The ongoing news of nervous residents enduring cracking and crumbling tower blocks in Sydney and Melbourne came to mind when I reviewed a construction project in the Waterworks Reserve. No problem of alleged inadequate design and poor building techniques here. Masters builders were at work, overseen by a master surveyor. It might not be a tower block of concrete, glass and steel, but the welcome swallows applied the basic rules of construction all the same: a firm, solid … [Read more...] about A home built by master builders
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 Indonesian island of Bali is known to Australians as a holiday destination – especially at this time of year – but for birders it has been put on the map for an entirely different reason. The holiday island is also the scene of an epic struggle to ensure the survival in the wild of one of the world's most beautiful birds, the Bali myna. The pure-white myna with a face mask of bare blue skin is Bali's only native bird species but its status as the island's wildlife … [Read more...] about Struggle to save the Bali myna
The scarlet robin is young, new to this world. Only a week or two out of the nest, testing boundaries not contained in and constrained by the tight confines of the straw and twig nest. He – the youngster already has traces of the scarlet breast feathers which distinguish the male – sits on an exposed twig in full view of the denizens of the forest, calling to his parents for food. The pademelons and Bennett’s wallabies resting in the shadows of a forest glade do not give it … [Read more...] about Young robin sings his own song
Each spring Tasmanians hold a collective breath, waiting to see how many of orange-bellied parrots return to their breeding grounds from the mainland. The good news this season is that more – 22 – have come back to Melaleuca in the far south-west than last year. Although the number is small what is significant is the females of the species have led the way. And this has given the biologists charged with trying to ensure the tiny parrots’ survival a unique challenge – they … [Read more...] about Endangered parrot putting up a fight
Forget the Melbourne Cup, the other race that stopped the nation in mid-November was Australia’s Bird of the Year contest for 2019. Unlike the horse race won by Vow and Declare, the bird contest was not decided by a short head. The black-throated finch led the field from the start when voting opened, dominating the initial 50 starters and then clinching victory when the contest was decided in a second round of 10 finalists. The finch scored 11,153 votes, with the next … [Read more...] about Rare finch sets the pace