This head of seaweed was peacefully floating beside the Black Rock sea wall on Port Phillip Bay. It could have been torn off the growing plant by strong currents stirred up by a storm a few days earlier. Maggie and I and walk this route often and also get Jill to join us whenever she can. My practice is to carry a camera on these walks as there are many natural treasures waiting to be captured. The camera/lens combinationd can be heavy if I want close ups, especially the telephoto lens. The other challenge is holding Maggie with one hand while photographing with the other. Occasionally I leave the camera at home and of course an exceptional opportunity like a penguin pops up.
Last Saturday morning Maggie and I were taking our regular early morning power walk . As we began to cross the Scout Hall park we were confronted by fire trucks everywhere. My first reaction was the scouts had let a campfire loose then as we neared the hall and the Primary School appeared it was suddenly obvious. The scene was frenetic, firemen were still playing water through windows and a huge gantry ladder hovered in the air metres above the roof line spewing water down through a smoking, gaping hole in the roof. eople were gathered in small groups along the opposite street and police were preventing pedestrians from continuing down past the school as smoke was still drifting heavily from the buildings.
My first reactions were disbelief, then one of hoping this was accidental in cause. Upon arriving home I shared the experience with Jill and later that day we went back with a camera and these photos were taken. There was a calmness in the air, however the scout hall had become a community focus point , many teachers, parents and students were there and it was obvious much grieving had happened and still was occurring. We could walk around the street perimeter and see the extent of the damage.
This immediate fire experience brought home the reality of what fire does to communities and even though no lives were lost or people injured and One building was damaged the flow on effects became obvious from local news and social media sources. 500 students, their teachers and support staff, all their surviving resources, materials, furniture etc would be relocated in two nearby government schools, further inpacting on those school communities. A multi million dollar rebuild will commence soon and the effects multiply onwards . Thousands of people woke up on saturday morning much the same as from the day before however by Monday their regular lifestyles were in turmoil, but organised turmoil generally speaking. This one local fire suddenly made us realise the immense effects to our nation from the vast bushfires experienced across South east and West Australia recently and some are still burning.
Those of you who have mentioned our recent FIRES or responded to my earlier comments may be interested in these 2 YOUTUBE links. The first https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AdGqTQkRVwE is a no holds barred documentary that takes the viewer into the horror of the fires and the immediate impact on people, animals and vegetation. The second https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YrDkdcOkUkI is a public forum that runs every Monday night on National public television. It shares the effects thes fires had on communities and what Government must do. This is again graphic and heart wrenching. Each is about 45 minutes (no ads) and some of the best TV viewing you will ever experience. Please let me know if you watch one or both.
And if your contempt for Rupert Murdoch’s press and its Climate Change denial propaganda is as strong as most Australians watch this 10 minute youtube about how they still peddle this garbage even with these fires and their links to Climate Change .https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s23q9DkCaVY
Postscript. 6 teenagers handed themselves in to local Police in regard to the school fire.
Maggie and I were taking one of our regular walks along the Black Rock Cliff path, however we were moving in the opposite direction from our natural approach. It was amazing to see totally different perspectives from another angle. I had never noticed this Ti tree branch sculpture before and it seemed to beckon our attention. My first thought was a bird lookout , then an insect diving board. Anyway it was worth a photo and then of course the haiku came later. When the bushfire smoke drifted over Melbourne visibility had obscured those rocks one can see in the water. The path ahead in the second photo, (or usually behind) is one of Maggie’s favourites because of the occasional rat that hops across in front of us creating much excitement. We know Tiger Snakes lurk here , (attracted by rats) but are yet to see one. We are so lucky to have this landscape only a few minutes drive from home.
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.