Postcards from the You Yangs

I’m getting tired of starting each post with,”Its been quite awhile since I uploaded a new page.” And even if I wasted half a page explaining the ins and outs of the delays, let’s face it, like apathy, no one cares. ūüôā

The problem for me with a blog like this is if I don’t get the time on the day, then several go by, and a new project has emerged and the blog is left in the dust.

So, just as well I decided to send postcards!

EE and I took advantage of the early morning sunshine and headed to the You Yangs. ¬†Couple of things stood out for us. ¬†We’d been discussing the fact that neither of us had made any reasonable shots of Scarlet Robins for quite a long while. ¬†Not just because we were spending time in the wrong areas, but well, the birds had been around either.

So you might well imagine, (if you will), our delight, surprise and excitement when we pulled into the carparking area and had to shoo a pair of Scarlets out of the way so we could park the vehicle.  Gotta think a day when the birds meet you in the carpark is going to be a good day.

1804-19-DWJ_2320 (1).jpg

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Standing About in the Water

******  If you have an aversion to Silver Gulls, or stories about Silver Gulls, then ClickAway NOW.  You have been warned.**********

We have just returned from a few days ‘holiday’ down the coast. ¬†Accommodation within walking distance of the beach, in the company of some friends from our village.

The smell of sea air, the splash of the waves, all very rejuvenating. ¬†These days I’m not a great swimmer, ¬†would have once, thought it just the best way to spend a holiday, tearing up and down the beach, rolling in the waves, getting sand in between my toes, and going home with a dripping towel. ¬†And an ice-cream. Let’s be practical, a great day out.

But these days, I’m much more inclined to watch it all happen.

As it turned out the bay we were staying near was quite wide, and very shallow for much of the day. ¬†The waves must run in from both points and wash the sand into the middle of their force, and a lovely inverted “Y” sand bar has formed between the forces. ¬†I went down to look.

The tide was at low-level, and there was only a few centimeters, (inches) of water washing over the bar. It ranged in width from a few metres close in, to around 15 or more further out, then tapered down again at the end of the bar.

The enclosed part of the “Y”, of course was closed in by the beach proper, and the water in the pool of the “Y”, was only being replenished by the gentle wash of the wavelets over the sandbar, and was being warmed by the sunshine.

Too much fun.  So off came the shoes and socks, up rolled the trousers and wading into the luke warm water was, I must admit, enjoyable.


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Home Improvements

One of the more visited areas at the Western Treatment Plant is the “T-Section”. Among its notable areas is the aptly named, “Crake Pool”, it’s not unusual on any given trip down there, to find at least one, sometimes more, vehicles pulled up in the open areas near the pool, hoping to catch a glimpse of the many crakes that inhabit the area.

Just a little further along the road and a small pile of rocks in the middle of the pond usually has a share of waterbirds, or waders loafing in the sunshine.

So you might well imagine our suprise the other day to see a pair of enterprising Black Swan had taken over the rocks, and built what can only be thought of as Swan Hilton, securely among the rocks.


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Surprise! A Hobby at the Office

Hope you survived the little tirade in the last post. All is forgiven.

EE and I thought, based on the last couple of adventures to The Office, that we needed to make a quick looksee if the Black-shouldered Kites had settled.
Many will remember Kitty and Kalev (The Brave), and their nesting attempts over the last couple of seasons.
They are fairly tolerant, and as she makes some of the best, most secretive nests, the chances of interrupting her on nest are pretty slim. And he has no problems about bringing mice in for her virtually above our sit spot.

So it was with a bit of an expectant parent  looksee, that we turned up on a mostly cloudy day and looked around the carpark. And there they were, clever pair, way down the range, and out of camera reach.

“Perhaps he’ll come over to hunt along the river edge,” says she. So we meandered on along the river bank.


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Why I wonder, do we have to talk about Ethics?

Not much of a subject really in a bird blog.  Is it?

For quite awhile I’ve had a disclaimer on this blog of our birding practice(s).

I’ve been challenged, (accused is too strong a word-but you have to sit in my seat to appreciate the difference), that we (EE and I) take ‘liberties’ with the birds we photograph.

Here is the summary of what I’ve said previously.

Addendum:¬†Just to be very clear. ¬†These birds are not baited, called in, or in anyway interfered with. ¬† We don’t use: hides, camo gear nor setup stations.¬† We mostly sit, and work for acceptance. We are simply recording the activities of a very relaxed and completely confident bird. ¬†We strive for connection and if a bird exhibits any ‘stress’, we leave it in peace. ¬†No photo is worth stressing the bird.
Now you know!

Long term readers will be familiar with my quotes from Jon Young’s “What the Robin Knows!”.¬† Short version¬†¬† Jon Young strives for and encourages “Connectedness”.
“One day I will see a bird and a thin thread will form between me and the bird. If I just see it and don’t recognise it, no thread is formed.¬† If I go again and again, the thread is strengthened each time. It will eventually grow in to a string, then a cord, then a rope. This is what it means to be a Bushman, we make ropes of connection to all aspects of the creation” Introduction, page xxv.

We strive to keep that connectedness, in some very special instances the birds respond in a most enchanting way.  For those, we are able to raise great stories.

Brad Hill, is a Canadian photographer, and I follow his work regularly.

He has posted recently posted a timely¬† “Code of Ethics for Bird Photographers”. Thought you might like a different perspective.¬† See it here¬†


Oh, and here is a bird that had developed connectedness with me.
Her name was Primrose.  A lovely female Red-capped Robin at Woodlands. Most days as we walked past, she would deliberately come out for a visit.

Red-capped Robin
How close can you get? Now turn to the right, work it, work it.

The header photo is from the Kestrel Series and there are several blog posts back a year or two about that extended moment.¬† Her name was Elizabeth‚ÄĒ Jane Austin fans will understand.

Keep takin’ photos.¬† We do.