+ It is So Hot +

“It's like a finger pointing away to the moon. 
Don't concentrate on the finger 
or you will miss all that heavenly glory.”
 Bruce Lee

“It’s 115 degrees in the Waterbag”, my dear old Dad was wont to proclaim on scorching hot days.  (115 being in degrees Fahrenheit)
We were travelling past Goschen after a week up at the family acres and suffering through a run of days above 40C. This morning it was already 44C and not even yet mid-morning. (And we had at least 4 hours of roadwork ahead of us).

To add to the difficulty there was a strong northerly wind blowing as well.   For the geographically and meteorologically challenged, that means the winds are carrying very hot air down from the interior of Australia and a quick look at your average Aussie map will show that there is a lot, mostly, of desert out there.  About 70% of the land mass is semi arid or arid.  That’s about 5.3 Million square kilometers.
And most of it was concentrating on Goschen.

To be honest, we should have just kept going, a nice cool drink and a pie at the Eaglehawk Bakery was our next stop.
But, well, you never know do you?

However after about 30 mins of blistering wind, little shade and myriad flies, it was time, as they say, to let discretion have the better of the moment, and we sat in the pathetic shade of the old—now badly deteriorating and neglected— Goschen Hall.  A quick cuppa, a snack, and, well, we’d be on the road.

Speaking of family, my Mum always used to say, “Nothing like a hot cup of tea on a wretched day.” And as the kettle was always on the stove, the teapot sitting on the side and plenty of rich sugar in the bowl, perhaps she was right about a hot, black, sugar rich  cuppa.   At least the time taken to sit, sip, enjoy, and talk about things did help to pass the time away.

We’d seen little of the bird life of the area that morning. Unlike a few days before when only time for other commitments dragged us on our journey.  More of that on another blog.

As we sat, a tiny blur of wings landed in a tree not far from us.

A Hooded Robin

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Sharing a Few Golden Moments over Breakfast

No one longs for "content", 
what we want is connection.
We want hope.
We want to look at something and feel
something deeper than whatever it is
that moves my finger to click
the Like Button.
David DuChemin.

 

January 14, 2018

Long time blog readers will no doubt be pleased to have noted that I didn’t do the normal, ‘bare my creative soul’ post this year and instead seemed to have skipped it this time around.  And rightly so too, as someone said not so long ago ‘the blog is good, but I just ignore all that philosophical stuff”—not exactly the words used, but I’ve cleaned it up for general consumption.

I’ve been working with a photo mentor, David DuChemin, (again should be obvious from the direction some of the posts here have taken), good to have a mentor, keeps me focused, honest with my work, and challenges the things that I see as ‘comfortable’.

But they do get picky.  Like “So, what’s your project for 2018?”  Blank look, stares at feet, thinks of principal’s office all those years ago, and responds,  Ohhh, I dunno!

And what’s with the project stuff anyway.  I take pictures.  More pondering and ever so slightly drifting toward the philo-pile commented on above.

So I was sitting in the kitchen, popping the muesli into the bowl, in the early morning, and looking out the window at the wonders of the world outside. Not much really as a colorbond fence is about all that stares back at me.  When I heard a lovely musical bird call.
Looking up it was one of a pair of European Goldfinch that have been messing about in the yard over the past few months.

Then, it departed and a much higher pitched and urgent call came from the clothes-line on the other side of the fence.   And as I strained to see thought the fence, behold—as they say in all the best scripts—behold (well it was so good I thought I’d use it again) a young Goldfinch landed on the fence in front of me.

 

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Life with a sprinkle of Choughness

Long term readers will know of my fascination with all things Choughness.

White-winged Choughs can be both frustrating and rewarding to follow.  Some families seem to have a high human tolerance and I’ve had them hunt around my feet and sit on the same log with me.  Others. No matter how much time I spend, they just keep moving on.
They are not the world’s greatest aeronauts and I often think that if they can run to the next location that is their preferred method of locomotion.

They also have quite well established family rules. Which they understand, while I must guess what is going on.  And at just about every encounter, I come away impressed by some new view of choughness.

One family we see regularly in the You Yangs have just managed to get a couple of young ones off the nest.   Now comes the job of teaching these little ones all the rules of choughness.   And its a big task.  The young birds are quite clueless. And they have an average attention span of about 1 millisecond.   “Is it food”, seems to be the total of their ability to reason.   So the adults have to spend quite a bit of time working with young. And because of their lack of reason, they are easily enticed away by other families offering “bigger grubs”.  Oh boy, I gotta go

Choughs need quite a large family size, at least six or seven adults to raise a young.  Larger groups have more flexibility and its reported, more success.

Found the family at work around some rocks, and settled down for a sprinkle of choughness to add to my day.

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Grebes On Show

We have as they say, been having a bit of a lean time with our birds of late.  Seems the weather, the season, the food, the  lack of time in the bush, all have contributed to a fairly, well, lean period.

We were all prepared to enjoy a season with a pair of Jacky Winter, but due to unfortunate circumstances, perhaps bad weather, they lost the clutch a few days from flight.  A local Tawny Frogmouth clutch came, and went, and so did the various Magpie-lark families.  So its been a bit of a well, you know, lean time.

We have been watching a pair of Australasian Grebes at the Werribee Mansion Ornamental Lake, and they have had as similar story of clutches started, but not completed.
So it was quite intriguing to watch the pair in breeding plumage potter about on the water, but not really get much accomplished.

Then a couple of weeks ago, we found they had begun again to ferry weed and mud about and had a platform securely in the reeds.

And today we took a few minutes to go see how things had progressed and, well, they had progressed.

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Morning Among the Water Birds

Been awhile since I made an attempt at bringing Birds as Poetry up to date.
My apology also takes a turn in another direction as my ‘creative’ output has been to hardcopy books and end of year calander things.   I got a super calendar from my Singapore mate Lynzwee, and it was made by a company called ZNO  zno.com.
Didn’t take me long to figure out I’d like some of those and so I’ve been doing the appropriate file transfer and fiddling with pages on the web to get them just right.
Also did a book of the Great Egret from the Veil Ballet.   I don’t suppose its such a big deal, but I was so impressed by the bird’s simple expressions that I wanted them to appear in something that extended the feel of the moment.

So Blurb got the job done.  While I am yet to put my hand up as a Lightroom fanboy, I have to say it did make quite a presentable book.  Even if I had a few stops and starts to get what I was looking for.

When I look back over it, the images themselves are each quite simple, but as Dave Delmea quoted by David DuChemin says,

” The images themselves are quite simple, perhaps plain, but because of the lack of complexity it might be easy for a viewer to look at the content and feel they ‘I’ve got it”, without much consideration.

The strength comes when you begin to take in the more understated things. The angles, contrasts, colour contrasts and movements. In a book the viewer can compare, consider and feel the subtle element differences.”

So I’ve  spent the time doing the book.

All work and no play, makes for a restless photographer, so EE and I made a dash one bright early morning down the the WTP

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