February 14, 2014

A little rain in the night. When we wake there is mist rising from the forest while light rain continues to fall. The mood is not yet of exhilaration, but of quiet optimism. A little cloud of red-browed finches hovers into the garden, descends on grasses and parsley, then one darts off and the others follow in a ragged bunch. From the creek we hear low trills and a gentle coo – probably the brown pigeons (brown cuckoo dove) we see on the tobacco bush. A whip bird breaks through with a triumphant note, and the call fades away in the gentle morning. The steady background hum and rise of the bellbirds is muted.

A large waterbird flies along the valley and loops over the creek, its languid stroke brushing through the soft air. I’ve always called these birds blue herons, but I check Cayley this time and find it’s a white-faced heron. They’ve been more visible during the drought and we’ve seen them in twos and threes, searching for the merest speck of water and food. This one perches on a dead tree, its grey back merging into the grey of the lichen-covered trunk.

The rain continues to fall, sometimes in stronger showers where you can hear the drops falling on the forest trees with a steady rush. A neighbour visits and says we had 9 mm to 9am.

The dead leaves on the vegetables near the house stand more starkly yellow and brown against those that have survived, revived and green and newly washed. I want to see new leaves grow, I want to give the heron on the tree a running creek and a good meal, but we’re all going to have to wait a bit longer.