A nip in the air

March hasn’t been able to make its mind up: it hasn’t let go of summer, neither has it embraced autumn. At night I’m still throwing off the doona then pulling it back on, hot one minute and cold the next, and my hay fever’s all over the place.

Nature’s in limbo too, though I do feel a quiet sense of urgency starting to gather its grip around the creatures of the creek. We don’t have an arctic winter in Newcastle but we do get a cold time, and so if you haven’t got a layer of fat on you by now then you may struggle in May. If you’ve been so rash as to have a clutch of chicks, well, you’re pushing your luck, I reckon.

half_an_egg_and_jambo

The gasworks is full of fungi.

fungi_march2014

The big tall bamboo-like grass on the banks of the Styx has exploded into fat candles of seedheads.

bamboo_seed_heads

There’s a native grass in the gasworks which, given the chance, will spring up after a slashing and some rain. At sunset the heads of the grass catch the slanting rays, and the whole area seems to glow as though a soft pink mist had settled across the land in a way that I don’t have the photographic skills to capture. Trust me!

pink_seed_tops_march2014

A Darwin friend happily Facebooked the other day to say that the dragonflies had arrived, a sure sign of the forthcoming dry season. Here, the dragonflies are getting dopey and starting to crash into the ground, into each other, into clumps of lantana.

grounded_dragonfly

This guy even crashed into me, staggered around a bit, took a breather on my finger before humming off to do whatever it is that dragonflies do in late March.

dragonfly_on_my_finger

A pair of brown falcons have been gliding around at dusk, working the area normally worked by the black-shouldered kites. Have the muscled the territory? A few weeks back a pair of grey goshawks were nesting in the one of the few tall trees on the railway land, which I didn’t comment about until their chicks had fledged and moved on.

I came across this grim kill site; maybe a young sulphur-crested.

feather_trail1_march14

The trail spread right upstream. This was no chick, it must be an adult bird.

feather_trail2_march2014

Or, erm, a feather-stuffed pillow. Whoops!

feather_trail3_march2014

And then, just as I was laughing at myself, I found these feathers in the feathers.

feather_trail4_march2014

Yes, autumn really is getting closer.

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