This Great Egret was hanging out with two fishermen beside the Moyne River jetty at Port Fairy.
Usually these birds are observed from a distance as they quietly seek out frogs, tadpoles or other small specimens of water/ swamp dwelling life. Not this bird. It was right beside the fishermen who explained it had trying to steal bait from their fishing tackle all afternoon. At one stage it was standing on one man’s car when he hid the bait inside it. Either a very hungry or very tame bird.
It seems they had decided to share some bait with the bird when it clearly was not going to go seek its own food naturally and of course more was asked for. Maybe another consequence of changing conditions out there in nature.
Dawn on the Moyne River at Port Fairy last September. This was an early morning walk Maggie and I took on the town side of the river. The sun was just rising over Killarney Bay behind the sand dunes. Port fairy is a beautiful little town however all relevant Climate Change scientific predictions have almost the entire town inundated by the ocean in the not too distant future. Whenever I now visit this town of my early childhood and where I first met my wife Jill and reflect on the happy memories I struggle to feel optimistic about Australia and most of the world addressing emissions reduction and restricting the looming dangers of decades of ignorant selfish political inaction on climate change.
This is Australia’s carniverous Musk Duck. These photos show a young bird on the Moyne River at Port Fairy. They are solitary birds and spend almost all their time floating on the water or just below the surface with the bill and head partly above to breathe. They spend a lot of time diving to catch crustaceans and also stalk and grab floating fledglings of other water birds. The duck worlds Crocodile. I have only seen 2 of these in my lifetime. They rarely come out of the water as their legs are barely able to support what is a stocky, heavy body. Certainly not just another pretty duck
Recently we took a short holiday in Port Fairy down on the Victorian South West Coast. This was a favourite holiday place for Charlie and Maggie was keen to explore the town as probably the next Afghan Hound to visit the place since 2013.
In the mornings I had to be up early as Maggie expected to go walking. Port Fairy has a unique location as a fishing fleet and tourist town at the mouth of the Moyne River with a long sand dune parallel on the ocean side for the last 3 kilometres to that mouth. A causeway connected Island on the other side of the river is home to a lighthouse and nature reserve that is a Mutton Bird rookery where thousands nest after their return Winter feeding migration from Siberia. They are late this year, in fact none have arrived yet, the worst scenario being they have all died on the flight. Hopefully they are just late however climate change effects from the feeding grounds in Siberia to rest and feed stops down the East Asian Pacific coasts could mean they have all starved on the way.
These trees are in the Gariwerd National park in Western Victoria in Australia. This is an ancient mountain range formed millions of years ago through geological upheaval. The forests are also ancient and regenerate after regular fires usually caused by lightning but occasionally by humans. For thousands of years, we are not sure how many, but possibly 30-40,000 at least, Indigenous Australians lived within these ranges and respected the flora and fauna. There are many thousands of years old rock art galleries sharing the culture of the Indigenous people throughout Gariwerd. Rock art sites are still occasionally discovered by current scientists that indicates the wild nature of some sections of this area . The haiku in this Haibun is a response to RonovanWrites #Weekly #Haiku #Poetry Prompt #Challenge #273 Forest&Whisper go to https://ronovanwrites.com/2019/09/30/ronovanwrites-weekly-haiku-poetry-prompt-challenge-273-forestwhisper/#comments and see lots of other haiku responses to this challenge from Ronovan.
Walking the track out the back of our house in Bendigo is one of our favourite places. There is a small remaining pocket of ground where native orchids still flourish from Winter across into early Spring. These beautiful tiny plants were much more abundant everywhere in this area of The Bendigo Regional Park. However 2 severe wild fire burn offs by the State Government authorities during the last decade has all but eliminated Orchids now except in our special place that lies just at the edge of the burnt areas. We have an impressive photographic record of native orchids from this entire area dating back to the 1970’s, including a couple of species that we have not seen for 30 years. Each year we return with hope and cameras. Both these photos are taken at the same spot on the track. Charlie was trusted off lead in her mature years however Maggie must wait a while before she wanders the track independently.
Whenever we travel to Bendigo The Merchant of Malmsbury is where we break the journey. Len has made this wonderful place his business for travellers like us to stop off and enjoy coffee and home made scones, jam and cream in the garden. His shop is crammed with interesting curios and his own brilliant photography artwork. In another life Len once worked in a Melbourne drafting office which he shared with an Afghan Hound. Hence there was always a warm welcome for Charlie and now Maggie. There is some fascinating historic C19th architecture including The Merchant’s in this small village. The Botanic gardens are also historically significant. Malmsbury is a lovely place to escape the monotony of the Calder Freeway.
Recently we visited the Grampians / Gariwerd National Park North West of Melbourne for the annual first weekend in October Spring native wildflowers exhibitions. At Pomonal the local members of the Society for Growing Australian Native Plants display flowering specimens cut from local bush gardens. These plants represent the Spring flowering plants of Southern Australia. At Halls Gap the Friends of Grampians/Gariwerd National Park display the range of flowering plants found across the park. Rangers collect specimens in the days before this weekend from the park and the friends prepare the display.
We have now regularly visited these displays across the last 12 years and always look forward to the concentrated displays of colour and the aroma of nectar. Because Maggie was with us we could not get out into the tracks of the park looking for flowering plants in their natural environments.
These 3 images are from open gardens at the Pomonal display.
Whenever we travel to the Grampians or very occasionally Adelaide a lunch or coffee break at Lake Wendouree in Ballarat is planned. Charlie had many picnics by the lake and now Maggie has experienced her first two. The circumference of the lake is around 6 kilometres and it sits in the heart of this city so there are always joggers, dog walkers, cyclists or strollers on the path or adjacent road. Ballarat is the home city of my mother who was born and educated there and my father also went to boarding school there and rowed on the lake. When the Melbourne Olympic games were held in 1956 Lake Wendouree hosted the rowing events. Ballarat is freezing cold in Winter and it usually snows. Spring and Autumn are the best times to experience the city and lake. There are many nesting waterbirds on islands in the lake and this beautiful Cygnet and its sole sibling paddled past while we ate lunch recently.
Just one of the hazards encountered on our brother and sister in laws’ bush property in the mountains East of Melbourne. They devote their entire property to the preservation of wildlife, mostly Indigenous although Deer, Foxes and cats tend to roam about. This creates quite a dilemma as they do not believe in killing any life. At times Kangaroos have become too familiar such as wandering into the garage and sitting down on armchairs. A large Brown Snake called Melissa lives under and in the roof of their dwelling. She tends to look after any mice that loiter.