The white goshawk flew in wide spirals, catching the thermals rising from the sun-drenched lowlands between sea and mountain. The goshawk had come into view as I scanned the far-flung ocean looking for, of all things, whales. The Mercury had reported in recent days that the whale season was underway with about 60 humpback and southern right whale sightings. It might have seemed a little fanciful to climb up to Sphinx Rock on the south-east side of Mt Wellington looking to … [Read more...] about White goshawk having a whale of a time
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.
Bird festivals have become an international phenomenon in recent years but there is only one that can lay claim to having an endangered bird literally on its doorstep. The Bruny Island Bird Festival might not be the biggest - that honour goes to Birdfair in Britain which attracts more than 20,000 birders annually – but it can boast not just lectures and bird tours, but a sighting of the forty-spotted pardalote. “Forty-spot” is one of the rarest birds in world with its … [Read more...] about Bruny bird festival takes flight again
Black cockatoos – their mournful cry carrying far and wide – intruded on a day which should have been free of birds, one devoted to another favourite subject of mine, Victorian history. I was in the middle of a tourist presentation called Louisa’s Walk, a stroll intoTasmania’s convict past that embraces the Cascades Gardens in South Hobart and the nearby site of the Cascade Women’s Factory, when the yellow-tailed black cockatoos paid our party a call. The life of Irish … [Read more...] about Lament for a life lost
LIFE isn’t all fun and games for the gangs of ravens we seen going around town in huge flocks during the winter months. The ravens are mainly juveniles flexing their muscles, and wings, for a winter and spring of mayhem before attempting to find mates and settle down to family life. This aspect of raven behaviour has been described by scientists as a sort of mobile discotheque – with groups of young males fighting for dominance and females trying to find mates. The latest … [Read more...] about Hoon ravens crave to settle down
ARTIST Bobby-Z Lambert gets a little help from his friends during the long and lonely hours he spends at the easel in his studio. The life of a painter can be a solitary one and it is not unusual to see pictures of artists with perhaps a cat, or a patient dog, amid the pots of paint and jars holding brushes. The great Rembrant might have had his favourite cat alongside him, but Bobby-Z chooses a feathered friend to go with his setting. Or should I say friends, because it … [Read more...] about Currawongs in the picture