Our local political potter, Richard Jones, lives in the Byron Bay hinterland with his partner Jo Immig of the National Toxic Network (NTN). Their house, which is a small country lane, surrounded by rainforest and scrub is home to many animals, birds and insects, and Richard and Jo welcome all of them, even Bruce the brush turkey, despite the mess he makes…
“Want to see something beautiful?” Jo called out. High in a tree a Wood Duck was sitting on a stag horn cooing. We wondered if it was making a nest on it. Wood Ducks like making their nests high above the ground.
Talking of nests I can hear Bruce the brush turkey honking as he continues to build his nest opposite the bathroom. He’s removed all the mulch from around the greenery near the Feijoa tree. Quite honestly I’ll be glad when Bruce finishes this particular job – he keeps filling the bird-bath with debris and soil, he pulls leaves and other material from a huge area, kicking it high in the air. I just cleaned it out for the umpteenth time and refilled it. I have to say though, that this is his most successful nest, he has about four others but this is where most babies have survived in the past, and he’s probably decided that proximity to the house deters predators. Another turkey, his son Shakespeare, went to have a look at his dad’s handiwork the other day and was chased off in a ruffle of feathers. Poor Shaky, he was probably only trying to get some fatherly hints. I found out a few years ago that Bruce loves bananas so now I get seconds free from the farmers’ market. I call him and he comes roaring around the corner to collect his treat.
I love the fact that we have so many birds around us here. I was sitting under the Frog House verandah quietly carving messages, trees and birds into my raku clay mugs on a battered old Thai wooden table, when a flock of sixty black cockatoos squawked overhead, completely drowning out all the other birds. They whirled and swooped noisily and then all took off again. Peace descended once more. Just a moment ago a red browed finch came right up to me on the day bed outside, where I am typing this. I knew exactly what the finch wanted from her expectant look because hundreds of finches come in every morning and evening from surrounding properties for their supplementary feed. Seed is a bit scarce further out west in winter, so our little local mob gets swamped.
In this area, with its remnants of rain-forest, big scrub, and the bush all around, the bird-life is there for anyone who stops to take a moment out to look – and hear.