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….


A couple of days ago, I spent most of the afternoon and early evening looking for one flower image in my archives.

I never found it, so I probably lost it in a computer crash, but I saw several images of large birds eating their ‘midday’ meal.

None of the images is particularly good so I haven’t shared them online before today.  After seeing a fellow blogger’s image of a bird eating a snake, it prompted me to see if I could find them in my (mostly) unfiled archives.

At the same time, I managed to delete and/or identify/file images. So the exercise was worthwhile.

  1. First up is a Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio) in the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne eating a toad.   Well, it looks like a toad more than a frog.


2. Next is a Black-necked Stork (Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus) catching a fish in the Great Aviary at Melbourne Zoo…….

……and then promptly drop it.   I’m pleased to say the Stork eventually did catch its fish for lunch.


3.  This Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus) seems to have caught a rather large mouse (or rat?).  I always feel a tear come to my eye when I view this shot with the wee critter sitting so calmly awaiting its demise.


4. Down in the long grass at Jawbone Conservation Reserve I spotted a White-faced Heron (Egretta novaehollandiae)  grappling with a lizard or gonna.  Hard to see what kind of lizard it is, but like I said, these are not the best photos I have ever shot.


5. Hard to tell, but I think this is a Little Pied Cormorant (Phalacrocorax melanoleucos) as opposed to a Pied Cormorant (Phalacrocorax varius) which is 15-20cm taller.  I would need to judge the height and closed-mouth appearance of the cormorant to confirm its identity.  Looks like a rat for lunch in this picture.


6.  This is definitely a Laughing Kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae), the most common of Australia’s 2 Kookaburras,  grabbing a fat juicy worm for its lunch in the Royal Botanic Gardens here in Melbourne.

Here are some better shots I took around this time in 2011 so you can see the Kookaburra’s feathers from the back (as well as front).


7. And finally, here’s the lunch of yours truly, yesterday.  Yes, I do like green Kiwi Fruit on my salad, as long as it’s ripe but still firm.  I had to throw 2 out yesterday as they were really soft and squishy.  I didn’t order any Kiwi Fruit in my online supermarket order last night.  They were nearly Aus$2 each!  The price of fruit, vegetables and meat is exorbitant here in Melbourne (and probably the rest of Australia) at the moment.

Drought, bushfires, floods or severe heavy rain on the farmer’s crops, together with COVID lockdowns have sent food prices soaring in the last 3 years.