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.
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.
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.
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.
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— Jane Austin fans will understand.
Flow with whatever may happen
and let your mind be free.
Stay centered by accepting
whatever you are doing.
This is the ultimate.
We’d been sitting quietly for awhile. Infact long enough to enjoy at least one cuppa and think longingly for the Thermos for a second.
It’s the You Yangs. Near the old, now unused, Duckponds School building. We were making one last session at finding the Jacky Winter pair and to see what the Eastern Yellow Robins were up to.
To tell all the truth. Not much. Yep, that’s it. Little, a void, devoid, uninhabited. Departed, moved on, relocated.
And its been like that for quite awhiles. Many of the more productive spots we’ve been visiting, have been, well, decidedly UNproductive.
I knew there were White-winged Choughs on the other side of the main road, as their calls were quite clear.
“The wise man knows that it is better
to sit on the banks of a remote mountain stream
than to be emperor of the whole world.”
One bird that is somewhat elusive and challenges us to keep going out to find new areas is the Rainbow Bee-eater.
We’ve been known to drive to Newstead, and sit quietly on the creek bank that runs through the cemetery as its usually a honey-pot area for them during nesting season. Of course the opportunity for a pie at the Guildford General Store might have something to do with that journey as well.
The You Yangs Park is also a well known area for them, although the nesting there is generally on private property and access is a bit more difficult. We also see them at Mt Rothwell Conservation Area, and no doubt they nest there, but it’s also not an easy access to organise.
Given our somewhat fling of success the previous evening, EE decided that an early morning start to have a look and see if we could locate the Nankeen Night-herons and Sacred Kingfishers would be a good use of our time. And as my poor old foot had survived the first outing, it might be good of course, to well, test it a bit further. Thanks. Such is the medical profession. Of which EE is not one. 🙂
It did seem quite bright sunshine and blue sky as we loaded Sir Perceval, and head out. But as soon as we were past the halfway point, the clouds rolled in, and was that rain I detected on the windscreen. “Oh, Jane said on the telly news that it wouldn’t rain today”, she confidently replies.
It seems to me, and I might of course be speaking out of turn, but the weather tv folk must always be talking about a specific house in a specific (unspecified of course) neighborhood, and the rest of us can just take pot luck. I’m also of the opinion, and I could of course be speaking out of turn again, but it seems to me, that said weather spruikers are probably less accurate than the other dudes who do the ‘Your day by the Stars’, readings— Just sayin’.
Highlight of the day was two Wedge-tailed Eagles either in dispute or play. Regrettably little sunshine and too far far away. But an amazing sight. Continue reading “Office Addendum”→
Flow with whatever is happening
and let your mind be free.
by accepting whatever you are doing.
This is the ultimate.Zhuang Zhou
Truth be told, its been quite a long time between drinks at “The Office”.
A lot been happening, but mostly, the weather, a sore heel that slows down my walking, lack of birds and perhaps general sloth has kept us away from The Office at the Werribee River Park.
You could also add the amount of time spent looking for and not finding those elusive Sacred Kingfishers, but that would be at tad churlish methinks.
So it was with quite a high degree of expectation that we loaded up Sir Perceval, and headed on one of his amazing Quests.
"The oftener one sees,
the better one knows;
the better one knows,
the more one loves."
We’ve been up to the family acres for the annual family pilgrimage. Somehow or other the January time frame suits this sojourn and regardless of the weather we journey up.
Swan Hill is the destination and of late we’ve been staying across the river (That would be the Murray River for the geographically embarrassed), at the Murray Downs Golf Resort.
When I was but a mere broth of a lad, the area was mostly salt bush and mud flat, but good old ingenuity, and the application of many hundreds of thousands of dollars has transformed the area to a fine golfclub resort. And the side benefit for the average birder is that the many water features and trees has provided a suitable haven for many of the birds of area. But, more of that on another blog methinks.
A few kilometres down the road from Swan Hill is a small isolated patch of scrub, that is now incorporated into the “Goschen Roadside Reserve”.
And is wont of those in the Parks department it is now suitably fenced off to keep undesirables on the outside and protect that which is on the inside. Not that there is much to protect anymore.
And so begins the enigma. Goschen was to be a little township that happened after the first world war. (Yes, it should be in caps, but really does it deserve such honour?) Many such small communities were established. But, the one thing about Goschen is— Lack of Water (in caps because, well, it’s the singularly most important part of the enigma)
Drive just 5 more minutes down the road and you’ll come over a sandy rise and all is green before you. The result of irrigation. Water. And the rich farming area of grapes, stone fruit and citrus. Just 5 minutes. Had the water extended out to Goschen, then all would have been different and hopes and dreams would have turned to riches, instead of just being blown away like the dust.
To their credit, the early settlers and the government officials of the time, did try. A school, community hall, cricket field and tennis courts were all part of the scheme and were built. Now all that remains is a plaque for the school—and some of the old concrete flooring in the toilets—the community hall rapidly deteriorating as the fencing off has protected it somewhat from vandalism, and also meant it is ignored by the fence erectors. A search among the long grass to the east will also find the remains of the concrete cricket pitch.
The years past and the area, as often happened began to revert to its ordinary existence. And the area became a little haven for birds both local and migrants.
And another challenge. An area that can be an honeypot on occasions and frustratingly quiet on others. It’s not just a seasonal thing, nor a food thing. It’s Goschen.