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27th July 2020

It is a wet day in the Illawarra region of New South Wales. We say we want the rain but when it comes, with the wind and the cold in the middle of winter, we tend to think twice about it. Will the rain we are having now end the drought? I don’t know. There has to be a lot of it and coming down in the right places to do that.

On the walk to the train station today I came upon two crimson rosellas. I noticed some green amongst their red feathers. They didn’t seem to care about the wet weather. Also there was a pair of magpie-larks putting on an aeronautical display. Right now, getting my books out is the thing, that and birding. Even in winter, there’s something around.

I recall the first photo I ever took of a frogmouth (I still think of them as owls) was at Iluka in far north New South Wales in the rain. A small lake had formed near my dad’s retirement home and the frogmouth was perched on a pole waiting for the frogs we could hear to appear.

I have such vivid memories of my parents and of holiday trips up north to the northern New South Wales town of Iluka.

I remember fishing late at night during a full moon. On a branch less than an arm length away from me was this little white owl with such big eyes. He didn’t seem to be bothered by me fishing so close to him. I was there for a couple of hours, enjoying the strange companionship I had with that bird. For some reason this owl understood I had no intention of harming him. I don’t always have that knack. It was something my dad had in abundance and one of my nieces may have inherited.

In retirement, up at Iluka, my dad used to hand feed young, scruffy kookaburras with some of the leftover meat from the night before. He’d talk to them as he did so. The adults trusted him with their young and he never betrayed that trust.

I am so looking forward to retirement and hopefully a trip to the UK when this coronavirus is finished.

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