Sunday, 8 March 2015

Mellowing in autumn

Hard to believe I live on THE road to Mallacoota when this is a pic taken in my front yard
I love autumn. There's something seriously mellow and magical about it. At about 6 o'clock on an early autumn evening my front garden transforms into a playground for all sorts of birds, and they don't care that I'm only a couple of feet away from them.

After a monster day of lawn mowing, gumnut raking, leaf disposal, gravel sweeping, catmint cutting, potato baking. dishwashing and short story judging I indulged in a well-earned bit of novel reading and hammock relaxing this afternoon. After about 5 o'clock it turned into an unexpected bit of bird watching.

There was a peculiar yellowish tinge to the light that meant smoke. Not bushfires though - now that the bushfire season is allegedly over, the season of 'controlled burns' begins, to prepare us for NEXT year's bushfire season. There were controlled burns happening out Cann River way and further west. It was a little eerie but it added a strange golden dimension to the air that had me spouting Keats in my head. Somehow, though, I don't think that Keats had controlled burns in mind when he wrote about the season of mists...

But anyway - in this 'season of mists and mellow fruitfulness I watched with delight as:
  •  An eastern spinebill sipped at a grevillea bloom about 3 feet away from me. 
  •  Half a dozen female satin bower birds hopped and squawked around my yard with a very obvious sense of ownership. The glossy male with his blue-black plumage and silvery beak deigned to put in an appearance as well.
  •  A little troop of king parrots swooped to the camellia bush that has these amazing apple-like ‘nuts’. They absolutely love to devour the large round seeds that live inside these fruits.

Nom nom nom

The king parrots' target - the apple-like nuts of this camellia (you can see an opened one on the left) that they find so delicious
  •          Tiny brown thornbills – I’ve decided they are brown thornbills and not striated thornbills as they lack the light brow that seems to be the main way of telling them apart – had a pool party in the birdbath, making joyful zizzing noises.
  •        Bronzewings and wonga pigeons browsed the surface of the newly-mown grass while a magpie with a whiter-than-white back stalked around looking for something tasty to eat. I keep hoping it's the young magpie who was chased from the nest a couple of months ago – this bird seems to have made the garden its own, and I’m glad. It looked so very miserable as it sheltered in my car-port while its parents sat sternly on the tv aerials, ready to swoop and peck to prevent it returning home. Magpies really know how to get their ‘grown-up’  kids to leave home…

Poor baby looked so forlorn
Tough love, magpie-style. For a few days the parent birds attacked the youngster at every opportunity, to make it strike out on its own and live independently.

The lightest of breezes wiffled around me in the lovely hammocky cocoon where I lay devouring the visual feast of the watery blue sky, the golden light, the multi-hued greenery and my many feathered visitors, and I felt what can truly be described as absolute contentment. Life is very very good.


AndrewM said...

As a very intermittent blogger I am delighted to see that many (most?) of the blogs you follow are even more intermittent than I am.

Sue said...

I was thinking the same thing myself only yesterday! As for you, Andrew, I thought perhaps you were still working on that whisky testing... ;-)