Hunting Wild Flowers, 17 Sept

Hunting Wild Flowers


An early start, the highway empty, nearly killed a bird that flew out of the verge and swerved over our bonnet. What is a White-bellied Sea Eagle doing on the ground beside a four-lane highway, no river adjacent? Size matters, those wings would have deserved a funeral, and they are spectacular raptors.


Black-winged Stilts, just beyond Rainbow Reach

A juvenile poised, waits inside a beautiful reflection,
each moment counts. I am waiting to shoot again
these coral dancer’s legs with an absence of muscle.

An adult king of the castle, and (you have to take my word
for it) yelling for ages, at the top of his voice. His life incomplete.


Conquest, war, famine and death have ridden somewhere else,
these four horses have taken their place in a managed floodplain.
I want wild horses, not the brumbies tearing the place apart,
but Przewalski’s are grazing where there even more light
though research has now revealed their DNA is feral not wild.

Trial Bay, Dhungatti Country

Trial Bay was named after the brig which was stolen and wrecked
in the bay by convicts in 1816, a story worth a narrative poem.

Monument Hill

This is the only coastal outcrop of granite for nearly a 1,000
kilometres north and 800 south, boulders with a memory
of extremes, prison labour used blocks to build the goal.

This whole side of the world, exposed, a vast kingdom
of Dagger Hakea advertising with the scent of coconut.
An accumulation of details, granite grains on the skin
Banksias playing cat’s cradle, keeping low, the lacy anthers
of the Boronia, the Flannel Flowers a soft white dissolve.

The sky is scrupulous with colour but the sea finds variations,
green flesh revealed before the sparky brilliance of spindrift,
and in Little Bay streaked with the golden silicates.

A male Red-back wren with a female following, displays,
spreading out his wings revealing all the red he could,
his mantle feathers a cloak with an extravagant ruff
and fanning out his smallish black tail – haute couture
for half-a-second. I’m too slow, I’m not going to argue.

Every few steps a rustle, this is also lizard kingdom
stubbornly hard to see the inhabitants, like the whales,
two pods way out, spume and a few fin slaps,
this year cruising south on a current shy of the shore.

The wittering of wrens is constant, the male keeps in contact
with his harem, the sea is banging on the cliffs below, sometimes
hit a cave, sounding like a whale blowing, the squeals of
White-cheeked Honeyeaters, squeaking, squawking Little Wattlebirds
and a sound from my childhood, once exotic to these shores,
the hum of introduced honey bees foraging the hakea.

A new insect

I warn Wyn to stop for a moment as I take a photograph,
a strange insect is attached to a sedge, I edge closer, and closer
then pick it up and put it in my pocket. Pink Lady plastic,
these emblems cover every piece of fruit sold in supermarkets,
the plastic revolution sits on top of spectacular improvements
in breeding and industrial production that has got way out of hand.
Stop plastic fruit stickers is a petition on

Pelicans, the Macleay River

The masked man cleaning catch has an audience,
bills wide-open in astonishment as they watch the fish head
sail over their heads and into the water, for sport.

The roosters we found dumped here a year ago
are still alive and calling out for female companionship.

We were also on Monument Hill last November.


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