The landscaped area next to the walking/jogging/running/cycling trail – 12th March this year – is the only walking day in several months.

Being in nature, or even viewing scenes of nature, reduces anger, fear, and stress and increases pleasant feelings. Exposure to nature not only makes you feel better emotionally, it contributes to your physical wellbeing, reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones. It may even reduce mortality, according to scientists such as public health researchers Stamatakis and Mitchell.

Research done in hospitals, offices, and schools has found that even a simple plant in a room can have a significant impact on stress and anxiety.

My new desk space in the corner of my bedroom (as opposed to previously in my tiny lounge).  Note the Christmas present to myself – my digital microscope – used every night for the last 3 months.  I hope to bring you some fascinating images……one day.  The tiny memory card is jammed in the slot at the moment and I can’t get it out to transfer images to my iMac and my nature blog.

And a little reminder to the newer followers.   Frogs Hollow nature reserve (lower left quadrant of the photo below), which is mostly fenced off and being re-vegetated since last year’s floods and 400 hectares of parkland up and down the Maribyrnong River is where I call home in Melbourne’s inner western suburbs.

RIBWORT or RIBGRASS (Plantago lanceolata L.)
Rock Dove on my balcony fence with the green landscaping in the background.
Pacific Black Duck in Bundap Lake 10 minutes walk from home
Male Chestnut Teal in the golden hour on Bundap Lake.
The city of Melbourne in the golden hour is some 10-11 Km from home.

ROCK DOVE (Columba livia)

Rock Doves, or Pigeons, as most of us call them, are common in my suburb, especially in the area around the nearby river and parkland.

The species has so many markings and colours in the feathers that some people might think they are different birds when they see them in a group.

Basically, they are in almost any location where there are ‘man and his crops.  I’ve seen them down the beach, in suburban backyards and in parklands.   They seem to be in droves on city buildings.

I first noticed them on my balcony back in January 2022 with this fine specimen standing on the air-con outlet on my balcony below.   Before that, they appeared on the rooftops and balcony fence railings.  While I’m sure an experienced photoshopper could get rid of the blurred louvred windows lines in the image, I’m happy to get the shot anyway.

Yesterday, there were 2 rock doves fighting over the birdbath (or bird paddling pool as I call it during the hot weather).

I went to get my camera and frightened them away with my sudden movement.   A short time later they came back to the birdbath individually so I was able to photograph them.

The feather patterns/colours are completely different between the two birds and the slimmer one seemed to be much younger.

I had the sliding door wide open so was able to get a clear shot.

(note: you’ll be pleased to know I finally got around to cleaning the exterior lounge windows yesterday, so the only hindrance to fairly good shots are the interior furniture reflections if the sliding door is closed and my intermittent wobble holding the heavy telephoto lens and camera still.  I also cleaned out the birdbath and the rocks in the water.  This morning reveals lots of smear marks on the louvred windows though.  A more thorough wash is needed, but I’m sure you can appreciate that cleaning every louvre slat individually is rather tedious).

Birds on my balcony often stare straight at me to check on my movements and proximity.  All the birds are very skittish in this area and nothing like the tame approach I was able to get to the Spotted Turtle-doves when I lived on the northeast side of Melbourne pre-October 2016.

In the image below the dove/pigeon moved its head just as I pressed the shutter button.  I think it was wary of confronting the younger Rock Dove again.

The rear view below shows some of the lovely aqua and mauve sheen on the throat and neck of the fatter bird.

…..and then they were gone.

There’s never much time to change camera settings or zoom in or out on these occasions.   It’s a case of shoot and just hope you can fix minor blemishes or lighting irregularities in photo editing software.   I just use the Mac’s basic in-house editing software to tweak the light and definition mostly.   I don’t have the interest, or more importantly, eyesight, to use all the other editing software on the market these days.

Mostly it’s too hot to go outdoors at the moment, so no interesting walks to share.