In the glassy, clear pools of the Sandy Bay Rivulet something stirred. The slow, languid movement of fish suddenly erupted and in a silver flash they chased each other over the sand and shingle stream bed. The rivulet in its lower reaches is alive with three species of galaxias at this time of year, twisting and turning in the chilly waters as they prepare for their migratory journeys out of the rivulet into the wide expanse of the Derwent estuary. The galaxias make their … [Read more...] about Heron reads the nuances of the seasons
On The Wing
A column for all seasons
Everyone has a story about birds. They are all about us and are our contact point with nature. The birds I see are usually in an urban environment and so I concentrate on these in my writing. I don’t pretend to be an expert but birds of the city and suburb are also the ones that most people identify with, the species you do not need a compass and binoculars to seek out. A scarlet robin singing in a garden is just as exciting as a swift parrot in an ancient forest and is worth just as many words in my On the Wing writings.
The mournful cries of yellow-tailed black cockatoos hung in the mist as runners lined up at the start of the weekly Queen’s Domain Park Run. I had joined them in an exercise that was not supposed to be about birding, more an exercise about just that – exercise – after an extended holiday period drifting into the end of summer had taken a toll on my waistline. Despite my preoccupation with my growing weight, the birds still featured as they always do with any activity … [Read more...] about A measure of the changing seasons
The squeaks and squawks of a family of brush wattlebirds have woken me at daybreak in the early autumn. I’m so attuned to the songs and calls of the resident birds in my garden I sleep blissfully through them as they start up but any new sound immediately makes me sit up in bed, as with the wattlebirds. Although wattlebirds are not uncommon in the Hobart area, they usually prefer drier bush rather than the wet forest found around my home. It was something of a mystery why … [Read more...] about Red-hot pokers a link to the past
The clarion call to prepare for autumn came this year from the yellow-throated honeyeaters which make my garden their home. Autumn usually announces itself with a sudden chill in the air at dawn and dusk, the musty smell of vegetation past the sell-by date of summer and a drawing in of light in the early evening. This year, however, the yellowthroats appeared to be in fuller voice than usual. The call – a loud, staccato “tonk, tonk, tonk” – woke me in the early morning and … [Read more...] about Indian summer turns up the heat
A magpie-lark strutting about the walkways and car park of the marina at Prince of Wales Bay has created a stir in the twitcher-sphere. The sighting in Derwent Park of the species, which is usually seen on the mainland, was first reported by the twitcher’s bible, the Eremaea birdline website, in January and again in person to me when Pieter van der Woude, who runs wildlife cruises to Bathurst Harbour and Port Davey, saw the bird late last month at his mooring at the … [Read more...] about The twitcher’s curse