Postcards from Mt Rothwell

We don’t need to know what it looks like (whatever it is), 
but what it might mean—what it might feel like. 
More than ever, we need images that speak to a deeper part of our humanity 
than the thirst for details. 
We need, and hunger for, context, insight, hope, 
and the kind of visual poetry that stirs our hearts, 
sparks our imaginations.
David DuChemin

Posted 28 Jan 2018

A few days before our sojourn up to the ‘old’ country, we were part of Werribee Wagtails quarterly bird count at Mt Rothwell.

In line with the weather all around, it was hot.  But we managed some good numbers in the first morning walk and at lunch time were sitting in the shade of the office area.  The ranger in charge  (Should that be hyphenated?) Ranger-in-charge.  There—setup a hose and sprinkler to give the little garden area a bit of relief.  This one action of course brought all the small bushbirds out for a bit of a cool off.

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In the Cool of the Morning

We’ve done our week up at the family acres, and enjoyed some great family time. Super fun to catch up with the relatives and share memories, food and great conversation.  But.  The heat was not enjoyable.  Funny, we all noted as little kids, we were much too busy running under the sprinkler on the lawn and enjoying cold drinks to really notice how hot it actually was.

Don’t start me on ‘global warming’.  It was always hot, with many days over 100 F, (38C) so not much has changed.

We had the opportunity to fit in a bit of bird photography, and choose the early morning cool as the best time.  Evenings are good too, but there is always a lot of dust in the air and the colour temperature brings white balance complications.

One spot at the Murray Downs Golf Resort is a haven for Rainbow Bee-eaters and White-breasted Woodswallows.  They congregate there in large numbers, so it was a good place to start.

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+ 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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