“I went to the Animal Fair, the Birds and Bees were there…” (Day 133)
Our host Jane took us to Featherdale Wildlife Park yesterday. What a great place, with Birds, not sure about bees, but many other native animals to Australia.
We were driving along a residential area and there it was in between some houses. Back in 1975, it was in the middle of an area that was being developed for housing and was threatened with closure but thousands of people signed a petition to keep it open and won. We are so glad it did - what a wonderful place.
Featherdale originally was a poultry farm set up by Charles and Marjorie Wigg in 1953 and with the vision of their son-in-law Bruce Kubbere who studied Australian fauna for years, they opened the privately owned wildlife park in 1972, which at that time included a plant nursery. Ah – that’s why there are so many native trees and plants within the park.
The 7 acre Park is full of native animals and birds. One of our favourite was the very weird Cassowary – the body of an Emu with jet black feathers but with a very colourful head and a most distinctive helmet on the top making it look very much like its Dinosaur relatives. We wandered around hearing a cacophony of bird song, the whipping sound of the Eastern Whipbird, the squawk of the cockatoos, and the loud chirping of some of the small brightly coloured parrots. Two vivid red Macaws were deafening with their screeching. We saw a few Kookaburra but sadly didn’t hear them laughing. If you want to hear how these birds sound, I’ve found a great website which has recordings of some of these: ttp://www.graemechapman.com.au/resources/bird-calls.php
(As a side note, often when Tim and I are tramping, especially when he senses I am getting tired, we either sing “Kookaburra sits in an old gum tree” or in a round “The animals when to the fair, the birds and bees were there”…feel free to join in).
Some of the same species of birds were hanging around outside looking at their bird friends inside the cages. We saw a bright blue kingfisher hanging on the outside of one cage, colourful parrots up in a tree above another and lots of Ibis that Jane calls Bin Chickens roam about, particularly around the café!
As well as birds, there were many animals including lovely cuddly Koalas – they are so cute. Most were sleeping. Apparently it is a fallacy that the eucalyptus leaves make the Koalas spaced out. They just take a lot of energy to digest, hence the large amount of sleeping. Tim thinks he was a Koala in a previous life. One Koala called Noah was extremely noisy, making a loud deep barking/grunting noise. This is to demonstrate his dominance – he saw Tim coming along!
Jane has a very special affiliation with animals. When we were by the Goanna pen, (Large Monitor), one of them climbed in the base of a hollow trunk and climbed up the middle and popped his head out. I am sure it was so that he could get closer to Jane and have a little chat with her.
There was one Tasmanian Devil; they are solitary creatures. A guide was feeding it and shared that they have over 30 pups, but the first 4 that get to the mother’s 4 teats are the only survivors as she will eat the rest. Yuk! I suppose it’s a dog eat dog world and the strongest win.
There were also Dingos, one of which a guide fed by hand, brave woman; a couple of chunky Wombats that also seemed to sleep a lot. Very tame Wallabies and Kangaroos that we could feed and stroke. We were lucky to see some spotted tail Quolls, which are shy marsupials and endangered due to cats, foxes and habitat destruction. A fabulous day out.
Amongst all this, normal life still exists. I have been chatting to my lovely sisters as sadly our Mum is in hospital. She is in late stage of dementia and now suffering with pneumonia. Decisions need to be made as to her future palliative care. It is so easy to get stuck into our whirlwind of thoughts which don’t help. Going to a quiet space we can sense and know what is needed. I am so very grateful to have two wonderful loving sisters, that even from nearly 17,000 km away we can easily still talk with one another, and that all three of us are singing from the same hymn sheet and in the same tune. I love them very very much.