Saturday Evening Post #130 : Renewal

Now that daylight saving has finished for the summer, my early morning pre-breakfast walks are no  longer in the darkness of pre-dawn.

Lots of trees, the bends in the creek, and other shapes that I passed in the darkness, now have detail, colour, and form.

The brilliance of the sparkling stars against their velvet cushion is replaced by soft warm (in kelvin temp) light melding over the scene. Just the brightest of the stars lingers in eye-sight  for the first few minutes.
The warm of the air in the summer mornings is now a crisp autumn bracing tinge but not yet the biting cold of a frosty morning.

Well, at least most days when it’s not overcast and grey all round. 😦

The interesting thing about a change of season is the renewal.
The ancients explained it best by the comings and goings of the mystical Persephone.
She  was the daughter of Demeter, goddess of the harvest. Persephone was kidnapped by that (evil master of darkness) Hades.
Every autumn Persephone returned to her underworld home, taking with her life giving power of seed, and so the ground was barren over the winter months. Then, come spring, “She’s Back” and with her the richness of the spring growth.

All very good for the ancients, but it did provide a good explanation, if somewhat coloured with fantasy of the changes of the seasons.

For us as bird photographers, it often feels like Hades has been at work.
The waders are heading for Siberia, the local Snipe have gone, ready for their ocean hop to Japan, and most bushbirds have finalised their nesting and are settling into winter territories.

We wait for the arrival of the winter flocks and hope to see bright rich red sitting on the fences soon.

Mr An Onymous gave me the heads-up that Flame Robin females were at the 100 Steps park, so we will hopefully this year be able to catch a few sightings.

Winter may in its way bring cold and shorter days, but it also brings renewal as the birds, and the plants have a time to rest up, ready for Persephone to make her re-appearance.

For extra bonus points:
The Degraves Flour mill that used to occupy the Degraves Street location in the heart of Melbourne CBD still has the Degraves family statue of Demeter perched high atop the building.
Here is a clip from Google Maps Street view showing her benevolent oversight of the growth of the city.

(I used to work in that building in another time in the universe)

7 thoughts on “Saturday Evening Post #130 : Renewal

  1. Looking forward to seeing the Robins, seeing as last year we weren’t allowed to! Great to here the females are back at Trug park! I must organise a visit soon!


  2. Beautifully written piece, David. You reminded me of my youth when I was reading the Greek Mythology as my first fairytales for the adults. My first taste of a forbidden fruit as I had to open the locked part of our home library.
    It’s so lovey to see the Flame Robin image. I’m getting ready to cross the bridge some day soon…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. HI Adam,
      Ha! And funnily enough I have to say that while I was never ‘enthralled’ by the stories when I was younger, as I grew older and realised much of the stories are depicted in the star patterns astronomers (and astrologers) use, I found it fascinating.
      Joseph Campbell’s “The hero with many faces” also gave me some much broader insights to ponder.


    1. Hello Ashley, the return of the Robins is quite near to my heart, as they were among the first birds that I really took an interest in finding out about. In those days, the local GreyBox forest supported more than 100 birds over winter, now its hard to find even ten.
      It is next to impossible to determine if these birds visit from the Hi Country to avoid the snows, or they come from closer local hills.
      However the Flames do come in good numbers and spread all around Port Philip Bay and the Bellarine Peninsula. I guess it is primarily because of the food that is available for them in the lower areas.
      They managed to form ‘mixed’ feeding flocks. Each of the members of the flock have different food requirements from ground level to high atop trees, so they not only support one another, but are not competive for food.
      Used to be good as the trilling of the Yellow-rumped Thronbills was alway a good way to track the flock about the forest.
      I still get goosebumps when I hear a chorus of Thornbill calls.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. A beautiful image David and a lovely ramble through Greek mythology and thoughts about winter. I seem to remember that Persephone ate six pomegranite seeds while she was held captive, and so had to forfeit six months of the year to Hades.

    I have just spent a long weekend down in Hamilton (a Field Naturalists’ jamboree was held there) and yesterday while out with a friend who lives there, we saw a lovely little mixed flock of birds come in to a waterhole. It included a couple of different Honeyeaters, Eastern Spinebills, Silvereyes, Buff-rumped Thornbills, and a male and female Scarlet Robin. So good to see them.


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