Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Crimson rosellas and other cheeky creatures

Red-browed finches, robins with wide saffron cravats and cerulean (`superb’) fairy-wrens dance about the lawn, the garden, on branches; its part food-finding, I think, and part pairing again. It’s hot but wet and who doesn’t want a second clutch of eggs?

Crimson rosellas in courtly hue visit when the lawn is long. I find it hard to look at these parrots without remembering a late summer day when an English cousin visited my home in the hills for the first time. She paused at a picture window, instantly transfixed by an apple tree covered in these awkward squawking creatures of scarlet and blue (`oh, they are always there’ we said). My sister immediately went outdoors and picked the ripe apples but I was quite happy with the clumsy performance; I’d been too tired to harvest the crop and this was a better than expected alternative.

Echidnas pass through the garden sometimes, and though a ring-tail possum lives in my potting shed, it doesn’t seem to eat garden plants. (Lucky me.) A wombattery on the other side of the creek was abandoned years ago; local wandering dogs must disturb native animals as the area becomes somewhat urbanized. Snakes, too, are no longer seen.
But a real resident was a rustling blue-tongue lizard (Russell) for 2 or more summers, amongst my tall blue Salvia; I couldn’t dig or even garden here, but that was fine. I’m amazed that I didn’t scare him off. I suspect that he liked this spot because it’s near the warm paving, by the house, that skinks find so attractive on a cool morning; kookaburras swoop to catch them too. Skinks eat all the snail eggs and a proportion of slug ones too; as I don’t need to use snail bait in the garden the skinks are welcome twice over.

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