Gardens, Salads and Swans

This isn’t much of a post, but I did want to celebrate my first harvest of the season!  (I’m not counting the single purple bean I harvested a week ago).

The tally so far is one yellow zucchini (with about six friends coming along behind it, leading me to hope that this, finally, will be the year when I get overrun by zucchini – I have so many ideas for using up zucchini, and my garden never delivers), assorted salad greens (many of which are growing outside the raised beds, thanks to the diligent digging work of certain felines), basil, parsley, and the Littlest Capsicum Of All.

harvest

This calls for a salad, don’t you think?

salad

And, just for something completely different, some photos of black swans and waterbirds below the cut.

Yesterday, we went to visit a friend who has just moved to Williamstown.  Her unit is in a really lovely location – quite near the mangroves.  I had no idea we had mangroves in Williamstown.

These are not mangroves, but they are part of what I believe is a salt marsh in the Jawbone Reserve.

These are not mangroves, but they are part of what I believe is a salt marsh in the Jawbone Reserve.

Apparently, we also have a cold coral reef.  And a rather lovely boardwalk which I wish was more of a walk.  Another time I will make sure to take more photos of the landscape, but yesterday, my attention was captured by the waterbirds.

Black swan, looking iconic, with cygnets in the background

Black swan, looking iconic, with cygnets in the background

I don’t actually know much about waterbirds, but I have a German friend who loves them and knows a lot about them, and we have a bit of a running joke about black and white swans (mostly because I find white swans really strange-looking, which makes me sound like a terrible Australian cliché, but it is so.  The other reason is that swans are one of the few birds that I can reliably identify.  I am not a birder.)

This swan is looking right at you...

This swan is looking right at you, making it even easier to identify.  Also, I have to say that factory in the background makes rather a lovely silhouette on the horizon.

Anyway, since she is having a very un-fun time healthwise at present, I thought it might be fun to photograph some black swans and send them to her.

The plant life around the reserve is also stunning - I have no idea what the red plant is (the depths of my botanical ignorance are as-yet un-plumbed, but I'm fairly sure it isn't a pine tree.

The plant life around the reserve is also stunning – I have no idea what the red plant is (the depths of my botanical ignorance are as-yet un-plumbed), but it’s very pretty.  And definitely not a pine tree.

And then I thought, why stop at swans?

I'm not too sure what this bird is, but I like the way it is sitting up on the marsh.

I’m not too sure what this bird is, but I like the way it is sitting up on the marsh.

Well, for one thing, because I don’t really know what most of the other birds are…

I am pretty confident about these being seagulls, however.  They were doing that amazing hovering thing where they look as though someone has suspended them from the sky on strings.

I am pretty confident about these being seagulls, however. They were doing that amazing hovering thing where they look as though someone has suspended them from the sky on strings.

If you look very closely at this photo, you can see the sea off in the distance.

I have a feeling that this bird is called a shrike.  But whatever it is, I love this picture, not least for that amazing tree on the left.

I have a feeling that this bird is called a shrike. But whatever it is, I love this picture, not least for that amazing tree on the left.

And then, because I am a very silly person, I had to start playing around with them in Photoshop.  These are no ordinary waterbirds…

I actually think this looks like a proper landscape painting, if one ignores the alarming green of the water...

I actually think this looks like a proper landscape painting, if one ignores the alarming green of the water…

This, on the other hand, has a certain bad-science-fiction-cover flair.

This, on the other hand, has a certain bad-science-fiction-cover flair.

Yes, this is pretty silly, but I love the way all the plants suddenly look like coral.

Yes, this is pretty silly, but I love the way all the plants suddenly look like coral.

I have no excuse for this one.

There is no excuse for this one.  But it’s secretly my favourite.

This one, on the other hand, is surprisingly tasteful, in a sunset-y fashion.

This one, on the other hand, is surprisingly tasteful, in a sunsety fashion.

This is why I should never be allowed to play with Photoshop.  Here, have a more sensible swan to finish up with.

swan3

As for me, I’m off to watch more Wagner.  We’re working our way through a rather stunningly staged version of the Ring Cycle.  I haven’t decided what I think of the music yet, but it’s certainly fascinating to look at…

(Yes.  Sometimes, I talk about things that aren’t food.  Should I do this more?  I have many, many books in the reading pile right now…)

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One Year Ago: Anyone can cook Vegetarian Food: The Substantial Salads Challenge

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4 responses to “Gardens, Salads and Swans

  1. mangroves and swans – I must be hanging out in the wrong parts of melbourne – must get to williamstown more as I quite like it there but have never seen the mangroves

    • Williamstown is very beautiful. I had no idea about the mangroves either, until I visited my friend the other day – apparently, there is a cold water coral reef there.

  2. If you have larger versions of the photos with the birds and if they were to find there way to someplace where I could look at them, I might be able to identify them for you. The one near the amazing tree isn’t a shrike. Australia doesn’t have shrikes and shrikes don’t look like that anyway. You do have birds called cuckoo-shrikes and shrike-thrushes, but that doesn’t appear to be any of them either. If I had to guess, I’d say it might be a Purple Swamphen. The one sitting up on the marsh seems to be some kind of rail. It could be a swamphen chick.

    If you want to see what swamphens look like, I’ll direct you to some of my photos, Adult swamphen – http://my.opera.com/kknight/albums/showpic.dml?album=732187&picture=10647066. Swamphen chick – http://my.opera.com/kknight/albums/showpic.dml?album=732187&picture=10646894

    I like your photoshopped photos by the way, particularly the one that makes the plants look like coral.

    • Thank you, Katrina! The not-shrike is indeed a purple swamphen – I was trying to get the colour into the photo, but it wouldn’t go.

      The other one isn’t a baby swamphen, because it was feathered rather than downy – it looked like a fully-grown bird to me (my one piece of birdy knowledge is how to tell a juvenile from an adult). Sadly, I don’t have that one in higher resolution, because I was too far away and had to zoom right in on the picture to get the bird visible!

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