Nature Notes

Photo: Judith Ramage
Photo: Judith Ramage

Something caught my eye through the window of the national park’s tea shop.  There, only three metres away, in the fork of a tree was a koala.

A little later I had embarked on a bushwalk when a second koala clambered down from a eucalypt, ambled across the track in front of me and climbed up another tree. Rounding a bend I came across a fox crouching on the path; nearby were the cuboid droppings of a wombat. There was a large hole nearby and tell-tale marks in the soil suggested that the wombat was at home, probably sleeping as wombats are mainly nocturnal.

As I carried out my investigation, two yellow-tailed black cockatoos eyed me from a low branch. A loud noise rather like a creaking door alerted me to another cockatoo, a gang gang, as it flew past. New Holland honeyeaters chased each other and a yellow robin flew to the ground next to my feet and swallowed an insect.

The track took me to a deserted beach. Deserted by people, that is. Herons were stalking the shallows, small wading birds were dashing along the tide mark and gannets, large seabirds, were diving arrow-like into the sea where they had discovered a shoal of fish. At the edge of the mangroves were colourful crabs with giant claws and, back on the path, I saw small, scurrying lizards.

I completed the walk and returned to the tea shop where two people were occupying the table I had sat at earlier. The koala, still in place, had not been noticed.

The woman was growling at her partner as I sat down nearby.  “Hurry up and finish your coffee and let’s go.  And no, I don’t want to go for a walk.  There’s nothing to see but trees.”

As she got up to leave, I stood too. I was going to show her the koala but then thought better of it. Perhaps she wasn’t interested and, anyway, I wasn’t sure she deserved to be shown the creature.

I sat down again – feeling certain that the koala would have approved.

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