nice weekend

Subject: nice weekend
From: Una Stephenson <>
Date: Wed, 09 May 2001 06:29:54 +1000
Spent the Labour Day Weekend not Labouring - well not too many uphill Walks
- with  the FNQ Naturalists { no please don't ask if we take all our gear
off in the prickly local Bush ...} but enjoying the peace and quiet of Mount
Carbine. Super weather, trying out my new Pentax binos; I was whooping about
how they made everything show up in Glorious Tecnicolor like a nature film,
but everyone else was commenting on the amazing colours of the parrots, too,
so it must have been the Autumn light. Paleheaded Rosella Blue-Winged
Kookaburra, Red-winged Parrots, the usual Rainbow Lorikeets, Blue-faced
Honey-eaters, Pied Butcherbirds and Maggies, All the Egrets and a few
shabby-looking Straw-necked Ibis; even so, all these birds and more were
upstaged by the Bat Trees. I thought woozily as we approached the noise,
"Apostle Birds? Holding a Revivalist Camp?" No, Fruitbats. Little Red Flying
Foxes. Hanging in a group of trees {Don't ask what trees; we couldn't see
some of them for the critters,} hanging so thickly, squawking and squirming,
some with little babies attached. Always some taking off, to circle round
and return. Thousands and thousands. We watched for ages, regretted no Video
camera - we're a bit pre-technological.

On to the dam wall, where I had wandered away from the others - we were all
straggling along like Brown's Cows anyway  -  down came a pretty tiny bird
to perch on a branch a few feet overhead. Initially I couldn't identify it
as I've tended to believe that the Striated Pardelote is a] purely legendary
b] usually lost in foliage in the tallest thickest tree in the area, but
there it was . Probably admiring my new blue sunhat,as it stayed while I did
a wordless, soundless dance and semaphore act till at last somebody noticed
and came to share the experience.

Later we wandered up the hill over the old mine-site. Peculiarly bird-free,
though somebody momentarily hallucinated a possible Bird of Prey in a hole
on the opposite rock-face. All binos at the ready. Dawn, who usually keeps
us all relatively sane, says plaintively, "Somebody  make a noise like
something dead."

A loud hum, perhaps??

Slowly back to camp, uphill; a big untidy nest attracts our attention, right
over the track so how could we not notice? but a Blue-faced Honey-eater is
on duty and giving us ineffably evil looks.

Tiring day; time for a good sleep. So - why do domestic poultry, just down
the hill, start yelling around 4am? They've just started an encore at 6am
when the Blue-winged Kookaburra starts up. Then the Blue-faced Honey-eaters,
Maggies and Butcherbirds but really it was No Contest. 

[And concerning these Bathing Honeyeaters - I've seen some Yellow H-E's
doing it in the little ornamental pool outside a local library window. I
thought they were perhaps just having a drink; wondered however what was
really going on when I spotted some little White-Throated H-E's diving
repeatedly from the palm-tree above into a big stoneware pot that contains
water, water-lilies and tiny fish at the local Buddhist Centre.]


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