Moist ground, short grass, worms a-popping, birds a-watching – snap!
Kookaburras decorate my fenceposts and the bare wintry branches of my stone fruit trees. For ages they stare intensely at a spot in the apparently motionless paddock.
The cold wind causes them to fluff up their feathers – white, elegantly speckled and striped in brown, with those surprising azure dabs and dashes on the wings. Their flat tops ruffle and peak like punks, but they are not distracted from their task.
Their beaks are big and tough and capacious, hooked at the end. Good for catching and dismembering much bigger prey than worms, but that’s what on the menu today. Just a snack in between the morning and evening song sessions.
Below his branch a magpie struts, keen to beat the kooka to that worm. Maggies rule here. It’s not the size of the beak that counts…
I don’t see who wins this time but they are always equally quick to react when a worm appears. Zoom! I rarely see them disappointed – not many worms get away.
Just beyond them a red-necked wallaby grazes steadily across the paddock outside the fence, laden pouch seeming to skim the ground as she does.
Going about her daily business, like my feathered neighbours, and not bothering about me or mine. It’s a good neighbourhood that way – and no barking dogs, whining mowers and hedgetrimmers, nor thumping music as son-of-house-four-doors-up washes family car under duress.