Saturday Evening Post #110: Living the Dream

Often in response to ‘How’s things?” my coffee dude friend Steve replies, “Oh, I’m livin’ the dream!” Steve is Irish and it takes a bit to unravel his meaning as it depends on who has asked the question.

Sometime the emphasis is on, “Oh”, other times “livin'” and more often than not, “dream”.  Makes a huge difference in the message the enquirer takes away.

Sometimes, when we are out and about, waving long lenses and tripods and things, a passerby will ask, usually innocently, “Ah, are you out to take photographs,” to which my good natured response will be something along the lines of, “Yes, its such a lovely day to be out.”
Other times, as the question really is loaded, in that it infers, “What are you doing here taking photographs?” my response can be a little more obtuse.
Usually, “No, I’m actually cleaning out the guttering!, or, I’m really here cleaning the windows so you’ll be able to see out that little bit better!”

When the enquiry turns to a demand about, “Why are you taking photographs here?”, in a more aggressive manner, I have a legally prepared statement that I will respond with. It always ends with an abrupt, “I’m minding my own business.”

Just occasionally when we are out and about and a birdo or bird photographer drops by for the usual chat, which almost always begins with “Have you seen much, or what are you photographing”, I have a pretty standard reply,
“Oh, I’m photographing Striated Fieldwrens.”  It they are interested in fieldwrens the conversation goes further, but usually it swings to, “Have you seen my …. (target bird)”. and that sort of ends the encounter.

To those that ask, “Oh, how many fieldwrens have you seen”, I usually can answer truthfully, “None, it’s been very quiet today.”

However just occasionally, the Striated Fieldwrens are on the move, vocal and out and about.  Sometimes it’s just a matter of luck, because these little dude spend a lot of time in the bushes and grasses and with their superb markings disappear from view.

This one was out and about early in March this year, the last day we had an adventure at the Western Treatment Plant.
At least I could answer unequivocally about the fieldwrens, “Living the Dream!”

Little Visits: A Field Day

“Striated Fieldwrens”

When out and about at the Western Treatment Plant, often I’m asked, “What are you looking at/photographing”.
Which is an interesting question in an area of such a multiplicity of bird species.

Usually the question is only an introduction to a more meaningful question.  “Have you spotted something I should look at, or have you located my target bird for the day”.

Not always, but often times the question comes after one or two fourwheel drives have arrived at great speed, like the devil hisself was after them. Wind down window, “What have you seen…”

Or after having driven past where I was sitting several times, curiosity overcomes and the “What have you seen…” is often asked.
The second part of the question really is, “Have you seen the bittern, or pehaps the plentiful pec sandpipers, or maybe even the long-toed stint, or the black-winged bluetailed rock-eater.” As surely its been mentioned on spaceblock or elist, or someone’s text message.

So I generally respond, “Striated Fieldwrens”.  Oh, -quickly checks bird list, no don’t need one, Safari of vehicles disappears in proverbial cloud of dust.
Or, “Have you seen any?”, to which usually, truthfully, I can say, “Oh, not yet, but I’ve only been waiting thirty minutes so far”, Eyes glaze over, window winds up, dust indicates the vehicle has moved on.

Now to be fair, not every encounter is like that. Often good birding discussions take place and the cloud of departing dust is tolerable.

However on a fine sunny evening as we were negotiating some areas of said Treatment Plant, EE and I saw on a number of occasions, Straited Fieldwrens.  We saw more in one afternoon than in the past three years.
And they were all out, and about, and calling, and displaying. Easy to approach, great light, in the open. Photography doesn’t get any easier.
Enjoy. We did.

Against the Green
The backdrop is bitumen roadway
Tail display is the order of the day

I dropped down low enough to include the blue of the sky behind

My Territory. You’d better believe it.
This one preferred the more secure bushes.