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!

Bright and happy

On Wednesday my psychologist asked me to close my eyes and think of a time where I had felt fulfilled or satisfed. Turned out the strongest memory that came to me was of going out searching for birds, finding one and getting a good photograph. So I’ve been doing some reminiscing.

Bright in autumn. Something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time, years in fact. I have memories of the fabulous oranges, browns, reds and yellows of the deciduous trees shining in the yellow sun and the fresh, crisp mountain air.

red japanese maple leaves, sunshine, autumn

Gorgeous autumn Japanese maple leaves in the afternoon sunshine

autumn leaves

Autumn leaves that look like they are on fire!

We went up to Bright for a long weekend in mid May just as the autumn colours were looking so glorious in the city. Being higher up in altitude, the trees in Bright were further along in their seasonal shedding but still beautiful. There were the thick carpets of leaves that I remembered, enough to kick up as you walk along. I wished I was still a kid so I could build giant piles of leave and jump into them!

yellow, orange, brown, autumn leaves

Stunning yellows and oranges of the autumn leaves at Bright

A beautiful weekend with friends and great opportunities for bush walking and bird watching.

superb blue wren, Yea wetlands, green grass, blue wren

A flitting male superb blue wren in the Yea Wetlands

red-browed finch, yea wetlands

Hard to chase down and capture! Red-browed finch in the Yea wetlands

After riding Saturday morning, my awesome hubby took me for a walk along the bike path to where they’d seen some cool birds. A beautiful walk along the river and lots of beautiful birds.

female superb blue wren, blackberries, brown and fluffy

Female superb blue wren flitting through the blackberry bushes

male scarlet robin, bright red, black and white

Fabulous male Scarlet Robin, hard to capture!

And it turns out that I got one of my bucket list photos without realising it!! Immature gang gang cockatoo – I was looking for the pink but this young one is just grey all over.

gang gang cockatoo, black, high in the sky

Immature gang gang cockatoo that we spotted above the path

The next afternoon we went for a walk together and there were so many parrots!! Everywhere!

immature eastern rosella, green, camoflaged

Beautiful immature Eastern Rosella in a tree next to the holiday house

crimson rosella, tree, cheeky

Gorgeous Crimson rosella taking a peek through the branches

crimson rosellas, chimney

Crimson rosellas hanging out on an old chimney in town

pink galah

Grooming pink galah

king parrot, autumn leaves, red, yellow, green

Striking male King parrot amongst the autumn leaves

female king parrot, tree

Lovely green-headed female King parrot

And other birds too!

laughing kookaburra, tree, branch

Laughing kookaburra taking in the river views

magpie, grass

Strutting black and white magpie

I’ve gotta remember the joy and satisfaction that this hobby gives me, so that on those days when I feel exhausted and unable to bother with much I can go out and get me some fulfillment and joy! Or at least look back at my previous bird walks and remember that satisfaction.

Turns out I had no idea of how important the fulfillment of my job was to me. Being able to help people, giving answers to other health professionals, taking a history that changed the course of a patient’s medical treatment, being a pivotal part of patient care. When I lost that, it actually did affect how I saw myself.

Suddenly I was at home all day, and any woman will tell you that completing the washing, ironing, cleaning, cooking etc may give some small satisfaction, but it isn’t that fulfilling; anyone can do it! There’s no special skill, unless you’re a real domestic goddess and can whip up amazing meals. Washing, ironing and cleaning are all pretty standard.

So having a skill at finding, identifying and photographing birds has given me a sense of satisfaction, fulfillment at using a skill and happiness at the beautiful birds and surroundings that I’ve found along the way.

It’s a small thing but turns out it’s important to me 🙂