Yesterday, I took an old friend to explore the Len Howard Conservation Area in Erskine, Mandurah, just outside my door. After a morning birding and walking, we ended up here, where there is now an upscale marina, hotel and fancy houses. Sixty years ago when I was a young girl, it was just The Sticks area, devoid of buildings, called that because of the remains of poles stuck in the water to mark the channel. Anyway, we sat down on a park bench to eat our sandwiches.
This was the calm scene in front of us at the time:
|Peel inlet, The Sticks|
A few pelicans in the distance on the water, the odd seagull or tern or cormorant flying past. A water-logged darter climbed up from the water to the beach and hence onto that structure on the left, so bedraggled that his soaked tail swept the ground like a street sweeper’s wet broom. He then hung out his wings and tail feathers to dry…
As always for beachside picnics, a family of magpies, a raven and several gulls grouped around eyeing us hungrily as we ate our sandwiches.
Birds everywhere. Everywhere we looked. Pelicans, several species of cormorant, darters, several species of terns, gulls…
|All those white bits in the water are cormorant necks!|
Gradually they began to disperse:
Until finally, they had mostly disappeared, almost as quickly as they had arrived:
A few gulls remained for a while — disappointed I suspect, as being unable to dive, they had missed out on most of the feasting — until they too flew off:
And then we were alone again. But it was ten minutes of pure magic…