Or The Adventures of a Young Magpie
There's a flitter and a flutter, then some flapping and a flop -
A young bird's flying lesson has come to sudden stop.
It had always seemed so easy, when he was flapping on the nest -
Then, if he was feeling tired, he'd just stop and have a rest.
Today somehow 'twas different - when he thought he'd have a spell,
He wasn't clinging to the nest, and down he promptly fell.
Now he's sitting on the ground, and feeling rather blue -
And Mother bird is not around, to tell him what to do.
So he sits there on the ground and thinks - he's feeling rather glum.
But if he only knew it, there's much worse things to come.
Another silent bird has perched, high up in nearby tree,
And he just sits there watching - to see what he can see.
As he sits there watching the bird upon the ground,
He's thinking he's so lucky- here's a juicy meal I've found
Then he flies a little closer, and has another look -
Thinking you are mine for eating, or I'm not Owl Boobook.
As he's dropping to the ground, he doesn't hear the swish.
It's Mother Magpie swooping fast, to save her baby chick.
If Boobook's going to save his hide, he'll have to move real quick.
But Mother Maggie's much too fast - the Boobook's feathers fly -
He's taking off, fast as he can, and doesn't say goodbye.
For part of Spring, all of Summer, and even Autumn too,
We question them in many ways, but nothing much anew.
Their busy, bustling feeding, their likeness to each other,
To be able to span the heavens, under sun or under cover.
How often on migration, do we see their sequenced flight,
Do they fly high in formation, or loosely day or night?
Or does the cold wind catch them unaware, without a single thought,
And whisk them secretly away, to the spirit of the North.
Never tiring, always busy, probing lifeless-looking ooze,
But oh so wary, ever watchful for observers who intrude.
How such plumage, neat and trim, should never seem unclean,
And little feet in sand, like a patterned quilt, is all that can be seen.
So pray tell us little waders, in your garb of brown and grey,
Are those your friends beside you, or are they from far away.
For while you keep so busy it is difficult to see,
If your bill is slightly bent, or coloured pinkish on the knee.
At last when cold winds blow, and time is brief for bird and man,
And hearts are taken back apace, with rapid change upon the land.
For Red-necked stints are waders whose appearance betrays their name,
Are suddenly transformed without a single trace of shame.
Their back is crisp with mottled marble that shows off in the light,
While snow has splashed the underneath and made it oh so white.
Reflections in the shallow pools helps to the name unfold,
And thus reveals a head a face and neck of red and chestnut bold.
The wind has gotten stronger and has an icy-chill,
And now the waders are uneasy, nervous, with pinions so unstill.
They fly in uncertain readiness only to land and stall,
And then hold fast for just a moment as if a spirit calls.
Please wait little waders not too long though for wind is now so strong,
As quickly as they came their reflections are all but gone.
And as the wild free spirit beckons and they hasten to the call,
And bids the marshland empty to the mercy of the fall.
There's a place called Castle's Crossing which looks quite ordinary,
But it's very special to Spring's birds.. they're there for all to see.
They nest down in the bushes, and up there in the trees.
Galahs and Parrots nest in holes which people seldom see,
While Crimson Chats and Orange Chats nest down in the weeds.
Magpies build a nest of sticks up high for all to see,
But Sittellas hide their nests in forks which are so rarely found,
And Rainbow Birds nest in tunnels which they dig in sandy ground.
Red-capped and Hooded Robins and Willy Wagtails too
Build nests so neat and cosy wherever they may be,
But Woodswallows don't worry much, most any place will do -
Just some grass and twigs enough, to stop eggs from falling through.
A Hiker's Choice
I was asked to go hiking the other day,
By a very nice chap, least that's what they say.
Where would we go? What time would we start?
I thought the questions were rather smart.
But his answer gave me an awful start.
Oh, just before dawn, about four I'd say.
We'll hear the birds at dawn that way.
Where will we go - that matters not.
By the river I guess - but I almost forgot -
Bring some lunch - we can eat at twelve.
It'll be Okay if you need a spell,
We can rest and hear the birds as well.
I suddenly had a change of mind.
A prior engagement I had to find …
So I ‘had to go birding'!
Sunraysia Bird Club
Twenty years have been and gone
Sunraysia Bird Club carries on.
Could Chris and all the folks of yore,
Have ever hoped or wished for more?
With friends to tell me what I saw,
No survey task is ere a chore.
Koorlong counts, Ranfurley too
And lots of other things they do,
Like fence an Eremophila patch
And other worthy things to match
They want to make this world a place
Better for the human race
And have a future good for all
The birds and other creatures small
"Wot ya doin, Peaceful?" said the Blackbird to the Dove.
"I am building a nest of twigs, for my Lady Love."
"Ah, ya doin' it all wrong. Look,I'll show you how it's done.
Ya gotta gather grass an' stuff, an' twist it round - it's fun."
"Oh no, I'd rather have a nest of twigs, an' sit out in the cool."
"Nah, ya gotta build the sides up high, ya silly little fool."
"But I've always built my nest of twigs. They've always been just fine."
"Well please ya self, ya silly bird. I'm glad ya nest ain't mine."
Saved By A Rooster Crowing!
With Mungo's shearing done, the move-out had begun
To the next sheds - miles away along the river.
For the men with horses, it was just an easy ride,
But it was 1882, and the walking men well knew
That they would have to carry water.
So men who humped their bluey, like pen mates Ron and Louie
Must also carry water bags, and swing the billy too.
Ron and Lou had been before, along the Stockyard Track.
It meant a day less walking - but there was no turning back.
To reach the covered water soak will be their goal tonight.
They reached it in the evening - but in the fading light
When they tried for water, there was a dreadful sight -
A long dead roo and mud - no water here tonight!
We'll rest a while, then travel on, said Lou to his mate Ron.
Maybe we can make it - but our water's almost gone.
Three men had died some years before, near this very spot,
And now two mates who know the score - will this too be their lot?
They battled on - their feet were sore - their strength was fading fast.
Said Lou to Ron, "You carry on - I simply cannot last.
Maybe you can make it through, and bring some water back".
Ron battled on, though well he knew he might not make it back.
At last he reached the river, and stumbled down the bank.
He drank - and filled the billy too - and thought of his mate Lou.
I'll never make it back out there - but what else can I do?
He sat and tried to gather strength, when a distant sound he heard.
It was a rooster crowing - not any other bird.
There must be help if there's a house, I simply must keep going.
Another crow to guide him on, and now a light is showing.
That's how it was that Lou and Ron, were saved by a rooster crowing.
The Story of The Stockyard Track
Len tells the story of how two shearers were once saved by Barraclough's rooster when they walked the Stockyard Track.
In the early days this track provided a short-cut from Mungo to the Darling at Lelma (about 14 km. upstream of Bertundy), but it went through very dry country.
Len went through this track once with Percy Richardson, about 65 years ago, to help Percy with lamb marking at Garn Pang, and he says that the only water along the track then was at a small covered hand-dug hole in crab-hole ground which held water for a time after rain.
Len says shearers sometimes cut through this track in the early days, but did so at their peril -and he tells the story in verse of two shearers who did, and were only just saved by the crowing of a rooster.