What’s the origin of the phrase ‘Birds of a feather flock together’?
This proverb has been in use since at least the mid 16th century. In 1545 William Turner used a version of it in his papist satireThe Rescuing of Romish Fox:
“Byrdes of on kynde and color flok and flye allwayes together.”
The first known citation in print of the currently used English version of the phrase appeared in 1599, inThe Dictionarie in Spanish and English, which was compiled by the English lexicographer John Minsheu:
Birdes of a feather will flocke togither.
The phrase also appears in Benjamin Jowett’s 1856 translation of Plato’sRepublic. Clearly, if it were present in the original Greek text then, at around 380BC, Plato’s work would be a much earlier reference to it. What appears in Jowett’s version is:
Men of my age flock together; we are birds of a feather, as the old proverb says.
Plato’s text can be translated in other ways and it is safe to say it was Jowett in 1856, not Plato in 380BC, that considered the phrase to be old. The lack of any citation of it in English prior to the 16th century does tend to suggest that its literal translation wasn’t present inThe Republic– a text that was widely read by English scholars of the classics well before the 16th century.
Seagulls down at Altona Beach (on the western side of Port Phillip Bay – the bay on which the city of Melbourne was first settled in 1835).
The river behind my apartment block – the Maribyrnong River – was first explored in 1805……much earlier
…..Talking of Ginger Lilies in the last post, I just came across another image I shot on the 28th April 2012 in Melbourne Zoo’s landscaping.
This image has no lens data in my photo library so that must have disappeared in one of my computer crashes? Obviously cropped to a square format, it’s a shot to be proud of early in my photography hobby. Either side of it in my photo library is the data showing it was probably shot with my first Canon DSLR and 18-200mm f3.5 – 5.6 IS lens.
Eventually, this much-used general-purpose lens died from overuse after about 100,000 photos. Now that….lens…..was real value for money.
I bought an 18-200mm Sony lens to go with my Sony a6000 ‘mirrorless’ camera on 24th February 2015, but it also died – this time in a fall in Melbourne Cemetery 26th June – 4 months after purchase.
…..and how do I know the exact dates you may well ask. Well, I took a photo of the Sony boxes when I bought the camera and took a selfie of the gash from hairline to eyebrow when I tripped over a marble tombstone and ‘killed’ the Sony lens in Melbourne Cemetery.
If you’re new to photography and can only afford one lens to pair with your new DSLR, I can highly recommend an 18-200mm lens. It’s good for close-ups, good for landscapes and gets you pretty close to a bird up in a tree.
I took so many photos in the early years of my photography hobby, I just have to view an image in my photo library and I can see where I was and what I was doing on that day – better than a diary.
We sit silently and watch the world around us. This has taken a lifetime to learn. It seems only the old are able to sit next to one another and not say anything and still feel content. The young, brash and impatient, must always break the silence. It is a waste, for silence is pure. Silence is holy. It draws people together because only those who are comfortable with each other can sit without speaking. This is the great paradox.
…….and one of my favourite images from St Kilda beach/Boat Marina/Esplanade (below). I’ve actually got better images in my photo library to illustrate this quote, but the image below always begs for public viewing whenever I scan my archives. I don’t know exactly why it’s a favourite image, it just is.
……and a few more images around St Kilda made on the same day.
March 2, 2021. St Kilda finally has a ‘village bell’ ringing out, more than 80 years after the distinctive Catani Memorial Clock Tower appeared on the foreshore.
The digital chimes, turned on by Port Phillip Council today, replicate the solemn tones of a classic clock tower bell. In a further nod to the past, the chimes were installed by the same company responsible for activating the clock face and mechanism in 1932.
Following extensive community consultation with nearby residents and traders, the chimes will sound on the hour from 8 am to 10 pm on weekdays and 9 am to 10 pm on weekends. Carlo Catani, who died in 1918, set the design principles for the St Kilda foreshore to be a cosmopolitan Mediterranean-style entertainment and promenading park scape.
His vision included a prominent public clock tower as the centrepiece, and a tower was delivered posthumously after a design competition in 1930 – but without a bell.
Digital chimes have many advantages, including easy to control sound and directional settings.
Mayor Louise Crawford said the chimes provide a moment of stillness and a sense of community as residents and visitors go about their daily life.
“This project represents a great combination of the old and the new, fully in keeping with St Kilda’s reputation as a unique destination. The chimes will able to be heard nearby on Victoria’s most popular beach,” Cr Crawford said.
ext to ST KILDA PIER (with the city of Melbourne in the background)
At the St Kilda Sea Baths you can experience the pleasure of bathing in water that has been derived directly from the sea and heated to a soothing temperature.
The facilities at the St Kilda Sea Baths include a heated 25 metre seawater pool, hydrotherapy spa pool, unisex aromatherapy steam room and a lounge area offering magnificent views of the bay.
The seawater pool will help stimulate your senses and relax your mind. The buoyancy and healing properties of the natural seawater will go to work to help relieve muscle soreness, injuries and skin aliments, as well as restoring your energy and wellbeing.
Take a relaxing swim, participate in a water aerobics class, de-stress in the steam room or float in the hydrotherapy spa. The St Kilda Sea Baths has something to offer everyone.
When I lived on the southeast side of Melbourne pre-April 2015, this beach and pier were some of my regular photography locations. I must have hundreds of images taken over 2010-2015.
A great location to practice landscapes, seascapes and of course, just sitting/relaxing and people watching. Oh, and the hot Fish n Chips from the iconic kiosk at the end of the pier were among the best I have eaten, as were the ‘boxed’ meal from the nearby cafe/restaurant (on the shore next to the esplanade).
……a little more information about St Kilda from Wikipaedia follows for those interested. I have unashamedly cut & paste straight from the internet to save time/energy.
St Kilda was named by Charles La Trobe, then superintendent of the Port Phillip District, after a schooner, Lady of St Kilda, which moored at the main beach for much of 1841. Later in the Victorian era, St Kilda became a favoured suburb of Melbourne’s elite, and many palatial mansions and grand terraces were constructed along its hills and waterfront. After the turn of the century, the St Kilda foreshore became Melbourne’s favoured playground, with electric tram lines linking the suburbs to the seaside amusement rides, ballrooms, cinemas and cafes, and crowds flocked to St Kilda Beach. Many of the mansions and grand terraces became guest houses, and gardens were filled in with apartment buildings, making St Kilda the most densely populated suburb in Melbourne.
After World War II, St Kilda became Melbourne’s red-light district, and the guest houses became low-cost rooming houses. By the late 1960s, St Kilda had developed a culture of bohemianism, attracting prominent artists and musicians, including those in the punk and LGBT subcultures. While some of these groups still maintain a presence in St Kilda, since the 2000s the district has experienced rapid gentrification, pushing many lower socio-economic groups out to other areas, with the suburb again being sought after by the wealthy.
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 2020’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).
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.
In order to see birds it is necessary to become a part of the silence.
First sighting of a Noisy Miner(Manorina melanocephala) on a low(ish) branch of a tree next to the local river last Wednesday.
I stood perfectly still for a few minutes silently wishing the bird would turn around so I could get a frontal shot.
Then it did (as though it heard my request).
I was rewarded with a near-perfect view.
I am exceptionally good at standing perfectly still in silence for quite some time when it comes to bird photography.
I thought I’d have trouble holding my heavy telephoto lens after a long absence of bird photography, but after a few practice shots, I seemed to manage OK. I can no longer carry a camera bag over my shoulder or the weight in a backpack though. My deteriorating spinal condition might be up for a 3rd lot of surgery as the nerve compression pain is worse than the hip pain – Sigh!
I stepped a couple of paces closer….
These medium-sized, mid-greyish honeyeaters with their distinctive head pattern live in parks, gardens, open forest and woodland and even low-lying scrub. You’ll often see them on the ground near the river hunting for some tasty titbits, but can be easily scared off, so best to capture a picture when they’re up high and they feel safer.
They have distinctively rich yellow beak and legs.
Here are a couple more shots made back in March 2017 in the same location.
…..and a couple more made on the metal fence dividing the long reed-covered canal just before it flows into the river – a meer 15 feet from the tree in the images above.
In the photo (below), I was photographing something far off in the distance and lo and behold, a Noisy Miner landed on the fire hydrant right in front of me – May 2014 – near the Royal Botanic Gardens (located south of Melbourne city).
….and another close-up this time. I spotted this rather tame and friendly miner in the park surrounding Ringwood Lake in the outer eastern suburbs of Melbourne – May 2014. It was standing on a shady log backlit by bright sunlight.
Last Wednesday, I went for a very short walk down to the local river – all 3 of my cameras in my shopping trolley, together with the usual bottle of water, folding umbrella & scarf/gloves in case it got too cold waiting for the right time to photograph a bird (or two).
There weren’t many birds visible although I could hear quite a selection of bird calls on the other side of the path in Frogs Hollow Nature Reserve.
It can be quite chilly in Melbourne’s Autumn, although walking in the sun on a clear day can be very pleasant indeed if you’ve wearing a warm coat.
Best to head for home around 4.30pm between the river and my apartment block as my side of the river falls into shadow fairly early now we are heading towards winter. Once the light on this side of the river valley disappears, you can be suddenly plunged into total darkness if you’re on one of the walking trails, near the river.
A golf course on the other side of the river also reinforces the lack of suburban street lights.
In winter I used to carry my tiny strong camping lantern to light the path while on the stretch of parkland (400 hectares) which runs up and down the river towards dusk. Last Saturday I bought a new LED tiny torch to add to my key-ring.
I lost the old pencil torch years ago.
For the benefit of overseas readers, these 2 images put together (below), taken from the top floor of my apartment building, give you an idea of the beautiful (parkland) environment stretching along the river. The photos were not made consecutively, and it was only yesterday, on reviewing my Local Landscape folder that I realized they almost align (but not quite 😀 )
NOTE: I live on the other side of the first floor (the U.S. calls this 2nd storey) of a 6 storey apartment building facing the road, not facing the parkland. Wish I lived facing east to catch the sunrise, but who’s complaining when there is so much greenery on the other side of the building.
The leaves are all falling, and they’re falling like
they’re falling in love with the ground.
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………… $%#@!
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.