-wise. I’m thrilled to death that I finally figured out how to use my Google account to comment on the blogs of people who use the Blogger platform. It’s a small victory, but in this cyber-world, every victory counts!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, computer(s), new digital microscope and dvd controller were all fixed by James today. See my answer to Peggy above for the details.

      My computer is running faster than anyone else now (so it seems). I can usually figure some computer hiccups out, but at the moment, my problem-solving skills seem to be absent. I’m not good at modern technology, but pride myself on the trial and error method of solving some issues. I updated to Apple’s Ventura a while ago (which has ironed out many of the previous software problems, but left me with other (problems).

      Now the weather has cooled down into Autumn, I might be able to go out ‘the back gate’ again soon.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Rudi.
      This is the 3rd or 4th time James has fixed lots of computer issues. He is so quick to spot anomalies too. Even when I didn’t mention something wrong, he saw a problem and fixed it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Gremlins seem to be having a field day with many assorted items, perhaps responding to the crazy world right now?


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