Birdlife outings

This is a quick tour through what Birdlife Australia Melbourne branch outings look like to me. I love that there are organised bird watching outings, just like I love my Wheel Women outings; because it’s just harder on your own. You don’t know what locations to go to, where to find the best birds when you get there, and you just don’t have the local knowledge of what birds are around and where they might be. But Birdlife just isn’t the family that Wheel Women is. I know a few people to say hello to and have a chat with as we walk around together for a few hours. But I don’t really have a relationship with any of them outside of our bird watching outings. Still, its a very friendly, helpful group of people who are just dead keen of improving other’s skills at finding birds, helping us to learn their behaviour and hopefully finding new and different birds every outing. This is my photo journal of everything but the birds  (almost) from an outing to Woodlands Historic Park on 27th May 2017.

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First off, the car park meet up – yep they’re all ours

 

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Getting the briefing for how the day is going to run, what to look out for, who is leading and who is tailing, and the famous sign up sheet

 

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Hold up on the bridge as someone spots something…what, what, what have you got?? we call from the rear

 

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It’s REALLY time that I got binoculars! The camera does pretty well, but I think binoculars would adjust quicker and let more light in

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A bit more scattered along the track as we wander back for lunch

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Bring on lunch!!! It’s almost a stampede once 12.30 hits the second hand!!

 

And here is a quick snapshot of some of the birds that we saw. It wasn’t a tremendous day out, although that last bird was a first for me, the Fan-tailed Cuckoo. We got to see some beautiful Flame (above) and Scarlet Robins but at a long distance so there’s not a lot to show for it. Better photos next time!

Canberra Day 89

[Friday 9th December]

Time is getting short here, and a weekend trip back down to Melbourne is going to make it shorter, but we wouldn’t miss it for anything. Hubby’s grandmother passed away at the start of the week and the funeral is this coming Monday so tonight we’re piling into our brother and sister-in-laws dual cab for the 7.5 hour trip south. It’s the least we can do to pay our final public love and respect. And we’re looking forward to being with hubby’s family, we miss them so much more at a time like this. It’s not sad that she is gone, in that we wouldn’t wish her back in her age, health, memory state but we’ll always miss her. I realise at this time that I’ve failed in my essential duty of letting many of my good people know that she has gone…I’m sorry! It’s mostly because it never occurred to me until the funeral; brain fade!

Since we’re going home for a bit anyway, and I have so much stuff (his words, not mine), I’m packing a few bags to take with me. You know, pharmacy reading I was going to get through, a cross stitch I was going to start, a sketch pad I never opened, a photo album I was going to go through and caption, books, clothes I won’t need, most of my shoes etc. Plus a few little purchases; I tried to keep it few and small. And its that time already, time to make a few coffee/lunch dates to say goodbye to my new friends! Nooo! Not already.

On today’s ticket? The amazing Versailles exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia. It’s only showing in Canberra, so lucky me! I know NOTHING about Versailles, except from the ads: gold, gold, more gold, marble, flowers and I hear there’s a special perfume! So what better way to take it in than a guided tour? This is opening day, probably not an ideal day to see it but I haven’t got that many days left so gotta go for it. I realise as I arrive at the National Gallery that I should have come here ages ago! There’s so much else to see apart from this exhibition; I’ll have to try and get back here. The tour was an audio one with the guide speaking quietly into a mic and the followers listening through headphones; good idea since there were multiple tours running and lots of people everywhere. The guide was amazing, she knew so much and spouted off all the dates and history like she’d done it a hundred times before even though it was day one. And the exhibition was magnificent!! There WAS a special perfume designed specifically for this exhibition! It was constantly sprayed through the entrance hall of the exhibition to give the impression of the massive gardens surrounding the palace of Versailles and the gazillion orange trees that lined the 100 something metre hall leading into the main palace. Some people smelled orange blossom, I smelled roses. Either way, what a cool device for an exhibition, engaging your sense of smell as well as sight!

So what did we see? So many beautiful paintings, either from the palace, or of the time and people from Versailles and France, all in such massive, elaborate, golden, carved frames that would do my grandma’s decorating style proud. Then the real things: enormous floor rugs, gorgeous gold and glass vases, furniture, clothing, a room immersing you in a 3D experience of the elaborate irrigation system in place for the Versailles garden which was demanded by one of the Louis’ despite the palace being basically in the desert. The history of the 3 Louis’ of the Versailles palace was also fascinating to me, having never heard any of it before. A brilliant exhibition; highly recommended! I did manage to sneak back another time and it was worth; so much detail to take in!

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An amazing photograph of the main hall of the palace of Versailles giving a glimpse into the decadent era that began with the reign of the Louis’ – the 2 foreground statues are replicas of the original. There were something like 373 mirrors along this hallway paired with windows on the other side

Then another little experience: a 2.5 km walking tour of Lake Burley Griffin with a guide talking about the history of Canberra and the lake. It’s a free thing that the tourist board do, so of course I have to do it! Never pass a freebie, me. We looked at the globe of the world inscribed with all the consulates in Canberra, the Menzies statue which is REALLY tall, the armed forces monument, the dead police  persons, the island, the musical tower. To be honest, I’ve done that many laps of the lake on my bike, plus the boat cruise, plus other tours that this one was a bit superfluous! Oh well. It’s done. But in a bit of a weird format, the tour is one way. It ends 2.5km from the start. And then you have to walk back again under your own steam! Bummer! Oh well, get trudging.

Canberra Day Forty Four

Monday 24th October, 2016

Not exactly a Canberra day but…

What a lovely day! A truly delightful day. Beautiful weather and excellent company. Today I hung out with a good friend of mine and her charming little 3 year old man; Mr Independent. I drove down to Wagga Wagga last night to stay a couple of nights with them. We’ve been trying to organise it from Melbourne for AGES but it hasn’t happened. Moving to Canberra actually made it easier cos its closer than Melbourne so FINALLY we’re having our hangout! A sleep in for me this morning, aahh! Then a quick brekky and off down the green highway to the lovely town of Junee in New South Wales for a unique experience visiting the licorice and chocolate factory. If you are ever in the area, this is absolutely a must visit and I’m so glad I got to see it. You can see the rotating machine that coats organic licorice made from scratch on site with Belgian chocolate, the chocolate polishing bubble machine that buffs up the chocolate pieces once the THIRTY to FORTY layers off chocolate have been applied creating a matt effect, the licorice pipes and cooling system, and you can actually make rocky road or an enormous chocolate freckle. Plus a brilliant gift shop, great cafe, a great little video tour and a rustic setting…shall I go on? Oh, and vertical bowling with a ball make entirely from licorice!! Such fun. Plus chatting all the way there and back, like old friends can. What a lovely time we had!

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How adorable! Mr 3 pretty excited to be making his own giant freckle!!

And that was only the day time. Another friend of theirs had a birthday today: I know, how many birthdays can there be? So my friend worked through the afternoon while I sat and chatted (I know my specialties, plus I dunno how to work the Thermomix) and cooked us up an enormous feast! Even the 10 of us couldn’t finish it off, with a huge main course, dessert, birthday cake and fruit platter plus drinks laid on. A lovely evening making new friends and catching up with old ones. Then to bed on a full stomach ready for a huge sleep.

Canberra Day Twenty Eight

[Saturday, 8th October 2016; 10pm]

Another lovely day. Any day now that has sunshine and warm temperatures is a good day. The number of rainy or cold days has outnumbered the sunny lovely days so I’m not wasting any opportunity to get out when I get a good one, just with sunscreen on this time!

It was going to be good day anyway cos hubby’s brother arrived last night from Melbourne for the weekend. He’s only one week back in the country from England where he taught in a select entry girls school for the 9 month teaching year, and then most recently from 3 months backpacking around Europe. SO much to catch up on! And he’s a green thumb so that suits my interests!

First of all brother in law and I hit the National Arboretum because it was their open day. We got the usual talk at the discovery centre, checked out the fascinating bonsai exhibition and then went for the drive through the lower section that was just open today; usually closed to visitors so you’d have to walk all the way through, which is a long way! The whole arboretum is 300 hectares!! Lots of walking, and lots of it steep. A very interesting place, I think there’s plenty of scope to go again, putting in mildly! And the views! Well you can see for yourself. Lastly we checked out the cork trees which are an amazement on their own. It was intriguing to hear how the Burley Griffins planned for all of this a long time before it came to be.

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Cork trees brought to Australia by Burley Griffin in 1912, showing evidence of harvesting which can only be done every 10 years, and may take up to 3 crops to get the best quality!

Home for a yummy lunch of nachos, we are being very spoilt here! Then an afternoon trip with EVERYONE to Floriade! Finally got hubby there after the disappointment of their night festival being cancelled for wind and rain. And our hosts came, and brother in law. Always beautiful, but especially in the sunshine and with good company. It was awesome to see that the tiny Purple Swamphen chicks are growing up, feeding themselves and much bigger than the first time I saw them a couple of weeks ago. I’m glad that the crowds haven’t phased them or their parents; it can be very disruptive having people near their nest or young…but these are all just going about their business. It was incredible to see the change in all of the garden beds as older plants have gone and new plants have come up. It really has to be seen to get the full impact.

Another amazing fact is that I took my meds on time last night, and lo and behold I woke up on time! 7am! Other than hubby who was already out riding, I was the first one downstairs this morning! Some kind of record. By 5.30pm when we got home from Floriade though I was feeling pretty feeble! So nap time, then dinner, now bed!

But my camera is upstairs with my sleeping husband so I’ll post this tomorrow when I can get at the photos.