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.

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