This solitary Eastern Spinebill, ( a honeyeater) visits our garden annually, arriving in late Autumn and departing back to the mountains in early Spring. He seeks out the indigenous plants flowering in our back yard, Grevillias, and Correas Thirty years ago whole families of these beautiful birds could be seen across our city, but climate change and bird species adaption change now means seeing one is fortunate.
This was the rising sun looking down our street this morning through the smoke from hundreds of kilometres away. Another day of hazardous air across Melbourne however Sydney and Canberra have had weeks of this. The fires still burn and the people are becoming angrier with our Government. There is so much smoke, that it has crossed over new Zealand, the Pacific, South America, maybe your lands and is about to move over Australia again, catch up with itself and repeat the process. As well pressure from around the world is also forcing our Prime Minister to realise he can only stall, lie and ignore the realities of climate change for so long. Time has almost run out now and today he actually indicated he may make changes to his Government’s climate/energy policy, ( policy is a kind term for what is really only a weak attempt to acknowledge there may be an environmental disaster hovering). If anyone reading this was protesting outside an Australian Embassy in Europe this week , thanks, and keep it up , your pressure is helping. And yes the tightrope is for our Prime Minister, will he keep his balance?????
Every Summer for the 35 years we have lived in the Melbourne suburb of Sandringham, the call of Male Greengrocer Cicadas as been one of the most memorable sounds of the season. These beautiful gentle insects emerge from the ground under trees after incubating for 7 years. They climb into the foliage, fly from branch to branch, eat , call and reproduce. Every warm evening the males begin to vibrate their hind legs and emit ear splitting calls as loud as motor mowers, as they seek out the females. They only live a few days, the females burying their eggs in the ground at the base of the trees they have lived in. Without fail from the first week of December Cicadas calling would happen on every warm evening, sometines the sounds would continue for hours into the night. This year we have had plenty of warm evenings. After 5 weeks of Summer we have heard THREE Cicada calls. Every other year 3 calls would happen within 5 minutes of any warm evening. What has happened? I will investigate , however my guess is one more casuality of climate Change on the insect world. Pity we cannot see the disappearance of useless politicians like this absence of our Cicadas.
My last contact with Cicadas this year happened 6 nights ago. We heard our third call then silence. A short time later there was a thump at the back door. I went out to investigate and this Cicada was sitting on the veranda. I picked it up and it nestled in my hand. I carried it through the house and gently placed it on a fern in the front yard. later I checked and it had gone. We have not heard another call. I would not be as gentle if I met one of our Federal Government politicians.
For water birds there has always been a known environment to feed, rest and relax in. In these recent local photos from top to bottom are examples of, Silver Gull, Purple Swamphen, White faced heron and Black Swans. For all the other birds water is simply the difference between life and death. On our recent 40 oC days our water bowls were potentially life savers for the local Magpies, Doves, Wattlebirds, Noisy Miners and Thornbills. Tragically the drought and increasing temperatures across Australia are leading to significant decreases in the numbers of birds generally. Even our water birds cannot rely on available water or feeding/ wetland environments any more . Another reason to hold our politicians around the world to account on Climate Change NOW .
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.
Jill took this photo of a mural on the side wall of a gym beside our hotel in Napier, New Zealand. The repeating line says it all with regard to the madness that is economic growth, (the obsession of politicians and multi nationals) around the world today. Time is running out for so many species of birds and other natural life forms but people can still act in many legitimate ways beginning with their vote.
Why is compulsory voting so rare around the world? because it does hold politicians accountable ( what would the recent presidential election results have been in the USA with compulsory voting?) So push for compulsory voting if you don’t have it and then push for sustainable economic growth from your governments or better still just a balanced economy .
Meanwhile back in our yard we continue to plant local indigenous vegetation to lure back our little birds that still hang on as they look for their natural foods. And in Australia we have compulsory voting and that means our current federal government will be accountable for their attacks on our environment.