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Black Swan

There is absolutely no point to this post, other than to say I love black swans.  Most days I go walking at a big lake on the way home from work, and I love watching these guys as they paddle about on the water.  They are majestic and comical all at the same time.  At this time of year, when they are not consumed by the breeding urge, they are friendly and inquisitive, quite happy to waddle up to you and graze nearby or check out what you may have for them.  Sadly, I don’t bring them food because I know it’s not good to do so (especially bread) and so I am a bit of a disappointment.  Still, they seem to know me now and will hang out for a while if I sit on one of the benches or on the bank.

I love their little honks and whistles, their head-bobs-in-greeting and their lovely big feet.  I love their upside-down feeding when their in bums are the air and their heads are underwater, feet paddling like crazy.  I love their ballet stretches and their sleepy eyelids when they are dozing off.  The way the water beads on their blue-black plumage, and those bright red beaks.  Just beautiful.

I read this today, on the Australian National Geographic website :

“…Our bird plays a starring role in all this owing to a belief in Europe, dating back 2000 years to Roman poet Juvenal, that swans are invariably white. Like purple cows and flying pigs, the black swan was a symbol of what was impossible. In medieval Europe, unicorns had more credibility. Dutch navigator Willem de Vlamingh, by finding black swans in Western Australia in 1697, showed how risky it is to declare something impossible…”

I’m glad they ARE possible, and that I get to share their space with them.  Come breeding season they are less inclined to be so welcoming but, even then, they are accommodating and patient, allowing a certain amount of intrusion into their little family groups.  Cygnets are the most adorable things on the planet.  Grey balls of fluff – it’s hard to imagine they will grow up to be something so tall and glorious.  Don’t get too close though – you don’t want to be on the receiving end of a Mummy Swan’s wrath 🙂

Thanks for visiting.

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Black Swan – Look at those feet! 🙂
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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 🙂

Way Down Upon the Swan(ee) River…

Way Down Upon the Swan(ee) River…

Ah, Perth in the Summer time…well, almost Summer time.  It’s only November after all and we have a couple more weeks before Summer officially arrives, but the weather has been so warm (hallelujah!) and after-work walks have been the order of the day.  Or, at least, I’m trying to make them the order of at least three days a week, rather than just coming home every day and collapsing in a heap  on the couch.

I am very lucky to live so near to the Swan River.  A short walk away, I can stroll along the foreshore, watch the boats and swans and ducks and seagulls and, if I’m luckier still, the dolphins.  Everything seems better by the water.  Calmer and fresher and just better.  Plus I live at the top of a steep hill so the walk home always makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something (albeit with much wheezing and unattractive sweating).

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I love watching the black swans – they are so majestic yet, at times, comical, and even downright scary at other times (you do not want to get in the way of a Mother swan and her brood).  They are beautiful and they remind me of my dear geese that I miss so much now I do not live in the country.  My retirement dream, so far flung in to the future, is to have a little cottage on the coast with enough room for me and my menagerie which will, of course, include a gaggle of geese.  Who will chase everyone except for me.  As it should be.

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Sorry – the water looks kinda gross here.  Near the shoreline it gets a bit choppy and churned up..

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This one looks like the Loch Ness Monster!

When I am walking I like to zone out.  I actually don’t feel very confident when I am out walking on my own.  I feel like I stand out.  I feel uncomfortable in my own skin and would rather not have anyone else around me.  Since being ill I don’t have the world’s best balance or ability to walk in a straight line.  I often trip over things and overbalance.  Basically, I am a huge klutzoid.  It also makes me feel ungainly and awkward so I do feel self-conscious when walking.

Music helps me concentrate on something else.  I have my trusty iPod with me or plug headphones into my phone and away I go.  Not too loud, that’s not safe for my ears or my own protection, but enough that I can’t get distracted from what I’m doing.  Which is trying to walk briskly without falling down or losing my balance and ending up in a ditch.

I like different kinds of music on different days.  I like rock and pop and alternative, rap and funk.  Different beats and rhythms make you walk differently and help you stay on track.  I am currently trying to force myself to walk with my head up (I have a bad habit of always having my head lowered, partly due to timidity but also because of aforementioned clumsiness) and I find having a song playing helps me do that somehow.

I don’t have a regular playlist per se.  But I have a few that always come up on rotation and may get repeated a few times because I like the way they match my stride:

Del Amitri – Roll to Me

Scribe – Not Many

Sia – Buttons

King Charles – Bam Bam

Rob Zombie – More Human than Human

The KLF – 3 A.M. Eternal

Lulu & The Lampshades – Cups

BlackStreet – No Diggity

Icona Pop – I Love It

Cornershop- Brimful of Asha

And then there’s the old favourites that I listen to when I’m not so much working up a sweat as working through some sadness and just  need to get some fresh air.  Then I’m afraid I crank up the Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel, Simon & Garfunkel and whatever 70s or 80s song I have on my playlist.  I admit I have to stop myself from air-drumming sometimes (oh come on – who hasn’t done it to Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight”?!) but mostly I just like that music takes you away from where you are, even if it’s somewhere as nice as by the river.

Do you have favourite exercising tunes?  Any embarrassing ones?  I won’t tell.  Promise 🙂