Birds of a feather...

Butcher bird

Grey heron

I spent some time last week repairing the access road to our cottage back here in Australia, which included a bit of tree pruning and cleaning the drains where the storm water naturally flows around our home. Within minutes I was surrounded by some of the birds that have make the trees and land attached to the property their home also. Most of their families have lived here since we moved to Witta some nine years ago. To help enjoy my labours I was joined by a family of butcher birds, two magpies and a grey heron. 
The butcher birds chortled melodic bursts into the clear morning air, before diving down from the branches of the paperbark trees to the invisible feast close to my feet. There they would fill up their beaks then fly back up to a branch to batter mouths full of worms and insects into submission before swallowing. The magpies followed along behind them picking up the leftovers and the lone grey heron skirted in a safe perimeter from all the in close action, taking advantage of the abundant supply of food chain usually hidden by the dormancy of the leafy environment.
Living in the middle of Lausanne, I’d almost forgotten about the wonder and beauty of the abundant birdlife that the little acre we had planted with hundreds of trees and shrubs had come to support. Besides the above mentioned birds there are rails, eastern whip-birds, white headed pigeons, eastern rosellas, pale-headed rosellas, king parrots, rainbow lorikeets, noisy miners, crows, egrets, red and yellow tailed black cockatoos, wood ducks and we have even had the occasional visit from wompoo fruit doves. A second does not pass where I am working without being filled with the sound of bird calls and song. The beauty of a natural lifestyle is the nature that comes with it.

Australian magpie

I also went for a walk down through the garden, past the Bangalow palms and the jacaranda, to the bottom boundary of our land, where I found the Moretom Bay fig tree we planted on Cameron’s sixteenth birthday. In nine years it has grown from thirty centimetres to around seven metres. When it stops growing vertically and begins to send its lateral branches out, it will be on its way to covering a quarter of an acre of ground and bringing forth it’s individual version of bird heaven. Do I miss this place? I think you know the answer to that. There is no substitute for nature that resonates with your soul and talks back to you when you ask it a question. This is the closest I ever get to the Aboriginal idea of being on land.

Butcher birds are the most amazing imitators of other birds. They can be heard most days practicing their own singing skills in between rattling off a diverse range of other native bird sounds and calls. Very clever birds these guys and great to have around the house.

Our Moreton Bay Fig

A fully grown Moreton bay Fig

Fig leaves
Part of our forest

Our cottage


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