Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Mutton birds; packing up; waiting for final pathology results

Tomorrow – 18 April – millions of adult mutton birds will leave the Bass Strait Islands and head north; a 30,000 km round trip, flying north along the western edge of the Pacific Ocean to Japan, across to Alaska and then back again; returning to the same burrow on the same island in the final week of September – to begin their breeding season, all over again.

Now (mid April) their sole chick will remain in its burrow, no doubt hungry and confused. Over the next few weeks body fat will be shed, flight feathers will grow and the young birds will learn to fly. At the end of the month the young birds will depart on their migration flight to the Bering Sea and Alaska, following countless generations of their ancestors. How they navigate remains a mystery; likewise their extraordinary resilience.

So it's also time for us to depart on our 'migration flight' to Mitchell in outback Queensland. Boxes and bags are partly packed and a departure date of around 24th April has been decided. However, both of us await pathology results from skin cancers removed in the past week, and until we get the all clear we can't make our final preparations. But I'm feeling optimistic!

This week we collected my newly framed watercolour paintings from Wonthaggi. I chose a simple silver frame.

 For all my friends passionate about horses, I'll include photos of horses on 'our' beach.

This time we're towing a trailer as we seem to have more 'stuff ' than usual – a glass topped kitchen table, three office chairs, lots of books, a whipper snipper, and some sort of carpentry saw, along with lots of Doug's tools.

Every time we leave there seems to be lots of washing to do, cupboards to clean out, and things to tidy up.
Meanwhile our German shepherds relax on their beds and wonder what all the fuss is about! Oh to be a dog.

If we depart on 24th of April, as planned, I won't be doing a blog for a couple of weeks. My next one will be written from our winter home in Mitchell.  The weather has changed here on Phillip Island. There's a definite chill to the air and cold winds are becoming the norm. I'm longing for the warmth and stillness of outback Queensland -- and to seeing all our friends once more.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Pleasure in simple things: Phillip Island

In an increasingly materialistic world where money and possessions are foremost in many people's minds, it's refreshing to acknowledge that true contentment and happiness almost always have their origins in either simple things or the natural environment.

Today's blog contains a series of photos taken on one of our walks along the beach. My companions were Doug and our two German shepherds -- Major and Del.  Just the four of us in a magical place at sundown.

Add to that some pieces of driftwood (the bigger and heavier the better, as far as Major is concerned -- about 15 kg!) and you have the recipe for focus and fun.

The mellow light of the autumn evening helped intensify the rich colour of the cliffs, and also the pathway of light that streamed from the setting sun to the wet sand on the seashore.

Just two people, two dogs, a stick and a beach. A blissful moment in time.

On neighbouring French Island, a large bush fire created a dramatic plume of cloud that reflected the progress of sundown.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Wallaby goes for a swim

In our part of the world  – Phillip Island in southern Australia – stories about wallabies swimming in the sea are occasionally told. 

Although we frequently see wallaby print marks hopping along the beach, we've never witnessed one in the water – until yesterday evening.

The sun had just set behind the Mornington Peninsula, leaving a golden glow. We noticed a wallaby hop onto the beach, pause a while, then proceed out into the bay and into small waves – near a rocky headland.

The wallaby spent about 4 minutes in the water, letting waves completely cover it. Then the wallaby hopped out of the water, across the beach and into the protection of thick coastal vegetation.

Why, we wondered, did it choose to get wet and perhaps even swim?

Was it for pleasure?  Or perhaps flea or tick control, using salt water to deter these parasites?

I can't answer that question. All I can say is that it happened, and I attempted to capture the occasion on my camera. Unfortunately most photos were out of focus, but I can include one. 

The sunset photos were taken from the beach and also from our home, on the same evening. One photo shows the sunset reflected in our front windows.

I had a checkup with my plastic surgeon yesterday, and all is going according to plan. Fortunately the pathology results were good so we're all set to leave for Mitchell on 15 April!