(Jack is a dog. Jimmy is a car and sometimes our home)
In the morning the Black and White clan arrives.
“We’re here”, they sing, “Where’s the food?”
While the Whistling Kite waits atop a long dead Bloodwood, deciding whether to trust us or not, the Magpies and Butcher Birds steal dog food from the bowl while Jack looks on.
The Kite circles, barely 2 metres above our heads, showing off the frogs or mice he’s caught for breakfast.
Soon word gets out and half a dozen more Kites arrive, harrying the bird with the morsel. He circles closer to us, knowing that the others are a little more wary of the humans.
The Whistling Kite, mouse in talons, turns and makes a run upstream. The others follow, harrassing him in an attempt to steal a dropped meal.
In the river the King Salmon are jumping, bodies slapping on the surface, leaving patterns of concentric circular ripples on the millpond still surface.
Mudskipper schools patrol the banks as the tide begins to rise. They’re hunting small crustaceans or worms that rise from the mud. White Cranes stalk the Mudskippers and crabs, stepping stealthily through the mud flats.
A lone Cormorant lives about a hundred metres upstream, roosting on an old dead She-oak that hangs over the water. Most of its time is spent sitting on a branch, scanning the river for signs of fish movements.
Kites and Sea Eagles scan the river from high above, looking for surface fish or floating carrion.
The tide rises fast, creating eddies and small whirlpools along the edges of this wide, majestic river. By full tide, the waters have risen over four metres and the river is 250 metres wide. Then it turns, and the river flows downstream, emptying into the ocean some seventy kilometres away.
Crocodiles call this river home. As yet, we’ve been unlucky and haven’t seen one. There was a sighting last week, around a kilometre upstream. A small two metre saltie was spotted in a small tributary.
The bank we camp on is about six metres high at low tide. On a big high, the water is only a metre or so below the bank. Easy climbing for a decent croc.
The Whistling Kite watches us fishing. He perches on his Bloodwood and studies us as we bait hooks and cast our lines into the river. We miss him as he leaves, but he returns later on, gliding above the water, and drops a stick in the river, near where we are casting.
Maybe he’s trying to stir the fish up for us.
The breeze has picked up. Sometimes the wind blows so hard here that Jimmy rocks and the trees moan.
Just a snippet from a diary. We love the beauty of our part of the planet, and need to escape ‘civilized society’ as often as possible so we can stay focussed on the important stuff in life.