FEATHERING MY NEST
Living in what very much resembles a bird hide would not be to everyone’s taste, but it suits me. My mini home is surrounded by trees and shrubs…predominantly Australian natives, but certainly not exclusively. Is is actually a studio apartment, built above a double garage. Living here was meant to be a temporary situation while we built our new house. That was ……well, some time ago. My partner Rob and I so enjoy our little nest that the impetus to finish the ‘big house’ seems to have dissolved. The studio is at top left in this aerial photo.
There are windows all round the studio and no curtains or blinds. Yes, sometimes I need to put my sunnies on when the morning sun makes a direct hit, but that’s a small inconvenience in comparison to the joys of nature. Here is the view from my bed…..wattle birds adore the nectar in red hot poker blooms.
I can stand at the front door and photograph gang-gangs feeding in the silver wattle tree.
Crimson rosellas prefer correa flowers.
We live in the bird rich, Blue Mountains of New South Wales, adjoining the National Park. Just below us is Popes Glen Creek. There are plenty of frogs and snakes down there to feed butcher birds, kookaburras, owls, and tawny frogmouths
I can be immersed in my work on the computer, but in my peripheral vision I see a flash of colour; yellow, white, bronze, black, blue, red or green. Sometimes it is accompanied by scrabbling on the pitched roof as king parrots land to search for insects in the gutters. My husband welcomes this, as they help clear the leaves and sticks that drop from the gum trees and wattles.
My hearing is now attuned to so many local birds; from the raucous kookaburras, wattle birds, bower birds and parrots to the mysterious whip bird, and the softer chimes of many smaller species; honeyeaters, robins, thornbills and wrens.
Birdbaths have been placed in the shrubbery outside the kitchen window. The variety of feathered visitors is amazing; from tiny thornbills , robins, spinebills, and wrens, to white headed pigeons, satin bowerbirds and many varieties of parrots.
If I open the front door, I look onto a bed of grevilleas; ground covers and shrubs. The centerpiece is a sun dial, a favourite perch for Toffee the kookaburra.
Here is visitor arriving before I’ve had a chance to open the screen door.
One of the most elusive birds is the native Wonga Pigeon. I can only ever enjoy his plump proportions from my bedside window. He often comes to sit on a wooden bench just outside. Mind you, his cooing can be heard a mile off.
I have to say that the calling and attention to personal appearance paid off.
There is a skylight directly above my bed, and at dusk or in the early morning a bird might trundle across as it feeds on insects.
Waking can be a bit of a shock sometimes. This cheeky wretch is probably about to chew the roof.
We have three bird baths just outside the kitchen. One is positioned under a fuchsia bush. Even the shyest bird in the Mountains, the Eastern Whipbird, will venture here for a bath. What a privilege is is to watch him. Makes a nice break from washing up.
Naturally the male satin bowerbird prefers a blue bowl to match his gorgeous eye.
Our ‘hide’ can sometimes become wreathed in spider webs. It’s a bit of a shame to sweep them away, as the little birds like a spider snack. I was very amused to see this row of ‘terrace houses’ above the garage door.
And so the day draws to a close. I make a final ‘matron’s rounds’ of the garden, refilling the bird baths outside the kitchen window for dawn visitors.
DAY IS DONE
Sometimes when I am wandering about I glance towards the studio and notice that Rob has turned the lights on. Oh dear, time to go in.
One day we will have to move into the ‘big house’, but we are not in any hurry.
My friend Evie Hanlon made a collage of some of the birds in my garden. I love it.
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