Category Archives: BIRD LIFE



NOVEMBER 11 2010.

I have several days at home to myself this weekend. The day is coming over clouded and just a little cool. Its 22 degrees C at the moment. Pleasant is the word.

Lets think about things. My brother gave me a map of the U.K for my 60th birthday. He got it from the British Museum and has labelled it with as many of the names and places of our ancestors as we so far know. We have a heritage based entirely in the U.K. and the last ancestor to come out to Australia did so way back in the 1850s.  Quite a few of the families were from Britain’s most remote places. Highland Scots and Devon and Cornwall. There’s a clutch of convicts. Quite a large clutch. Another of ‘assisted emigrants’.

I framed it. Well, Izzy bought a frame in Sawtell and we framed the map and at the moment its resting on a cupboard while we look for wall space on which to hang it.


The Workers’ Cottage is colorbond. I think that’s what its called. Its not my favourite substance and has a bare nudity to it. This week, Iz dug a garden bed and planted some plants under our windows. Two of them are passionfruit vines which could go a little hectic. I bought them at Spring Plant Fair following a chat with a lady at Kethel’s stall. I wondered whether there had been something go wrong with passionfruit here on the North Coast. The reason I asked was the high price. $1 or more for one passionfruit.

She told me that passionfruit still grow wild and rum amok as they have done since the day of the outside loo. The pricing is entirely an artificial construct caused by Government regulations etc. We bring them in from Queensland. I didn’t even attempt to enter the mazed Govt reasoning. I just bought the vines. We will see what happens.


Now, Izzy has gone South to his son and grandchildren  for the weekend. I have a phone call to make to my sister who is ill. My brother is in Paris and London for a fortnight. Next week, I plan Armidale for a grandchild’s 11th birthday.

And – in the meantime – in the meantime – home and the family in the Valley. Baby has now been swimming twice. Once in North Beach Pool and once in Bellingen Swim Centre. I thought it was just Bellingen Pool but discovered  the fancy re-name. I haven’t been there since 1999 when I taught Urunga kids to swim there.


Bellingen Swim Centre was a good deal easier with one baby and her mum than it was with dozens of schoolkids. I was quite impressed. $3 entry and hot chips for sale. Irene had just finished her aquarobics class and there were lifeguards a plenty.  Not quite Southbank but a lot of fun.


I believe that KEAN’S COACHES no longer service the Bellingen – Armidale route. Bummer because I liked their theme – WE ARE KEAN TO HAVE YOU TRAVEL WITH US.
Seems to be BY BUS that I need to contact for this journey.
That’s done. BY BUS were spot on. $90 return Bellingen to Armidale. Pay the Driver. Leaves Bello at 6.15pm on Monday night and gets into Armidale app 9pm. Then back Friday Morning. Not bad at all.


I went to Coffs Jetty this week. Checking the Jetty Markets. They were on underneath the Shopping Centre which used to be called TREASURE ISLAND. Never underestimate the Power of Tacky in Tourism.  There were also markets down Harbourside. That’s the one where Izzy and John Turbill played one Sunday.

We also went to lunch at Ocean Noir and took a look at kerry Penrose’s art exhibition and I ate Philadelphia Pie. I recommend doing that.

And I spent time with the boats and trawlers and shops.



BIRDS COMBO birdscombo

This post has  NOTHING to do with lions and elephants other than the pleasure of the previous article and the smile it brings to me.  I live near Raleigh  Railway Station and I do fancy seeing a lorry filled with lions being towed by elephants and passing my cottage. Puts me in mind of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books and the world being carried on the back of a giant turtle.

In the 1970s, when I  lived in Urunga and owned the WHITE ROSE TRADING COMPANY ( where the Vacant lot beside the OVH is) I was fortunate enough one morning to look out of the windows of my house and see a lion and a camel and motley other critters. The circus had come to Urunga. 

Here, in the 21st Century, it seems to be necessary to look for more subtle pleasures and apparitions.  That brings me to the Birds. I would have liked to see Brolgas again as I did last year in Ulmarra but that is a truly rare thing. What I did see this morning was a KINGFISHER. That’s my sister’s favourite bird. All my other years living here, I haven’t seen a kingfisher. Then at Christmas when we stayed the night at BELLINGER RIVER TOURIST PARK, I saw one. As I did ‘last year in Ulmarra ‘ for my 60th birthday in October and now, now one comes to breakfast on my front fence post.

DSCF4949 Spring was looking good – briefly and will surely look good again. Just last week we were frolicking under the Hose in true Australian tradition and picknicking by the Lido as Urunguans of long standing. I was whingeing about the cost of the Global Carnival as befits my complaining nature and Hot Rodders cruised past with their tops down. It was looking just dandy for the Long Weekend. Ha!  The rains came. The Valley flooded. The Carnival was evacuated. The river broke its banks and came into the caravan park. Now, we have a memorable Long Weekend. I rather think there was some affray involved in it. I didn’t see any due to being AT HOME with water all about.

I did hear rumours of feelings running high and sniffer dogs at the Carnival, of outrage over refunds and non-rescheduling of events. I did hear all manner of things.  I believe the BELLO BOWLO hosted some of the Global Bands and was totally filled to capacity.   I have also forgotten to mention the ART PRIZE at the Memorial Hall.  I know very little about it. Will see what I can find.

As for me, it became a weekend at Home. That suits me well.

bird flood combo DSCF4855







DSCF0724 Sitting about with our laptops, thinking and talking. I do like Internet. Facebook exchanges covering the world and roaming researches into many things.  It started tonight with a GNOME and has involved a Devon Reader, people from North and South of here and ventures into Bellingen Alternative accommodations.

Steven Guy who has become a very dear virtual friend, has written a rock opera : take a look

Steven Guy Bad Dream – rock opera, you know you heard it hear first. I just made a submission deadline for new musicals. Fingers crossed and maybe this sucker might fly. Excuse me but after almost all day banging away at the computer I am going to have a glass of red wine and try to remember how to blink !!
I feel good !

DSCF0608 We could get the BELLINGEN HIGH SCHOOL’S Band to play the Opera for him.  And we are sitting here with the heater on and the black cat asleep  on the horsehair chair and chatting on Facebook with more and more people about the gnomes.  Izzy has tackled the NATIONAL LIBRARY AUSTRALI’S HISTORIC NEWSPAPERS ON LINE and there is a lot more about GNOMES in the Australian Culture than I would have expected.


Follow these links to GNOME poems and stories.


The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848-1954), Saturday 17 August 1946, page 3

YOUNGSTERSThe Argus aturday 8 April 1933, page 5

The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848-1954), Saturday 8 April 1933, page 5

The night passes and the info on gnomes begins to wear me down. I have come across and ADVENT OF SPRING PICTURE.  Lets put her up ready for tomorrow.

ADVENT OF SPRING The Argus Saturday 15 October 1932, page 8

ADVENT OF SPRING The Argus Saturday 15 October 1932, page 8

And so – to sleep. There have been hints of better things to come. Hints of Hope.


DSCF1351 Tomorrow it will be Spring. The Jabiru has been down at the dam and there is a hint of bush smoke in the air. Kombu the Organic Food Shop in Bellingen has expanded.

Kombu Wholefoods – Your Online Healthy Living Store

"An Aladdin’s cave of affordable and sustainable organic produce" – The Australian

Welcome to the Kombu organic grocery and healthfood store. Thanks for coming to visit. We run Kombu as a social enterprise where environmental and social impacts of the business (including the products we sell) is considered equally as important as the usual financial considerations. To that end we also run the business along not-for-profit lines with any profits at the end of the year going back into the business and into the wider community.
A new feature on this site is the inclusion of independent feedback. All the feedback and reviews you’ll find throughout the site are managed by an independent feedback organisation. You’ll find our current rating on the left hand side of this page – click for detailed information.
We pride ourselves on only selling quality products at affordable prices – keeping healthy food and associated products available to as many people as possible. We hope you enjoy browsing our store and shopping with us.
With best regards
Lowanna, Kevin and all @ Kombu

I buy my muesli there in a brown paper bag. Sometimes, I get my shampoos and conditioners and Cell Food is cheaper than any other outlet we have found.





I took the train south as planned and I enjoyed it. 8 1/2 hours  from Urunga to Sydney Central.  I took shots of almost every station on the way and much of the countryside.  First Class didn’t seem greatly different from Economy. We were segregated and no Economies were allowed into our Sanctum. I think that’s in order to keep them thinking that there actually is some elusive Class One filled with wonders and elite service. If they were allowed in – they would KNOW.


DSCF0992 Brunch was pretty good and so were the snacks but LUNCH was a little dodgy. CANNELONI RICOTTA AND SPINACH. I wasn’t foolish enough to consider doubling up on that one. I was given a blue COUNTRYLINK carrybag for my meals. I don’t know whether or not Economy has them or whether they are restricted to FIRST CLASS. I have personally only ever had cardboard foldable on my economy adventures.


DSCF1343 I also took some shots in the ‘bathroom’. Pretty sad really, even though I did enjoy the travelling. Its still a pretty sad and inelegant people-mover. Coming back North, I was sitting opposite a Grafton acquaintance, a gorgeous German man who was a virgin to the first class XPT and I watched the shock process work on him. He had boarded the train ready to enjoy it but someplace beyond finding out there is no power for laptops, that we were expected to empty our own rubbish several times as they attendant came around; that the last few hours would see only a reflection of self in the tinted windows and nothing of the view – well sometime around then – he curled up and SLEPT.



DSCF8701Its JAZZ Festival weekend in Bellingen and Markets tomorrow. Izzy is up north doing gigs at Harwood and  South Grafton all weekend. And the gas cylinder which has lasted all winter has now run out.  I had just showered – a mega shower – and washed my hair and henna-ed it and it lasted through that so, continuing with my BLOODY MARVELLOUS theme, I was able to say B.M. It could have been worse

It will mean a trip into Urunga tomorrow to book a new one from Hickey’s. Tomorrow is also voting. Best check with the Daughter and see where she wants to vote. Likely to be madness up at Bello with the Jazz and the markets on.


DSCF0537 Its quiet here of a night. Just the lights of vehicles passing down on the road over the front paddock. Sometimes one turns up our drive.  Signs of Winter’s passing are showing. The colours are warm. I haven’t seen it like this before.  It must, I think, have been like this but now I am seeing it softly. Today was a gentle day. I shall take a look and see what the temps were. Ah ! 14-20 degrees celsius.



DSCF0508 Yesterday, we ventured into Sawtell. That’s ‘just up the road. ‘ GOOGLE MAPS say its 22kms and 21 minutes but the roads must have altered, methinks because it doesn’t take us that long and doesn’t seem that far.  Toormina which is a kind of offshoot of Sawtell features the nearest CENTRO shopping centre. in Woolworths and Coles etc.

And then, there is the Water. The creeks and the ocean and the Bath built in the rocks just a wee reminiscent of Maroubra and Bondi Days.


In my AT HOME ALONE TRAWLING THROUGH BLOGS, I just came across this site. Very Nice.

‘Kurungabaa’ is a Dharawal word for the Australian pelican, a handsome bird with a peculiar way of gliding low over the waves. We have chosen it to express respect for the Dharawal country where we love to surf, to celebrate the continuing culture of the Dharawal people, and to acknowledge the memory of the Dharawal people’s ancestors.

Kurungabaa is a not-for-profit volunteer publication, and is published bi-annually (June and December) as a hard copy by the generosity of subscribers and donors.

Kurungabaa publishes diverse genres including poetry, fiction, reflective and scholarly essays, memoirs, review essays, and interviews. Four pages each issue are made available for a photo essay or series of art reproductions by a single photographer or artist.

Emerging writers from coastlines around the world are encouraged to submit their work. Several pages will be dedicated to emerging authors in each issue. Editorial and writing assistance can be arranged, if requested.

Indigenous surfers are encouraged to join in Kurungabaa’s production, both as members of the editorial collective and as contributors. Every issue will contain material on surfing-related Indigenous history, culture and politics.





Look at the Kangaroo. 

A meditative  Roo.


BUNDAGEN is just over the way from the Cottage but in a different world entirely. Or perhaps just subtly.

Take a look at J Ledgar’s work.

Now I come across BERANGHI.

  1. The objects of the Co-operative are:-
    1. To acquire land for the purpose of providing low cost rural housing for members.
  2. To promote the development of a community of artists, musicians, artisans and craftspeople
  3. To promote the production and disposal of agricultural products of members and other persons
  4. To promote the principles and methods of permaculture in agriculture and horticulture.
  5. To promote and encourage a community where members and families can become self sufficient
  6. To provide a setting where rural re-settlement in hamlets and village clusters can evolve.
  7. To preserve and protect flora and fauna on land for such purpose
  8. BY_LAW enacted 1999 states –
    a) Dogs cats and firearms not permitted on the property
    b) Physical violence, or threatened physical violence against any person or property shall be deemed conduct detrimental to the Co-op and be grounds for expulsion from the co-operative.









DSCF7359   DSCF7346



In my favourite dictionary with the blue repair job on the spine, it says that DREARY is from the Old English words for mournful and bloody. A bloody mournful day so it has been, with the sense of impending doom.

Bloody Mournful. That’s me. I looked up SAD Seasonally Affective Disorder but prefer – bloody mournful – especially since SAD is stated to come in Autumn or Winter – or Spring or Summer. Right ! My day was affected alrighty and the season WAS involved in that.  So was the restaurant which didn’t have a single “vegetarian option”  and the dratted platelet count and the Greyness of the Day and the few truly suck things in our family at the moment.  I went into Urunga. That led to the highlight of the Day – rejoining the Clarence Regional Library. I didn’t want a book – just the Card and the familiar security of belonging to the CLARENCE REGIONAL. We( as a community)  avoid COFFS HARBOUR Library and have done for many years. I no longer recall the reasons for that but have always been tickled. Coffs Library sits in the middle like a fortress under siege and WE ( Bellingen Shire ) do NOT join forces with them.  We are allied with Grafton and the Mighty Clarence.

Then I met the neighbour who has injured his back  and heard a sad story about a wee lass I once taught. A truly dreary day. With the depressive nature of my temperament, days like this take some conscious programming to emerge from – smiling.

Evening comes, as it did before 5pm and the Black Cat called Bill sits on the back of the lounge. Between the TV and Me. I am not even going to write down the thing he did today.


This is what Cainer says – Astrologically speaking – The further into July we get, the closer we come to the maximum intensity of this year’s rare T Square.

Maybe I had best get the following forecast from Mr Cainer tattooed on the inside of my eyelids.

But after July, you may feel more inclined to give credence to Creationism. It will certainly seem as if a finger of fate has reached into the bubbling cauldron of your personal world, though you may feel suspect that this heavenly hand is clutching a giant stirring spoon. If the sky is really ‘on your side’ it has a funny way of showing it. But the purpose of a forecast like this is surely to help head off a crisis of faith. So I should explain that there’s a clever rhyme and a wise reason for this mid-year mayhem. Saturn forms an opposition to Uranus which, in turn, forms a conjunction to Jupiter and a T-square to Pluto. That’s real, rare, raw magic at work. It’s your chance to change something you thought you might never alter; a fear that has dogged you for decades. Even if the events that oblige you to conquer this are trying, the consequences of your inevitable success bring a future that exceeds your highest hopes.

DSCF7593 Well then, with the Mind turned to the Mournful Sorrownesses of this World, the Satin Bower Birds just keep right on visiting. I think I am putting this entry in the wrong blog. It might be better in my own personal one. However, it is here. It seems that the plan is to form a hospital network  of Macksville, Bellingen, Maclean. That is apparently one of the messages which came out of the Bellingen Health Action Group Public Meeting last night. Since their webpage is out for a month, I have only Word of Net to go by.!/pages/SAVE-BELLINGEN-HOSPITAL/325341765049?ref=ts

There is a Conference of some kind on tonight with the Health BigWigs. We will see what comes out of that.





The Winter has brought the birds into the Garden. The Butcher Birds are coming in close and banging their beaks on the metal roof.  Its their song that wakes me each morning .

I think its the PIED BUTCHER BIRD we have here.

From Australian Bush Poets Association we have the BUTCHERBIRDS’ SONG.

See also –

DSCF6993We also have King Parrots, Satin Bower Birds, Eastern Spinebills, Kookaburras, Superb Blue Wrens and more in  the Cottage Yard.

DSCF7009 The Ibis have also come into the Front Paddock in large numbers. There seem to be two distinct types. One white and one black.


They haven’t come near the Cottage but flock down near the Dam. In Urunga, they mass in the school playground and around the shops. During the weekend before last I watched 4 Human Beings cross the road at random while one Ibis  neatly strutted across the Pedestrian Crossing.

DSCF7044 We had passed the Winter Solstice during the preceding week and now the colder weather moved in. Some of the horses are now in winter coats and of a morning mists are deep in the Valley.

It is the First Winter for the little Earth Ox. There are therefore many things to show her.
DSCF7114 DSCF7115


DSCF7126 Took a trip down to Macksville last Wednesday. It was one cold and gloomy week but Macksville proved to be a treat. It now has some elite and some exotic shops. I personally fancied ROB the Barber who also does LADIES HAIRDRESSING. The COOP had a 50% sale on its kitchen Goods. They were more exclusive even than Bello’s range. Some good retro shops a la Ulmarra style and 2 top quality babywear shops. Not at all what I expected from a town that was once somewhat less than ‘sophisticated”. 

DSCF7123 DSCF7131


DSCF7135 Two fruit stalls remain on the Pacific Highway between Macksville and Nambucca and  we stopped in there. Best score was a jar of locally made jam. Almond and Apricot I think it was and the range was Huge.

DSCF7172 On the way back, we took a turn into Third Headland. It was a bit frosty for the beach as far as swimming etc. Once, years back, we found a lobster walking along the beach there and it was as long as our baby son – at the time.

DSCF7266 That sky pretty much sums up last week. Grey and cold. Weather for babies to stay inside with gas heaters and snuggly clothes. Weather in which I dream of sub tropics and tents on the beach.  Weather for my Baxter Boots and the last cardigan hand knitted by my mother. Its almost done in is that cardigan and perhaps 20 years or more old but I feel far better in it on weeks like this one than I do in other clothes.

DSCF7309 Repton Country came out for rehearsals ready for the Chilli Festival in Sawtell last Saturday. 3 “ seasoned” performers – I think that’s what PR would call them. Billy, Izzy and John.

DSCF7328 Washing tended to simply hang on the line. Droop on the Line.
My line is so high and fixed so well to the two trees that I cannot reach it and cannot move it.

I am short. That means Low Lines. I now have one on the side porch. A Low Line.

DSCF7345 Now, the sun is shining and although its cool its cheerful and the Kookaburra has come to my front fence post.

I have a Victorian Visitor who was explaining a few things about kookaburras and their family groups.

I like this particular bird. He sits perfectly still at front even when I come close. Morning Gooburra.