6 August VIRUS 2020
Queensland government was warned conservation underfunding ‘not sustainable’, leak reveals. The Guardian
Deadly diseases from wildlife thrive when nature is destroyed, study finds: Rats and bats that host pandemic pathogens like Covid-19 increase in damaged ecosystems, analysis shows. Guardian
I am convinced that Englishmen are becoming less welcome aboard than ever before not because austerity has reduced the size of their purses, but because they are failing to behave with their habitual restraint, good breeding, and understanding. Letter to the Times (6 Aug, 1949)
New Guinea has greatest plant diversity of any island in the world, study reveals: The tropical island edges out Madagascar as botanists estimate that 4,000 new species could be discovered in the next 50 years. Guardian
What ‘The Birdman of Wahroonga’ and other historic birdwatchers can teach us about cherishing wildlife: Birdwatchers have long known that to conserve nature, we need not only the intellectual expertise of science but also an emotional affinity with the living things around us. The Conversation
Novel 3-D printed ‘reef tiles’ to repopulate coral communities. https://phys.org/biology-new
Consider keeping a journal. Your personal record might help inform history: ‘Future generations may use [diaries] to understand what daily life was like during the pandemic.’ The Atlantic
‘Good for the soul’: Visits to NSW national parks soar amid COVID-19. SMH
I knew it was cold when a scarf wrapped around my neck,
the thermometer reads three degrees outside, coldest day,
the birds subdued, still wrapped up in foliage.
The open forest combs the light. I bush-bash off the path,
avoiding Smilax claws, looking for new formal propositions
and find this mushroom alive, looking extremely edible,
a most beautiful brown and strong, has pushed up through
the leaf litter from its ancestral filigree of feeders
and wears bit of leaf and earth on its head.
The sun breaking on the river is blinding, muffled by
a casuarina’s long, drooping, slender leaves, not leaves
but grey-green stems, the leaves are tiny scales in whorls.
This endless sky blinks, the blue interrupted,
a tiny figure blowing across the river in sweeping rounds
a wing lift reveals that mocha hue – Brahminy Kite.
Poppadums slide out and shatter on the ground,
from our lunch, an Indian take-away not fish and chips,
the Silver Gulls keep to the water’s lip, no begging.
We walk along the river watching a school of Batfish
yellow fins occasionally flashing in the glassy stir
mixed with large Ludderick and some stripeys.
Coming up from behind just meters overhead
a wind-floating pescatarian Osprey a welcome addition
to an auditorium, so often empty of clouds – smoke – a fire.
The Nambucca estuary stitches a million beaded threads
across to the view of the sacred mountains, a darter displays
its variety of feathers, and that white streak from its long beak
down its flat head, a sign of speed young men spray on cars.
Bump into Phil and Carol, the secretary of the Nambucca
Valley Conservation Association, sent me a reminder, fees due.
Another darter looks this way and that, relaxed alert,
wings spread like a bat, detailed feathers
as elaborate as a gothic Victorian mourning dress.
Five Little Black Cormorants on the pontoon for swimmers
in the middle of the lake, two look on stilts, balanced
on the curved ends of the two metal ladders, one shiny
Great Egret, and one Great Cormorant slumped on the floor
. . . breath hesitates captivated by those wide wings,
that clarity of definition, an ascension, a White-bellied
Sea Eagle winding round the headland. I will the bird
to flow towards us, it turns away, we return to the sea,
the strenuous waves, crested peaks, the prow of the ocean
unstable. The range of blues all suitable for pageantry.
Not being superstitious I pass beneath a Pied Cormorant,
spot long brown wings working a line to the nest of trees
on the cusp of Gaagal Wanggaan, a Whistling Kite.
A family, the Williams, are painting colourful names
on one of the rocks, a local feature, even advertised.
The two children want a go, the parents can’t agree.
I nearly forget, whales were puffing in the distance
and we were happy, a difference advanced by surprise.
I comment on a post about ECM list great of pandemic listening:
These are all examples of ECM music well worth listening to – but, after a while, you need music with a bit more bite – talking of Carla Bley – her early work is earthy, funny, moving and still sounds fresh.
Recommended: A Genuine Tong Funeral (RCA, 1967) with Gary Burton; Escalator over the Hill, 1971 with Paul Haines (JCOA Records (LP) /WATT); Tropic Appetites, 1974 (brilliant yet not available on CD!); and Musique Mecanique, 1979 (Watt/ECM).