Monday, July 18, 2005

Ostriches but no grandmothers

Having seen a photo of the brolga, went yesterday wandering to confirm that that is what I saw the other day. Took the easy way to get there, thirty kilometres up the bitumen, another five on dirt roads, no hesitation this time, no false turns.

Found the field, & fifty birds. Definitely the brolga. Dancing, spread-winged, wide-winged, thin-legged. From the earthworks around their dancing ground possibly a sometime dam, with sufficient dampness for the sedge not to wither & for the birds to sing. Stood by the car & watched them, coming & going, flying one behind the other, up to five in a straight line, dashed.

& we, coming & going, passed a kangaroo grazing in the long grass & shrubs by the side of the road. L. says it's probably a red, but strange to see it out in the middle of the afternoon since they usually prefer dawn & dusk. But maybe not enough traffic for it to worry about, & so feels comfortable in this domain, at any time. It paused & watched us, & bounded off when we backed up to get a closer look. A boy kangaroo, big-balled & arrogant.

& on the way back towards the tarseal discovered an ostrich farm, hidden by a hedge on the way out. Dusty, no grass, feedbins. Lots of ostriches. But the sight spoilt by the body of a dead bird, with crows picking at the corpse.

Another cotton farm on the way home. Again its sighting dependent on the direction in which one is travelling. Peripheral vision signed one-way.

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