SPOTTED TURTLE-DOVE (Streptopelia chinensis)

Last year I picked up 3 tiny feathers from my apartment balcony tiles.

They were fluffy and soft like those from the under-feathers of a newly born chick.  I tucked them gently into a box in my desk drawer and forgot about them, but one day I imagined actually photographing them in some interesting creative manner that might appeal to fellow nature lovers or bloggers.

It never happened.

Until last night when I was peering intently at the 9″ digital screen on my microscope.  I’d re-discovered the feathers while cleaning out the drawer and was keen to see them ‘up close & personal.’

I was fascinated to see that the spots on the neck feathers of a Spotted Turtle-dove were actually pure white as though someone had randomly painted spots on the bird’s feather(s) or bleached circles of white.


I don’t know quite what I expected to see.  Separate white feathers?  Do we generally think about the patterns on a bird’s feathers?  Probably not!

What could I expect to see in the detail of the soft downy chick’s feather.  I don’t think this microscope is designed to see 3-dimensional specimens that have this  thickness and width.

To be honest, it was very hard for me (with thick glasses) to get a really sharp focus on these fine feathers.   I’ve done much better with more solid flat subjects recently.

The feathers (and glass slide which I’d thoroughly cleaned with isopropyl alcohol wipes I use on my glasses) were surprisingly dirty.   I erased the worst of the obvious spots in the background after I transferred them to my iMac.

……and what details showed up on the tiny feather.  Not much more than what was visible to the naked eye, but I was interested to see that the end of the feather (below) looked like it had been cut straight with a pair of scissors.   It was a natural shape, not made by me.


Take only memories, leave only footprints

Chief Seattle

Note: this quote is attributed to various people depending on which website you read.

When I converted this September 2014 image to black and white last night, the quote immediately came to mind.

In reality, the local environmental body (or council?) had used tractors and graders to cart loads of sand to the St Kilda beach, south of inner Melbourne, to replace the sand which was gradually being eroded away by strong tidal waters.

COMMON BLACKBIRD (Turdus merula) – Female

Hot today, so the birds came out to play.

The wet feathers of this Common Blackbird (Turdus merula) looked to be brownish so I presume this is a female Blackbird.  Her beak wasn’t a very bright yellow so I also wondered if it was a juvenile or young adult.

I’ve seen male Blackbirds fairly regularly in the tree in front of the balcony fence, but I think this is the first time I’ve seen a female.

No doubt she’ll be back now she knows the location of the paddling pool.

After the Blackbird flew away, 4 House Sparrows came for a drink and a paddle, but I missed the shot in my eagerness to zoom out the lens.


There is nothing special about what I do each day;

I only keep myself in harmony with it.

Everywhere I neither accept nor reject anything.

Nowhere do I confirm or refute a thing.

Why do people say that red and purple differ?

There’s not a speck of dust on the blue mountain.

Supernatural powers and wonder-making works

Are but fetching water and the gathering of wood.

PANG-YUN (layman pang), Empty Cloud


I’d never heard of Pang-Yun until I read the above quote which appears at the start of chapter 14 of the book One Hundred Days of Solitude by Jane Dobisz.

I’m re-reading Dobisz’s paperback for the zillionth time.   It’s a simple book, with simple content and takes about an hour to read in one sitting.  In fact, I read it whilst waiting for the Hospital admissions assistant to call out my name for my recent hospital stay.

But it can be read one chapter at a time also.  Every time I read the book I get something new from it.  I absorb new fragments which add to my understanding of the term Zen.

For those interested in Zen and/or who Pang-Yun was:

P’ANG YÜN WAS BORN in China about the year A. D. 740 and died in 808. Although he was a poor and simple man who led an ordinary life, he nevertheless attained the highest level of reli­gious enlightenment as an ardent follower of Ch’an, that branch of Buddhism that is now known in the West by its Japanese name of Zen. With zest and contentment he, his wife, and their two children lived serenely amidst the tumult of revolutions and chang­ing times. His record has inspired countless others to find for themselves the boundless Way to which he pointed in his daily life and verse. He was widely admired by the Chinese people of his day not only for the originality and vigour with which he ex­pressed his profound religious understanding but also for the resolve he showed in getting free of all of his possessions by load­ing them into a boat and sinking them.



Some days I wish I could simplify my life, but the life of a chronic pain and illness sufferer is anything but simple.   I’ve become a high maintenance person.  I need my comfortable bed and right-sized pillow.   A wrong height chair can leave me crippled with a pain-filled, restless night and little sleep.  I need several (synthetic) drugs to survive (despite being trained in alternative therapies in the early 1990s).

I need silence (except for the sound of birdsong).

I need peace in my life.

Is that too much to ask?

Last week I (stupidly) decided to change the theme and layout of this blog and include a few more subjects I’m interested.   If the content is not what you’re interested in, feel free to unfollow.   I’m not really sure where I’m heading with these changes, but I believe a change is as good as a holiday (and I’m desperately in need of a holiday).   3 major surgeries in 2 years have left me rather jaded.

My photography will still be part of this rejuvenated blog.

As to WordPress……….

It took me 2 days just to move 3 widgets from the sidebar to the footer in WordPress.  Every time I pressed the update button, it wouldn’t update.   Then my computer froze everything, so I had to re-boot……..multiple times in one afternoon.   It should take only 4-5 minutes to move, add or delete widgets and decide on their number and/or positioning.

Yesterday, I found it impossible to change the theme via a simple click on the new theme and a try-out (before updating).

I had been rotating about 6-7 images in the Header (from the Header library).

The simple way I used to update the Header image, became one continuous drain on my patience with an error message every single time I tried in recent days.

I asked Mr Google.

Ever resourceful, Mr Google usually just expects a correctly worded question to reveal a multitude of answers to one’s questions in life.   Eventually, by doing a small edit in the media library to alter the image size, I got somewhere instead of an error message under ‘themes’, but why so many clicks and steps?  Why can you not still select an image and update it?

Today, just now, 3.30pm 27th November, I tried again to pick a new header image from my media library and IT UPDATED IT STRAIGHT AWAY (WITH NO ERROR MESSAGE)!! DUH! Go figure that one out fellow bloggers.

For the millionth time why does WordPress make changing or designing a new layout so %$@#! hard.  It used to be so easy.   Has my brain turned to mush in retirement?  Do I need an Alaskan husky to plough my way through the WordPress mush/snow drifts with repeated stabs at the snow sledge brakes to halt and look around the landscape to find my bearings?

I used to do this – change themes – often – with one or two clicks of the mouse (many years ago).

One of my greatest skills in both work and home life was thinking outside the box.   I used to be able to find creative solutions to the most complex problems in minutes (that other folk would spend hours/days trying to solve).

I ask myself am I too old for this WordPress blogging lark?