The past few months have given me many bad days. Yet even those bad days are made up of smaller moments, some bad, but some most definitely good. It is these little moments of magic that I try to hold on to, to remind me that everything is okay … Or will be.
Though my family no longer bothers with Christmas presents, my parents did give me two books: Birds of the Blue Mountains and Native Plants of the Blue Mountains. The bird book is not comprehensive, containing only 56 of the more commonly seen species, from an impressive total of over 180 recorded species, but it will be useful. The plant book is far more comprehensive, listing species from all the various landscapes that exist in this part of the world, from open-forest to swamps. So, learning more about the birds and plants of my home landscape will be one of my focuses this year.
I find that paying attention to the natural world can be greatly comforting in difficult times. And often, it is the beautiful and prolific birds who I have to thank for the good moments that help to sustain me. There have been encounters with Eastern Spinebills—one of my favourite little birds—as well as two tiny birds who frolicked about on the footpath in front of me as I went for a walk. Their adorable antics made me laugh. I wish I had photos of them, but they were much to fast for me. And perhaps that kind of tiny, fluttering magic is too precious to be captured anyway.
Every day I hear the cries of Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos, and when I do catch sight of them, I see it as a blessing. I love their slow, graceful flight. They never hurry.
Going for a walk recently, I was hoping to come across some black cockatoos (who I have never been able to photograph satisfactorily), when I heard a low growl coming from the bush. To my surprise, and delight, it was a Gang-gang Cockatoo, a species who is rarely seen these days (their conservation status is ‘vulnerable’ in NSW). His mate was nearby. I could hear her munching on seeds, but only saw her when she flew off towards a distant tree. He, on the other hand, sat on a branch, watching me sleepily, and I took a few good photos. This was a rare treat indeed.
I also saw a Crimson Rosella feeding her young one, who was fully fledged, but still noisily begging for food. A sweet, intimate moment.
As for the elusive black cockatoos, yesterday I struck it lucky, coming across a family of three. I only managed to photograph one, but that was more than enough. They were magnificent.