March 29, 2015

Harriers find a friend


The patch of yellow grass in a shorn hay meadow held a secret within in its sun-burnt stalks swaying in the hot summer wind.  The secret was partially revealed as I approached the grassy oasis because overhead a bird of prey appeared as if from nowhere, letting out a shrill cry that echoed through the surrounding hills.  Treading carefully through the tall grass I suddenly caught sight of two creamy-white,  downy shapes, perfectly … [Read More...]

Feeling the heat

Black cockatoo

“Phew, what a scorcher” is a headline that came to mind, the sort of thing I would have written during my days as a wordsmith on a tabloid daily newspaper in London.  It was the hottest day on record in Hobart – a staggering 41.8 degrees Celsius – and I headed to Mt Wellington in search of cool air, and birds.  I was disappointed to find that the Pinnacle Road up the mountain was closed because of the extreme fire risk and settled instead … [Read More...]

Marathon bird brings cheer


  The bells of Christchurch Cathedral once rang out each September to herald to return of the New Zealand harbinger of spring, the bar-tailed godwit from their breeding grounds within the Arctic circle. The bells might be silent now following the devastating earthquake that destroyed much of the city last year, including the cathedral’s bell tower, but the people of Christchurch still rejoice in the arrival of the godwits. My sister … [Read More...]

Birds-eye view of history


  The rising sun had painted the sky in hues of pinks and blues, and I was walking a beach thinking of another time, if not another place. It was the year of 1832, and a fearsome dog called Jowler was tugging at its chains, trying to chase a hooded plover straying a little too close to its kennel. My thoughts had wandered like my footprints in the wet sand at Eaglehawk Neck’s sweeping beach, where I had gone in search of Tasmania’s … [Read More...]