Nesting

I have to say that in all the years I’ve been alive, I’ve never put some much attention towards the world around me, particularly nature, until this year. I’ve always loved nature, but I guess I didn’t have the time, or the attention before. I’ve spent a LOT of my life rushing and I regret that; so now I’m trying to deliberately slow down and enjoy what I have.

This year, I’ve had the time. I haven’t had much energetic time, much enthusiastic time, much motivated time but what I’ve had I’ve used, pretty well I think. Bird watching and photography are almost the only things that will get me excited on a down day – that’s a pretty powerful thing!

Taking notice has led to a weird phenomenon of me finding new things around me that were always there, but I wasn’t looking. I’m so glad that now I’m looking because the reward is great!

Here’s a series that has given me great pleasure this spring – enjoy!

eucalypt, Looks like my kind of throw together nest...not sure that its being used now

Looks like my kind of throw together nest…not sure that its being used now

This was found deep in the thickets around Blond Bay game reserve so it must have been made by birds, but its so neat! Also looks a bit off kilter!

This was found deep in the thickets around Blond Bay game reserve so it must have been made by birds, but its so neat! Also looks a bit off kilter!

Pair of Willy Wagtails have built a perfect little mud nest and take turns to guard it

Pair of Willy Wagtails have built a perfect little mud nest and take turns to guard it

Welcome Swallow building up a new nest, although why they don't use the other one is baffling

Welcome Swallow building up a new nest, although why they don’t use the other one is baffling

The first nest which looks fine from the outside, but they've moved on to build a new one

The first nest which looks fine from the outside, but they’ve moved on to build a new one

Not sure what kind of bird made this but it looks well built

Not sure what kind of bird made this but it looks well built

A Tawny Frogmouth sitting on a nest very securely located on a broad eucalypt branch

A Tawny Frogmouth sitting on a nest very securely located on a broad eucalypt branch

They tell me this tiny nest belongs to a tiny bird...again can't remember which but something like a Striated Thornbill

They tell me this tiny nest belongs to a tiny bird…again can’t remember which but something like a Striated Thornbill

I can't remember what kind of bird I saw coming out of here - either a Magpie, a Pied Currawong or a Little Raven

I can’t remember what kind of bird I saw coming out of here – either a Magpie, a Pied Currawong or a Little Raven. It flew straight at me as I was trying to get a photo, which distracted me a little! Not deliberately I think

Cape Barren goose with a ground nest inside the safety of Serendip Sanctuary

Cape Barren goose with a ground nest inside the safety of Serendip Sanctuary

A Willy Wagtail built his nest near this busy weekend cafe...and spent the day dancing all around the area - pretty pretty

A Willy Wagtail built his nest near this busy cafe…and spent the day dancing all around the area – pretty pretty

Hope this doesn't hurt your eyes! I'm thinking maybe Swallows make a habit of building multiple nests...I can't figure out which one they're actually using! Incidentally...this is directly over a wedding car!

Hope this blurry photo doesn’t hurt your eyes! I’m thinking maybe Swallows make a habit of building multiple nests…I can’t figure out which one they’re actually using! Incidentally…this is directly over a wedding car!

I think this is a Magpie nest - although I wasn't swooped the Magpie was chattering away

I think this is a Magpie nest – although I wasn’t swooped, the Magpie was chattering away

This is the first time I've seen a Magpie-Lark nest. I was looking at it when they flew back...one onto the nest and one surveying from nearby

This is the first time I’ve seen a Magpie-Lark nest. I was looking at it when they flew back…one onto the nest and one surveying from nearby

This is a fun one, well to me anyways! So far I’ve gotten relatively close to a Magpie nest on three occasions and never been swooped. Maybe its beginners luck…I’ve been swooped by Noisy Miners, pigeons, Welcome Swallows, Magpie-Larks and Willy Wagtails so maybe the Magpies took pity on me!

And this is the Magpie nest high up with the other of the pair sitting on it

And this is the Magpie nest high up with one of the pair sitting on it

Poor quality to boot, but if you peer through the sticks to the far tree, you can see one of the Magpie pair standing watch over the goings on

Poor quality to boot, but if you peer through the sticks to the far tree, you can see one of the Magpie pair standing watch over the goings on

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Birds of the West

Hello Lovelies!

We’re just back from a family wedding in Swan Valley, WA which gave us a good excuse to spend a few days catching up with our various family members who live in Perth and southern WA.

Of course my aims for the holiday included seeing new birds specific to WA and I had some good luck with that!

So here’s the new ones for you to enjoy as well.

One of the most exciting new birds I saw was the WA black cockatoo! Sadly I didn’t get any pictures! I’m pretty sure what we saw was the Carnaby’s, but I’m willing to consider it was the Baudin’s.

The other was a brief glimpse of the Western Rosella, as opposed to our Eastern Rosella; just as stunning in different colours.

A textbook example of a juvenile Silver or Sea Gull near Canning River, green grass

A textbook example of a juvenile Silver or Sea Gull near Canning River, Perth

The '28', one of 4 types of Australian Ringneck Parrot - gorgeous! gum leaves

The ’28’, one of 4 types of Australian Ringneck Parrot – gorgeous! King’s Park, Perth

I thought this was a New Holland Honeyeater but its actually a new one, the White-cheeked Honeyeater! Yay!

I thought this was a New Holland Honeyeater but its actually a new one, the White-cheeked Honeyeater, western form! Yay! King’s Park, Perth

A Black-faced Cuckoo-Shrike singing high up in a tree down the paddock

A Black-faced Cuckoo-Shrike, humid form singing high up in a tree down the paddock in Boyup Brook

A pretty Singing Honeyeater flitting around above the treeline on Canning River

A pretty Singing Honeyeater flitting around above the treeline on Canning River, Perth

As we drove up to the wedding I saw that bird perched way up high, pretty sure its a Sacred Kingfisher

As we drove up to the wedding I saw that bird perched way up high, pretty sure its a Sacred Kingfisher, Swan Valley

I have never seen so many “crows” on a daily basis! Every day they were all around the house we were staying at in Perth. Did you know that in Victoria we do not have a single crow? We only have Ravens.

This is the Australian Raven. Every time I get a shot like this where I can shoot past or through the foreground to focus on the subject, it gives me great satisfaction!

This is the Australian Raven. Every time I get a shot like this where I can shoot past or through the foreground to focus on the subject, it gives me great satisfaction! Perth

Ad this one is just for kicks…a Red Wattlebird that took off just as I clicked the shutter!

Flying Red Wattlebird! King's Park, Perth WA

Flying Red Wattlebird! King’s Park, Perth WA

And this one for some springtime cuteness!

Soooo cute! A mother Pacific Black duck with at least 7 ducklings which she hurried away from us

Soooo cute! A mother Pacific Black duck with at least 7 ducklings which she hurried away from us to Canning River, Perth

Maybe just one more cuteness photo…

Impending cuteness: mummy Magpie-Lark on the nest, with daddy close by keeping an eye on things

Impending cuteness: mummy Magpie-Lark on the nest, with daddy close by keeping an eye on things

And this is because you don’t see flowering grass trees everyday, and especially not birds feeding off them!

A gorgeous-as-always Rainbow Lorikeet on the grass tree (Black Boy) flower

A gorgeous-as-always Rainbow Lorikeet on the grass tree (Black Boy) flower

And this is for plain fun!

This immature Australian Magpie looks like the cat got his tail!! Doesn't seem to be bothering him too much though

This immature Australian Magpie looks like the cat got his tail!! Doesn’t seem to be bothering him too much though

Saturday and Monday

I have been having some great days lately.

At my last visit with the psychiatrist he assured me that despite having poor energy and motivation, he felt I was 75-80% of the way to recovery.

He increased my lithium dose minutely and organised to have a blood level taken after 5 days at the new dose. That was Saturday morning. I see him this Thursday and I’m feeling so excited because for the first time in a long time I feel like I’m making real, sustainable, predictable, reliable progress.

I feel like I’m getting my life back!!

This is a big statement but it’s really, truly real.

I’m not all the way there but I’m so much better than I have been for a long time.

So Saturday I had the blood test. My long disused pharmacy knowledge is begging to be used so excuse the following jibber jabber.

Lithium is a tricky medication. For a lot of medication, you start at a certain dose, then increase by certain increments and the effect of the medication increases at the same rate as the dose to a set maximum dose.

For lithium and a few other medications, you start at a certain dose, then increase at ever smaller and smaller amounts because the removal of the drug from the body is limited and once the removal process is used up, more dose increases quickly lead to toxicity. For these medications there may not be a set maximum dose for all people as it depends on an individual person’s removal processes, or metabolism.

So a blood concentration or level is used to ensure that the medication is between under dose and overdose limits. These levels are determined during development of the medication for use or during clinical trials.

The blood test has to be taken at the right time so that the result is meaningful. In the case of lithium, the range we use to determine whether the drug is working but not toxic is established as a “trough” level. This means you take the blood test just before the next dose is due when most of the medication should have been removed by the body’s metabolism. If the body’s metabolism has been used up or “saturated” then the trough level will be higher than it should be and the patient is at risk of toxic side effects like blurred vision, unsteadiness, possible vomiting, diarrhoea etc. In fact the patient may already be experiencing these so the doctor will talk to the patient about side effects that they are experiencing plus look at the blood level result to get a clearer idea of what is going on.

The other part of taking a blood test is that it has to be timed correctly to when the dose was last increased. If the dose is increased today and we take a blood test today, the effect of that increase won’t be shown. If we look at the level and increase the dose based on that, we will have acted prematurely and risk the patient getting toxic side effects. So with each medication, there is a length of time between a dose change and when the level should be taken called the steady state. Consider it to be the time it takes for the higher dose to come to equilibrium or to spread out through the body so that it is present everywhere in the body to an equal degree.

For lithium, steady state is 5 days so the blood test must be taken at least 5 days after the last dose change.

Well that’s got that out of my system!

So to have the blood test at trough state, I have to be at the blood collection centre by 8.15am on Saturday. The reason for this is that I took my medications the night before at 8.15pm. Meaning I had to wake up at 7.30am! Good plan, very hard to follow through!! But I had the additional incentive that my hubby was going mountain bike riding and had promised to take me along so that I could go bird watching. I’d wanted to head out to King Lake for bird watching for a while so I was excited for that.

So I forced myself out of bed, through the shower and into the car without breakfast. I also had to have a fasting blood test. I packed my tablets and some food in with my fleece-lined coat and camera and off we went.

I won’t show a lot of my photos from Saturday at Smith’s Gully, just the new birds. But I wanted to say that we left home at 8am and returned at 4pm and I did okay!! This is so exciting for me! I didn’t tire out, I didn’t sit in the car and wait for the boys to get back, I didn’t feel exhausted, I didn’t feel like I couldn’t do what I wanted to do!

I did have a nap when we got home, then went out again for tea with my hubby. But I had walked and walked, I took photos for hours, it was pretty freezing cold, I didn’t have any lollies or chocolates or my other usual treats, I didn’t get grumpy or tired or feel worn out.

What a great day!!

The beautiful Queenstown Cemetery housing old-time gold rush prospecters

The beautiful Queenstown Cemetery housing old-time gold rush prospecters

Gorgeous yellow bulbs growing wild and free in the bush

Gorgeous yellow bulbs growing wild and free in the bush

I loved the beautiful gum bark, looks so much like a watercolour painting, and serendipitously shot an Eastern Rosella!

I loved the beautiful gum bark, looks so much like a watercolour painting, and serendipitously shot an Eastern Rosella! See top left corner

Mother and baby Eastern Grey Kangaroo across the paddock, as soon as I pointed my camera they all looked! So observant, gum trees, grass

Mother and baby Eastern Grey Kangaroo across the paddock, as soon as I pointed my camera they all looked! So observant

Large male Eastern Grey Kangaroo bounding across the paddock, grass, trees

Large male Eastern Grey Kangaroo bounding across the paddock

Beautiful country scene in Smith's Gully, lily pond under the gum trees, grass, reeds

Beautiful country scene in Smith’s Gully, lily pond under the gum trees

One of the many beautiful scenes of the winter sun showing through the gum trees

One of the many beautiful scenes of the winter sun showing through the gum trees

Group of Eastern Grey Kangaroos bounding across the green grass, gum tree

Group of Eastern Grey Kangaroos bounding across the green grass

A tiny litting bird that I've been trying to identify with a good photo for a while! I believe it is a Striated Thornbill; alternate opinions welcomed :)

A tiny flitting bird that I’ve been trying to identify with a good photo for a while! I believe it is a Striated Thornbill; alternate opinions welcomed 🙂

Striated Thornbill with a grub, the longest one sat still all day!!, tree branch

Striated Thornbill with a grub, the longest one sat still all day!!

Male Superb Fairy Wren in the bush, not new but always stunning!, grass, trees, bushes

Male Superb Fairy Wren in the bush, not new but always stunning!

A gorgeous Treecreeper that I have never seen before, I think its the White-Throated Treecreeper, tree branch, leaves

A gorgeous Treecreeper that I have never seen before, I think its the White-Throated Treecreeper

An accidentally amazing shot of a Grey Fantail in full flight!, tree, branch

An accidentally amazing shot of a Grey Fantail in full flight!

A day of rain, cloud, and the odd gorgeous blue sky :), dam, green grass, gum trees, clouds,

A day of rain, cloud, and the odd gorgeous blue sky 🙂

Mother and Joey Eastern Grey Kangaroo, so beautiful! green grass, eucalyptus

Mother and Joey Eastern Grey Kangaroo, so beautiful!

Beautifully delicate wattle sprig - looks like Spring!

Beautifully delicate wattle sprig – looks like Spring!

Sunshine, blue sky and everything is green, green, green, gum trees, shadows, green grass

Sunshine, blue sky and everything is green, green, green

Then Monday, after a slower Sunday. I’d organised to go for a walk with my Grandma at Blackburn Lakes. A couple of new birds, and so many kookaburras!!

A Noisy Miner is a very common sight but I just love this cute shot!, pink flowering gum tree

A Noisy Miner is a very common sight but I just love this cute shot!

I find these sky shots really fetching, I have taken a few lately but this one really draws me in, gum tree

I find these sky shots really fetching, I have taken a few lately but this one really draws me in

Australian Magpie, common but still awesome

Australian Magpie, common but still awesome

Juvenile Australian Magpie singing away, gum trees

Juvenile Australian Magpie singing away

A nesting mother Dove or Pidgeon sitting on its nest

A nesting mother Dove or Pidgeon sitting on its nest

Pair of Kookaburras sitting in a tree, gum tree, euclypt

Pair of Kookaburras sitting in a tree

Common Noisy Miner again, but how pretty are those wings? Sadly mis-timed! dead tree

Common Noisy Miner again, but how pretty are those wings? Sadly mis-timed!

Gorgeous pink native flower, not sure what but its so cute

Gorgeous pink native flower, not sure what but its so cute

Beautiful serene Blackburn Lake

Beautiful serene Blackburn Lake

Pretty Blue Iris flower probably sown by birds

Pretty Blue Iris flower probably sown by birds

Some kind of fungal growth on a tree

Some kind of fungal growth on a tree

Is this our state floral anthem? Its a type of native bell flower

Is this our state floral anthem? Its a type of native bell flower

A new bird to me, the Golden Whistler, a stunning bright yellow!, gum tree

A new bird to me, the Golden Whistler, a stunning bright yellow!

Pretty little Flame Robin showing off its bright colours

Pretty little Flame Robin showing off its bright colours