On Looking Up

If your spirits are low, go for a walk. Hear the morning chorus, watch as magpies squawk and squabble overhead. Listen to the smooth notes of a currawong from high up in a gum tree, and watch a squadron of parrots chasing each other before feasting on seeds in the pine trees.

On a good day there will be at least one kookaburra chortling away. Way up high there is the frantic screech of a white cockatoo, seldom alone and usually part of a rowdy, wheeling mob. A red flash as the compact bodies of rosellas, one of the shyer birds, fly by. Wattle birds feast on the nectar of native shrubs, their sombre grey and white plumage contrasting with their red neck wattles and the dash of yellow on their bellies.

Look up and see a beautiful butterfly, camouflaged against the heritage paint of an old building. Look around and see the blur of a bright brown rabbit, tucked in against the edge of long grass along the roadside. And a white horse sitting down in a paddock, its stillness a contrast to the movement around it.

Learning to look up has been one of the most rewarding lessons of my life.

How often do you look up?

[Photo: a red wattle bird]

Monday Moments: Bird’s Eye View

Cockatoos would have to be one of the least-bothered birds I’ve come across. Perhaps it is because they are usually wheeling about in large, raucous numbers, but even when spotted on their own they tend to hold their ground and show little concern for what humans might be doing around them. This one was spotted as part of a larger flock dotted throughout a chestnut tree, having a lovely time snacking. They are well-known for razing food sources, chewing away until there is nothing left.

Cockatoo in chestnut tree

Cockatoo in chestnut tree

Kookaburras are my favourite bird. A small family of them were spotted by chance during a recent trip to Wiseman’s Ferry in Sydney’s north. Their solid little bodies look too heavy for their feet but in flight they are swift and graceful. They have very sharp beaks and are fierce hunters in the bush.

Kookaburra

Kookaburra

I had chatted with a pair of emus in the Hartley Valley back when I was doing the I Spy quest. Apart from their beautiful brown eyes and inquisitive natures, I had been taken by the deep clucking sound that they make. They are so used to people stopped to say hello that they approached me without concern to see if I had anything interesting to offer.

Emu

Emu

One of my books from childhood had a rainbow lorikeet on the cover, and it still amazes me how vibrant their colours are. This one, spotted in a suburban back yard, was feasting on a large shrub in-between rain squalls.

Rainbow lorikeet

Rainbow lorikeet

King parrots got a mention recently when I was listening to background noises. They are another bird who will look you in the eye as they chew away on whatever is currently in season. This one was perched up high in a pine tree and I could hear it chomping away before I could spot it, even with the bright plumage.

King parrot

King parrot

Last but not least is this magpie, watching me closely whilst perched on a bench seat.

Magpie

Magpie

Have you spotted anything lately from a bird’s-eye view?

My I Spy: something beginning with ‘K’

At the start of this alphabetical quest, I knew that there would be some letters which might be a bit more challenging than others. K, Q and V seemed to be the likely suspects. Here are a couple of things that I’ve spotted in the K space recently.

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Kangaroo spotted at Hill End

Kangaroo

I have a bit of a thing for look outs. When I’m travelling through somewhere unfamiliar and there is a sign for a look out, I usually take the detour, curious to see whatever is regarded as a local scenic spot. Hill End is an old gold rush town, now under the care of the National Parks of NSW. It is a trip back in time and has been a favourite spot for artists over the decades. On an unsealed road up to a look out, we came across this kangaroo who wasn’t thrilled with the interruption.

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Katoomba Views

Katoomba Views

Living in the mountains does make the K challenge a little easier. This photo was taken from the viewing platform at the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre. I love the expanse of sky and the unfolding mountain views in the distance. Katoomba is an interesting town, and many of the shop fronts along the creatively titled Katoomba Street are worthy of photographic or artistic recording, especially some of the art deco style shop fronts. There are lots of quirky shops, too.

Kookaburra

Kookaburra on the fence

Kookaburra

Kookaburras are one of my favourite birds. I love to hear them laughing in a noisy, boisterous group. It is one of the best sounds I know. They aren’t large birds, and I’m often surprised at how compact and sturdy they are, with solid little bodies. At times they look a bit ruffled, like this one, as if just woken from a nap.

 

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Koru, New Zealand

Koru

I brought this gorgeous glass koru back from a trip to the North Island of New Zealand. I was travelling around the beautiful Coromandel coast when I started to see them all over the place, in various colours and made of different materials. I love the glass, as green is my favourite colour, and it sits on my kitchen windowsill, catching the light. It represents the unfurling new growth of a fern frond, symbolising new life, growth, strength and peace.

Have you spotted anything beginning with K lately?