July 17, 2016

Down by the creek I hear a noisy flapping in the canopy, a bumbling from tree to tree. A heavy flight, wings beating in a high-pitched whirr, and it lands in a tree near me. I stare up, walk around the tree, finally see a bright little eye staring nervously down at me. I can’t see the pink chest but it must be a wompoo fruit dove, big and plump, shades of green in its head and body, bright golden dots strung across its wing.

Up in the garden there are the winter birds. The white-cheeked honeyeaters fill the stunted gums, dashing, hopping, sprinting – joyous, animated. They cluster in the trees, chasing and swirling. Eastern spinebills feed from the gradually opening flowers of a grevillea, their wings agitating in hover. A yellow robin flies urgently around the deck, crashing into a window, righting itself and fluttering off, a magpie in pursuit, zooming, jet-like, after its prey. The robin veers into the mess of shrubbery – curry plant, lemon verbena – and the magpie continues down the hill, returning moments later, putting on an extra cranky burst of speed in its frustration.

Meanwhile, in the chookyard, the broody hen continues to sit on as many eggs as she can collect. I have to be careful when I lift her off (unexpectedly thin bony body under all those puffed out feathers) to make sure she hasn’t gathered any eggs within her wings. I put her on the ground and she fluffs out, has a wander around the yard, a little drink, a peck of food, then returns to her nest.