CategoryWitness

Gouldians

The Gouldian Finch is a wondrous bird to sight, a pert 14-centimeter bundle with squat beak, bright yellow underneath on the front, a mix of green, red, black, purple on the head and face and back, different mixes of those colors. Not easy to find unless you’re in right place and, despite having done two inland trips up the length of the great continent of Australia, we’d never found ourselves in…

Bhutan

In the glitzy rooms of my long-time optometrist today, I picked up new contact lenses and new glasses. A receptionist I’d not met registered my name and immediately said, “You’re the one dreaming of see Black-necked Cranes in Bhutan. I’ve been three times. It’s amazing.” I was so flabbergasted that I never managed to ask how she knew that; possibly the optometrist, with whom I chat about birding…

Longing for Gluepot

Birdlife Australia Gluepot Reserve is a 50,000 hectare enclave, fenced off against fricking cats and other foreign predators, for an astonishing array of mallee birds. It’s just inside the South Australia border, north of Waikerie, and I recall my first impression driving fifty kilometers on dusty semi-desert tracks from the border gate to its lovely self-serve information center, how it…

Car hulks

Last July, I was in Darwin after a week’s road trip rush from Melbourne. We had our permits checked to enter South Australia, were even more nervous about our Northern Territory permits, and had to forego a night’s accommodation in Alice Springs when that town locked down. Our road trip proper would not commence until August, when we would mosey eastward across the Gulf, seeking to see Brolgas…

Road trip racing heart

My 15 Cranes project is astonishingly amateurish, as a glance at the irregular posts on the blog shows. I’m no naturalist, am only a mediocre birder, and don’t have the florid writing stylings that go with the territory of “nature writing.” What’s more, Covid-19 plunged a stake in the heart of my ambitions. Yesterday P and I were scheduled to drive off on a seven…

Projects

Some days, I wake thinking I should really retire, as nearly all my friends and colleagues have done. Part of me knows I’d be hapless in retirement, adrift, insomniac, and ruing my lot in life. But equally dissatisfying is working on a never-ending project at the same time as other projects jostle for room just outside the brain’s door. One such is the 15 Cranes project (see my blog…

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