This was the rising sun looking down our street this morning through the smoke from hundreds of kilometres away. Another day of hazardous air across Melbourne however Sydney and Canberra have had weeks of this. The fires still burn and the people are becoming angrier with our Government. There is so much smoke, that it has crossed over new Zealand, the Pacific, South America, maybe your lands and is about to move over Australia again, catch up with itself and repeat the process. As well pressure from around the world is also forcing our Prime Minister to realise he can only stall, lie and ignore the realities of climate change for so long. Time has almost run out now and today he actually indicated he may make changes to his Government’s climate/energy policy, ( policy is a kind term for what is really only a weak attempt to acknowledge there may be an environmental disaster hovering). If anyone reading this was protesting outside an Australian Embassy in Europe this week , thanks, and keep it up , your pressure is helping. And yes the tightrope is for our Prime Minister, will he keep his balance?????
We have planted many indigenous shrubs and small trees across the rear of our yard and they are now flowering regularly. This young Little Wattle Bird and its mother claim the garden as their territory and aggressively defend it against other nectar eaters. These particular Wattle Birds are also insect eaters so they gain extra benefits when they are feeding. I can sit in our back passageway with a telephoto lens and photograph the birds through the window. Unfortunately very few other breeds of birds are feeding here because of the Little Wattle Birds and also the drought.
Every Summer for the 35 years we have lived in the Melbourne suburb of Sandringham, the call of Male Greengrocer Cicadas as been one of the most memorable sounds of the season. These beautiful gentle insects emerge from the ground under trees after incubating for 7 years. They climb into the foliage, fly from branch to branch, eat , call and reproduce. Every warm evening the males begin to vibrate their hind legs and emit ear splitting calls as loud as motor mowers, as they seek out the females. They only live a few days, the females burying their eggs in the ground at the base of the trees they have lived in. Without fail from the first week of December Cicadas calling would happen on every warm evening, sometines the sounds would continue for hours into the night. This year we have had plenty of warm evenings. After 5 weeks of Summer we have heard THREE Cicada calls. Every other year 3 calls would happen within 5 minutes of any warm evening. What has happened? I will investigate , however my guess is one more casuality of climate Change on the insect world. Pity we cannot see the disappearance of useless politicians like this absence of our Cicadas.
My last contact with Cicadas this year happened 6 nights ago. We heard our third call then silence. A short time later there was a thump at the back door. I went out to investigate and this Cicada was sitting on the veranda. I picked it up and it nestled in my hand. I carried it through the house and gently placed it on a fern in the front yard. later I checked and it had gone. We have not heard another call. I would not be as gentle if I met one of our Federal Government politicians.
These two young birds, a Little Raven and an Australian White Backed Magpie were hanging around the Beaumaris Community Centre demanding food. The Raven had parents who were keeping a close watch however the Magpie seemed a little older and only joined its adults later. A variety of activities occur every day at this centre that includes a Library and Artists workshop/gallery, playgrounds , tennis and other sports facilities. These birds were outside the University of the Third Age outdoor eating/socialising area. Plenty of human food, not much in the way of natural carnivorous bird food though. I was involved in a Photography Workshop and could not resist the temptation of practising the art whilst my colleagues had tea and biscuits.
An interesting comparison at the Middle Brighton Sea Baths in Brighton, (Melbourne) recently. Behind that screen and under the umbrellas were people who had paid to use the facilities . At the adjacent seawall some Cormorants and a Seagull rested up in the sun before taking to the water at their leisure. Same sun, same water. Isn’t the life of a bird so much less complicated?
For water birds there has always been a known environment to feed, rest and relax in. In these recent local photos from top to bottom are examples of, Silver Gull, Purple Swamphen, White faced heron and Black Swans. For all the other birds water is simply the difference between life and death. On our recent 40 oC days our water bowls were potentially life savers for the local Magpies, Doves, Wattlebirds, Noisy Miners and Thornbills. Tragically the drought and increasing temperatures across Australia are leading to significant decreases in the numbers of birds generally. Even our water birds cannot rely on available water or feeding/ wetland environments any more . Another reason to hold our politicians around the world to account on Climate Change NOW .
This Great Egret was hanging out with two fishermen beside the Moyne River jetty at Port Fairy.
Usually these birds are observed from a distance as they quietly seek out frogs, tadpoles or other small specimens of water/ swamp dwelling life. Not this bird. It was right beside the fishermen who explained it had trying to steal bait from their fishing tackle all afternoon. At one stage it was standing on one man’s car when he hid the bait inside it. Either a very hungry or very tame bird.
It seems they had decided to share some bait with the bird when it clearly was not going to go seek its own food naturally and of course more was asked for. Maybe another consequence of changing conditions out there in nature.