One man’s dream of bringing Tasmania’s eagles up close and personal to the state’s schoolchildren is about to be realised with the opening of an educational centre at the Raptor and Wildlife Refuge in Kettering. Eagle expert Craig Webb has spent more than a decade developing the refuge on his 10-hectare property and at the same time has released into the wild countless wedge-tailed and sea eagles brought to him for care. Although saving eagles and other birds of prey has … [Read more...] about Roll up for the “flying gymnasium”
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.
The shearwaters swirled around me in the half-light. I could hear the flutter their wings, feel the whoosh of their feathers as they swept past. I had gone to The Neck on BrunyIsland to watch penguins come ashore and had overlooked the fact that short-tailed shearwaters – or muttonbirds as they are called in Tasmania– use the same stretch of Bruny coast as their summer home. Silly of me not to be thinking shearwaters that are so common in Tasmanian waters during spring … [Read more...] about Return from a perilous journey
The population of the forty-spotted pardalote might be in freefall, seemingly headed to extinction, but the people of Bruny Island are not going to let the little bird die. On a sunny afternoon in the Jetty Café at Dennes Point, Bruny Islanders were talking up the bird they describe as the “quiet achiever”, saying that it was too precious to their community to be allowed to go the way of the dodo. Dennes Point is famous in forty-spot folklore as having the largest … [Read more...] about The quiet achiever defies extinction
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 who lives in Christchurch found … [Read more...] about Marathon bird brings cheer
A pair of black swans with three cygnets splashed about a wet paddock bordering the Huon River, oblivious of my interest in them. The paddock was coated in frost after a cold snap at the start of spring had dumped snow on the distant Mt Wellington. The swan family did not seem to mind, however. There was plenty of new-growth grass to chew on, and the rising sun was burning off the frost. Soon summer would be here. Black swans are some of the most beautiful, elegant birds on … [Read more...] about Beauty in black and white