Thursday, June 21, 2012


Not a lot to report of late... The mornings are algid enough to have you thinking of yourself and not getting ill. There's been the odd frost - one feels as if one is treading on Rice Bubbles... The other morning there was a waning crescent moon in the rising sun's sky - gorgeous... I went for a lengthy jaunt (Gambells Rest - Fairy Bower Falls - The Amphitheatre - Mark Morton Lookout - Gambells Rest) about ten days ago. The walk was demanding in certain sections as there were fallen trees (courtesy of recent high winds) and sodden paths of fallen fern fronds. Happened across a male Superb Lyrebird flapping his wings, shimmering and in full song. I didn't get to see the breeding display though. Something I'm looking forward to witnessing... For a few minutes I found complete silence in-between The Amphitheatre and MML. Not a bird calling. No wind disturbing the canopy. It was surprising, spooky even. Real silence, intense silence, is so, so rare, so, so necessary... A fox has been around home. I heard it uttering its wheeze-yap out in the bleeding pitch on two nights. Its calls to the moon, Morton and man, had my Cocker Spaniel crying back... I crushed a Funnel-web at the backdoor recently. The second I've seen: the other was during July, 2011... Last Sunday, just before dusk, my boy and I searched in vain for the Little Bittern that is seen irregularly about the dams and swampy bits of Peter Lach-Newinsky's grand property. Such a phantom-thing. I've only seen one once, years ago, at Eastlakes Golf Course in Sydney. It is rarely seen, most probably overlooked. The bird could well be a lot more plentiful than people believe. At the end of the day, how many birders are really putting in hrs searching for them? LJ, June 21 2012.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


I usually steer away from politics on this blog site. Not today. No way. I'm completely unimpressed by Barry O'Farrell's call to let recreational shooters into NSW national parks, nature reserves and state conservation areas (notice the words reserves and conservation there). Potentially, Morton National Park is one of them. It's on the list. OUR Morton National Park. The Morton that is our backbone, our lungs, even our identity. The Morton with its immortal gullies, mentioned so often in Bundanoon's literature. Who's going to police these shooters when they're prowling through Morton NP? Who can guarantee rare or endangered wildlife in Morton isn't harmed? Who can be sure bushwalkers, picnicking families etc aren't harmed? How will I know when it is safe to enter Morton to go birding? How can visitors to the park know they're safe? This is a bloody joke. I'm sure the hunters will bring pig dogs with them. Who's going to stop one of these dogs attacking vulnerable species like Superb Lyrebirds and Black Wallabies? There better be a bloody huge sign at the entrance to Gambells Rest telling all of us that shooting is happening. This better be thought through, monitored, dealt with sensibly, by those 'in charge'. Our NPWS rangers are up in arms about this. Not surprisingly. Thanks, Backwoods Barry, for returning us to the Dark Ages. LJ, June 5 2012 PS - 'Wild animals never kill for sport. Man is the only one to whom the torture and death of his fellow creatures is amusing in itself.' James A. Froude.