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Showing posts from February, 2011

Long Distance Travel

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Trying to catch shore birds is a matter of hurry up and wait, hurry up and wait. Setting the net needs to be done as quickly as possible, camouflaged, and attached to the cannons and then left. Sometimes the birds need to be encouraged to move into the catching area - twinkled as we call it. But for the most part it’s just a matter of sitting and waiting, sipping bitter flask coffee. The crackle of radio messages - “25 birds in the catching area”, “What just put the birds up?” “Peregrine”, “Arm” “three, two, one - fire”. All hell breaks loose when the small red button on the firing box is finally pushed. Such a small button, such a lot of action. Birders, normally a sedate (some would say sedated) and reserved lot, now in the guise of banders, sprint for the net. Most put in an Olympic A qualifying time, many pull muscles, some lose their shoes, some fall and lose their dignity. A few years ago I broke a toe dashing towards a net of damp birds, but only found out about it a few hours

A short walk at Wilsons Prom - on 2,6,8 and no legs at all.

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Another return trip to Wilson’s Promontory, this time with the kids in tow. The camp sites are busy with families packing up and wondering how they ever managed to get all their stuff in the car last time. Yellow patches of sun-starved grass mark the tents’ departure, and sun browned teenagers wave goodbye to holiday romances. But as ever, the paths away from Tidal River are not crowded, and soon we only hear the crunch of feet on gravel paths. Well, the crunch of gravel and the occasional question about whether we are there yet! A Varied Sword-grass Brown butterfly lands in the bushes, and one of the few groups of walkers we see all day pass it by without lifting their heads. They pass between lens and butterfly and I’m tempted to photograph the side of the walker’s head - but I don’t bother. I doubt they would have noticed anyway. A flighty Yellow Admiral refuses to sit still, and a Common Brown rests briefly on the sandy bank. Its tongue unzips and probes the ground, searching fo