QUOTE – LIFE

Courage doesn’t always roar.
Sometimes courage is the quiet voice
at the end of the day saying,
“I will try again tomorrow.”

 Mary Anne Radmacher

I was determined to do some outdoor photography yesterday.

What actually spurred me to take a camera to my medical appointment was the weather forecast of ‘light winds‘.   This usually means the water is still enough to capture reflections as seen in the image on the right (taken a couple of years ago).

The bus stop outside my local medical centre takes me right down to the Maribyrnong River, a large lake and a small area of murky pond with a reed-covered island in the centre and access to a number of local birdlife.

The Maribyrnong River flows (unseen in the above image) just behind the tall reeds halfway down the frame.

To the left of the image above is the large expanse of water between the river and the residential area on the western side of the river valley.  Once again poor light and I had to fiddle with some basic photo editing tools just to get this amount of detail below.

Must be 18 months since I visited the area – partly due to declining health and lack of physical ability to walk across uneven ground and of course we Melburnians stayed mostly at home during Melbourne’s 111-day lockdown and nightly curfew during 2019’s COVID.

I discovered yesterday that I can no longer see through the viewfinder (or LCD screen) since a new glasses prescription earlier in the year.   So while I could see shadows and light and managed to compose a relatively good composition below, I missed the fact that the photo is out of focus (except for the bush in the foreground) until I downloaded it at home.

They say there is no such thing as poor light in photography, but yesterday there was poor light!

What to do?

Is my 10-year photography hobby at an end?

Or, do I try again ‘tomorrow’?……………. (when there’s better light).

Ever the optimist, I think I’ll try again another day.

I only had my lightweight Sony A6000 with me which doesn’t really get between thick foliage for bird photography.   And with the lack of decent light, the Swamphen image was the best I could capture.   I spotted about 4-5 Purple Swamphens (Porphyrion porphyrio) in or around the pond and only one Pacific Black Duck (Anas superciliosa) madly swimming up the Maribyrnong River itself (out of focus so no image to share).

PURPLE SWAMPHEN (Porphyrio porphyrio)

Yesterday, it was nearly 4.30pm when I caught the bus down the river valley and in hindsight, I should have known there would not be enough light and just gone home after my medical appointment.

At this current stage of late Autumn, the daylight turns to a short golden hour, dusk, and then, depending on your location, pitch-black (if you’re not near street lights).

There are some spectacular Golden Hours and Sunsets in Autumn around Melbourne and the bayside suburbs though.   I’ve captured many of them over the last 10 years.

But yesterday, I turned around to shoot straight into the dying sun (below).   I knew from experience it would be just a silhouette.

I quickly decided there was no point staying, so walked around the rest of the pond.   You can see the bus stop shelter a third of the way down the frame on the right-hand side of the image below.

You can also see there was not a single bird to be seen on this side of the pond, so even if I’d taken my Canon DSLR and Sigma 150-500mm heavy lens, I wouldn’t have made any bird photos.

I crossed the road to the bus stop going in the direction of home.

I didn’t have to wait long (and it can be up to 40 mins on this particular bus route if you’ve just missed one bus).   As it climbed the suburban streets across the river valley, I could see the remnants of a spectacular sunset out the bus window.

When I got off the bus, I took a shot of what was left between the houses (below).

As I walked down my steep short road towards home I managed to capture a little more sky colour across the enormous open field next to my apartment building.

So it’s back to the archives for some images for this blog.

************

The photos below were taken on a ‘good’ light day 2-3 years ago.

3 PURPLE SWAMPHENS totally ignoring me standing right next to them i.e. only 8-12″ away
juvenile GREY TEAL
PURPLE SWAMPHEN
A GOOD ‘LIGHT’ DAY ON THE SIDE OF THE POND NEAREST THE ROAD AND BUS STOP.
LITTLE PIED CORMORANT
PACIFIC BLACK DUCK (Anas superciliosa)
PACIFIC BLACK DUCKS
not enough detail to see but I think it might be an AUSTRALIAN MAGPIE
MASKED LAPWING (with a Silver Gull in the rear)
GREAT EGRET (in the golden hour)

SILVER GULL

KHAKI CAMPBELL DUCKS
The other end of the lake (which is only 10 minutes walk from home)
Juvenile GREY TEAL (Anas gracilis)
POND IN MARIBYRNONG WETLANDS (always has some ducks except for yesterday)

QUOTE – LIFE

Look at a stone cutter hammering away at his rock,
perhaps a hundred times without as much
as a crack showing in it.
Yet at the hundred-and-first blow
it will split in two, and I know
it was not the last blow that did it,
but all that had gone before.
 

Jacob A. Riis

(Note: I knew if I kept this image long enough I’d find a use for it).

QUOTE – NATURE

Autumn is the hardest season. 

The leaves are all falling, and they’re falling like 

they’re falling in love with the ground. 


Andrea Gibson

These imges were made on the 18th April 2014. My brother, who was driving me home after a visit to his farm, stopped at this tiny park near the top of the Dandenong Ranges – a low-lying group of hills overlooking the outer eastern suburbs of Melbourne.

He knew I would capture plenty of Autumn colour. This group of hills is spectacular at this time of year and well worth a drive up the sharp winding roads on the way to the highest point of the hills (and beyond to the Victorian countryside).

Most of these trees would have been planted by the early settlers to the area (from seedlings brought out from the U.K. and Europe?) in the late 1800s or early 1900s i.e. they are not indigenous to the area, or Australia.

I had a brief 20-30 minutes to quickly shoot the series before the light faded and the sun dropped behind the hills and we continued the drive down to my home in the inner suburbs of Melbourne.

Today, I couldn’t seem to get into the old Classic WordPress Editor at all, so I assume WordPress have (finally?) ditched that easy method of uploading images (and a post) which I used previously.

I do not like this tedious, multi-keystroke method of uploading a post – partly because it seemed to take several steps to upload just one photo. I couldn’t click on each photo in my media library with the ‘command’ key held down on my Mac and transfer all the images in one step. I guess I’ll have to do a tutorial.

I updated my iMac software a couple of days ago, but that doesn’t seem to have changed my day-to-day computer tasks, so I naturally assume it’s all WordPress.

I never liked this WordPress software design or method of posting when it was first introduced, so have been happily using the old Classic method for many months, but now………… $%#@!

QUOTE – NATURE

Do you know the origin of that word ‘saunter?’ It’s a beautiful word. Away back in the Middle Ages people used to go on pilgrimages to the Holy Land, and when people in the villages through which they passed asked where they were going, they would reply, “A la sainte terre,’ ‘To the Holy Land.’ And so they became known as sainte-terre-ers or saunterers. Now these mountains are our Holy Land, and we ought to saunter through them reverently.

John Muir

QUOTE – (fill in whatever title you like)

When the mouse laughs at the cat, there’s a hole nearby.
Nigerian Proverb

Despite being told there was a mouse plague in Melbourne, I liked the whole idea of field mice living under my Rosemary potted plant, but after disposing of the 3rd dead mouse from my apartment balcony tiled floor in as many weeks, I had to take action.

I let the potted herb dry out to make it lighter in weight and then wheeled it down in the lift in my shopping trolley, though the ground floor car park and out the back ‘gate’.

THE CAR PARK ENTRANCE IN MY BUILDING IS JUST BEHIND THE MAGNOLIA BUSH ON THE LEFT SIDE OF THIS PHOTO. THERE IS A LARGE FIELD BETWEEN THE BUILDING AND FROGS HOLLOW NATURE RESERVE IN THE CENTRE OF THE IMAGE.

The field behind the building seemed to be the ideal place to empty the Rosemary pot.

I’d pulled the plant out the previous week so knew there was a ‘spiral staircase’ from the bottom of the plastic pot’s largest drainage hole right up to under the soil level where the Rosemary’s roots splay out to catch any moisture or nutrition.

The ‘spiral staircase’ starts in the lower left of the image above and rises (unseen) around the back of the soil and ending up near the base of the plant.

I gave the plant a good shake to dispose of any loose soil clinging to the root system and out popped another dead mouse.

I felt more than a little sad at destroying the tiny critter’s home.  But decided the mice just had to be removed from my 1st floor apartment balcony before any more residents on the ground and (my) first floor apartments, which are built into the steep hillside, are baited by the maintenance team who look after the housing estate’s 5-6 buildings.

Sigh!

After I removed the pot, I caught a glimpse of a Spotted Turtle-dove on the balcony fence rail and wondered if it approved.

I haven’t got any fresh bags of potting soil at the moment, so some old dried up soil remaining in another pot will have to do for re-potting.

Hopefully, I can find that old tiny bit of netting to line the Rosemary pot’s base before refilling it with soil and the Rosemary bush (to ensure no more mice make homes there).

I’ve disposed of dead birds who’ve crashed into my floor-to-ceiling lounge windows 3-4 times but this is the first time (I remember) disposing of little critters.

BIRTH.  DEATH.   IT’S THE LITTLE EVENTS THAT COME IN BETWEEN THAT OCCUPY MY DAYS.

Melbourne, we have a problem.

The city is currently in the grip of a mouse plague.

This issue has left Melbourne residents and businesses struggling to cope with this widespread rodent infestation, the likes of which have not been seen since Western Australia’s similar mouse scare in 2010. Recent reports regarding Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS), an extremely dangerous disease commonly carried by rodents, has led to escalated health & safety concerns statewide.

A perfect storm involving weather, food and timing has provided the ideal conditions for a mouse population explosion.

Earlier in the year, the CSIRO issued an advanced warning to farmers, since the mice could potentially have calamitous effects on their newly sown seed. This pre-emptive action allowed farmers to take preventative measures and avoid a repeat of the devastation caused by a similar plague in 1993.

Let’s have a look at the reasons behind the current plague and discuss ways to prevent or minimise its impact on homes and businesses.

Ideal Conditions

The opening rains of the season saw the mouse population burst into action. A bumper harvest this spring exacerbated the issue, escalating the problem to another level, for obvious reasons.

Initially reaching plague numbers in country Victoria, they have since fast tracked their way down south to Melbourne. These mice can now be found in booming numbers throughout the CBD. Worse still, unusually low temperatures across the state have resulted in mice seeking shelter indoors, with inner-suburban householders and businesses regularly being overrun with these pesky pests.