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.
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.
Brambuk is an indigenous cultural centre on the Southern outskirts of Halls Gap. It is the best place to begin an exploration of Gariwerd national park. Jill was participating in a national textiles forum/workshop and her workplace was at Brambuk. Every morning for a week I would drop her off and plan my morning of hikes, haiku and photography from here. Then late morning I would return for a coffee and cake . By this time the resident wild but very tame Sulphur Crested Cockatoo gang would be waiting for their share of tourist offerings. Tame, as in walking up to the plate you are eating cake from , picking up the fork and throwing it on the ground, hoping to steal some food as one bent down to retrieve the fork. I guess this friendly behaviour was encouraged by the staff who fed them bird pellets and conversed with each one according to their name. To give them credit this table in the second photo was their table and they all waited to be served there.The polite birds each had a chair, the rest lacking manners sat on the table. After their snack they would check out anyone else eating. In an earlier post featuring this species I mentioned the beak is quite lethal, I have known people to almost lose a finger . Conversely these lovelies would delicately take pellets from cafe staff fingers. I threw my offerings onto a chair. At times there were flocks of these cockatoos numbering in the dozens flying around Halls Gap. The drought was not impacting on their lifestyle.
This scene shows Lake Bellfield at the Northern end of Gariwerd. If you look carefully you will see a small settlement and caravan park on the creek below the wall of the dam. Three years ago we stayed in a house there and each morning I would walk with Charlie up to the dam and along the top of the wall. This is where Charlie saw her first deer and I was amazed her genetic imprint immediately knew what they were and what she was supposed to do with them. IT took all my strength to restrain her.
softens the landscape
Swinging around this scene looks down towards Halls Gap, where only a year ago Charlie enjoyed many short walks around the town and became slightly used to seeing Kangaroos up close. Legend has it 2 old blokes walk up from the town to this lookout and back down again every day. I did not see them but quite a few other walkers were struggling on fairly even surfaces.
Last week I was able to walk in the these ancient mountains and will post more haiku/images in the next couple of days.
Gariwerd to the Djab warring and Jardwadjali people for thousands of years, named The Grampians by a C19th Scottish explorer, now a Victorian national park and again known as Gariwerd. This mountain range was formed around 500 million years ago in a tectonic collision and then re shaped in another about 400 million years later.