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



An open heart, dreams big

I came to Australia as a migrant over 40 years ago, an anniversary I celebrate this month with affection.

This morning, I recalled my youth in India.

A child of no more than eight, I would sit at the window in the bedroom.  It overlooked an open field where water buffalo grazed before returning to their owners at dusk.  I would pretend I was completing my home work while my thoughts drifted to far away places that may or may not have existed on the other side of the world.

I believe from the age of six, I had promised everyone within earshot, I would leave on a plane one day and travel the world.  For a little girl to have such big dreams, I’m sure it caused my mother some stress.  It was a different world then.

That little girl went on to live in Canada and for a brief time, in the UK, too.  She travelled the world, one that existed in her dreams and found, at times, it was as amazing in reality.

But now, she calls Australia, home.

Over the years, I did what most migrants do.  I worked.  I studied.  I raised a family.  I created a home for my children.  Disenchanted with some aspects of being an employee, I travelled my own path and started my own business with nothing but a degree and courage.  I now provide a service I could never have dreamed of, to the wider community.DSCN8131.jpgI woke this morning in cold and frosty Narrogin.  It was a challenge to get out of bed but I could not help but feel so blessed.DSCN8132.jpgThe sunrise was magnificent over the township.  Snuggled deep under covers, I felt I was the only one watching the sun emerge.DSCN8128.jpgI stayed warm in bed, until past sunrise.  I knew it was too cold, even for birds.DSCN8206.jpgI then set off to Foxes Lair, took a deep breath while taking off my sunglasses and settled down to the big experience of the ‘here and now’.DSCN8187.jpgI was there with the usual early morning company.DSCN8223.jpgIt was interesting to see the change of seasons reflected in nature.  The bush is just starting to burst into colour, with striking fronds of flowers.DSCN8270.jpgA little pink, too, here and there.DSCN8255.jpgAnd, tiny flowers of ground cover.DSCN8137.jpgThe dryandra, beautiful but prickly, everywhere.DSCN8141.jpgThe honey eaters love this plant.  Bees, too, but they were not buzzing today.  Perhaps, too cold this morning for them.DSCN8161.jpgThe kookaburra emerged from a hole in the tree.  It started to chortle.  It sounded like a kettle coming up to the boil, before it reached the crescendo that is so typical of its call.DSCN8167.jpgAnd when it stopped, it looked straight down at me!

I charted a path in my youth.  It was magical and filled with dreams of the, seemingly, impossible.

I still do the same each day.

Today, smiling, I stood eye to eye with the young kookaburra and thought, why wouldn’t I?

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

The unexpected mob

via Daily Prompt: Haul

My work in regional areas is always busy.  My appointments run back to back, sometimes with barely 15 minutes for lunch.  So my reasoning is simple.  There is no better reason than this, than to have a bit of fun wherever I am.

The draw card at Narrogin is Foxes Lair.  I go there usually in the mornings.  I love the sounds of the bush as it awakes.  The larger birds – the large Carnaby Black Cockatoos, the Australian ringnecks, the kookaburras, the crows that sounds like they are hurt (aww, awww, awwwww), the pink and grey galahs create a cacophony before the tweets of the smaller birds are heard.  I love them all.

Autumn has arrived in Narrogin sooner than in the city.  There’s fog in the air at night and early morning, with just a hint of chill.  It is also the perfect time to eat breakfast in the reserve with just the birds in the canopy for company.  So I bought myself a coffee and a freshly baked danish and treaded my car through the narrow bush track in semi-darkness and waited for light.

At dawn I realised there were no flowers left in Foxes Lair, so there were no birds, but, the bees were humming up a storm among the prickly dryandra.  Disappointed, I was ready to haul my heavy heart into the car and return home.  My heart skipped a beat.

I know this reserve well now having visited it dozens of times.  I know a novel shape when I see one.  Was that a tree stump?  No!  It can’t be!

DSCN7053.jpgNot far away from my car, was a Western Grey kangaroo and joey.  Aren’t they perfect in the bush!

DSCN7056.jpgThese looked different to the ones in Esperance.

DSCN7059.jpgThe eyes, large and luminous.

DSCN7061.jpgWas that curiosity or a ‘don’t mess with me’ look?  This one was huge, the stance looked threatening.

DSCN7063.jpgWith another joey, much paler than the other one, they were eight in the mob.  They stared at me in silence.  Oh!  I wished my heart didn’t beat so loud!

For me, there’s nothing more beautiful than seeing kangaroos in the bush where they belong.  Their behaviour is different to the ones who are familiar with humans.  The wild kangaroos are shy and elusive.  I know they are here in the reserve but rarely see them, so this was a special treat.

I drove out of the Lair, and headed home.  My smile stretched from ear to ear.

The circumstances in my life have been a gift.  I received it, not knowing what was within it when I did.  Looking at these pictures, perhaps what was within, was being child like, and the ability to delight in the world around me.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird





The little girl in me …

via Daily Prompt: Imagination

The little girl in me had a simple but seemingly impossible dream. She wanted to travel the world.

She visited countries, now most of them have been marked off the bucket list.  She walked through gardens and museums, rich in history.  She shopped for things that had value in the moment and discarded them long ago, without regret.

Yes, she travelled the world, but she had an insatiable yearning … she hadn’t seen anything as yet.

The realisation was a powerful catalyst.  She wanted more than the eye could see.  So she cast aside shackles and started to experience, free.

DSCN0335.jpgShe saw colours more vibrant

DSCN4181.jpgthan any painting in a gallery.

DSCN4446.jpgAnd when colours were muted

DSCN3953.jpgshe found, they still told a story.

DSCN4776.jpgShe searched for the Cape Barren Geese, at every trip to Esperance and found the giant bird, doing the impossible.  Looking elegant.

DSCN4608.jpgHer eyes held a joey’s gaze while it snuggled deep within the mother’s pouch.  It was something she only read about.

DSCN2874.jpgShe walked with waders until they found the perfect palette for her to capture the moment.

DSCN4965.jpgShe delighted in the ice cream pink wave of flowers, she found one day, in spring.

Yes, that little girl had dreams.

But, never in her wildest imagination did she think, Nature could generate this powerful synergy.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird


Nature’s jewellery

via Daily Prompt: Encrusted

As a child the word encrusted would conjure up imagery of jewels in a crown or perhaps, sequins on a garment.  I am still child-like.

The word encrusted now conjures up Nature’s jewellery.


At Cable Beach in beautiful Broome, you’ll find me in an area that has a scatter of rocks.  It’s a magic place at sunset when viewed from afar.  It is a magical place at dawn.

DSCN7401The rocks covered with barnacles.

DSCN7398And there are sea creatures, just as encrusted.

DSCN7793I always visit this slab of rock.  It is jewel like with barnacles.

DSCN7426So enthralled by it for several visits, I failed to see one just beyond, and closer to the sea.

DSCN7417There is life in tiny crevices.  The ibis knows this.

DSCN7562So does the heron that walks with intent.  While the seagull photo bombs, also with intent.

DSCN7513Above the roar of waves, I can hear the crunch of footsteps on a shell encrusted beach.

DSCN7431And, amid the noise and beach clutter, the tiny sand plover takes a moment to stand still.

Like me.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird






The task for the week was a simple one but proved really difficult for me.  There were no rules.  Writers were given license to tell lies, break rules, make up words.  They were asked to create in the moment.  Instant writer’s block!  So the facilitator gave us the opening line … “I leave this by your ear for when you wake …”.  Using my senses, immediately centred me.

I sat with my fellow companions in silence while we took the words in, then stepped away for a few moments, at one with all around me.  Far away in the outback, I wrote a poem for my children, the opening lines ….

DSCN8619“I leave this by your ear for when you wake,

DSCN8654The footfall of blue dragonflies, on a lily carpet”

DSCN8609I am home now.  The rainbow lorikeets are in the tree, screeching.  The beautiful sounds of the currawong, echoing.  The flapping sounds of big winged birds as they head for the lake, above me.  The musical fluted call of the Willie Wagtail, outside my window.

DSCN8563I hear them with my eyes closed.

A mindful moment.

And, in that moment, I see the billabong again.  The lily pads.

DSCN8590The big winged raptors in the trees.

DSCN8695The jacana.  Oh! what big feet for a delicate, elegant bird!

DSCN8701The white faced heron, silent and poised.

Yes, I’m home.

‘Billabonging’ to the sights and sounds of the Kimberley.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird





Coming of age

via Daily Prompt: Lecture


My fondest memory of my mother is standing by her side while she dressed for special occasions.  The space between her and myself, is where I came of age.

My mother’s dresser had three large mirrors so she could view her profile.  She never walked away from it until she was satisfied.  A light touch of make up, jewellery, (always real jewellery), her hair a low chignon.  Her back was straight, her shoulders relaxed.  A light spray of perfume.  She was ready for the world.  With one final look, she would say with conviction, “make-up should enhance, not detract”.  I would watch her walk out the door in awe.

The message of my mother’s lecture still makes sense.

Would a plain cockatoo look as spectacular?

Until next time,

As always,

a dawn bird











via Daily Prompt: Bewildered

It is early morning.  There is no one in the Lair.  Well, maybe not!

DSCN8386.jpgBreathe in.  Breathe out.  My senses now acute.

DSCN8411.jpgThere is someone having breakfast above me.  I move my lens away from the remnants cast aside carelessly.

DSCN8401.jpgOn the other side, the rhythmic thump on dry leaves tells me there’s a grey kangaroo in there.  Somewhere.

DSCN8403I close my eyes.  I hear the sea in the Marri tree tops.  This, in deep Wheatbelt country.

DSCN8398The tops are crowned with flowers, with some blossoms hanging low, like fruit of the vine.

DSCN8460And, that’s when I saw her.  She looked bewildered at my presence.DSCN8421.jpgBut not as bewildered as me, to find a shiny bauble in this bush country.DSCN8436

Until next time,

As always,

a dawn bird




Posedion, god of the sea

via Daily Prompt: Creature

At sunset, I parked my car and walked towards the ocean.  A gust of wind lifted the sail.


DSC_0026.jpgHe steadied himself, then walked down the stairs.  His dreadlocks streaming behind him, like kelp.

The wind was strong.  It was what he wanted.  Encased, his muscles quivered with anticipation.

DSC_0033.jpgHe faced the ocean.  This, Poseidon.

Without a backward glance, he let the waves take him away.

I stood alone.  The wind wailed with me.

In his element, no longer of land, he became a creature of the sea.

Until next time,

As always,

a dawn bird


Red Finches

via Daily Prompt: Sympathize

Over the years I’ve managed to develop my own work-life balance.  I’ve reached a stage of contentment in what I do and how I live.  My children say, they have never heard me complain about working.  I don’t believe I’ve ever complained to anyone else.  Why would I?  Every work trip is an adventure.  Yet, some people feel the need to “sympathize” with me.

You see, my camera has opened a new world where I always find joy in the old and new.  If it’s raining, I look for rainbows.  When it is overcast with storm clouds, I know sunrise/sunset is going to be magnificent.  In rain, I find diamonds.  It’s a new twist to the old saying, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

Some memorable moments are more vivid than others, like those spent with red finches in Kununurra, in the far north of Western Australia.  These are my observations.

Red finches seem to be listening to music all the time.  They hop and skip and bop their way on the ground.  In the air, they dive dance.

DSCN9995.jpgThey are almost always in a flock or at least a pair or two.  I’ve watched them for hours and have never observed conflict.  They seem to know, there is plenty of food for all.

DSCN9616.jpgThey go about their life, without a backward glance at raptors.  They live mindfully, in the here and now.

DSCN9702They are curious about the new.

DSCN9699.jpgStop long enough to look at the world around them.

DSCN9701.jpgThey are relaxed, and focused, when they observe.

DSCN9817.jpgAnd, yes, these energetic, beautiful little birds do take time to rest.

Red finches are joyful creatures.  Their values are uncomplicated.  Food.  Freedom.  Community.

Flanked by the major highway and the banks of the beautiful Lily Creek Lagoon, these red finches live an idyllic life, as it was intended.

I do, too.

Until next time

As always,

a dawn bird


Beloved, it’s in our nature

via Photo Challenge: Beloved

In a flock, they know the other.

DSCN4010.jpgAs well as a mother knows her chick.

DSCN4043.jpgBirds often pair for life, each the beloved of the other.

DSCN7377.jpgTwo walk as one.  Well, almost.

DSCN8124.jpgOthers huddle close together to appear as one … to large predatory raptors.

DSCN7354Have you seen dragonflies mate?  In a word, violently.  Finding a beloved, they end the battle, in heart-shaped unity.

DSCN6688.jpgOn weekends, kayaks rest side by side signalling, the beloveds are nearby.

DSCN8219Yes, to be loved and beloved, is in our nature.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird




via Daily Prompt: Stifle

I heard her before I saw her.  I had no idea what the sound was until later.  She was grooming her quills with big sweeping strokes in the dead of night.

Early morning I stepped outside my hut to a soft sunrise in harsh Kimberley country.  She was magnificent!  Instinctively, she stopped.  An icon in iconic country.  I took her picture.


I learn her name over a campfire breakfast.  I had to stifle my grin.  Marilyn!


Some may regard it as an incongruous name for this big flightless bird. But, she is a star. She’s equally beautiful, standing tall on big feet or resting among rocks.


The most graceful thing about her is her walk.  Slow, rhythmic with a deliberate sway that comes from being bottom heavy.


Transported to that moment, the sound of her strides my lullaby.

Until next time,

As always,

a dawn bird


In shells, a memory …

When in Geraldton, in the Midwest of Western Australia, I often find myself grabbing a quick lunch at St Georges Beach while seated in my car.  I angle myself comfortably, to watch the distinctive trees.  In the still of the moment, they look like they are responding to a sea breeze.  They are poised, but do not break.

During the last trip, the trees took me where I’ve wanted to be each time I visit this sea city.  Just beyond the beige.


Is white a different shade of beige?  I’m not sure but the difference is remarkable.


I zoomed in for a closer look, and saw so much more.  In a cup of a shell, there were smaller, tinier shells.


Some fused with coral.


My first blue shell!


A sea sponge, as distinctive as a hairdo.


Thousands of broken and whole shells, pieces of coral too.


A translucent shell, agape.


I missed the details on the countless trips I’ve made.

Moving from the beige to beyond, I returned home and read up on shells.  There is so much about them I do not know and have yet to learn.

What I did learn is, shells once belonged to living creatures.  They are remnants of what was and become footprints in the sand.


Just like memories.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird