Monday, October 31, 2011


I had the privilege of watching - with family members - a gargantuan storm front to the north-east, last Saturday night. There were several stacked pink-grey cumulonimbus clouds, wracked by lightening, that gradually moved towards the coast. It was formidable. Younger members of my family either freaked out and ran inside my house, or scaled a ladder and video taped the storm's Academy Award winning performance.

Last week, after dark, at Gambells Rest, I lured a trapdoor spider from its deep burrow with a leaf tip. The beastie was thicker-set than I thought it would be. I'm not sure if I've seen a live trapdoor before. The spider back-peddled when it realised there was no prey and it was exposed.

A Dollarbird and a White-throated Gerygone were calling close to home, yesterday, in sterling summer weather. I've only heard gerygones in the cow and roo paddocks next to Ferndale Reserve.

When barbecuing in the backyard on Saturday evening, I found a black praying mantis, about four millimetres long. I didn't think God made them that small.

It seems the morning frosts are gone. Earlier in the year, a Wingello resident who dropped off a ute tray-load of firewood to me, said he remembered frosts from his childhood that used to hang about until midday. He wondered whether global warming had changed things. I think 9:30am has been the latest I've seen frost in Bundy.

Waiting for my 130th Bundy bird species to show itself. Will it be an Eastern Shrike-tit, Straw-necked Ibis, White-naped Honeyeater, Glossy Black-cockatoo, Brown Falcon or Nankeen Kestrel? Paradise Parrot? Or something completely unexpected?

LJ, 31 October 2011.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


I heard a cicada buzzing ecstatically before 8pm tonight. Somewhat of a shock: we had cicadas, in droves, last year. I was under the impression they didn't emerge again for another seven years. Maybe, this one slept in.

LJ, October 20 2011

Monday, October 17, 2011


A Saturday meander at the end of Quarry Rd produced an Azure Kingfisher powering over the broken creek at the entrance to the quarry. The minute bird flashed in the periphery of my vision. I was lucky to spot it. It perched for a couple of minutes above the green-brown shallows of the creek, then, when I had imitated a Sacred Kingfisher's rolling trills, vanished between a dark tapestry of tree trunks and shrubbery.

So, my first Azure Kingfisher for the Southern Highlands. I've dipped on them where some observant Highland birders have successfully located them (at both Lake Alexander in Mittagong and the pooling corners above Fitzroy Falls).

LJ, October 17 2011.

Friday, October 7, 2011


Around 5pm on the 7th, when back from a few relaxing family days in the Lower Hunter & Newcastle regions, I heard Common Koels offering up their 'we've returned' mantras at either end of Penrose Road. Such a primal sound. A mournful and brimming sound from my childhood in Sydney's Cremorne and beyond. A sound for a deathbed, another life. A sound for living, now. I'm not sure what the angels would say about these first koels. Or what shepherds might say. I'd say they have anchored me since a child and maybe they're bigger than all religion.

LJ, OCtober 8 2011.