Not here!

It is Saturday in some parts of the world.  Just like it was here last night when the playlist, a good one, drifted over the fence and the beer flowed through the loud laughter from next door.  This morning the laughter was pure, pure koookaburra, as a group of them sat on a nearby gum tree shattering the silence of Sunday morning.

I was born to the sound of birds, my mother told me.  Is this why I ‘come alive’ whenever I hear bird song?  I’d like to think so.  In the Kimberley you get all kinds of unfamiliar bird song.  And, sometimes, there’s just silence.  The predatory birds are silent.  The rainbow bee catcher is one of them.  DSCN0206.jpgThe rainbow bee catcher is also quite unperturbed by human company.  So I stayed with it for a while.  Or, perhaps, it was the other way around.DSCN0205.jpgIt would hunch up just before launching off when it spied an insect in flight or hovering over the billabong.DSCN0207.jpgThe markings are gorgeous.  Yet, the bird blends into the surrounds.DSCN0208.jpgI usually find them high in the tree tops.  DSCN0210.jpgAlert and watchful for the next tasty morsel.DSCN0221.jpgSo you would have excused my squeal of delight at finding this young one not far from the billabong among leaf debris.DSCN0216.jpgTo wake to this!

It is a grey Sunday here.  The kookaburras are now silent.  In that quiet space I’ve found a rainbow and memory.

So I thought I’d share the moment with you.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

Never smile at a crocodile …

I’m back from my trip to the East Kimberley region and jumping straight into the middle part of the journey.

It was predictably hot when we arrived but not humid, at least not late mid morning.  That was to come later the next day.  We rubber necked our way to the cabin on a walkway over a heat shrunken billabong.  The cabin was cool.  I kicked off my sandals and walked in bare feet to the tiled bathroom and promptly put my sandals back on!  The tiles were hot!  The toilet seat, on the other hand, deliciously warm!  And, best of all we were too early in the wet season, so there were no frogs in the toilet!

DSCN0021.jpgThe cabins were fantastic.  Clean and high among the tree canopy.  It was reasonably secure and no geckos indoors!  The place is so isolated.  The managers told us they never lock anything here so I threw caution to the winds and slept with the door unlocked.DSCN0020.jpgI woke early, too early, and headed to the walkway.  The billabong was alive with birds and wildlife.DSCN0075.jpgIn this harsh landscape the green in trees was vivid.DSCN0042.jpgAs was the jewel like emerald green in the tree ants.DSCN0083.jpgI’m not sure what this bird was.  Researching it online it seems similar to the Asian Koel.  But in the Kimberley?  I’m not sure.  It was black and navy blue with ruby eyes.DSCN0173.jpgHow’s this for perfect mirror image!DSCN0099.jpgIn this harsh landscape I found the most delicate jasmine like flowers on vines that entwined over the walkway.DSCN0055.jpgBelow me, a lone wallaby.  I watched it nervously, hoping the resident saltwater crocodile was having a snooze.DSCN0054.jpgI learnt later, this species is called ‘Pretty Face’ wallaby.  It has delicate shading and a white stripe across the jawline.DSCN0102.jpgThis bird was magnificent!  Some kind of pheasant I think.DSCN0198.jpgThe double barred finches swarmed water side.DSCN0087.jpgAs did the gouldian finches.  Their colours were less vivid than the ones I’ve seen before.DSCN0064.jpgSome had banana yellow beaks.DSCN0023At first I thought the tree was shedding leaves!

For me, there is no place like the Kimberley.  It is so different to any other place in Western Australia.  I needed to be here, even though, it was for just a short time.

From my walkway vantage point, I couldn’t help thinking, who says one can’t smile at a crocodile!  I know I did!

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

The scent of rain

In Western Australia rain is synonymous with winter.  Not so in my childhood.  Rain meant the monsoon.  We eagerly waited for the rains.  It came after the heat of summer.  I’ve written elsewhere in the blog about how we slept outdoors in summer, our sleep disrupted at midnight, every night, by rain in the period between seasons.

“It’s going to rain tonight!” was a chorus before we quietened down to sleep.  We would inhale deeply the heavy earthiness of impending rain.  Despite the surety of disrupted sleep, the petrichor too delicious to sleep indoors.

The cycle each year, the same.

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Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

 

 

Purple Swamphens, in the West

Responding to Tracy’s invitation on Purple Swamphen … here’s my contribution.

It is a rare visit to Big Swamp, Bunbury when I don’t come across one or more purple swamphen.  DSCN8353Poised on the grassy bank.DSCN0334.jpgOr feedingDSCN0335.jpgThe blues shimmer into indigo and purple when they move.DSCN0336.jpgThey are usually shy but also protective.  Their warning call is a fearsome screech.DSCN9057.jpgThis was a rare sighting of a chick this spring.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

 

A change is as good as a holiday

The major home renovations are over.  The dust is settling and now to the next phase of painting and window treatments, as well as culling old stuff.  With this in mind I planned to have December and January off, so my schedule for November is pretty full.  But my plans were scuttled.  I was asked to do another round of visits in regional areas in December.  My knees and heart sagged at the request.  With a crowded November and now a busy December, I’m seriously thinking Christmas will have to be on a calendar date of my choice.

Because I visit most of this large State regularly, the thought of going north seemed to be a change as good as a holiday.  It is not the best time to be visiting.  It was in the low forties (centigrade) in early October.  The temperature remains that high this week.  The tourist season is over.  The good thing is that the prices come down but the hospitality industry slows down too.  The Kimberley region will be preparing for the wet season.  I’m probably too early for the oppressive ‘build up’ that creates humid conditions, but it will be extremely hot.

Being self employed means I’m constantly working to deadlines dictated by others. A couple of years ago I started to organise my regional visits around the holidays I planned for myself.  It seemed to work well and allowed me time to indulge in things that matter most to me.  I now value the concept of a short break.  I see it as a moment to catch one’s breath.

On the Qantas flight back from Kalgoorlie I read an article on ‘forest bathing’, a nature based therapy practiced originally in Japan and taking off in New York.  It really appeals to me and something I have experienced while bush walking, without knowing it was a therapy.  I also know there are other ways to engage in a therapeutic experience.

DSCN6054My visit north will not be green.  It will be encased in the fine red dust of the Kimberley.

The visit will not be as relaxing as I would like it to be.  There will be geckos seeking shelter in my cool hotel room.  They will keep me awake.  I know this for sure!   DSCN8594.jpgI’m not scared of spiders at all, but I am of reptiles.DSCN7758.jpgAnd (sensibly) scared of crocodiles.

I expect to encounter all of these during my trip, because of the remoteness of where I’m going.  I also know I will still find beautiful meditative moments in the few days I’m there.  DSCN8108.jpgAcross the road from my hotel in Kununurra, my first stop, will be Celebrity Tree Park and Lily Creek Lagoon where I walk early morning, camera in hand.  I love that this major highway is like a suburban side road.DSCN8257There will be dragon flies with net wings teaching me to balance.DSCN8436.jpgIn groves of ancient boab trees, I’ll find a mother’s embrace, long overdue.DSCN8576.jpgDespite the heat, I’m hoping there are lily filled billabongs, like ones I’ve seen before.DSCN9603.jpgAnd migratory birds who are still calling the Kimberley home, before they fly.

Will the next few days be an escape from the ordinary?  Knowing where I’m going, despite the discomfort of heat and reptiles, I know it will be.

I’ve worked hard for the past few years because of the extra expense of renovations.  Having achieved my goals, I’m looking forward to slowing the pace next year.  In the mean time, a short break will have to a holiday.

I guess the take home message to myself today is, when limited by choice, make the best of what you’ve got.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The festival of light

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If I were to describe India, it would be the land of festivals.  There is always something to celebrate somewhere and despite the diversity, often celebrated by all.

The festival of lights, Diwali, is celebrated by Indians across the world today.  It is an important festival celebrated in spring with the hope it brings light, joy, renewal, abundance and wisdom.

I wish my fellow readers a happy Diwali and all that this joyous festival represents.  We all have similar hopes and dreams.  Our achievements of this may be unique.  But, whatever it takes, may it be within reach.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird