Start them young

09/12/2013

The warmer weather loosens us up and brings us out into the world. Though a tip to blue-tongue lizards: while warm bitumen can be a wonderful boon to the process of thermo-regulation, like sun beds for humans, it does come with potential hazards.

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The recent rains have spruced up the creek no end. The grass shoots are green where the kids recently tried to start a fire near the railway bridge (this burnt back the lantana quite a bit, but it’s recovering) and the bamboo on the eastern banking is so thick as to be almost impenetrable. Lantana and bamboo are of course introduced species but they do at least afford some level of protection for the reptiles and insectivores that have been driven out of our suburbs by our relentless demand for neatness.

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Having the little stuff in place allows the big stuff to thrive. I’m seeing more raptors, or sometimes just the evidence of raptors.

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And yellow-tailed black cockatoos, right overhead! I often seen small family groups commuting over Hamilton North but it’s rare to get this close to them roosting. I was trying to get up close to this fella so that I could get a nice shot with my puny iPhone. He watched me for a while, turning one beady eye on me and then the other, before growing impatient and flapping off with the rest of the family. How I’d love one of those tail feathers for my hat!yellow-tail_black_cockie

It’s not just the non-human fauna that’s on the move. I happened upon another family group in the Styx spending some quality time together. I can imagine that certain people would be outraged by a young father teaching his son how to vandalise public property, teaching him that it’s not just OK to break the law but that it’s actually cool. There could be something in that and yet I was charmed at this young dad’s enthusiasm to be with his son, sharing some skill that he, the father, had mastered. And though it might be outside the limits of what is legal I’d say that this young fella may long cherish these shared moments with dad. I didn’t see Fagin and a pickpocket apprentice; I saw a young dad (a very young dad!) who obviously enjoyed being with his son.

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I’d say the boy was barely into primary school but there he was, not just with his dad but with a small group of his dad’s friends. There are entire programs centred around getting fathers to interact with their infant and young children, particularly boys, and it’d be churlish to lecture this guy on the moral lessons he’s imparting to his boy. Besides, they seemed like nice folk, and I’m sure this boy will grow up knowing right from wrong – even if his moral compass does point to a different north to mine.

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Out nabout

15/10/2012

Some days it’s lovely and quiet down the creek; other days, it’s like Pitt Street at lunchtime. I know that this pic doesn’t exactly illustrate the kind of frenzied pedestrianised activity that I’m alluding to, but it was, well, a bit busy the other day. Three lads on bicycles, a couple of dog walkers, and these guys with their ute.

There seems to have been increased monitoring of the water around the creek and the gasworks recently, or perhaps I’ve just noticed it more. Certainly Jemena have pulled their finger out but, really, the gasworks is so totally cream-crackered that I wonder what they expect to discover with all their testing. That it’s getting cleaner?

It didn’t rain for a couple of weeks, which seems like a record after all that La Nina behaviour of the last year or so. It really is amazing, when the rain stops, how quickly the crap builds up. I wonder: is it good to have masses of crap in the creek because it hasn’t been washed away, or have a nice clean creek because it has been washed away? That’s a bit like “Would you rather be blind or deaf?” I know, but there you go.

 

It did rain again a few days ago, bringing a small harvest of trolleys downstream. But I believe we’re in for a hot, dry summer – or so They say. It’ll be interesting to see the flow-on effects around the rail lines and the gasworks. At the moment there are lots of predators around (hawks, foxes, cats), which indicates a healthy base to the food pyramid. But if the weather dries up I imagine that there’ll be less bunnies and ducklings and other tasty fox treats.

There is also the Baird Street factor. Baird Street is, for the purpose of TomTom and Google Maps, a regular street in Hamilton North. We residents, however, know that Baird Street occupies the fractal zone between to wormholes, each with their own massive anti-gravitational pull. The result is that Baird Street is in both Hamilton North AND the saturated tropics of Far North Queensland at the same time.

How else could Baird Street have such a healthy crop of bamboo …

… AND bananas!

I rest my case.