Do you ever have times when there is too much going on in your head? Where there’s too much noise or it’s crammed with thoughts, characters talking (or not, and I’m wondering what they’re waiting for)… things like that? Yeah, me too. It normally happens when the daylight is short during winter. I can be writing, watching tv or reading when it hits: the need to be outside. And not just outside my door. I need to get out-out. That’s when I increase my daily walks from the one in the morning (along the river) to another in late afternoon (on the property behind me) and sometimes one more in between. Of course Leika and Kalie don’t complain about that at all.
But sometimes I need to go way out. Yesterday was one of those days. We took a drive on one of my most favorite routes… the one to Brooms Head, NSW. It’s about a 40 minute drive south from here, and along the way pass cane fields, a huge bat camp, thousands of acres of grazing paddocks, national rain forest, and national parks. Cattle and kangaroos are nearly everywhere, and so are the wide open spaces. Breathing room.
The last brumby in this area lives in the bush around Brooms Head. He’s a beautiful pinto and unfortunately, alone. The rest of the herd perished in a bush fire several years back and now he wanders the vastness by himself… although there is rumor he has sired a foal by sneaking into a nearby pasture and visiting a mare. (wink, wink)
I hadn’t seen “Wildfire,” (the local’s name for him) for a few months. Knowing he’s getting up there in age (20 yrs or so) and the inherent dangers of living in the bush, namely poisonous snakes, I was worried. But yesterday as we drove in, I saw a flash of white. Yep, it was him, calmly sunning himself about a quarter mile off the road. As you can imagine, I was quite relieved.
Humpback whales migrate past here on their way to their northern calving grounds. I knew it was getting close to when we’d start seeing them but it’s a case of being at the right place at the right time. Much to my delight, far off on the horizon three white blows signalled the presence of a trio of whales. For several minutes we were treated to watching as they breached, slapped their tails and pectoral fins against the water, sending it high into the air before diving out out of sight.
The next stop was into the bush along the Bosche Water Hole road where the soil is a reddish brown and pocked with water puddles from recent rains, some rather large, but fortunately shallow. About two miles in, just before entering the forest, there’s a road that heads west into the short bush. This is where I got out, tightened the laces on my boots, and settled my akubra on my head. Carrying my camera I spent the next two hours traipsing that road. Huge white barked gum trees lined the forest on my right. In front of me and to my left was a huge expanse of short heath with a few wildflowers having pushed up from the hard ground.
As I walked, I watched to either side of the road, looking for movement and signs of wildlife. The birdlife was abundant. There were tawny-crowned honeyeaters everywhere and a pair of red-backed fairy wrens.
When the breeze paused I was able to hear a high-pitched tinny reel… like a “tseep.” I stopped and waited, hoping the bird would show. What hopped up onto a bottlebrush shrub delighted me. It was an Emu-wren. Of course when I got home I had to find out why the name. It has to do with their tail which has only six feathers which are loose and coarse in structure, rather like the feathers of an emu.
The absence of kangaroos was notable and disappointing. Not a one. I love roos. I never get tired of seeing them. In one instance, while on this road, I raised my camera to take a photo of one, and when I lowered it, I discovered I was surrounded by no less than twenty grey kangaroos. But not today. Only tracks.
When I arrived back at the car, I had several photos, tired feet and most importantly, a clear and quiet mind. My therapy for the day was successfully completed. Cheers.