At Meelup Beach …

I’m leaving home again today.  Last night was a rare night where I could cook myself a meal.  With autumn here, the nights and early mornings are cooler.  It was time to get the slow cooker out while I caught up with my chores at home.  I tried something new, a slow cooked Vietnamese beef stew.  It was delicious.  This morning the air in the kitchen was fragrant with ginger, star anise, and lemon grass.

In the South West earlier this month I spent a night in Dunsborough.  It’s a small coastal town.  One of my favourite places to visit here is Meelup Beach, a favourite of others too.DSCN7966.jpgThere was just one other car in the car park when I got there early morning.  As I walked along the coastal walk, I found it belonged to a young fisherman wetting a line in the distance.DSCN7996.jpgThe waters here are generally calm but on this day there was a swell coming through.  Hopefully he got what he came for.  I know I did.DSCN8033.jpgThe birds were not awake yet so I spent some time looking at the path I walked, metaphorically speaking too.  I found one can find colour in the most unexpected bland places.DSCN8081.jpgA gumnut caught my eye.  It rolled down an embankment and came to rest against a small edge of a big rock.  A cm here or there would have made a difference to where it landed and perhaps, never seen by me.  Much like chance encounters.DSCN8087.jpgI love dragonflies.  I mean, what’s not to love about them.  They have wings of sheer shimmering lace and yet they are long distance fliers.  I find strength in that.DSCN7927.jpgSoon my walk was filled with sound.  The little Silvereye were everywhere.DSCN7945.jpgAnd if you ever want to see kookaburra, Meelup Beach is the place.  They were at least a dozen birds sitting on low branches or foraging in the leafy carpet.DSCN8060.jpgThen there was this one who decided to do a full dive into the water and came out looking like a rag!  DSCN7970.jpgHigh in a nearby tree I heard the plaintive cry of a young eagle as it rose up to stand in the nest.DSCN7978.jpgMagnificent bird.DSCN8037.jpgI was glad I got here early.  I had the opportunity to enjoy silence before the laughter of families.  Although I confess, I enjoyed both equally.

Time to get packing again.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

Fleeting moments that matter

I slept in my own bed last night, the first time in many after spending just about every night in a new town for the last few days.

I know for sure I could not do this without my little intakes of breath every time I go for a walk with camera.  I’ve brought home hundreds of photographs.  As the wind blows up a storm outdoors, my thoughts are with the mornings I spent elsewhere.DSCN8172.jpg
I started and ended my trip in Bunbury, this time I stayed closer to the estuary.  The silhouette of Bunbury Tower is always stunning at sunset.DSCN8233.jpg
As usual, when in Bunbury, I head off to Big Swamp wetlands.  The Welcome Swallows are gorgeous here and love facing the sun.  They are quite fearless and only fly away when one is almost within touching distance.  I love how plump they look!DSCN8109.jpg
I’m always on the lookout for fairy blue wrens at Big Swamp.  There’s always a pair somewhere.  This one looked like a young one.  It was hesitant for a moment as it gauged the distance across the pathway before it launched itself to the other side.  A moment I was waiting for.DSCN8187.jpg
The Willy Wagtails were plenty, some fluffier than others and quieter too, which made me think they were young ones.DSCN8221.jpg
Gorgeous, I thought!DSCN8249.jpg
The tiny brown honeyeater is the size of a small leaf.  It has the sweetest call and so difficult to see in foliage.  This one was visible for just a nanosecond before it disappeared again.DSCN7922.jpg
Further south in Dunsborough during a bush walk I found small flocks of Silvereye feeding among the Bottlebrush bushes.
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Look at the beautiful detail in the feathers!

There is no way I could do what I do for a living, either on a physical or emotional level, without having these moments in my day.  I know this for sure.

I now know Nature doesn’t heal.  Being in Nature, is healing.  I feel renewed just revisiting these moments.

Hope these photographs bring joy to you, too.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

Willie the Brave!

After a very hot weekend we are expecting a winter storm.  What’s up with this weather!

I woke this morning to absolute stillness and silence.  I took a hot drink to the sofa and gazed across the patio.  In the past few days I’ve noticed a tiny Willy Wagtail.  Still a chick it is mostly silent.  I watched it yesterday struggle to fly up to the fence, and once it gained momentum, over it.  I wondered if it landed in the swimming pool next door!

This morning, an hour went by before I heard a tiny chirp.  It was Willie the Brave!  DSCN0218.jpgI stood at the window and there it was.  Flitting around under the patio.  It feeds off the insects in the cobwebs, and flies around with ‘crumbs’ stuck to his face.  I watched it practice fantail, unsuccessfully, and smiled like a parent while gazing at it with affection.

This morning I went outdoors with my camera.  I hoped my presence would not scare him off.  It didn’t.  We shared the same space for a few moments.

This tiny bird shared a moment with me this morning.  A tiny one but big in generosity.  This little creature with no other agenda, no angle, just curiosity.  Much like me.

This is one of the simple joys I’ve enjoyed while being home most of this month.  I have a few more days at home before my gruelling schedule resumes.  My job mostly entails giving parents bad news.  It’s not everyone’s cup of tea for a profession.  I know the toll this takes on me.  So I seek other ways to soothe my spirit.  And I’ve learned, it’s moments like I experienced this morning, that uplift me.

When one realises life is finite, the value of it grows with each passing day.  So I’ve learned to find joy in the mundane which is best said by Anais Nin:

A leaf fluttered in through the window this morning, as if supported by the rays of the sun, a bird settled on the fire escape, joy in the task of coffee, joy accompanied me as I walked.

May you find joy in whatever path you choose to walk today.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

 

 

 

At day break today …

I woke at first light, at 4:40 am and headed to Woody Lake this morning in Esperance.  It was my goodbye visit, at least, for this year.  The smaller birds were out and about.  A lone pelican claimed the lake.  I claimed the rest of the reserve shared with birds.  DSCN9882.jpgThe tiny silvereye was young and bold, sitting exposed and facing the sun.DSCN9904.jpgThe Willy Wagtail chick was shiny as a new penny …DSCN9905.jpglooking intently into the distance with wisdom in beady eyes.DSCN9909.jpgThe young crested pigeon was gorgeous with ruffled feathers.DSCN9945.jpgWhat delighted me the most was the juvenile grey fantail.DSCN9950.jpgThis little one had the sweetest call, an overture that filled the canopy it sat underneath.DSCN9951.jpgThen a moment of quiet, except for my heartbeat.DSCN9957.jpgThe young wattle bird found a perch here and there on banksia cones.  The distinctive metallic call silenced, or perhaps not yet developed.DSCN9964.jpgThis is the first time I’ve seen a Western spinebill and try as I may, I could not get a better pic but I know I’ll be back next year for it.

I was busy this trip being my last for a couple of months.  Plenty of things that needed tidying up.  I returned to my hotel each evening, too tired to go out, even for a massage.  I saved my energy for this morning.  The sights and sounds were a revelation.  I saw new life everywhere.  It was exactly what I needed.  This is the lure of bush walking.  The message is always a simple one for me.  Be prepared to connect.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

 

Birds do it …

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Before leaving Kununurra, I wandered around Celebrity Tree Park one last time, not knowing when I’ll visit again.  I climbed into the 4WD, this time the climb seemed summit.  It was hot.  I had walked around for several hours reluctant to leave.  My body weary from the wonderment I was taking home, I tilted my head back into the seat, and found myself travelling back to childhood and to a time of innocence.

I was a child of books.  I still am.  Curious about the world, places, people.  I devoured everything I read and was fortunate to be raised in a home that encouraged it.  And, what I am most grateful for is having a father whose philosophy was quite simple.  He believed and instilled this in me, what you know, exponentially increases what you don’t know.  It’s a humbling thought.  So the learning continues …

While in reverie a movement in the frangipani tree caught my eye and I found a magpie lark busy.  This is a common bird found everywhere but I have never seen one build a nest before.  Fascinated I watched the bird for a good half an hour, the 4WD my perfect discreet hide.  She/he gathered enough mud from the banks of the Lily Creek Lagoon and flew up to the nest, neatly smoothing and moulding.  It never faltered in the heat.  Focused, the intent obvious, this was for family.

As my father would say, be open to learning.  Watching this industrious bird, I would have to agree with him.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

 

 

 

When one helps another ….

DSCN9526.jpgOne of my favourite proverbs is “When one helps another, both are stronger”.  I believe it is a German proverb.  The picture above illustrates this.  I’m told these birds bead together, wing to wing, to appear larger to raptors.  If birds help each other, have humans lost the art and science of helping?  I don’t believe so.  The following story gives me hope.

I work in what is broadly called ‘the helping profession’ but there are strict parameters to what I do and how.  Increasingly, I’ve come to the realisation, anyone who is in the business of providing a service to another, is in the helping profession.  One does not need years of study and a degree to do this.  Working in rural and at times remote places, I no longer am anxious about getting ill.  I have had three episodes of illness in all the years I’ve travelled and in each instance, people have shown nothing but kindness.  Today let me share something with you …

A few months ago I disembarked from a horrendous flight.  It was winter, the winds were strong and the plane small.  I could not choose my seat and was near the engine.  I sat curled up, recoiling from the noise and the storm for two hours.  As I came down the stairs, I felt a breathtaking pain in my arm.  I dismissed it and when the luggage arrived in the shed (yes, it was that kind of airport!), I bent down to pick up my case and found I had no strength in my arm.  The pain, too, was still there.  I knew it was not a heart attack.  I knew it was not a stroke either.  I stayed calm and went looking for a pharmacy for good ole Deep Heat and paracetamol.

Too unwell to eat, I went to bed early and woke around 1 am.  Deep Heat had not taken the edge off the pain.  The pain, now making me ill.  I called the emergency health line, the nurse triaged me and then directed my call to a doctor.  We talked at length and he was satisfied, I didn’t need an ambulance but he suggested I see a doctor the next day.  To see a GP these days in the city, one has to predict illness about four days in advance.  I also know an appointment in rural areas where services are limited, can be weeks.  I didn’t like my chances.

Morning came, I found a doctor not two minutes from my hotel.  I rang their number at 7:30 am just checking to see if they were operational.  To my surprise they open the clinic early morning.  The clinic reception staff listened to distress and advised me she would fit me in immediately.  The next challenge was getting dressed.  Impossible!  To my utter surprise I had a swelling over my shoulder and collar bone.  That explains it, I thought, I’ve broken my collar bone.  I threw a shawl over my top and headed for the doctor.  Easier said than done!

The doctor’s rooms were impossible to find.  Often in rural areas, people describe an address because replacing street signs seems redundant.  People know where everyone lives and everything is.  After half an hour of driving in extreme distress, I finally realised when the receptionist said “in front of the shops”, she meant adjacent.  This is only after she volunteered to stand outside and wave me down the main street.  I got out of my car, and walked towards her.  She saw my distress and gently put her arms around me and guided me in.  She ushered me into a room and away from a waiting room filled with patients.  As I tried to compose myself we chatted briefly and I disclosed I was visiting for work.  She sat holding my hand and said firmly, “You have no one in town.  I’m not leaving you alone”.  She and I knew, she didn’t have to do this, but she did.

The sequelae to this event was a non-event.  X-rays, hospital visit etc came up nil.  I later found out I had an extraordinarily severe muscle cramp, probably from being tense flying in a storm!

That event is nearly forgotten.  I have flown many times since then, and recently found myself back in the town again.  I bought some flowers and a box of chocolates and requested to see the lady who helped me.  She was seated in the back of the office.  I didn’t think she would recognise or remember me, but she did.  I gave her what I had brought with me and she protested, “no, no, I was just doing my job”.  I told her, “Maybe, but you did your job with kindness”.

As I head out yet again with just an overnight stay at home, I’m packing this story with me.  The woman’s words of kindness, a reminder, we are never alone.

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