It is around 8 am Sunday morning, as I linger over my beloved computer, amid the messy desk where I have dropped opened mail for over a week now. I’m stealing just a few moments, catching up with a few blogging friends, knowing that soon I must leave again.
Work beckons. I thought I had completed making most of the school uniforms (that is my business, I make school uniforms for a few local schools) for the children starting the new school year at the end of January. Apparently not. Sales of school uniforms this year have increased drastically from the last few years. Schools have under-estimated the quantities they would be needing. Which is a good thing really, as it suggests that the economy has improved in my area.
“Quack!” What was that I heard? Am I going quackers? Being so engrossed in reading about snow storms on the other side of the world, I almost missed the visitor I had in my own back garden!
Mr and Mrs Duck disappeared a few months ago. I’m positive that somewhere out there, they now have a cute little family of ducklings. I haven’t seen their family, but I have seen other Australian Wood Ducks around, who have cute little ducklings trailing behind. I see them often, toddling along the banks of the creek, which I pass on my way to work.
My own ducky friends returned at the end of last month. Both Mr and Mrs have been here a couple of times, but this morning it was just Mrs Duck, perched upon the side fence, quacking away to….who exactly was she quacking to? She didn’t say….
The day has begun so quietly, everyone in my house is having a Sunday morning sleep-in, and even the birds are quiet. It seems that in the bird-world, as well as in the people-world, one or the other is having a sleep in. Mr Magpie came for a visit, Mrs Magpie was nowhere to be seen.
The sun is shining, the air is still, and I must leave for work again.
It will be a productive day. I know that. How could it be anything other, when I started the day so beautifully? 🙂
“There was no sign of anybody, no sound of voices or feet. Tubs of arum lilies stood about on the stone floor, and on a table flamed a huge bunch of fierce nasturtiums. Spacious, flowery, silent, with the wide window at the end opening into the garden, and the Judas tree absurdly beautiful in the sunshine, it seemed….too good to be true.” ~ The Enchanted April.
On the last day of January I wanted, no, needed, to remember the joys of this month, as this, the middle month of the most harsh season of the year draws to a close.
I had spent the day alone, at home, with not a soul in sight; no sound of voices or feet. I don’t know why I looked outside when I did. I am so glad I did though, for there, just outside the door of my home, were my two old friends the Australian Wood Ducks, regular visitors to my garden who I haven’t seen since early September.
In that moment, all of the heat, rain, floods and cyclones of January didn’t seem to matter any more. Seeing these two creatures, so absurdly beautiful, having returned to my garden at long last, was truly enchanting. I had almost forgotten how beautiful they are, but only almost.
January is the month the ducks returned; January will remain in my memory as being an enchanting month.
Two days ago I visited a park in Tweed Heads, which you may recall visiting with me in May of this year. We walked over the bridge and had a wander around beneath the shade of the trees, looking at the river with all the boating activity, the picnickers under the trees, and the mangroves.
When I returned the other night it was just on nightfall and the photos I took were totally different to those taken in May. Included in my nighttime images was a silhouette of the jetty, so different to when we saw it during the day in May, with the activity of boats coming and going.
Just before I reached the jetty I noticed movement on the grass and when my eyes adjusted to the lack of light, there I saw six Australian Wood Ducks, out for a moonlit stroll in the park.
You may remember my handsome pair of wood ducks who have visited my back garden during the winter, turning my swimming pool into a winter duck pond!
It was such a beautiful night, just a slight cool breeze and overhead the moon peeked at me through the silhouette of a tree.
A blipfoto friend in England told me that our Australian moon is upside-down to the Northern Hemisphere moon! I didn’t know that, and always think the moon is smiling down on the world when it looks like this.
Yesterday morning, when my email arrived in my inbox, announcing that this weeks WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge was “Silhouettes” I was delighted, the timing couldn’t have been better!
It was meant to be…. 🙂
It was only fairly recently that I noticed a new breed of visitors to my garden. At first I thought that my eyes were playing tricks on me, or the varying light of day changed the colour of the birds, as some seemed to have a brilliant blue colouring around their eyes, whilst others didn’t!
With the help of a few Google searches, the mystery was solved. “Honey Eaters” develop the beautiful blue “eyeshadow” when they reach maturity, around the age of sixteen months, whilst the younger birds must stay content with a rather dull beige eyeshadow in their youth.
Whatever did we do before the days of Google for research? (Oh, now I remember, we used books for research! I must invest in a good Australian bird identifier book.)
At the end of June, The “Australian Wood Ducks”, who have chosen my swimming pool as their own personal duck pond, were still rather timid, and all the photos I took of this charming pair having breakfast near to the back of my house were taken through the window, so as not to frighten them away.
Well, the good news is, we are now old friends, and they seem quite content to walk around my paved area, pecking away at the bread scraps that I leave out for them, even when I’m out in the garden with them!
These two photos were taken as I sat quietly on the pavers, with the pair of them only about three metres away, taking photo after photo! They occasionally looked my way (especially Sir Drake, who is rather protective of his lady friend!) and continued with their pecking.
The ducks have become rather possessive of the garden, and seem to think they have first dibs on the bread too. When a pair of “Rainbow Lorikeets” visited last week, the ducks wasted no time in making sure the lorikeets knew who was there first!
The lorikeets rarely visit my garden, and when this pair dropped by for breakfast I had hoped they would return. Unfortunately, they haven’t, so I wonder what the ducks said to them? Perhaps the ducks offended the lorikeets!
Mother and father magpie have visited me for a long time now. This pair are my “old faithfuls” and swoop down to me when they see me walking out of the back door. They are so tame, have their own individual personalities, and bring me so much pleasure with their regular visits.
The magpies brought their three baby magpies to us when they were old enough to leave their nest. I always knew when the babies were in the garden, they made so much noise! My maternal instincts delighted at the sight of the baby birds squawking at their parents, as the pieces of bread were passed from parent beak to baby beak.
If you compare the black of the adult magpies to the black areas of the babies feathers, you will see that the babies feathers are mottled black. The mottling will eventually become full glossy black, but even then, I will recognise “my” babies. They are the birds who know me, trust me, and walk straight up to me when I’m in the garden.
As much as I enjoy using words as a means of communication, and writing words in my blog posts, birds and animals bring something extremely meaningful to my life. It’s a form of communication where no words are needed, yet friendship and trust are developed over time.
All that is needed is a feeling, and a heart. 🙂