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Lake Lovely

When I am feeling energetic (and, quite often, when I am not) I go walking after work.  I wish I could say I am diligent and do this every day, but I would be a liar.  I usually manage about three times a week, which is a bit pathetic, but it’s better than nothing.  This is what I tell myself anyway.

Some afternoons I go walking along the beach, which is lovely and scenic and blows the cobwebs of the workday away;  most days, however, I walk around the local lake, which is on my way home and provides me with a nice, easy, 3.5km route.

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Because I am generally quite lazy, it is good to have a circular route to walk – it means I just keep going until I get back to where I started.  I don’t have to think about it.  I don’t get tempted to turn around and head back either.  The lake also has multiple paths; some of them meander through the bush so you can jog a bit and no one can see you ha ha.  I don’t run in public unless I can be sure I don’t have witnesses.  No one needs to see that.

The lake is populated by LOTS of birdlife.  Swans, ducks, moorhen, and herons, as well as my favourite, the pelicans, and some long-necked tortoises, which I am yet to spot.

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As it is breeding season for many of the birds, there are cute, fluffy bundles of downy joy dotted around the lake, following their parents around and getting up to mischief.  There are plenty of reeds and other plant life to provide happy nesting spots and hideaways for the vulnerable babies.

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I am dying to see some cygnets.  I love the black swans – they are so majestic and beautiful.  There are a couple at the lake that have allowed me to get quite close – sometimes they waddle up to me of their own accord.  During breeding season, they can become a little bit aggressive and protective of their offspring, which is totally understandable.  It’s best to keep your distance at those times and give them their space.  Even if you do want to run headlong into those gorgeous, grey, fluffy cygnets and squeeze them in an adoring cuddle.  It’s not really recommended.

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There are also lots of cormorants.  I adore them.  Those funny webbed feet!  The fluffy, shaggy feathers on their plump bellies and chest!  The almost bat-like wings!  The way they dry themselves in the sun, holding up their wings like laundry!  The way they hiss at me when I get too close and annoy them with my photo-taking! 🙂

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The lone egret is a tricky individual to photograph.  He doesn’t like being bothered and you can’t get too close before he flies off.  It could also be because I have mistakenly been calling him a heron, and he’s not.  I have offended him and now he doesn’t want a bar of me, or my camera.  So all my shots of him are blurry (because I am far away and have zoomed my camera in).  It’s very inconsiderate of him, to be honest.

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Towards sunset, the lake takes on a magical quality.  I tend to keep stopping to take photos, which is not really making efficient use of my exercise time, but hey, the sky and water is so pretty at night!  It’s hard to take a bad photo, to be honest.

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I am always on the lookout for new places to walk ; it’s nice to have a change of scenery and some different landscapes/wildlife to look at.  The lake, for now, remains one of my favourites.  Easy to get to, easy parking, lots of people around (for safety’s sake) and lots of lovely birdies for me to photograph.  I am lucky to have these spaces to utilise and enjoy, and get that much-needed exercise.  That egret will just have to get used to me because I’m going to keep coming back 🙂

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Blessing Tree

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Having had a bit of a creative slump lately, I was moping around at home trying to figure out something I could do to get me back on track.  I didn’t want to make a card (odd, for me, because I always like making cards) and my attempts at making a Kelly Rae Roberts-inspired collage were all dismal and uninspiring.  So, what to do?

I have a box of “bits” that I hold on to for upcycling/altering or using in other projects.  It’s got tins and wooden blocks, boxes, decorations and papier mache forms.  Basically, it’s a box of crap that I have collected.  It’s a hoarder’s dream, but it does come in handy when I am stuck for inspiration and want to do something different.

So, with that in mind, I rummaged around and found these weird Christmas decorations.  I bought them years ago in a post-Xmas sale, so they only cost me 25c each or something (the original price was $9.99 – ridiculous!).  I thought they would be good for altering, stamping on, painting etc.  I liked the shape and the fact they had a good solid base, as well as being able to hang them from something.

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Crazily expensive Xmas decoration!

I had been playing around with them for a bit when I decided to make a tree out of one of them.  Don’t ask me why.  I like trees, I guess, but I had never really had an urgent desire  to make a little mini-tree of my own.  This one came together reasonably quickly, once I got into it.  I covered the body/trunk in dictionary text and sealed it with gel medium mixed with a little black and brown paint.  I raided some sticks from the neighbour’s tree and made wee little branches with them, stuck into the holes in the wooden shape.

During a crafty session with my nephews and nieces, I made some teeny-weeny mushrooms and a little bird out of polymer clay.  After baking them and letting them cool, I painted them (with a lot of squinting) with acrylic paints.

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Polymer clay teeny-tiny mushrooms and a birdie!
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Painting mushroom # 1
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Adding the final detail to mushroom # 3.  Do you know how fiddly it is to paint tiny little “gills” on a tiny little mushroom?
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Wee birdie.  I didn’t make him too detailed.  Partly out of laziness, but mostly because I was scared of making a shemozzle out of it.

I then crafted a little bird’s nest from twine, which was oddly therapeutic. Just twisting and fraying the twine and making it a roughly bird-nesty shape.  I really do like making tiny things.  I don’t know why, but they are very satisfying and appealing, from a creative point of view.  I really do need to wear my glasses when doing this stuff though!

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Mini bird’s nest!
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Happy little birdie in a tiny nest!

Eventually, it was all put together (very carefully – it’s not the most robust of creations!), sitting on a base of sphagnum moss glued to a wooden lid, and I’m pretty happy with it.  It’s just for me.  No purpose behind it (not a gift or something to sell) – it’s just purely for me.  I added the “Benedictus” text (from an old large print dictionary) because, very roughly translated, it means “Blessed Be” which kinda resonates with me for various reasons.  I wanting to make some more things like this now.  I’m feeling the mixed-media vibe right now!  I’d like to try some tea-bag art next…will keep you posted!

Thanks for stopping by 🙂

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The final product.  Blessing Tree complete.  Blessed Be!
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Christmas Wishes (Robin Card)

A quick post to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a safe and happy New Year.
Let’s make a pledge to fill our world with kindness, love, understanding, and empathy this year. We’ve had enough hate, violence and suffering to last us into the next millennium.

I made this quick little Christmas card for my Mum (she loves robins).  I always seem to end up cutting out teeny-weeny bird toes, don’t I?

Best wishes to you all.  Be safe this festive season, and stay close to your loved ones.  Thank you for all your support and comments throughout the year 🙂

Happy Christmas x

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That’s That

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just say “Everything is ok and that’s all there is to it…” and then everything would just miraculously be fine and dandy?  If only!

This little birdie is standing defiant and saying “No, I will not let things get to me – everything’s ok and I won’t hear any negativity today!”  She’s even pulled her crown down over her earholes, just in case.  Might as well block out the naysayers and the party-poopers (there are lots of party poopers in the bird world, I’ve heard), and anyone who starts their conversations with “You can’t” or “Yes, but..” will be summarily banished from the nesting box.  It’s that simple.

Hope your world is full of positive people today and that your mind is free from worries.  If not, just pull your crown on tighter and ignore the heck out of anyone or anything that threatens to rain on your parade.

Take care of yourselves x

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A Cockatoo or Two

Just a quickie post today…

I’m really going to miss South Perth.  The River, the gardens, the greenery – just the general feel of the place and the lifestyle it allows.  I’m also going to miss the local wildlife – all the lovely birds and the occasional dolphin – and the happy dogs playing in the park.  I’ll miss the cafe strip (located so close to my house I can practically order a chai latte by yelling out my bedroom window) and the quiet neighbourhood where I go for my walks.

Yesterday I dragged myself out of the house to get some exercise, spurred on by a.) the sight of my thighs, and b.) the realisation that I soon won’t be able to walk around the River every day or play wildlife photographer with the local cockatoo population.

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The two main types of “cocky” in my neighbourhood are the pink and grey Galahs and the Corella.  Corellas are noisy and destructive little buggers and many councils have resorted to culling them to reduce their numbers.  The do indeed make a racket when they are in large groups and even one solo bird is enough to send you a bit deaf.  They’re cheeky little chappies though – quite comical and clown-like in their antics.  The South Perth foreshore is often covered in large flocks of them, interspersed with a few galahs.  Corellas tend to dig up the lawn areas, looking for tasty roots or bulbs, leaving lots of holes everywhere. They also “trim” tree branches, causing damage and leaving the tree vulnerable to fungus and insect attack.  Many of these birds have been introduced to Western Australia from other states so they’re actually foreign interlopers!

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I was able to get quite close to the galahs – they seem to be the braver of the two species (probably as many of them are either escaped “tame” birds or the offspring of) whereas the corellas kept a safe distance.  The galahs seemed to even pose for me, stopping what they were doing for a few seconds while I snapped a shot or two.

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Hopefully, wherever I end up moving to, I will be able to find some nice parkland areas or other places where there is wildlife to discover.  Because I need all the incentive I can get when it comes to exercise.

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I plan on planting lots of natives in my new garden-which-isn’t-a-garden-yet so that I can attract the local birds.  I will be getting myself some cats (it will be my reward for all the crap I have gone through with the purchasing process to finally have some moggies) but they will be indoor felines – no hunting for them.  Part of the reason I wanted a two-storey house was so they would have stairs to run up and down.  I might join them – we shall have buns of steel together! 🙂

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Hope you are having a happy day – enjoy some time outside, if you can x

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A Visitor at Last!

Quite some time ago I got a couple of bird baths to hang in my garden.  I have a lot of birdlife in my neighbourhood and, with the Summers being so hot, I wanted them to have access to water.  I thought I would have lots of happy birdies availing themselves of the amenities I provided.  But no.  Not a one.  I figured maybe they just chose to turn up when I was out or at work or whatever.  As the months went by I came to the conclusion the local bird population was snubbing my water station and frequenting some other location for their hydration needs.

I didn’t take the bird baths away, but I did forget to refill them regularly (possibly the reason the birds chose to stay away).  Wally, my garden Wattlebird (cranky guardian of my grevilleas) sits near them every day and watches me eat my breakfast through the window (I mean he watches through the window…I’m not eating my breakfast through a window – that would be strange).  I’ve never seen him partake of any water though – even on the hottest days.  He is a quite large bird though, so perhaps doesn’t feel safe perching on the swinging bird bath.  He’s also quite territorial so it’s possible he has been warning all the other birds away.

My little Willy Wagtail, whose melodic song means Spring is only a few short weeks away, also likes to hang out NEAR the bird baths but I haven’t seen him actually perch on them or take a drink.  I think they’re just mocking me now – my water isn’t up to their standards apparently.

But, hallelujah!  This morning as I ate my very late breakfast ( I slept in – it was glorious, but now I have wasting-the-day guilts) I saw, out of the corner of my eye, a bird DRINKING OUT OF THE BIRD BATH!!!  A bird I had never seen before in my garden, was happily having a long drink out of my bird bath, swinging away in the breeze and enjoying a spot of sunshine (it’s been raining heavily all morning – hence the bird bath actually having water in it!).  I managed to get a couple of sneaky photos of him before he noticed me, peering out of the window and doing a silent happy dance.

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I think he is a Grey Butcherbird. I have seen them before, mostly down by the foreshore, but never in my garden before.  I was so happy to see him!  But then a bit sad because I will be moving soon and will have to start the whole wooing-birds-into-my-garden process all over again.  I don’t really even HAVE a garden in my new place (if I ever actually get to settlement) so will have to put in lots of natives to attract the local bird population.  A garden with no birdies is so sad!

I didn’t know a lot about Butcherbirds, so did a bit of research.  I found that they have a lovely, warbling song, a bit like a magpie (listen HERE) and that they can be quite aggressive during nesting season.  I also read that they “..prey on small animals, including birds, lizards and insects, as well as some fruits and seeds. Uneaten food may be stored in the fork or a branch or impaled. Grey Butcherbirds sit on an open perch searching for prey which, once sighted, they pounce on. Most mobile prey is caught on the ground, though small birds and insects may be caught in flight. Feeding normally takes place alone, in pairs or in small family groups…” (Thanks, Birdlife Australia)

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He’s a handsome fellow and I’m glad he stopped by.  I’m hoping he feels safe enough to come again and maybe bring a friend.  Maybe sing a song or two (now that I know what I’m listening for!).

Thank YOU for dropping by, too.  My blog is a little lack-lustre these days due to being in the midst of packing boxes and house-buying dramas and just being in a general state of disarray.  Please bear with me while I muddle through my messy life.

🙂

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