Big Swamp, again

Many years ago I had a friend who travelled frequently.  I was curious how quickly he adapted to the places he visited for work.  The trick he shared was simple.  Create the familiar.  I’ve found this to be good advice.  Where ever I travel, I attempt to create the familiar.  My recent trip to the south west region of Western Australia was fraught with work and unresolved business.  So, I sought the familiar.  Surprisingly, I still find the familiar, novel.  There is so much about Mother Nature I don’t know.  For example, I thought spring time is when new birds hatch.  Now I understand some birds hatch young several times a year.

Seeking the familiar, early one morning I headed off to Big Swamp, in Bunbury.  The New Holland Honeyeaters, striking birds, with a ray of sunshine in their wings, were feeding or watching others feed.  I love these birds!  I spent an hour walking the boardwalk and footpaths when I saw, what I thought was a small banksia cone float by.    I zoomed in to find the Eurasian Coot had some new chicks.  So new, they were almost translucent.  I watched the mother herd them away from open water and towards the safety of the grassy overhang.  They were a complete surprise to see!  After a while I treaded lightly, searching for the Splendid Blue Wren that I had seen in this area before.  My efforts were futile this time.  I started to head to the car when I heard a tiny tweet, as imperceptible as practiced deceit.  The morning sun glinted on blue just for a second.  Deep in the thicket was the beautiful wren and female.  She is less flamboyant in dull grey and rust but her eye is a gorgeous pale blue.  Too quick for gazing, catching this on the camera was a delight!  They are exquisitely tiny birds.

The mother Willy Wagtail was comfortable in her beautifully constructed nest.  I have a special affinity with this bird.  A few years ago on a day when everything went wrong, I sat on my sofa, too paralysed with distress to move.  A Willy Wagtail never left my sight.  It came up to the door.  It flew up on the patio roof.  It looked at me with curiosity from the other side of the glass window.  But it never left my home  It kept me company all day. It was such a powerful companionship that I broke free from the inertia of distress.  Now, where ever I travel or when I bush walk, the first bird I see is the Willy Wagtail.  I may be biased but it has the sweetest call.  It reminds me I’m not alone.

I have taken the month off to get ready for the new year that promises to bring surprises and more travel.  Right now, I’m enjoying the familiar of home.  I don’t get to do this very much or very often.  Like the Willy Wagtail, I’m nesting for a while.

Until next time,

As always,

a dawn bird


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