Rain, rain, not so bad…

[Monday 21st August]

It’s always a good day out with birds.

Even when the day is one of the worst this winter.

It’s raining lightly but steadily, the temperature is heading from a freezing 4 degrees to a frosty maximum of 6 degrees for a chilly winter’s day, it’s slippery and slushy underfoot, I missed my bird watching group meet time by a few minutes but saw them crossing the road as I parked, then they disappeared on me while I was getting my stuff together!!

But with some of my new resilience I decide to power on. It sucks that I missed them, but I can’t find any fault with them at all. It was a typical Danika move.

Looking at the forecast the night before I wondered if I was up for the task of wandering around for 5 hours in not only the cold, which you can dress against, but the wet. I’ve gotten wet and cold on one bird watching outing recently, feet and legs mostly, and it wasn’t fun. But I can dress warmer this time and be prepared. About that wet though, do I really want to be walking around in it through thick undergrowth for 3 of the 5 hours, according to the forecast? I couldn’t decide. Originally I definitely wanted to go because this birding outing was one that I haven’t seen come up before, a walk through the Sherbrooke Forest and…ding ding ding…lyrebirds! I’ve glimpsed a couple in the wild, and seen one at Healesville Sanctuary in their awesome recent lyrebird exhibit, but I’d love a better look!

But that wet…and so I dithered all night, didn’t make a decision, looked up what time I’d need to leave by, couldn’t decide when I woke up in the morning, called the leader to confirm it was on, slept a bit more, thought I wouldn’t go, thought I would go, left it too late and took too much time putting on my two pairs of socks, three tops, packing my 3 jackets and so I had no time for breakfast before I had to jump in the car post-haste.

This is a big flaw for me that I’m trying to work on: skipping breakfast. Actually not skipping breakfast as such, because I can’t make it to 10am if I don’t eat in the morning. I’ve always felt nauseous and faint if I don’t eat breakfast. And taking a handful of tablets on an empty stomach doesn’t go well. But I’ve also never been a morning person since I was a baby. So it’s a tussle between getting up in time for a proper breakfast and getting up, full stop! Lately this has taken the form of skipping a sustaining breakfast like my standard 2 pieces of toast with spreads for getting out the door on time, then making a 2 minute stop at the local Coles Express for something less sustaining but at least food and drink. I reserve the right to tell you what kind of food or drink I would usually pick up!

Google maps told me when I left that I was going to be 3 minutes late, as in arrival time 10.03am. This is okay, most times you can make up this difference along the way and arrive on time. Although not properly on time, which is 5 minutes early as my husband will say. In this case probably 10 or 15 minutes early would be ideal for putting on jackets, unfolding umbrellas, getting the camera ready etc. So really I’m  way behind, but I’m telling myself that 10am is okay. But still, no breakfast yet and I can’t walk around in the forest for hours without breakfast, let alone without lunch that I haven’t accounted for, and the Dandenongs aren’t really ideal for ready to go food. But luckily I did find a quick mart type general store at Tremont just before Sherbrooke forest and got some Twisties and drinks; not ideal but it’ll keep me going. Forgot to get lunch but at least this is a start. Except…

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This doesn’t even show how deep the colour blue was on my tongue, fingers and lips!! What the heck?? Apparently although these Twisties look like Twisties, smell like Twisties, taste like Twisties, they are Blue Tongue Twisties! Well that’s new, and not necessarily great for me. Busted about eating Twisties though; hubby will be happy. Luckily after my afternoon nap the blue on my tongue had been digested by my mouth enzymes, but I had to scrub the life out of my lips to clear them up, and I’ve still got blue around my nails 2 days later!! Argh!

But I got myself going, and I got these:

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The charming Eastern Yellow Robin

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They are so skilled at gravity-defying grip onto trees

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A clearer shot finally: the rain really messes with clarity

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Murdering the “snake” by whipping it and mashing it and tearing it into bite sized pieces

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Nearly got its head off, now to…

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“Bang”!

 

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“Is it dead yet?”

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Another flick through the air and whack! against the root

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See how far around it can rotate its head? Somehow with such a large prey compared to its body it manages to get the right amount of acceleration then bang it against something hard

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See how its eye looks weird? Its called a nicitating membrane. It like a second eyelid but its see-through. Birds use it to protect their eye when they still need to see but are at risk of, for instance, having half a worm flick them in the eye

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Finally a bite sized piece! Yum yum, down the hatch

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“Get away from my snake!!”

 

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Uh oh. An invader. Territory wars over a juicy worm!

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Standing on it should keep it safe

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“Are you done yet?”

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Oops, spotted me!

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This is a fully zoomed out view of the little birdy. It was probably 3 metres away by my judgement, which isn’t the best. I love zoom!

A good day that came out of a shaky start; I love these days. Now home for a lovely nap.

 

 

Canberra Day Sixteen

26th September, 2016

Another not-so-Canberra day. It was a bit of touch and go today actually, a bit of a struggle mood wise and energy wise. Today was an ACT public holiday so we’d gone away to NSW where it wasn’t a public holiday, and that plan went pretty well. There’d been a lot of people about on Sunday but it was quiet today. So quiet that the kitchen at the hotel was closed for breakfast, but there was a nice cafe up the road surprisingly so all good; it’s a pretty small town so we weren’t sure what to expect. This was all after I got up, which took several attempts. I’d set my alarm to 7am so I could go birding early while hubby was out on a bike ride. I managed to sit up and go through a bunch of local birding websites and pick out where I wanted to go before slumber forced my eyes shut. I lay down at 8am thinking I’d have another hour til hubby got back, but he got back early; good for him, a struggle for me to get my wits together and uncross my eyes and heave myself up out of bed!

So, no birding. I’d feel disappointed if I could convince myself that I would have actually gone. But I know that really, I liked the idea but wasn’t up for the reality. It was more of a sit-in-the-passenger-seat-and-admire-the-scenery type day. Which is more or less how it went, with the occasional magnificent sandstone cliff and huge Fitzroy waterfall thrown in for some tourist appeal! We drove out of Shoalhaven Heads through the cute tourist town of Berry, drove up and down Berry Mountain with beautiful rainforest scenery and steep roads at the top, and lush farmlands at the bottom.We stopped in Goulburn for lunch, admiring the old fashioned shop fronts and enjoying a nice cafe across from a brilliant display of tulips in the park. Then a quick stop to look out over Lake George, but it was chilly so back in the car for a nap on the way home, then back home for another nap and wait for the day to end. Hopefully a more energetic and inspired day tomorrow!

Of course my inclination is to go through the whys and wherefores, but I’m not sure that I’d get anywhere today. Could I have taken my tablets earlier and not been so hungover? Yes. Could I have gone to bed earlier and been less tired? Yes. Did having a fight with hubby last night drain my energy? Possibly. All probable cause and effect, but I can’t prove for sure what wore me out so its better to move on. I’ll aim to take my tabs and get to bed earlier, and sort out arguments earlier in the day. Good luck with that, me!

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Canberra Day Ten

There’s something about “having” to get going in the morning to take hubby to work that really keeps me going and it’s working well. Actually, until his new workplace provide him with an ID and access to the change rooms (I mean its only been 7 workdays!), he’s been given authority to charge a cab to and from work. But I asked if I could still take him in of a morning, because it’s really working for me. And why tamper with a willing system?

I took my bike AGAIN today, two days in a row, and did the same combination of central loop/eastern loop of the Lake Burley Griffin bike path. I love that lake every time I see it: it’s so scenic, and rich with birds, and history. Not to be caught out with my camera twice, I slung it over my shoulder and headed off. Not the best set up but it worked well enough. It was pretty chilly but I had my camera and my bike and I was excited! Anticipation is so powerful. I guess it’s like hope, in a way. And hope is probably the most powerful counter balance to mental illness.

I got my photos of the NINE ducklings. YAY! Hope fulfilled. Plus unexpectedly another family of ELEVEN ducklings!! And TWO Masked Lapwing (previously Plover) chicks!!! And a baby rabbit! And a baby Golden Whistler that was playfully flitting around the tree above my head. This paragraph hardly does justice to the joy, the bliss, and excitement, and happiness that all of this brings to me! It was a beautiful morning. Not only that but I recorded MORE species of birds this morning; FORTY FOUR up from THIRTY EIGHT yesterday, including a Double Barred Finch which was a LIFER for me; a bird that I’ve never come across before. That’s because it doesn’t occur naturally in Victoria – truly a bird for above the border.

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I had another fun jaunt at Floriade checking out the shopping stalls, trying one some clothes, tasting the honey donuts which were a terrific recommendation from a friend, and checking out the flowers. I can already see some tulips starting to fall apart, and others popping up and starting to unfold. I can see how a week can make for a total change in the gardens. I still haven’t tried the ferris wheel, but I will.

You must check out my website for Spring Babies!

And for some photos of the beautiful Lake Burley Griffin check out Bike Ride and Baby Shower and Morning Lake Burley Griffin Drive.

Swan Bay

Yesterday morning we took a walk around Swan Bay in Queenscliff. The morning had been pretty chilly and there was still a brisk wind off the water as we headed off around the waterside walking track.

The upside of a chilly morning is the clear sunny day that follows; perfect for bird watching and taking photos and just being out and about!

I didn’t see quite as many birds as I had hoped, however a lot of birds were far over on little islands of sea grass or tidal mud so although they were there, we didn’t get a good look.

I really need to look into getting a pair of more powerful binoculars. I already know mine are terrible, but just need to get out and look for my next pair; they would make a huge difference!

Pair of Crimson Rosellas walking the spouting of a nearby house

Pair of Crimson Rosellas walking the spouting of a nearby house

Beautiful duck in the wetlands: Pacific Black, Australian Shoveler or Australian Grey Teal??

Beautiful duck in the wetlands: Pacific Black, Australasian Shoveler or Australian Grey Teal??

Australian White Ibis poking around in the shallows

Australian White Ibis poking around in the shallows

White-faced Heron in the Swan Bay

White-faced Heron in the Swan Bay

Australian Pied Oystercatcher amongst the sea grass

Australian Pied Oystercatcher amongst the sea grass

Stunning Crimson Rosella in the bushes

Stunning Crimson Rosella in the bushes

Beautiful crimson and light blue colours of the Crimson Rosella

Beautiful crimson and light blue colours of the Crimson Rosella

Group of male and female Chestnut Teal ducks in the sea grass

Group of male and female Chestnut Teal ducks in the sea grass

Fabulous blue male Superb Fairy-wren on the path in front of us

Fabulous blue male Superb Fairy-wren on the path in front of us

Pretty female Superb Fairy-wren edging out of the bushes next to the path

Pretty female Superb Fairy-wren edging out of the bushes next to the path

New Holland Honeyeaters thronging through these yellow bushes

New Holland Honeyeaters thronging through these yellow bushes

New Holland Honeyeater dangling down into a flower

New Holland Honeyeater dangling down into a flower

Immature New Holland Honeyeater preening on a branch

Immature New Holland Honeyeater preening on a branch

Group of Little Pied Cormorants drying off on the shore

Group of Little Pied Cormorants drying off on the shore

Royal Spoonbills swishing their bills for dinner

Royal Spoonbills swishing their bills for dinner

Another yellow bush, another New Holland Honeyeater

Another yellow bush, another New Holland Honeyeater

Caught in mid twirl: New Holland Honeyeater dancing around

Caught in mid twirl: New Holland Honeyeater dancing around

Australian Magpie in the grass

Australian Magpie in the grass

Group of Australian Grey Teal ducks resting on Swan Bay

Group of Australian Grey Teal ducks resting on Swan Bay

Westerfolds Park

In spite of a grey day threatening rain and a brisk winter chill wind we headed out to Westerfolds Park last Saturday morning. We’d been out once in the autumn and really enjoyed this beautiful retreat but wanted to come back and see the other side of the park.

With our coats zipped tight and camera at the ready we headed off around a loop looking for birds.

The main sight for the morning was rainbow lorikeets. They were everywhere, barreling in between the trees using their wings as rudders, calling raucously from the trees, dangling from branches, and always amazing me with how their bright primary colours can camouflage so perfectly with the creams and khaki greens and greys of the gum trees.

rainbow lorikeets, Westerfolds Park, gum tree

Trio of Rainbow Lorikeets in a gum tree at Westerfolds Park

acrobatic rainbow lorikeets, westerfolds park

Rainbow Lorikeets doing acrobatics to find lunch

Rainbow lorikeet camouflaged amongst the gum trees

Rainbow lorikeet camouflaged amongst the gum trees

We also saw a new bird that I haven’t seen before, which turns out to be a Grey Butcherbird. On first glimpse it looks like something between a Kookaburra and a Magpie.

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Grey Butcherbird found in Westerfolds Park

And I think that this is an immature Grey Butcherbird but not completely sure...

And I think that this is an immature Grey Butcherbird but not completely sure…

Then a delightful kookaburra settled comfortably on a branch above the creek

laughing kookaburra, soft and fluffy

Soft and fluffy Laughing Kookaburra sitting on a branch

We found some beautiful Crimson Rosellas disguised in the green grass

eastern rosellas, green grass

Eastern Rosellas blending into the green grass

And another one up in the trees

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Gorgeous Eastern Rosella high up in the tree

Always fun to see some common birds and get some good shots

australian magpie, lunch, hunting, green grass

Australian Magpie on the lookout for lunch

noisy miner, branches

Cute little noisy miner scraping its beak on a branch

We attempted to get a photo of one of the many swallows flitting and diving all around us – kudos to my hubby for getting some pretty good shots!!

welcome swallow, flitting and diving

Flitting and diving Welcome Swallow

welcome swallow, fast, agile

Another fast and agile Welcome Swallow

Again, have to share the photography credits with my husband who is a better photographer than me and was firing on all cylinders with his bird spotting too!!

All in all a fun morning out 🙂