Thursday, 12 January 2017

Blessings From the Birds

While illness does colour my life, I did not want this blog to be a place where I dwelt on it. Lately, though, I haven’t had much choice in the matter. I have often had to put aside creativity, story-writing, and my aspirations for growth and change, just so I can concentrate on getting through each day without being dragged down into a dark place of hopelessness.

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.


But perhaps best of all was my sighting of what I suspect was a Wedge-tailed Eagle, soaring across the overcast sky. There are other birds of prey that live in the Blue Mountains, but the height at which this bird was flying, and its size, leads me to believe that it was an eagle. It is what I want to believe, anyhow. Seeing this soaring silhouette gliding across the glare of the clouds, was powerful magic indeed.

All of these small blessings, these gifts, have kept me going, have reminded me that there is still beauty in the world, even in the most difficult times. For that I am grateful. 




Wing feather from a Crimson Rosella

13 comments:

  1. I love the black cockatoos as well, especially when their calls infiltrate the walls of our office building! It drags my thoughts back to nature in the midst of the work day.

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    1. Thanks for the comment, Gem. I never get tired of hearing the black cockatoos, though seeing them is even better.

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  2. Beautiful pictures Therese! We don't get to see such birds here.

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    1. Thank you! Yes, Australia is a great place for birdlife. We are very lucky in that way.

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  3. Nature has such restorative powers... wonderful photos, Therese - especially the last one :) x

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  4. Beautiful! The birds that we have here are such a blessing to our days too. I wish you much healing and many better days very soon xxx

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  5. Thank you for this, birds are blessings, indeed!There are so many layers of meaning, myth, folklore and metaphor wrapped around birds, human persons seem to have honored them for thousands of years. I dreamed of a white headed woodpecker (not native to my region) the other night, and woke with a feeling of wonder.

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    1. Thank you for commenting. Yes, I think it is the fact that birds are winged, flying beings, that we have revered them for so long. They have the freedom of the sky—something that we as humans, even with our flying machines, can never truly have. And they have often been seen as messengers, with their songs and cries, thus the original angels. Eagle was in my dreams recently, which I always see as a very good sign.

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    1. They are most often seen in the mountains in spring and summer, during their breeding season, though as they are quite rare these days, it is lucky to see them at all. I only saw a pair, but they can be seen in family or larger groups.

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