Saturday Evening Post: #144 :Brown Falcon Dreaming

Hello all my felllow-lockdownees, and others.
The Doona Hermit has crawled out from under the covers here at the Global Headquarters of the Doona Hermit.

Not much to see in our street, so I’ll move on to other things.

Best wishes to all the Sydney-siders.  So many of them stood with us in solidarity last year as our lockdowns dragged on and on. We know your pain, we know how hard it is with just about everybody doing the right thing and then… what are those people doin!!!
Concentrate on the good ones.  Those who are working on the front-line, in the backrooms, calling, delivering, offering comfort, and all the other other genuine human things we are so capable of in crisis.

Meanwhile Victoria is again in the firing line with a nominal, “Five Day Circuit Breaker”, but I doubt if there is a single Victorian who even dares to image that come next Tuesday evening we’ll be relieved.  The smart money seems to be on an extension of some duration.

The ‘We allwannagotothefooty” mantra has meant that those few selfish (and this blog doesn’t usually call it a it is!) had their couple of hours of ‘pleasure’ and now we all suffer.
Years ago in the Sun New Pictorial newspaper, columnist  Keith Dunstan (OAM) established the Anti-Football League (AFL)
I’d be happy to be a subscribing member at the moment 🙂

Draw a line

I watched part of the David Attenborough series “LIFE IN COLOR“, can’t find much of a link anywhere, but will keep trying.  The part that is of interest here to your scribe was the segment on the Fiddler crab and its ability to use polarised light to find a mate, and to avoid predators.

As a photographer I’ve been interested in the use of polarised light and its characteristics for a long time.  Numerous polarising filters, filter sheet, and polarising materials laying around the work area will attest to the ongoing investigations.
Even helped me on several jobs, particularly when we were working for car mags, and also the excursion into interiors for home-improvement clients.

I wish I could find some details of how the production team worked with all this, how they determined it worked and how they then built the special gear to bring it to screen.  A few voice-over sentences hardly does it justice.

The interesting one for me was that if said crab turned its attentions and its special skills to the skies, what it would ‘see’ was a blank, white canvas. Any movement, say a predator gull, or large hungry seabird, would be picked up as a black shape against the white, no distractions, and as quick as you can say, disappear, it was down in its hole, safe and secure.

No doubt, and I hypothesize, (you get to do that a lot hidden under the doona), that the creature also had some shape recognition, much like the plane and boat recognition shapes that were used by spotters during WWII.
Which of course led to the next hypothesis.

If it works for your clever and well equipped Fiddler crab, might it not have some similar application in other creatures.

Long-term readers will know I have a theory. No, I didn’t borrow this one from Mr An Onymous, this is pure Doona Hermit land.

I’ve sat and watch Brown Falcon’s for many an hour.  Not your ‘Oh, there’s a Brown Falcon on the fence’ move on” sort of stuff, but sitting a respectful distance from Brown and watching it watch.

I’m convinced they have the area ‘mapped’. Somehow. Each scan of the scene reinforces the last scan, or reveals something new to be added to the ‘map’.  Such as.
That skink just came out from under the leaves.  There is a snake working through the bracken.  The crickets are gathering near the little water soak. Each can then be evaluated as to the risk-management of pursing the prey.  Once they know where the opportunities exist, they don’t have to immediately take off and chase, they can plan and take action at a time that suits them.

Flying there is usually, low and fast through the grasses and bushes not even being able to see where the quarry is, but knowing if they stick to the map, weave here, turn there, zig left, they will arrive, like a shopper in a supermarket, at the right aisle, for the prize.

Now if I combine that with the polarised light Attenborough segment, I am wondering if Brown’s have some similar ability.  Looking out they see a blank canvas, and anything that moves across that landscape is ‘red-hot’ in contrast, and easily mapped and evaluated.
Such is the theory.

In the meantime this Brown was sitting high on his territory.  It is a fav perch, right alongside a major, busy road, with wide open paddocks all around.
On this particular frosty morning, he’d taken the opportunity to warm up in the struggling sunlight and was in no hurry to move on.
The scanning process was obvious.

8 thoughts on “Saturday Evening Post: #144 :Brown Falcon Dreaming

  1. A fine image of the Brown, David. And an interesting theory. They do seem to know every square millimetre of their patch, and everything that is in it, including photographers! The Crab’s use of polarised light is fascinating.
    As to the current lock-down, I can’t see too much changing at 11:59 on Tuesday. Way too many exposure sites now. Just waiting for some public sites to appear around here, there have been a couple of cases listed in the area.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They are a fascinating bird. As a true Falcon, they can hover, awkwardly, but their real power is on the ground. The great thick legs and stance is equal to the task of picking out lizards and mice to wrestling large snakes.

      I’ve watched them for so long, and am convinced, when they leave a perch, (most times), it is not on some whim, but a carefully considered mission.

      Things are looking a little better for a Tuesday release, if I can get 5.5km I can get back to Sneydes


  2. An interesting and thoughtful study David. A lot of research into the use of ultra-violet light in raptors and small European birds assumes that they use ultra-violet light for various purposes as they can use this part of the spectrum, as do butterflies. I have seen the Red-backed Fiddler Crabs in the mangroves of Broome while birding, they are quite remarkable. Remarkable how the brain works and how much data it collects and is able to cross reference, as each time we look at a face and immediately identify the person. Yes we commiserate with you as we share this lock-down and realize that you guys went through so much more than we did in the past ones. Gladys has finally done what needed to be done a couple of weeks ago, we still have have rebels in the west similar to yours, they just refuse to comply and we are all paying for it. Our hopes of a holiday next month appear dashed,having paid up, not sure what will happen, trusting for a fast recovery for us all, until the next time. We get out second jab next week when we come out of forced isolation. I hope #kneetoo is now more mobile and in less pain. My wife is glad she is not allowed to be at work at the moment, as she works in a an a risky area. Stay warm and safe my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Ashley, first our best wishes for safety and security for you and yours at this most stressing time. Also may the leadership put all the political point scoring and see that every day, people are being affected in so many ways. The time for finger pointing and name calling is over. Genuine reaching out help is the order of the day.

      May the healing come on speed wings

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Another fine collection of interesting thoughts and information. I don’t feel eligible to comment on AFL. All I can say I don’t get it why someone may miss “crowds”. Being a follower of ABC I cringe every time the broadcaster mentions this appalling word with audible longing or reverence in their voice.
    Brown Falcon Dreaming is superb. I’d love to be able to observe it at least half the time I could observe the fiddler crabs. Your comparison is not just surprising but it is also some food for thought.
    I’ve promised myself to cross the river as soon as the lockdown is over and I promise to avoid crowds.
    All the best to recovering #kneetoo and to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Adam, me too, I am not ant-football, just am staggered that we have reached this point because it was ‘necessary’ for a game to be held. I saw some talk fest today on the fact they now are demanding that the Grand Final be held in Melbourne regardless. What!!
      Remain safe


  4. (At last WordPress seems to be working in letting me comment here instead of having to go into my own site to do so – progress!)

    A beautiful portrait of the Brown Falcon and such an interesting series of thoughts on how they may survey their territory and know everything within it. I have missed seeing the Attenborough, so must check it out on iView.

    Keep safe and well, both of you.


    1. Hello Eleanor, oh good. I’ve not done anything to the settings, but I have to change Browser types to add comments to my own blog.
      This was not an Attenbro production, an independent by BBC I think there are 3 episodes, it was on about 6:30pm the next couple of Sunday evenings.

      Remain safe


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