Canberra Day Twenty Three

Monday 3rd October, 2016

Public Holiday! Labour day this week, I think. Don’t mind the cause, we’re on holiday in Narooma! We had a proper sleep in today, and slow breakfast before packing up. Unfortunately our plans for the day of bike rides had to be forfeited because it was blowing an absolute gale! It started yesterday afternoon. That delicious breeze turned into a nice stiff breeze then into an annoying wind then into a wind that we had to hide from to be able to enjoy our picnic! By this morning it felt like the house was coming down, and all the surrounding trees! Mind you we were staying at Top of the Town so…it wasn’t so bad once we got down to the town, and the boardwalk that is built against a hill was perfectly protected so we went over there for a walk which was delightful. But as soon as we stepped out from behind the hill we got a proper blast! The waves were choppy and the beach looked like a big washing machine. The whole area is so beautiful, and we were lapping it up, but the wind does get a bit tiring so back to the car and head for home.

img_6777

Napping is getting a bit much lately, but I have to remember that I only got an hour yesterday in what was a very big energy use day of socialising for me, so the next day is always a slow one generally. I got started well and was keen for the walk which is a great sign. I was doing well with the window down in the car on the way to Bateman’s Bay but the wind got too much, and as soon as I closed the window and the sun was shining in, I started nodding off. We stopped at Bateman’s Bay for lunch, thinking we were saving ourselves from queuing to cross the only bridge from south to north, but it was just prolonging the issue. What a situation! One lane each way on the only route up and the down the coast!!

I slept again to Bungendore an hour out of Canberra, but we got out for a gelato and that perks you up, having to walk around and eat. So I managed to stay alert until we got home then and unpacked, but once hubby got all the washing on, I just couldn’t stay up any longer. Caution on napping in daylight savings: when you wake up and it’s still light, it may not be early so check the time before going back to sleep! I didn’t, and the next time I woke up and it was STILL light is was actually 6.30pm!! 3 hours! And now its late, 10.50pm and I’m going from strength to strength!! Typical. Well off the bed, see you later.

A little less

[Started 10th September, 2015]

Okay, time to be a bit less serious.

Sun, glorious sun!!

Sun, glorious sun!!

There has been too much D&M lately. Meaning deep and meaningful, of course!

My bad. As well as causes, I love issues!!

But it’s spring, and there’s something in the air. I walked home in broad daylight tonight! That’s exciting! I’ve only been working 8 weeks and already my walk home has gone from almost pitch dark to sunlight. Yay!

Walking out into the sunshine! Perfection!

Walking out into the sunshine! Perfection!

So let’s have some fun and enjoy the light, little, fun things in life.

[Continuing 12th September]

A cheeky lorikeetHere’s a cheeky Rainbow Lorikeet playing peek-a-boo and considering acrobatics to get you into a playful mood!

Today the air was warm. I put a foot outside, and it was warm; not cool, not chilly. So unexpected. And how exciting! My pilates teacher back in Warragul said once that she loved hot days because it felt like the air was giving you a cuddle. That’s a beautiful way to think about those hot, cloistering days. Wrapping themselves around you and keeping you cosy and warm.

There is no magic cure

There is no magic cure

Isn’t this just the way to think about life??

I’m not there yet, but I really love this meme, and this saying.

When life is overwhelming and having to go forward feels impossible, wouldn’t this saying just help to bring you back from snowballing thoughts, and overthinking, and digging yourself into a giant sinkhole? Or at least it might send you in that direction.

I do so relate to the aims of this theory!

So many shades of yellow in the wattle bursting out all over the place

So many shades of yellow in the wattle bursting out all over the place

  1. An easier day. I have loved the feeling of bliss and achievement that is an easier day than yesterday since I’ve started back at work. Since I started bike riding. And less noticeably over the course of my getting better, but I notice that in hindsight over months not days.

Getting fitter and stronger, having more stamina and energy, and coping better feel like great victories compared to recent life that has been lived on the couch! I’ve only been back at work for 8 weeks, but I can feel my progress every time I go back. Which is so delightful. I wish I could share this feeling with every person every where, because it is so powerful and so good for you, and gives you a feeling that you are good for something after all.

Cygnets hiding in the grass

Cygnets hiding in the grass

2. An unexpected laugh. Nothing is so wonderful as an unexpected laugh when you didn’t think you could possibly!

I called one of the help telephone lines once, can’t remember which one now. My husband was away for the night at a work thing, staying away til the next day and I was braving it at home. This has always been something that’s difficult for me: the night, monsters, shooting people, muggers, rapers, people breaking in and stealing stuff etc. Yes my mind works in drastic ways! I had not long been diagnosed with depression, and my anxiety had really flared up again. I’d had a panic attack the month before, and I knew I was fragile. So I tried to look after myself, made a nice tea, had some good snacks, watched a movie to distract myself.

Swamphen chick last spring at the Botanic Gardens - check out those huge feet!

Swamphen chick last spring at the Botanic Gardens – check out those huge feet!

I chose Sunshine Cleaning or whatever its called with Amy thingamybob, bad idea! It’s most sub-textual but in the past the mother had committed suicide in the bath by bleeding to death, and one daughter has learned to cope and the other sits under the railway line having her ears blasted to death while she cries about it. Obviously by the end of that movie my thought processes weren’t in a good place or heading in a good direction, and it wasn’t too long until I couldn’t breathe. Couldn’t call hubby tonight, extra panic. And so on until I was in a pretty nice state!! I had these numbers from different depression websites, so I called.

And the lady was brilliant. I wish I remembered the details to give her feedback because she was truly awesome! I couldn’t speak, I couldn’t breathe, I was so distressed and she calmly spoke down the phone to me for a good 10 minutes before I could really participate back. And when I could talk but started to flare up again she kept on talking. And then she made me laugh! I don’t even remember how, but she had found out a few things about me and knew enough to get on my wavelength and then she made me laugh! It may have been a wet, sobbing/gasping laugh but I felt that laugh and nothing could be more powerful to giving you the idea that you are going to be okay.

Masked Lapwing, or Spur-Winged Plover baby being all kinds of cute last spring

Masked Lapwing, or Spur-Winged Plover baby being all kinds of cute last spring

You just laughed. How amazing it that! You’ve been so distraught but you laughed! People don’t laugh when things are really bad. Therefore things must be getting better, all because you laughed. It is a true gift to give to anyone at anytime; give them a laugh.

Not a condescending laugh; oh look at you, silly billy, making a big deal out of nothing.

Not a laughing-at-you laugh; look at how seriously you’ve taken all of this, just admit that you got carried away and acted crazy.

A genuine, I’m-with-you-in-this, here’s some common ground that will make us both feel better and that will lead us to better things.

A little trickling waterfall is always music to my ears

A little trickling waterfall is always music to my ears

I sincerely, genuinely, honestly recommend help telephone lines for anyone and everyone. Nothing is too small, not serious enough, not a big deal. Why wait til it gets bigger, more serious, a really HUGE deal? Just call. There’s no reason not to. Just call. If you just need someone to talk an issue through with, to commiserate with and to understand just how you feel, call.

Obviously don’t abuse their volunteer service, but if you have a shadow of a doubt that maybe you should, just call!

Being on top of the world!

Being on top of the world!

3. A mirror that doesn’t matter anymore. The mirror thing is an ambition of mine,  and maybe one day it won’t matter anymore, or at least not so much as it has.

I’m not going to go down the mirror path in this most uplifting (I hope!) post…but seriously, mirrors are conspiring against me! I just get an outfit sorted that I think sort of flatters me, then I walk past some window and got a shock! a fright! a surprise to find that the once thinner me actually has a big butt and bigger belly! Where’d that come from?! How’d that get there?! When did that appear? That’s not what I look like in my mind! I thought I’d gotten rid of that. Well, yes, you did get rid of it, in your mind. But then you woke up today and because you haven’t done anything actually about it, it’s still there. Huh!

Golden afternoon light on my subject; best way to end the day!

Golden afternoon light on my subject; best way to end the day!

I hope you have enjoyed some photos of some of my favourite spring things! And hopefully you’ve found something here to feel good about, or at least to get you going in a goodish direction. Till next time! D x

Flighty Friday

[Written 22nd June, 2015]

Okay, now I get it!

It really is a big deal.

Actually I’m a bit exhilarated!

I finally found them! Well actually a really nice guy with his twins in a pram wearing a camera found them, and came and got me so that I could see them too. Many thanks to him for that, but what I mean is I finally got to see them!

gum tree, eucalypt

Several of the Swift parrots at Macleod station

The famous Macleod Station Swift Parrots!

Otherwise named by other birders as The Great Houdini! They have certainly nailed the vanishing act on the last three times I’ve gone looking for them! But to be fair, thanks to some advice from another birder, I’ve realised that I’ve been looking for the wrong thing.

branch, acrobat

The belly of an upside down Swift parrot doing acrobatics

I’m used to rainbow lorikeets and musk lorikeets. You can tell where these birds are at all times of the day and night by the raucous racket that they make! So every time I’ve gone over the Macleod I’ve followed the noise. This has been an unfailing tactic in the past, so I went by history and experience. This did lead to a first in a lifetime sighting of a few Scaly-breasted Lorikeets mixing with the Musk and Rainbow Lorikeets, but no Swift Parrots.

pink flowering gum, musk lorikeet

Just for variety, one of the Musk Lorikeets, the noisy ones!

So today was my ‘4th time is the charm’ visit! The plan: walk quietly around the station looking up into the eucalypt trees for sight of birds, rather than listening for their sound. And it was the perfect plan. Even without the kind gentleman I would have come across them, but sharing it with someone else was nice. The excitement and satisfaction is better shared, otherwise random shrieks of joy and jumping up and down clenching fists frightens nearby innocent strangers and inspires parents to gather their children and retreat to a safe distance!

colours

So many different colours! It’s hard to take it all in!

So, the Swift Parrot. This flock is estimated to be up to 30 birds, so I’ve heard. The word has spread like wildfire among birders around the country, and people have traveled serious distances to see these gorgeous creatures. Most days I see people posting photos to Facebook of their experience with finding these quiet, well camouflaged birds. And the sightings have been very reliable every day for several weeks. And now I’m a part of it!

climbing, food

This Swift parrot climbing up the tree for more food

Why are we so excited and motivated to see those beauties? Well for a start they are just stunning! Pretty colours, graceful flight, acrobatic climbers and most significantly, they are endangered. These parrots breed only in Tasmania in the summer; during those months they can only be found in that state which is their home territory and the location of their nests in hollow trees. They migrate to south-eastern Australia, i.e. Victoria and maybe southern NSW, in the winter. They are considered nearly extinct in SA. Year old birds who won’t be breeding sometimes stay here for the summer while the majority of the population head back to Tassie.[1]

magazine, celebrity

I feel like I’ve met a celebrity in the Swift Parrot! I might never see them again, and here they are on the cover of Birdlife’s quarterly magazine!

So they’re endangered, only here in the winter and they’ve set up shop right here in the city, in the square between a strip of shops, a kindergarten, a school and a train station of all things! Not exactly the distant, peaceful, undisturbed bush/forest that you would imagine.

Noisy Miner, power struggle

The annoying Noisy Miners trying to shoo off the Swift Parrots…eventually they won, for now

Which gives me an opportunity to grind one of my favourite axes!

I take issue with people favouring the country to the exclusion of the city.

hello

Well Hello there! Nice to see you

Of course you all have the right to your own opinion. And to be clear, I grew up in the country, moved to the city when I was eighteen to study instead of moving to another country city, moved back to the country for a job when I was twenty two because my city option fell through, and moved back to the city because trying to live in the country was killing us when I was twenty six.

pretty

Just so pretty from every angle!!

I love the country. It really feeds me to find some green spaces. I love the city; my life is there and I love the energy and opportunities.

I don’t understand having a total block opinion of the city. It’s the greatest variety of types and cultures and one opinion can’t apply as a blanket. My husband came from the city, my pharmacist education came from the city, some of the best days of my life have been in the city. Of course growing up in the country was something I loved too.

territory wars, back off

Territory wars are rife around Macleod, Noisy Miners vs. anything else! This Swfit parrot is telling Noisy to back off!

Having a narrow view of those “city people” and “city drivers” is not well thought out. Most “city people” don’t live in the city, as in the CBD. Not many people live in the actual city. We live in suburbs of the city, just like you live in suburbs of country; there is pretty much no difference between where I live and you live in most cases.

The majority of “country people” and “country drivers” don’t live in the country, as in open plains and wide spaces. Not many people live in the actual country. And as above, suburbs vs suburbs.

flock, quiet

A flock of Swift Parrots – if they sit still it’s pretty easy to miss them!

Those in the CBD and those out in the open country can debate the issue, but most people forget that for the rest of us, we’re actually living more or less the same life whether we’re in a town or city.

I can find undisturbed bush land where you can’t hear any traffic and feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere within a 10 minute drive or bike ride from my house in the middle eastern suburbs. Once there you would have no idea that there’s a freeway just the other side, that you’re surrounded by housing. And at the centre of a lot of towns you’ll find it hard to find a park, be walking past plate glass buildings and have all the fumes of the cars just like the city.

rainbow lorikeet, pink flowering gum

Can’t forget a photo of the many Rainbow Lorikeets that rule the rest of the playground at Macleod

I think it’s time we agreed everything has it’s good and poor aspects, and stop being scared of what we don’t know. You never truly know until you go and experience the other side of life. So get out there, live on the other side.

pose

Another shot in bad light so it doesn’t do this bird justice, but what a pose!

It’s always pros and cons. If you didn’t have the city, you couldn’t live the life you enjoy. Without the country, you wouldn’t have many essentials that make up life as we know it.

tomorrow

What a day! What an experience! I’m tempted to head back tomorrow…..

Point being, if a flock of an endangered species of bird that can migrate to anywhere they like choose the suburbs of the city instead of the country, can it really be that bad?

[1] Museum Victoria Field Guide to Victorian Fauna, free app

OOh ooh ooh!

Today at photography class I shot a truly good photo of a bird!

All the stars were aligned and everything just came together perfectly!

I had the white balance, exposure, aperture and ISO values all plugged in resulting in a right shutter speed; I was standing with my camera pointed in the right direction balanced on a solid platform to avoid camera shake; the natural lighting was coming from the best angle and a little teeny tiny birdie landed right in front of us! I fired off two shots and they are amazing!

There is a real exhilaration about getting the perfect shot! Getting the exact colours right, having the focus in the best spot, getting a clear shot and going home with deep satisfaction and a perfect keepsake.

All of this is due to the photography class that I’ve been taking over the last six weeks. Taking bird photos on automatic was okay but I was having issues getting the focus right and ended up missing a lot of shots that should have been awesome. Going through your photos at home and finding all of them are blurry, focused on something insignificant, or just plain timed wrong was giving me the irrits!

So my husband was telling me that a photography class would be a great idea and was encouraging me to get out the manual and learn more about the settings. He loves that sort of thing but the idea of it just filled me with a desire to do literally ANYTHING else in the world! I took photography classes in Year 9 and enjoyed them but twelve years later my memory of what I learned there is a bit dim!

One day when I was out in one of my favourite bird watching spots I noticed a flyer for an eight week course and enrolled the next day. I’m up to week six now and I’ve learned a lot! I have a lot more practice to do to get more of these perfect shots. But the skills I’ve learned have definitely improved my photos and I’m excited to think that they can be improved further.

So the bird. Another brand new one to me which is exciting in itself!

The original shot of a delightful Spotted Pardalot, I believe the red rumped variety

The original shot of a delightful Spotted Pardalot, right time and right place

The edited shot of the pardalot, still clear despite being significiantly cropped showing a good clear shot

The edited shot of the pardalot, still clear despite being significantly cropped showing a good clear shot, correct focus and no camera shake! Yay!

So this moment makes the photography class feel very worthwhile! Yes there was some fluke and chance in getting the photo but I had done everything possible with the manual settings to allow myself every opportunity of success. And that feels good!

This is one example.

The other was a demonstration of a not quite there moment which could also be looked at as an almost there moment; depends on your mindset right?

A fluffy little White-browed Shrub Wren hiding behind at least four branches stealing the point of focus! shrubbery

A fluffy little White-browed Shrub Wren hiding behind at least four branches stealing the point of focus!

Having done everything with the settings to get the shot, I changed over to manual focus; something I’m just experimenting with lately.

Got it in focus! Yes...ish, unfortunately by this time a few seconds on the wren was tired of waiting around for me :) shrubbery

Got it in focus! Yes!…ish. Unfortunately by this time the wren was tired of waiting around for me and had started to push off so not a great shot but at least I had more control over the photo 🙂

Exciting times! I’m looking forward to my next class 🙂