Public service announcements

29/11/2013

public_service_announcementPSA 1: Be careful

I had a call from a representative of Jemena the other day. (I get the sense that Jemena is trying to handle this sensitively and didn’t want to be seen as coming down hard on me.) The discussion was around the post-fire photographs of the gasworks buildings, as portrayed in the blog. Jemena was less concerned about the issue of site access than the potential for any person on the site being injured or exposing themselves to dangerous chemicals or fibres.

This is a fair call. The structure of the fire-damaged building is seriously impaired and the there issues with scattered asbestos roof tiles having been broken, thereby exposing fibres. These tiles have been sprayed with a PVA-based suppressant, but it would still be foolhardy to put oneself in danger.

The photos that I use on the blog are sent to me by all kinds of people: there’s a small army of urban explorers out there ducking under fences, jumping gates and hopping over walls. I love getting and using your photos but, in the interests of your personal safety, do take care and please avoid these dangerous sites.

PSA 2: Phoenix

Does anyone remember Jiya, the cockatiel from Hamilton North who could say, among other things, “Show us ya tits!”? That story ended happily, but now Jiya’s little companion, Phoenix, has bolted.

My kids were asking the other day, “What is that weird bird call?” It wasn’t actually a bird, it was Erin tramping the streets calling out “Phoenix! Phoenix!” to every flock of cockatiels in the area. So far, with no luck. I think I saw him looking wet, lonely and bedraggled in a banksia tree on Emerald Street, but since then nothing. I’m starting to have a bad feeling. Pretty well every walk around the creek reveals a scattering of feathers as some wee birdie falls victim to something further up the food chain.

green_gold_feathers

If a feather takes my fancy it might end up in my hatband for a while, though they tend to fall out or get blown away after a few weeks. At the moment there’s a koel tail feather, juvenile magpie, ibis and … er … possibly Phoenix.

feathery_hat

The usual black-shouldered kites have been joined around the gasworks by a nankeen kestrel and – for the first time in ages (at least to my observation) –  a peregrine falcon, on Wednesday morning. Obviously springtime means everything’s on the go and there are hungry fledglings in countless nests waiting for dinner.

cockatiel_mummified

I haven’t found any dead cockatiels with bands, so perhaps there is hope yet that young Phoenix will live up to his name and spring from the ashes. If you do happen to see him, give Erin a call and put her out of misery.


Yumolicious

22/03/2013

Blissful, good-to-be-alive autumn mornings.

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The creek’s quiet at the moment. We’re in the seasonal change-over when ducklings have either fledged, grown and gone their way or become fox fodder. (Cue Simba, Mustafa and The Circle of Life.) The rain may have dispersed the aquatic birds too; there have been fewer cormorants, darters or herons down by the TAFE litter boom or stalking the beck’s edge.

Speaking of the rains, here are a couple of before-and-after pictures I received from Stephen Rigby, of Port Waratah Coal Service, that show the clean-up that PWCS staff carried out in the Carrington mangroves. Can you tell which is “before”?

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pwcs1

The guys did a great job, but don’t worry, Stephen. The people of Newcastle are always up for a challenge and are already working hard to refill this proud city’s waterways with crap, detritus and toxic filth.

syringes_march13

Never let it be said that Novocastrians cannot or will not rise to the occasion. This is our town and these are our drains, and we’ll fuck em up awesomely more betterer than what anyone else could fuck their drains up. Yeah!

blue-thong_march13

Look, some brave soul’s even taken managed to dump yards and yards of asbestos packaging. This is the kind of effort that requires major commitment. Respect. (Not sure where the actual asbestos is; check the road outside your nearest childcare centre.)

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And let’s pause to acknowledge the anonymous legion of trolley dumpers. In the glamour world of fly-tipping and mess-making this hardy crew are often overlooked. Yet they go about their work, quietly, diligently, neither looking for nor seeking praise. Go, you good things.

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Oh, and cupcakes! How could I forget cupcakes? Give it up, peeps, for for their sweet, spongy, goodness! (OK, so they not really toxic or polluting but, well, still.)

cupcake

It’s all so wonderful and glorious and makes me feel, inside, all … what’s that word? I know! It’s  …

yumolicious