Early birds

When you get to a camp spot late in the day you don’t have time to look around much, beyond finding a flat spot for the tent, setting it up and scavenging leftover firewood at cold campsites.

I saw enough of Lime Bay, in the State Reserve near the northern tip of the Tasman Peninsula, to know that I wanted to be up early next morning to make the most of the time I’d have there.

When I woke, it felt far too cold to get up. But I unzipped the tent enough to see swans and this slow sunrise dawning. Not too cold after all.

I had learnt that sunrise takes a long time in these latitudes. Gloved, hooded and many-layered, I sat on a rocky point above the low tide and watched the other early birds, like the swans skimming the water in a slow take-off towards the sunrise.

I have never had the chance to observe black swans, so I had no idea until now that they wear white petticoats.

A solitary seagull floated over the gently rippling bay, whose colours changed more noticeably than the sky seemed to, picking up bronze in long smooth reflections amongst the silver blue of the broken water.

But the sky was changing, the indigo lightening to a more daytime blue, the peach skyline gaining a red blush, catching fire in the Bay. Only the land remained in night-time black.

Then the event progressed with a rush as yellow arrived, overwhelming the peach, turning the blues to purple. I hardly had time to take note of its aspects before the sun rose over the point.

Then the land was lit up as if by firelight; the tree trunks, the grass edge, the beach with its strange mounds of seaweed like stranded Pekinese and its long seismograph frills of black lace.

The millions of tiny shells that comprised the lower edges of the beach were glowing as I crunched along, not wanting to spoil the sand with footprints.

My feet were numb, but Lime Bay was more than worth getting up early for.

6 thoughts on “Early birds”

  1. Love your toes Sharyn! You get a few black swans on the millpond at Wollombi and they build a nest on the wetland near Crump’s Lane on the in Watagan Road if it’s wet eneough. Great photos too. I once painted a picture of the Richmond Bridge in my youth.

  2. At a mine site, so they should be breeding elsewhere too. Last year we saw them breeding at the Hexham Swamps and Bolwarra, and the back road from Thornton to Raymond Terrace – and other places that I can’t recall just now. I do recall they were breeding much earlier than I had thought they ‘should’ due to the cold weather. I’ll be checking out the swamps as soon as I am able.


  3. Hi Gaye, yes it was very special. And he was a Pacific Gull; should have said so! Where are you seeing swans in the Hunter?

  4. Hello Sharyn,

    what a magic place to wake up to, with nature peacefully waking up to such a glorious morning along side you. Your gull looks like a Pacific Gull, and what a spectacular bird they are up close with their strong orange bill and larger-than-gull size. Swans are breeding in the Hunter Valley now, so I wonder if they are doing so in Tasmania as well, or if they nest a little later?

    Thank you for sharing such a special dawning of day.


Comments are closed.