Inside the Tardis – Six Mile Creek

Tardis-like: “Something with a larger capacity than its outward appearance suggests, or with more to it than appears at first glance.”

During Covid-19 travel restrictions in Queensland last year, I gained a new appreciation for a location very close to home. A two-kilometre section of Six Mile Creek became my hiking Tardis.

As I explored it on a daily basis, this tiny reserve turned into a boundless universe of discovery. I still visit this natural Tardis as often as I can, especially when world events leave me feeling small and powerless.

It’s not always a conventionally beautiful place. Some days I have to navigate around used syringes, condom wrappers, takeaway food containers, soiled nappies (diapers), and cigarette butts.

Despite the littering and graffiti, life still survives and even manages to flourish in this tiny reserve, giving me hope. As I continue to record my observations of its treasures, this short ramble has expanded into a pleasurable marathon, with no finish line in sight. It’s not just a Tardis, it’s a Never-ending Story.

In her deeply moving Irish memoir, Thin Places, Kerri ni Dochartaigh reflects on her childhood surrounded by devastating violence, and discusses how places that heal and comfort can take many forms:

“Places that anchor, nurture and hold us do not have to be beautiful, cut-off, or even what might be described as wild. I’m not just talking about forests, mountains and wild coves. I am also thinking about supermarket car parks with even just one tree, the back of housing estates where life has been left to exist, dump-piles in burnt-out factories where insects glisten, dirty streams at the edge of things – full of waste but still brimming with something like renewal. Places can be abandoned, dangerous, rugged or broken – haunted by the ghosts of dark memories – but they might help us find a way through, a sense of safety – even for just a little while. There is so much life in the places around us and sometimes, for some of us, this helps us to value our own life. Maybe even at times when the act of staying alive is a daily struggle.”

In Western cultures, past attitudes towards the natural world have often focused more on how we can use it – what we can take from it, or how can we conquer it. Even those of us who don’t want to abuse the natural world still take from it when we escape our busy lives to grab some healing and respite on a bushwalk. It’s often still about ourselves – about what nature can give to us. About how much we need that walk. We still take, even if it’s just in an emotional sense.

How do we give back to the natural world some of the sustenance and healing we receive from it? For thousands of years, the Traditional Custodians of this continent have known the importance of the land and how to care for it. Listening to their voices is a crucial first step in learning how we can foster a more balanced relationship with the natural environment.

A practical way we can attempt to give back to the land is to walk through it gently, unblinkered and unrushed, recording and sharing what we’ve carefully observed. The more we see, understand, and appreciate the natural environment, the more capable we are of sharing with others the importance of protecting and nurturing it. When we love something deeply, we fight harder to protect it.

Although I have many observations to share from my hiking Tardis, I’m limited by reduced data capacity. I hope you’ll still enjoy this small sample though, and understand why it appeals to me so much.

On the banks of Six Mile Creek grow a couple of Corymbia ptychocarpa, (Swamp Bloodwood). These gum trees delight me with their clusters of bright pink blossoms, appealing pods and large leaves.

I look forward to visiting them almost in the same way I anticipate meeting up with an old friend. What news have they for me today?

Sometimes they boast clouds of native and introduced bees feasting on nectar. Birds and butterflies often join in the banquet. I wonder what it is like to be a tree, anchored to the ground, visited by hungry hordes.

Other trees provide nesting opportunities for rainbow lorikeets, pink galahs, cockatoos, wood ducks, crows, currawongs, magpies, and many other smaller species.

One day, a search for koalas yielded a highly camouflaged tawny frogmouth nest instead. Males incubate the eggs during the day, while the female keeps watch in a nearby tree. Their flimsy nest of twigs built in a fork doesn’t look structurally sound, but the population of Tawnies appears to be secure.

While sulphur-crested cockatoos and galahs are known to eat crops, many people are unaware that they also eat the roots and bulbs of weed species like onion grass. Here in my Tardis, the cockatoos regularly munch on roots and bulbs.

There’s a bird I often hear but rarely see at Six Mile Creek. Unlike other cuckoos, Pheasant Coucals are not nest parasites. They form lasting pairs and build platform nests in weedy thickets or long grass in my hiking Tardis. These are made of sticks and reeds, and lined with grass and leaves.

Males usually incubate the eggs, but both parents help with the feeding. Being clumsy flyers, they are more likely to run into groundcover to escape. I often see them scurrying across roads, reminding me of giant mice.

Tall grasses and water reeds are the haunts of wrens, finches, and golden headed cisticolas, but they often elude my camera. Most of the birds and reptiles in my Tardis are skittish for good reason. Increasingly, this small reserve is being abused by locals and visitors. It is the only location where regular walking has not reduced the hesitancy of birds towards me.

Many waterbirds find sustenance in my hiking Tardis, but rarely allow me to approach. Sacred kingfishers also inhabit the creek, and are probably the most tentative of all the bird species I come across.

When I was a child, I’d spend hours watching skinks sunning themselves, snapping up insects, and displaying territorial behaviours. Occasionally, the timid Six Mile Creek reptiles allow me a few moments of admiration before they disappear into dark waters or leaf litter.

For extra fun, I set myself small challenges. How many spider species can I observe on my Tardis hike? Spiders can be masters at camouflage, mimicking, or hiding. There is much life that can be missed if we don’t actively search for it.

I also like to collect images of strange insects I see. On every visit to Six Mile Creek, I find something new. One afternoon, I thought I would break this record and not find anything unusual, but just as I was leaving at sunset, I noticed a strange silhouette along a lantana stem. On closer inspection, I discovered these odd looking bugs. There appeared to be multiple stages of development grouped together – adults, nymphs, and eggs.

Lantana Treehoppers, Aconophora compressa, are sap-sucking bugs and belong to the family Membracidae. Insects in this family have a pronotum that extends back over the abdomen between the wings, but many species like the Lantana treehopper, also have a pronotum that extends forward, so that the insects look like thorns on the host plant.

Lantana has attractive flowers, but is an extremely invasive introduced species, often choking out native vegetation. One of the ways scientists have tried to control it in Queensland and New South Wales is through the introduction of lantana bugs from Mexico. Unfortunately, these insects have now been found to attack some other plant species, and they don’t always tolerate the very high temperatures of a Queensland summer.

What is this next weird creepy-crawly? It’s a lady beetle larva. How often do we notice the spotted adults but miss the larval stage in our blinkered rush?

As most of you know, I’m a fungus fan, but one day the behaviour of a lone fly overrode my mycology obsession. I found myself lying on the ground for 20 minutes, observing the oddly territorial behaviour of this small beastie perched on a fungus.

Instead of flying away as I expected, it stood its ground and seemed to develop an aggressive stance. I was intrigued.

Fortunately, a naturalist came to my identification rescue with an enthusiastic email about these fascinating creatures:

“It’s one of the fungus flies, the maggots of which eat mushrooms. I see them occasionally and they’re very easy to observe. They are even reluctant to fly off as you pick the fungus they’re attending. These are usually males that use the fungus’ cap as a sentry post from which to defend their territory. I’m pretty sure yours is the Pale-footed Fungus Fly, Tapeigaster argyrospila, but can’t be 100% positive. It’s certainly a Tapeigaster species and looks very like argyrospila, which is known from SQ. I don’t have much literature on these flies, but they do interest me greatly. Fungus flies should not be confused with fungus gnats that are also common around fungi.”

I regularly feel like an oddball for being so fascinated by insects, but these email responses remind me that there are plenty of other people out in the world who are just as intrigued by them as me.

Now, just in case I haven’t bored you enough with my gushing entomological enthusiasm, I have one last strange creature to share with you. If you slowly approach eucalyptus or acacia trees, you may find these highly camouflaged alien-looking critters.

This is the nymph stage of a species of Australian Eurybrachyidae, subfamily, Platybrachyinae – a kind of planthopper.

Here is a less alien-looking adult form of Eurybrachyidae and an empty nymph exoskeleton (exuviae) below it.

Notice the eye-like spots on the rear of this adult species which probably help to confuse predators.

When the weather sends wildlife into hiding, I set myself other challenges, such as photographing tree trunks. I take pleasure in the great variety of patterns, colours and textures.

I even amuse myself by collecting human-made objects for my Tardis album, including this array of floating balls.

Sometimes, my nature adventures at Six Mile Creek remind me of opening up Russian Matryoshka nesting dolls. I enter a grove of trees. Within the grove is a single tree. Within that tree is a branch – a twig – a leaf. On the leaf may be a cocoon. Within the cocoon is a developing larva. The larva has micro-organisms living on it. Within each micro-organism are cells. Within each cell is a whole other world of intricate structures and processes. Life is endlessly fascinating.

When we feel tethered by geographical boundaries, it can be heartening to remember that we all live within a Tardis. All around us are vast unseen worlds – worlds within worlds. The microscopic world is infinite. On our skin, in our lungs, and in our intestinal system, millions of organisms exist. There are unseen worlds above and below us, within us, and drifting past us. We breathe in these worlds every second of our lives.  Many seemingly small spaces are actually vast beyond our comprehension when we consider the microscopic worlds they hold.

Here is one example of the amazing invisible world all around us. I used to believe these rainbow sheens at Six Mile Creek were oil pollution, but sometimes they are just the result of microorganisms known as “iron bacteria” or “iron-eating bacteria.” These are commonly found in soil, surface water and shallow groundwater, and derive their energy from oxidizing ferrous iron.

Apparently, one way to try to differentiate between oil contamination and iron bacteria activity is by trailing a stick across the surface. Oil will continue to swirl, while the colourful filmy sheen from iron bacteria will tend to break up.

Within our artificial geographical boundaries, we are never completely disconnected from the rest of the world. The air we breathe and the water we drink have been recycled for thousands of years, connecting us to past, current, and future generations.

Geological and biological landmarks also connect us to the past and future. Towering trees and ancient rock formations have sheltered and been touched by generations before us. I take comfort in this. The sea, land and sky are much bigger than all of us and hold us in a giant embrace of connectivity. We are never truly alone.

61 thoughts on “Inside the Tardis – Six Mile Creek

  1. What a fabulous place Jane and glad you have a place of wonder – except for the shit people have left behind – to explore. Great photo and heaps of information as usual 🙂 🙂

    • Thanks very much, Brian. This is within a 5km radius of my home so it’s a really handy spot for me. Unfortunately, the creek is a popular night spot for nefarious activities which does lead to a lot of rubbish, and sometimes people vandalise the trees which really breaks my heart. Seeing the wild creatures continue on despite this human activity lifts my spirits though. If they can keep going despite the ugliness, so can I. I’m heading back today to see if the Tawnies’ nest survived the big storms. Despite their flimsy looking nests, they seem to make it through some pretty wild weather! 🙂

        • I’ve been thinking of how I can form some sort of group to protect it. It used to be more pristine when I first moved here but now new housing developments are boxing it in and many more people are using it for a thoroughfare. It’s surrounded by suburbia. Luckily, it floods regularly and there are deep gas pipelines there as well so hopefully that will protect it from housing developments. One reason why I wrote the blog post is I am considering approaching the local council to show them my albums. I chatted to some council workers there recently who were cleaning up discarded needles. It seems to be a never-ending job. I’m remaining hopeful though and try to pick up rubbish when I can if it is safe to do so. 🙂

          • If it is a state reserve maybe council us the land manager so maybe council has a scheme for starting management groups. Rubbish is a pet hate of mine too 🙂

            • Yes, I must get myself organised and contact the council soon about it. There may even be a group already formed that I’m unaware of. Thanks, Brian. 🙂

  2. Wonderful, wonderful post full to the brim of great photographs linked by a very thought provoking text. I shall keep it to reread at least one more time. Thank you so much!

    • Thank you very much, Susan. You are too kind. I’m so pleased you enjoyed this post. I often wonder if the long nature ones get a bit too monotonous for readers, and I often “um and ah” about them for weeks before publishing them. It is reassuring to know they still give pleasure to some people. I gain a great deal out of pleasure from the walks and I want to share some of the joy with others who may not have access to nature. I’m extremely lucky to have places like this so close to my home. All my best. 🙂

    • You are very kind, Marina. Thanks for your wonderful encouragement, as usual. You always make me smile. I’m so glad you enjoyed a place which has become dear to my heart. You would be amused if you could see all my photographic failures though. For every acceptable shot, there are about a hundred in the trash bin. Sometimes they are so blurry I don’t even know what I was taking a shot of! Haha. Best wishes. 🙂

  3. Found all​​ your exotic (to me) bugs and critters to be fascinating… not to mention the lovely bird types… but the shots of the tree trunks literally made me gasp. Particularly that pastel colored one leading the series.
    Nature is forever fascinating and healing.
    A joy to find a post by you, as always! 💕​

    • Thank you for such encouraging words, as usual, Gunta. You brighten my day! I’m so lucky to have found fellow bloggers such as yourself who share similar passions. It helps me feel more connected and less of a social reject. Haha. I never tire of the pastel coloured trunks you mentioned. They are more vibrant at different times of the year. I must have taken hundreds of shots of them over the years. Often it’s the colours of tree trunks that brighten up the Australian bush just as much as flowers do in other regions. The bright coloured saps that run down trees here can be startling shades as well. Sometimes the trails of red sap and deposits on the ground can resemble a murder scene! I hope you are staying well there. All my best. 🙂

      • Literally laughing out loud here! 🤣 Picturing the murder scene perpetrated by tree sap! I’ve found blogging to be an excellent way to connect with fellow beings who share interests. I have some closer friends who flit in and out of my life, connecting only occasionally, but always with delight. I think of you as one of those friends. You appear when you’re so inspired and it’s always a treat. Then again I have a way of crawling under the covers whenever I’m feeling a bit out of sorts. 🤨 Somehow it just works. 💕
        Furthermore it’s how I found the love of my life at the age of 70!!! Living happily ever after for 7+ years now. 💘

        • And always good for a re-read!! I will likely think of your sap murder scene whenever I encounter some North American sap… We do not have any pastel trees, or bark, or bloody sap.

          • Hahah. Your response had me laughing too! Nice to know tree sap will remind you of me! 😀 I’ll be thinking of you too now when I see it as well, which is nearly every day on my local walks! Thank you for such beautiful words of friendship. I think of you in the same way. The Internet has been a great way for people to connect who would ordinarily never meet in pre-computer days. I’m thrilled for you that you’ve found the love of your life. We are never too old to find a kindred spirit/soul mate! That makes my heart sing. 😀 Yes, I alternate between days/weeks of feeling more positive/inspired, and days where I need to hide under the covers to regain my emotional strength. I don’t see or hear from my closest friends often, but when I do it’s like no time has passed at all. Take good care of yourself and I hope you enjoy the love for many years to come! xo

  4. Wow Jane, what an amazing variety of wildlife here ! You certainly have been blessed with a sustaining relief from this pandemic in your walks in this place. I am only just getting out and about while still continuing our 3 month lock-down. You have a wonderful way of noticing and reporting what you see. It is all beautiful, and it is great to have another post from you again, and to know you are doing alright. 🙂

    • Thanks very much, Ashley. Yes, I’m very grateful to have such a lovely spot available so close to home. It’s only small but as you can see by my shots, it sustains much wildlife. This is within a 5km radius of my home so even if we had lockdown restrictions it wouldn’t break the rules. I’m so sorry you are having to cope with such a long lockdown. I hope your health is not suffering. Sometimes I wake up and wonder if this whole Pandemic was just a bad dream. It’s certainly a very strange and challenging time for many. My daughter starts another Emergency Department rotation in a major hospital after Christmas and moving back home for a while so I’m really hoping that we don’t get a massive Delta spread up here in Queensland leading up to it. She has a few underlying health conditions and being in the ED can be risky. My eldest son and his wife are moving to Canberra next month for his career so that will be interesting too. This is the first time any of my children have moved interstate. You, of course have already gone through these parenting separation experiences. Thanks again for your ongoing support and kindness, Ashley. It’s much appreciated. Best wishes. 🙂

      • Yes Jane it is an adjustment when the nest becomes empty. I pray your daughter will be kept safe. My wife as a GP has had some close calls and we had to isolate, but thankfully we have kept safe thus far, Sydney is not the best place to be at the moment. Al the nest my friend. and thanks again for a wonderful post 😊

        • I hope you, your wife and loved ones remain safe. Sydney is certainly not the best place to be now. Extra concerning with your wife being a GP! I’ve been so disappointed at the lack of care towards health care workers – some people seem to think HCWs (and their families) are disposable during this crisis. I’m just very grateful to be in Queensland right now. My vaccine allergic reaction and subsequent use of prednisone to suppress my immune system means I’m not fully covered. Once I can see an immunologist in mid-December I’ll be able to get more information about how to proceed. Until then it’s masks and staying away from people for me. Hope you stay well and safe. 🙂

  5. Thankyou, Jane. It’s refreshing at the start of the day to be included in another insightful journey with you. Your inclusion of litter is appreciated too.
    Tony

    • Thank you for those kind words, Tony. It is very encouraging to have positive feedback and lifts my spirits. It was a pleasure to share my photographs and thoughts with you. This little section of Six Mile Creek sustains a surprising variety of wildlife despite the regular damage by humans. It gives me hope. All the best. 🙂

    • Oh Tom, that is a particularly meaningful compliment to me. Thank you very much. When I started my blog I had no idea of some of the opinions on forums in the Australian hiking world about what constitutes a “real” hike or adventure. It disappointed me that people spent so much time arguing over labels. I became aware that some people regarded my stories as somehow less worthy of consideration because they weren’t hard-core challenging hikes. In my personal life, I know many people with disabilities and/or carers of others who do not have the health, time or finances for much travel. When writing my blog I’d hoped to encourage others that challenge is relative. For some, just getting out of bed each day requires huge effort. People don’t have to climb Mt Everest to be labelled as adventurers. Thank you for calling me an “explorer.” 🙂

    • Thank you, Anna! Would love to share this place in person with you and show you all its magical secrets. I gain so much pleasure from wildlife discoveries in my Tardis. I’m pleased for you that WA has been safe from major Covid spread. I feel lucky here in Queensland to have had less risk too. I hope it stays that way. All my best. 🙂

    • Hi there and thanks for your positive feedback. It’s great to hear from you and I’m pleased you enjoyed the post. I’m actually someone who gets caught up in the busy-ness of life quite often and have to force myself to slow down as well. My dodgy old knees, ankles and a back injury help me to do that now. Cycling like you do is a great way to see the countryside. You see far more than in a car. I used to love cycling but injury and lack of safe roads stopped that. I had grand hopes of cycle touring and even bought panniers etc. Now I walk and take photos instead. I hope all is well in your part of the world and you are keeping well. All the best. 🙂

      • I have been following your blog for some years now and always enjoy your photos and the way you join then together with meaningful words. As you may see I have not done many posts the last few years as Saftey of my family alone on the farm in Africa has become a problem. I have just immigrated to the United States and am waiting for my bicycle to come. Then I should be able to be out and about on my bicycle again.

        • That’s a big life change! I wish you all the best in your new location and hope you and your loved ones remain safe and healthy. These are certainly challenging times and not just because of the Pandemic. I hope your bicycle arrives safely and you get the opportunity to enjoy it. Take good care of yourself and thank you again for your kind and encouraging words of support about my blog. Much appreciated. 🙂

  6. Call me tardy in my encounter of Tardis. The lexico.com website explains the term as “the name (said to be an acronym of time and relative dimensions in space) of a time machine which had the exterior of a police telephone box in the British TV science fiction series Doctor Who, first broadcast in 1963.”

    You may have heard me say how surprised I was during our one visit to Australia, in 2005, when I was walking along a path south in a village south of Sydney and found myself face to face with some Texas lantana flowers. The species grows natively in my neighborhood in Austin, and I photographed some just yesterday. Too bad it’s invasive over there. Likewise for the people-strewn detritus you mentioned early in this post.

    • Hi Steve. Always a pleasure to read your thoughts and interesting facts! Thank you! 🙂 The Dr Who series was something from my childhood and they are still continuing to make new episodes now. I was often too terrified of the aliens to watch the show regularly, and even just hearing the dramatic theme song would make me scared! Haha. My children were great fans of the series though and it didn’t seem to give them nightmares. What I did really appreciate about the series as a child though was Doctor Who’s Tardis. As your definition includes, it looks like an ordinary British telephone box from the outside, but is so much bigger on the inside and allows the Doctor to travel backwards and forwards in history and into different parts of the Universe. The definition I used at the top of my blog fitted with the more general meaning that my family and friends use when we talk about something being Tardis-like. It struck me how my walk was very short in human distance but when you consider all the worlds inside it (including the microscopic world) it feels like I am entering a Tardis. It is so much bigger than it first appears. And also time feels very different when I am on this walk. Hours pass before I even know it. 🙂
      I’m pleased that lantana isn’t a bad pest where you are. There are many places here in Queensland where lantana has choked out other native vegetation completely. Many small birds enjoy the protection it gives though and it does attract a great many pollinator insects. Lantana loves the high rainfall and heat of the coastal parts of Queensland. It’s a terrible problem in national parks and creates a lot of work for staff. The flowers are very pretty though and I enjoy the variety of colours. Whenever I find lantana on walks I always know I’ll see insects and birds, so my feelings can be mixed. Thanks again for your valuable feedback, Steve! I hope you are still well. All my best. 🙂

      • Yeah, we’re still hanging in there, just as you fortunately seem to be doing, too. Last week Eve and I got our third shots of the Pfizer vaccine, six months to the day after our second shots. I wonder if this is going to become a regular twice-a-year thing, like the solstices and equinoxes.

        Language-y me commends you for using the word valuable near the end of your reply. Too many people now always say invaluable for something useful, leaving poor old valuable with no chance to stand on its own two feet and assert its own value.

        • I’m pleased you’ve been able to receive your booster shots. I’ve not heard of anyone here receiving a booster shot yet. The focus here is still on getting people to receive their first or second dose. It’s been a disappointingly slow vaccine roll out in Australia.

          Thank you for the positive feedback about my use of the word valuable. Now that I’m thinking about it, I’m not sure I’ve ever used the word “invaluable.” It’s a strange sort of word in a way when you consider “ineffective” means not very effective. I’m not an expert in etymology of course. There is probably a reasoning behind its use I’m unaware of. 🙂

          • The sense of invaluable as ‘very valuable’ arose from the notion that something is so very important that no assigned value would be sufficiently high to do it justice. We use priceless in the same way (with the structural difference that the negative is conveyed by the -less at the end rather than by the in- at the beginning).

            As for the COVID situation in Australia, I’ve seen videos of the draconian, police-enforced lockdowns on your east coast, versus the normal lives people are leading on the west coast, apparently as a result of having blocked entry to people from other parts of the country.

            • Thanks for the explanation, Steve. That makes sense. With regards to any videos and news reports you see of what’s happening here, the media doesn’t necessarily present a balanced view of what is going on in all the Australian states and also at a Federal level. Certain state governments are targeted more than others by media because they are not the same political persuasion as the Federal Government. Sadly, many news articles have been rather inflammatory which has encouraged some of the recent anti-lockdown (and anti-mask wearing and anti-vaccine) protests and have also promoted extreme racism etc. Life in Queensland where I live has been fairly normal, and we’re very lucky to have extremely low or zero Covid cases. 🙂

  7. What a gorgeous post, Jane! I am constantly amazed at the variety and the colours of your wildlife. Those tree bark photos are really exciting. What a pity it is that some people cannot see the beauty that surrounds them and have no conception of the damage they do when they drop litter or deface trees. It is good that there are still quite a number of creatures and plants in your Tardis; it is consoling that they seem to be so tolerant of the mess we humans make. Many rare plants in Britain have recently been found surviving and often thriving in really inhospitable places like industrial estates, car parks and city pavements. An extremely rare orchid has been found growing on a rooftop garden in the middle of London. We must continue to hope that our natural world will survive all our depredations and we must do all we can to help it along. I hope the tawny frogmouth nest survived.
    Take care, Jane and I hope you and all your family are keeping well. xxxx

    • Thanks very much, Clare. It gives me great pleasure to share pictures of my local treasures with you. I’m in my 50s now, but have never tired of the amazing variety of Australian tree trunks. If I were ever to move to another country, our trees are something I’d really miss. Yes, it is very disheartening to come across rubbish and damage at Six Mile Creek. For a little while I stopped going as instead of being uplifted by the walks, I came away sad and angry. Then I read a book about someone who lived a poor childhood in Ireland during a time of violence and she reminded me that I can still take joy in what is surviving despite the human damage. I decided to try to seek out what was still surviving at six mile creek and celebrate it. It crossed my mind that unlike me, the birds and other creatures don’t necessarily get consciously distressed by seeing rubbish etc. Some even use it for nesting material. I started going there with the mentality that I would try to be like a bird. It doesn’t always work though! Recently, I found someone had had some “fun” hacking into a number of creek side trees with a small axe. I just felt so heartbroken, I went home immediately. There is a tawny frogmouth nest there that I am watching though. It’s a combination of delight that they have chicks and fear that someone else will notice them who might throw stones at them. I try not to get too emotionally invested in their survival, but I can’t seem to help becoming attached. They have grown a lot already though and soon will be ready to leave the nest. I’ve got pictures to share but was waiting to see that they survived first. That’s wonderful news about the orchid found on a rooftop garden in London. How marvelous! I read some research about rare species inhabiting a cemetery in Melbourne. You can find special things in unexpected places. It gives me hope. Thank you, dear Clare. It’s always uplifting to hear from you. Take good care of yourself and I hope you and your loved ones are well also. All my best. xxx

      • It is extremely difficult not to get emotionally involved in places we love and the creatures that live there. I think we just have to go on doing all we can to protect these places and creatures and hoping that someday enough people will realize that it is imperative that we all should care for the natural world before it is too late. Sorry; not particularly well put.
        I ought to have gone to bed ages ago and my brain’s not working properly! 😀

  8. I am late getting to comment. I took time with my coffee this morning to look over your beautiful wildlife and landscape portraits. The trash issue is worldwide. I carry several feed bags when I take the UTV out on our 61 acres and also the leased acres, to pick up trash that blows from surrounding roads, housing areas bordering the property, Walmart and a high school that has bordering property. The worst are helium balloons, especially the mylar balloons. I wish they would outlaw them. People do not realize that wildlife often gets caught in the tangle of trash and sometimes ingests it. What I dread on trash pickup is filthy diapers that people discard, and varmints like foxes or coyotes drag over onto our property to eat the contents. Being good stewards of the land is often not a pleasant job.

    I loved your photos, Jane. Glad to see the tawnies… some of my favorites!! I hope you are doing well. XOXO

    • It’s always wonderful to hear from you, Lori. Thank you! 🙂 It is so disappointing about rubbish and distressing to see how it can impact wildlife. We get a lot of marine life affected by plastic bags here. For example, sea turtles mistake floating bags for jellyfish and get blocked intestines and die from them. Filthy diapers (we call them “nappies” here) are something I see often too. I’m sorry to hear how bad the trash problem is in your region. What a disgusting mess you have to clean up. Thank goodness for responsible people like you! I try to pick up rubbish when it is safe to do so here. You cannot always be sure what’s inside some bottles etc. I’m always a little careful as kids in my region sometimes make homemade bombs My son bought me one of those long handled picker-upper things (sorry, not sure what it’s called!) It was meant to be for me to pick up dropped or low objects around the house because my back and knees were very bad and I couldn’t bend over, but they are extremely handy for picking up litter as well. On a much happier note, the tawnies have survived yet another storm and are growing fast. I’ve taken a million (mostly blurry) photos of course. When I can find some that are clear, I’ll be posting a small encore to this blog post for those who love tawnies too. I’ve been waiting to see if they survive to fledgling stage. Always a little nervewracking watching critters grow, as you know, of course. It can be hard to love sometimes. I hope all is well there for you, Lori. I’m sorry I’m not on the computer much these days. I do struggle with social anxiety, even if it’s just the online version! Haha. All my best to you, dear lady. xo

  9. Wow. Just wow. What an astonishing array of images. You are a fabulous photographer.

    “Mysteries lie all around us, even in the most familiar things, waiting only to be perceived.”
    – Wynn Bullock

    “Today, the artist has an inescapable obligation. The world has been good to him; it has provided great beauty and deep experience. Now, both the natural and the human world are imperilled … this peril lies in overpopulation, pollution, depletion of resources and the destruction of natural and cultural beauty. The power of art to counteract this destruction, not merely to veil it, is — I am sure — tremendous. I believe photography has both a challenge and an obligation to help us see more closely and more deeply, and to reveal to others the grandeurs and potentials of the one and only world which we inhabit.”
    – Ansel Adams.

    • You are too kind, Robert. Thank you! What marvelous quotes you have shared. The Ansell Adams one in particular explains in much better words than I ever could how photography has such an important role to play, especially in this fast-paced world where people often only read the headlines of news articles. Images can give joy, tears, laughter, confront, teach and lead to action. Words are important but pictures can be even more powerful. I’ve not seen that quote before. Thanks so much for sharing it, Rob, and also for gifting the world your own fabulous images. You have inspired me. All the best. 🙂

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