Once a month, a dedicated band of nature lovers armed with secateurs and rakes heads into the bush. They are among a growing band of Bushcare volunteers determined to “make a difference” when it comes to protecting and conserving Hobart’s fragile environment. As Hobart City Council marked the 30th year of its Bushcare program recently, the founding members came together to celebrate what had been achieved over the years. The movement has roots in the decision by a group of … [Read more...] about Still making a difference, 30 years on
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.
Although the great cruise liners which ply Tasmania’s waters in summer might appear an unlikely habitat for the bird-watcher, they are bringing birders all the same. Not a summer goes by when I am not contacted through my website by cruise ship passengers seeking an introduction to Hobart’s amazing world of birds. I always recommend the Waterworks Reserve, not more than four kilometres from the docks, as a convenient port of call, explaining that 11 of Tasmania’s unique … [Read more...] about Hobart the birders’ port of call
Feathers are still flying over foreign “interference” in New Zealand’s Bird of the Year contest. The 2023 prize went to a bird also found in Australia after a surprise intervention by the host of a top-ranking American television talk show, John Oliver. The winner was the puteketeke, known as the great-crested grebe in Australian waters, and in my annual prize for the top bird story of the year the graceful bird comes out tops. The New Zealand bird contest has long been … [Read more...] about Bird of year campaign accused on foul ploy
Every Christmas Day I set off with my binoculars to take part in a Yuletide tradition unknown to Australians. It’s called the Christmas Bird Count and for more than a century it was been celebrated among birders in the United States with the same gusto which in other western countries is reserved for turkey and mince pies. The count doesn’t actually have to take place on the big day. Any convenient date within the week of Christmas will do. The Christmas holiday in the … [Read more...] about Christmas tradition strictly for the birds
A hand-coloured engraving of a passenger pigeon hangs above the desk in my study. It’s one of my most prized possessions, bought on a whim when I lived in New York in celebration of a hero of mine at the time, a Scottish artist and poet named Alexander Wilson. The Scotsman chronicled the great migrations of the now extinct pigeon and gave his name to several bird species, among them Wilson’s warbler which I just happened to see in Central Park on the day I bought the … [Read more...] about Cancelled – Wilson’s glorious warbler