Canberra (Australia) – Waiting for spring, waiting for Covid to come to the national capital, waiting for vaccines for young adults and kids. Waiting.

In the lull before the coronavirus arrived in town, I bought some native plants to create a fire hazard woody grassland on the nature strip (aka footpath) out the front of my place (no photos as the plants are too small). I then spent the rest of the month trying to keep cars from driving over my babies. I was also preoccupied mosaicing on a few sunny days. Consequently, I did not stock up on groceries. I also spent time worrying about the growing coronavirus case numbers in New South Wales and Victora (Australia). And, of course, waiting.

While we waited, late winter bloomers (japonica, native ant orchid*, wattle) heralded the turning of the season.

While we waited, small birds arrived in numbers travelling the green corridors between suburbs and streets. The spotted pardalotes (male left, female right) were particularly brave this year. Aussies, I think I will vote for the spotted pardalote for Bird of the Year. And, you?

While we waited, Ama aced her health check. Woohoo!

Little did we know, Delta was already in Canberra. It burst onto the scene, spreading from Sydney to surrounding regions, including to regions where health services are lacking, as well as into Canberra and other states. The local Canberra government swiftly shut down mingling, but maybe Delta can’t be stopped? We wait to find out. The lecturing has begun from the national and New South Wales (Sydney) governments for the whole country to enjoy our freedom living with Delta. In the meantime, Canberrans stayed home (except for those hardware shopping), working and getting hairier.

Maybe fatter too? We are permitted one hour per day outdoor exercise. Still, that is an incentive to get a move on, almost putting a spring in our step.

As August faded, so did our initial optimism, but hope remains. As September arrives, we wait again. For warmth (careful what we wish for). For the arrival of more mRNA vaccines for younger people. Some young people, like my two sons, have opted for the Vaxzevria (formerly known as AstraZeneca), but it will be a long wait before they are fully covered. [Top L-R: Ironbark, Magnolia. Bottom: Déjà View (joke).]

There is little that inspires me these days, except for those marvelous Paralympians and all the health care workers out there. Three cheers for the Paralympians and health care workers, everyone.

This month has left me dismayed by Australia’s slow vaccination program, the current Delta outbreak in our communities and the mounting pressures on health systems. I am worried that we might not achieve even a lowly 50% of the Australian population fully vaccinated before Delta explodes in other parts of the country. I am concerned about the threat this is posing to vulnerable First Nations’ communities where vaccination rates lag the general population, and I am also anxious about the financial, employment, educational and health impacts on young people. I am horrified by the national government’s unwaivering support and public largess for new gas projects in contravention of the best scientific advice (and presumably international security advice) available. I am also disappointed by the Australian government’s treatment of Afghan refugees and our unwillingness to increase our refugee intake in the lead up to our withdrawal from Afghanistan. For the first time in my life I am glad that I am getting old. How good was your August?

Apart from that, and the Delta outbreak in Canberra, it has been a good month. I want to offer my commiserations to the staff and students (and their families) of Lyneham High, especially those in the band program, who have been badly affected by cases at their school. I have a soft spot for Lyneham High. It is notable that Canberra’s Chief Minister was a former student of Lyneham High. Hooray for public education! Finally, I would like to thank everyone in Canberra who is working toward bringing our Covid numbers back to zero community transmission.

This is my response to “The Changing Seasons” photo challenge, which is currently being hosted by the lovely Ju-Lyn (Touring My Backyard) and Brian (Bushboys World). Ju-Lyn and Brian are taking it in turns to host this challenge. This month it is Ju-Lyn’s turn. Check out her lovely post to see how you can participate in the challenge.

Wherever you are today, I hope the world is treating you kindly. Stay safe, stay strong. Get your advice on vaccines from your doctor and have a good September.

Kind Regards.
Tracy.

*Ant orchids are native to Western Australia. My son is babysitting a pot of them for a scientist friend.

36 thoughts on “The Changing Seasons – August 2021

  1. What a month it has been Tracy. I think we are all on the waiting list. Here in Qld we are also holding our breath. Is it going to be possible to keep delta out indefinitely? Time will tell. I do love the colourful little bird, never seen one here, and that gorgeous atmospheric landscape with the Ariel perspective going on forever. It would make a lovely painting. Little AMA looks so happy and healthy. Stay safe my friend and don’t forget to stock up on loo rolls…🤭😷

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Pauline, i worry for you and Jack. I fear an outbreak is imminent given border strains up your way. Do you think people would be more understanding of the need for some control measures if a border bubble was established?
      PS. I have another friend who had a stroke due to the Pill. She talked to her doctor and took the AZ. So far, so good.
      I think the striated pardalote is more common in your region, or further inland.
      Our restrictions have been extended to 19 September. I will probably need to get a but more loo paper. There may be more photos of the same view. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The poor people on the border certainly have very good reason to protest and they all should be considered part of Qld. I think it would help.jack and I are certainly very careful where we go.😷

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, mimfilip. We’ve seen the pardalotes flying through as part of a mixed flock but they’ve never stopped for a visit before. These ones were awfully interested in the small twigs. They must have chosen a nest site nearby! Very brave of them given the number of cats in the area. Still, we were thrilled.
      Many of the plum trees are flowering now. It is so beautiful.

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  2. Well, I’ll vote for your pardelote, a bird I’ve never previously seen. A bright gem in an otherwise somewhat gloomy month of dispiriting news, some of which could have been avoided, or at least mitigated.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, thank goodness for the little visitors, Margaret. I hope we see more of them because I fear that It will get much worse here over the next few months. I hope the UK avoids the huge number of hospitalisations and deaths this time around. You must be moving into peak gorgeousness at this time of year. Feel free to interpret that as you wish. 😄

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  3. The spotted pardalote is a beauty, yay for Ama and deja view (joke)…that made me laugh. I love reading something and then stopping…**wait a minute! what did she write?** Stay safe, Tracy.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. A beautiful set of images for the changing seasons. We can hope more people will get vaccine, but a lot of them won’t… August is almost over, hope September will get better.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Really lovely. I love the birds and I’m very happy Ama did good! It’s hard to believe that this thing will ever become something non-threatening and forgettable but I guess that’s a destination worth pursuing (and hoping for). ❤

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  6. So much to think about in your post, Tracy, and I agree with all of it and share your distress/anger/fear/sympathy.

    I enjoyed reading about your nature strip adventures and look forward to seeing it when the plants have made grown a little.
    I love pardalotes, but we don’t see them in our garden.There is a bridge in Mudgee, and pardalotes used to live under it. We would see them on our walk into town. The council, in its ‘wisdom’ cut down the trees nearby and we haven’t seen the pardalotes since.

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    1. I think the green corridors are really important for small birds, Jane. In Canberra, they stretch from the fringe right into the centre of the city. Those areas are being nibbled away but it is a great model for other cities and towns. I hope you get some spring visitors, even if they are only the feathered variety. I also hope Mudgee’s Covid situation is soon bought under control and your family in Sydney is holding up.

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  7. It is hard to be optimistic in these times. Covid continues to rule our lives, war is rampant, and the earth is suffering. And yet our main response to all the above seems to be to argue with each other and call names. It is beyond depressing! Hang in there…things just have to get better!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Ann. As far as things getting better, I’ve set my expectations fairly low. 😟 Yep, there are a lot of people shouting at one another, but also a lot of people working so hard to make this world a better place. I must remember that! I hope the latest surge in your area is not interfering with medical treatment that people need for other conditions.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So far, it hasn’t. The hospitals where I live aren’t overwhelmed with patients, although they sometimes have problems getting enough staff, which is a problem shared across all industries here. I think when Covid hit, lots of people retired, and others got used to getting paid not to work. But whatever the reason, there’s huge labor shortage in the US. And in areas that were underserved in the health care field to begin with that also had a surge in Covid, there is a real problem with adequately staffing the hospitals.

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  8. I’m not a patient waiter by nature. I feel your discomfort, helplessness, aggravation. And what makes it more challenging is that there’s not a whole lot we can do except hope, as you do. So, here’s hoping for better days we move forward in this craziness. I love that you are able to find joy in Ama’s health, the beautiful birds that visit, and find it in you to cheer for tireless healthcare workers & inspiring paralympians – we celebrate where & when we can! Stay safe & sane, Tracy!

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  9. It seems the vaccine for under eighteens will not be available here before January next year. So I have stopped waiting and will be sending my son to school from next week. I know it is fraught with risk but …
    The pardelots are so lovely! All pics make me long for open spaces.
    You take care, Tracy.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, yes! Masks are mandatory and the school hours have been reduced. I am relying on the antibodies. He is very excited, though my husband is a wee bit reluctant. We will see how the first week goes.
        Thanks. You too, stay safe. Love back at you.

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  10. I feel your frustration Tracy. The OH and I haven’t changed our behaviour since the so called ‘Freedom Day’ and covid rates have soared here in our beautiful county making it the highest in the country! From practically zero in May. I don’t think we have any alternative but to live with the virus and just hope that the vaccines do protect us from the worst of the illness, because I can’t see us avoiding it forever, unless we remain at home. The main concern of course is what happens when the efficacy of the vaccine fades and the flu virus arrives? Waiting is all we seem to be doing.
    Love your spotted pardalotes and I would certainly vote for them. I must admit the garden birds and other signs of nature have kept me going this last 18 months.
    Stay safe in Canberra!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey, Jude. Hello and nice of you to drop by. Due to limited vaccine supply and disquiet about AZ vaccine, only 37% of Aussies are fully vaccinated, but most of us are really keen to get our shots and will do so now that supplies are increasing. Of course, all levels of government are working flat out now to vaccinate people, but there is still a lot of concern that we will be left to the mercies of the virus before we’ve had a chance to get those numbers much higher.
      I am not surprised that lovely Cornwall has been inundated with Freedom Day travellers and revellers. It is such a beautiful area and they’re not breaking any rules! Throwing caution to the Cornish winds, so to speak. When does the UK government plan to offer boosters? Those who managed to get in early are probably feeling a little edgy by now. This itself must be a constraint on economic activity and fun. Thankfully you still have beautiful autumn days ahead of you and can still enjoy your quiet spaces outdoors. Take care, Jude.

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  11. I love the photo of Ama in her “Queen of My Domain” pose. The mountain view photos are just lovely.

    As for waiting, the Mu variant is now in the US, so I’m waiting for the research on just how virulent it is. I’m also waiting for the new surge on top of the current surge when the unvaccinated refuse to heed the pleas of the medical community to NOT TRAVEL over the Labor Day holiday.

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