Magical Monday

New bird alert! New bird alert! Excitement, excitement!

And what a relief it is on a day like this, a week like this, to feel excitement!

I haven’t been having a very fun time of it, to be honest. Everything is a bit or a lot hard, tedious, effortful, difficult, troublesome, not worth it. Getting up is a drag, showering is a hideous ordeal, eating is just tiring, deciding to do anything is impossible! I’ve been sleeping a lot, avoiding thinking about my to-do list a lot, and just skimming through the days til bedtime.

It’s not fun!

But here is an effort, however tiny and minuscule, yet enormous and huge, to get out. Just for a little bit. Just to have done something other than be at home; unproductively, unsuccessfully, un-impressively at home.

It’s all in my new direction from the psychiatrist – getting outside, enjoying the sunshine. I’m trying to do my bit since he has turned my life around. I owe him that much.

I realise I also owe that much, or more, to my husband as well so here it comes Beautiful: I promise to try your caring suggestions and get a bit motivated and interested if I can!

Ah, IF. The stories you could tell…

So in the late afternoon on Monday I gathered myself up, stuffed myself into some clothes (hopefully matching!), got the car out and took myself down to my old favourite birding spot; Blackburn Lake Sanctuary.

I can’t believe how long it has been since I was down here last! I’m definitely going to make more of an effort to get here more often because let’s face it, in suburbia anywhere it’s a great privilege to have some green spaces nearby for an escape/retreat/sanctuary/reset.

And every time it rewards me so greatly. This time I didn’t even get past the car park for the first hour!

I heard some lorikeets, assumed they were Rainbows but then caught a glimpse and they had shorter tails and red on their head! New bird!!!!

They were truly beautiful, and fun, and acrobatic, and shrieky, and a challenge to get still enough for a decent focused photo!

Honestly I felt as much satisfaction from changing the settings to get a better picture as I did in finding a never-before-seen-or-photographed-bird!

I changed to shutter mode to still their actions after using the programmable mode gave me a too-slow shutter speed and was too slow to focus, and was too dark and too grainy! Then I had to keep adjusting the ISO and exposure as I followed the birds around depending on whether I was shooting up at the outside of the tree in full sun, shooting under the canopy up into the dark shadow or straight across at a neighbouring tree…etc.

I was pretty proud of some of the photos I got. I always recognise that chance and luck have quite a bit to do with the photos, but having purposely set the variables, I do take pride in the fact that the photo was taken by chance and the settings were perfect for that chance!

So here’s a few of my favourites! Hope you can enjoy looking at them as much as I did taking them!

We start in some gorgeous wattle trees where there’s some pretty fierce competition from cranky Red Wattlebirds and Noisy Miners, plus some quiet guests in the lovely Galahs.

New bird! The gorgeous Musk Lorikeet - vibrant red forehead, cheek and tip of beak, wattle

New bird! The gorgeous Musk Lorikeet – vibrant red forehead, cheek and tip of beak

Musk Lorikeets are apparently notoriously hard to find because like other lorikeets the only time they’re quiet is when they’re eating! Add to this their preference for eating on top of the canopy where they not only blend in with their green underbelly but are hidden by layers of branches and leaves! So I feel pretty lucky that they choose these low growing trees to feed from.

Pretty pretty pretty! I love the yellow patches just above the wing and the blue head!

Pretty pretty pretty! I love the yellow patches just above the wing and the blue head!

I always appreciate it when my birds kindly move to the dead trees and branches – it’s very convenient to me! Thanks for the photo op!

The perfect camoflage - despite the colourful patches, when the lorikeet turns its back it becomes invisible!

The perfect camouflage – despite the colourful patches, when the lorikeet turns its back it becomes invisible!

This is a photo that makes me really proud of what I have achieved! To shoot past all of the sticks and leaves to get a clear focus on the bird is a very tricky thing, and something I wouldn’t have been able to do before my photography course – kudos to Master Your Camera’s Wendy!

This is a photo that makes me really proud of what I have achieved! To shoot past all of the sticks and leaves to get a clear focus on the bird is a very tricky thing, and something I wouldn't have been able to do before my photography course

The dangling upside down antics of these Musk Lorikeets are so delightful! In this shot you can make out the brownish yellow patch on its back

This photo is typical of my excitement when I find a new bird. At first I just snap away furiously to get a shot, any shot. Then I realise they’re not going anywhere and slow down and start adjusting the settings. Then I can take a breath, stop and actually look at composing a shot for the best photos of the day – this is just about it!

This photo is typical of my excitement when I find a new bird. At first I just snap away furiously to get a shot, any shot. Then I realise they're not going anywhere and slow down and start adjusting the settings. Then I can take a breath, stop and actually look at composing a shot for the best photos of the day

Always dangling for the best bite to eat! Love all of the different colours.

One downside of shooting through the exterior is that you can get foggy patches in your photos!

I love this photo for the underbelly of the bird, something that isn't always photographed but I find it fascinating!

I love this photo for the underbelly of the bird, something that isn’t always photographed but I find it fascinating!

Then the Red Wattlebirds and Noisy Miners got too overpowering and my new friends all flew off squawking and squarking! Luckily they didn’t go too far and settled in a nearby eucalyptus and a different wattle tree. This was perfect as they were in the clear path of the afternoon sun which always makes everything look beautiful and good as new!

And towards the end I get this shot! Love it, this shows so much character of this bird!, gum tree, eucalypt

And towards the end I get this shot! Love it, this shows so much character of this bird!

Advertisements

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

Raymond Island

Hello again friends,

I know I’m a bit off my usual topics at the moment but I had an amazing four days away at Wattle Point on Lake Victoria near Paynesville last week, and I just want to relive it over and over!

Cuddly cute Koala soaking up the afternoon sun on Raymond Island

Cuddly cute Koala soaking up the afternoon sun on Raymond Island

Did I mention at any stage that I’ve gone back to work? I’m currently doing 3 shifts of 5 hours from 8.30am to 1.30pm each week on Monday, Thursday and Friday. I started back EXACTLY six whole months since I left and it’s going well.

Except that it sometimes cramps my style! I say this jokingly, mostly, but being off work with the whole week at your disposal apart from doctors appointments, psychologist appointments, classes and whatever activities I was up for had its great points especially in the last two months after I started lithium and was actually able to function!

The most adorable baby Koala learning to climb and cling to branched all by itself!

The most adorable baby Koala learning to climb and cling to branched all by itself!

And having to work around three shifts of work is fine, except when an extended trip comes up. I worked around my Thailand trip (more to come on this!) because I was booked in before I started back at work, but this week long holiday came up with my mum and dad and I had to just take the bits that I could get. My year long contract finishes next week so I want to make the most of being able to make money while I have the opportunity!

The majority of Koalas just seem like they're snuggled up in bed, gum tree

The majority of Koalas just seem like they’re snuggled up in bed

In the end I worked Monday, caught public transport 4 hours across Victoria to spend Tuesday and Wednesday with mum and dad, caught public transport back to work Thursday and Friday, then drove back with hubby and a great friend to spend Saturday and Sunday. Just a bit tiring but the lengths people go to for a holiday… 🙂

The first Koala of the day, quite at home next the the main road and the kids playground and low enough down to touch!

The first Koala of the day, quite at home next the the main road and the kids playground and low enough down to touch!

So the holiday. It was a fascinating opportunity that came up through the Otis Foundation, an incredible institution that raises money for women who have had breast cancer. The money goes towards providing holiday accommodation free of charge to the woman with breast cancer and her family. The idea of the holiday is to leave breast cancer and all of its trappings behind: chemo, radiotherapy, medicines, nausea, pain etc and just go on retreat from the real world for a while.

Sitting pretty, propped up on all side

Sitting pretty, propped up on all side

And it truly was a retreat! The house at Wattle Point was fabulous and absolutely suited to holiday makers with loads of windows looking out over Lake Victoria, an open fire for chilly nights, outdoor decking and BBQ, tables and chairs for outdoor dining, spa, window seat, hall book shelf and gorgeous gardens, pond, orchard, chook yard, canoes and trampoline. Amazing! And there were all kinds of birds, plus rabbits and hares running across the lawn!

Stunning!

Snuggled up with a branch for a prop

Snuggled up with a branch for a prop

Sleepy grandpa Koala with a "do not disturb' face

Sleepy grandpa Koala with a “do not disturb’ face

20 minutes from Paynesville, 20 minutes from Bairnsdale, 10 minutes from Blond Bay game reserve, 25 minutes from the silt jetties, Bluff lookout and the flora and fauna reserve.

So much to see and do!

I can see one hand dangling, and neither leg is hanging on...

I can see one hand dangling, and neither leg is hanging on…

But one of the most amazing of all of the local attractions is the Koala trail on Raymond Island. This is connected by chain ferry to Paynesville, an easy 5 minute crossover and then the delights begin!

Immediately! For free! And so thrilling and delightful! So on a perfectly sunny glorious morning we headed for Raymond Island.

Another Koala in an incomprehensible position with too many limbs lolling down!

Another Koala in an incomprehensible position with too many limbs lolling down!

Snoozing along a limb in the afternoon sun

Snoozing along a limb in the afternoon sun

The very first tree after you cross over the road from the ferry to the park had the first koala! Right there! Right in the fork of the tree! You don’t even have to look; it’s right there! And it’s not in an enclosure or a wildlife park; these are wild koalas put on the island nearly 100 years ago to prevent them from becoming extinct. I went through the park last Tuesday and again on Saturday with more people, and as hard as it was to believe, there were even more koalas the second time around!

Just postcard perfect! Thanks for turning your head just at the right moment

Just postcard perfect! Thanks for turning your head just at the right moment

This Koala climbed out here to feed...looked pretty precarious!

This Koala climbed out here to feed…looked pretty precarious!

Fluffy ears with a good view of the world from up in the sky

Fluffy ears with a good view of the world from up in the sky

I hope you enjoy these super cute delightful creatures as much as I did! I think from now on when I’m having a down day, these will be my cheer up photos!

The cutest, most alert koala of the day...check the next photo for what he did next!

The cutest, most alert koala of the day…check the next photo for what he did next!

Having a good ol scratch, oh to be that flexible!

Having a good ol scratch, oh to be that flexible!