The arborists arrived early one morning and I knew that the death knell had finally been sounded on a towering blue gum on a neighbouring property. I watched through gritted teeth as tree climbers scaled the eucalypt’s massive trunk and boughs, cutting branches and slowly lowering them to the ground. The tree – which I estimated to be at least 100 years old – was making way for a housing development, along with a stand of white peppermint gums. The blue gum was a vital … [Read more...] about Blue gum seen in a new light
On The Wing
Passport to birdland
Birdland is a magical place where it’s possible to escape all the pressures and stresses of the environment of the city created and inhabited by one species – humans – and immerse yourself in a less one-dimensional world. Birdland is nowhere in particular, and does not have to be special or noteworthy. It could be in the wildest of wild forest, or in suburbia. It could be a pristine beach, a few hectares of eucalypt woodland, or a neatly manicured city park. It could be a backyard. That’s the magic of birds; they bring beauty and wonder to every corner of the planet, wild or untamed, and my On the Wing writing is their celebration.
I crossed Bass Strait last month in search of an eagle, not one of the feathered kind but the symbol of my son’s favourite soccer team, Crystal Palace. The “Eagles” were in town to play another English Premier League team, Manchester United, at the MCG. Although the trip had nothing to do with my interest in birds, when I looked closely at the stylised eagle on the Crystal Palace guernsey, I couldn’t help but be drawn to the powerful symbol the eagle holds in our popular … [Read more...] about The Eagles come to town
A black currawong walked with a stately gait across a wooden table on the deck of the restaurant at the Cascade brewery. Tourists who had gathered for drinks after the brewery tour might well have thought the “black jay” was from central casting, with a role in the script. The lone currawong certainly had star power at the brewery, the bird floodlit in the flash of mobile phones in the fading light. As if from nowhere, the currawong had emerged late afternoon from the … [Read more...] about A link in the chain of Tasmanian history
Flecks of gold glinted in the sun as goldfinches wheeled and danced at Tynwald Park in New Norfolk. The collective noun for a flock of goldfinches is a “charm” but on this occasion I settled for my own term still carrying an essence of poetry, a “chime”. This was the sound of their collective twitter, the many ringing voices that came together in waves in this park on the western bank of the upper River Derwent. There must have been possibly 100 birds, feeding on tiny seeds … [Read more...] about A goldrush comes to the river
When it comes to smart birds, a seagull in Britain called Steven really takes the biscuit. Not a biscuit literally. More packets of chips and anything with a taste of cheese. Steven Seagull has attracted international headlines by raiding a supermarket in Devon for snacks. According to British press reports, Steven has so far munched his way through about $530 worth of such British favourites as Mini Cheddars, Monster Munch and Tangy Cheese Doritos. In all he has consumed … [Read more...] about Chipping away for a free feed