Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Raptor Rapture

Things have been busy here in the Land Down Under as we have been getting sorted into our tiny house. At some point I will stop referring to it as our “tiny” house, but small it is. Many things that we are doing are based upon its smallness… such as deciding to mount the television on a bracket-arm in the corner by the fridge. (This hasn’t been done yet but will be soon). As we get it more together, I will post photos from inside the house. Our shipment from the US is estimated to arrive later in February. We will see. The dates are only estimates.

Birding has been put on hold far too often lately. On Sunday Philip Peel texted me a photo of a pair of Square-tailed Kites perched, and a juvenile in a nest. I texted one word back, “Where?” He texted back, “Bendigo.” He had been taken to the nest site by David Livermore that morning.

Square-tailed Kite was one of those birds that I really wanted a better look at. We had a fly-over last year in NSW as I was driving. Lynn got cracking views as it went along above the trees on her side of Troopi. I saw it, but not nearly as well. So when I heard that there was a nest with an almost fledged chick and parents around, I made plans to go.

First thing Monday morning, I headed up to Bendigo in Troopi. The drive from Lara is a bit over two hours and took me through some very familiar territory. My God, it was such a joy to be back in Troopi headed out into the bush! Phil had given me excellent directions and I rocked up at the spot on the track where he suggested I park. After perhaps a hundred meter walk, I saw the nest with the youngster and one parent. I just stood there in awe. My heart was literally thumping in my chest. What a thrill! Thank you Phil and thank you to David Livermore for sharing this information with him.
Square-tailed Kite parent
The Youngster

I took a few photos and texted a back-of-the-camera shot to Phil. He texted me back and mentioned that there was a Powerful Owl roosting at the Castlemaine Botanical Gardens if I wanted to stop by for a look. And I did want to! I had not seen a Powerful Owl in years. There had been one in Flagstaff Gardens in Melbourne in June 2009. It was my first “twitch,” meaning that it was the first time I went to a specific spot to see a specific bird. When I got to Castlemaine the owl was there in the top of a pine where Phil had said it should be. It had begun to spit rain, but I joyfully stood and marveled at it. Sweet. So sweet.
Powerful Owl 
Leave me alone, I'm napping.
It is not often that one sees Square-tailed Kite and a Powerful Owl in the same day and yet I had experienced two wonderful raptor thrills in about an hour. And as importantly, once again I had felt the joy, the sense of freedom and being alive that rolling down a track in the bush gives me. I have missed my time with Troopi!

Peace. Love. Birds. Hope.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

For Those of You Playing Along At Home

I am sitting here at five in the morning at the beautiful table in the house where we are house sitting again in Torquay. (Here is the blog about this house from a year ago).  This gives us a lovely and convenient base from which to begin getting sorted into our new little home in Lara.

We arrived yesterday, clearing Customs in Sydney at 6:30am and then flying our last leg to Melbourne where Josh collected us at 9:30am. Our luggage also made it safely and I am grateful. On the way to Torquay, we stopped by to peek in the windows of our home-to-be. It looks beautiful inside and is very close to being ready for us. I will know more later today.

We had a wonderful visit and Sunday roast supper at Josh and Rebekah’s. I got to spend some time with my delightful and brilliant (I read some of her poems and stories) granddaughter who is growing up at a rate that seems impossible. Slow down, Angel Face, slow down! And also growing up too fast (seemingly damn near grown) is my awesomely talented, long-haired, guitar-playing, very cool grandson. I am so proud of ALL of my grandchildren. And now I am in the same country as all of them! It was also wonderful to again be with our dear friend Norma. We have missed her so much.

I do not plan to fly internationally again for a long while. Once I scanned my passport re-entering my adopted country yesterday, the “clock” began a count-down toward when I can qualify for my Aussie Citizenship. I think it is about 2 years, but I need to check that. I will make the change from permanent resident to citizen as soon as I can.

It is summer here. It was light until after 9pm last night and this morning first light was before 6am. I thrive in that. Although tomorrow it is forecast to reach about 100F and that’s a bit much, but the cool change will come through and the rest of the week will be in the mid to upper 70’s. God, I love this place.

Troopi, our home for much of last year. I missed my big girl. I am back!
Sending much love from the Land Down Under. Lynn and I love and miss many of you in the US (and elsewhere), but I am really, and truly, home.

Peace. Love. Birds. Hope.