the swallows have been back on the kitchen verandah for a while
a pair of them
the welcome swallows as they are known.
the most perfect darts flying
with their russet throats and dove grey breasts.
they have been turning up in early evening and perching for the night on a rafter
leaving at breakfast time,
but this morning
the first day of august,
I heard them twittering to each other .
hello I thought
and pressed my head up against the glass in our kitchen door.
sure enough he was perched on the light cord head tipped towards the wall
and there she was cleaning out the nest.
no sign of any additional mud bricks to the nest yet but the renovations have continued most of the day.
soon she will deposit 4 eggs and sit on them continuously for 3 weeks,
every so often taking a quick flight to stretch her wings,
and one morning we will wake and walk out the door and find a broken soft membrane shell on the slate floor .
it is happening
spring is coming to the garden and forest.
sitting at my table in the bedroom
I heard a bang on the window,
turned around to see two birds tumble down onto the verandah,
one lewin’s honeyeater flopping around on its back and watching it,
a new holland honeyeater which flew off when I got up.
I reckon they were chasing each other and one of them met the glass.
I picked the lewin’s up and cupped it in my cold hands
its heart pumbling along like a freight train straining up a sharp pinch.
sorry about my hands I muttered and held it as tenderly as I could.
it is not unusual for birds to run into our windows
but the survival rate is quite high.
John has tried leaving the windows in his room unwashed
in the belief that the cleaner the glass the more the reflection calls them in.
like us reality for birds can be tricky.
while the sharp snow wind whistled around this western corner of the house
I held this miracle of feather and beak
gently caressing the olive back and admiring the buttery yellow half-moon earrings.
I noticed the giant Callistemon that John pruned with a savage touch a few months back
is flowering and here they all flock to sip and sup the nectar;
the new holland, the white cheeked, the eastern spine bill and soon the wattlebird.
gradually an eye started to blink and the head came into an upright position,
I uncapped my hand and walked closer to the mandarin tree.
I placed my hand near a branch and it moved off me,
then a short flight to another branch and there it sat for another 20 minutes before flying off.
to cap the day the whip birds have returned to this corner of the house,
they are always about these punky larrikins mimics of fun
but tend to move further back into the bush after summer autumn
and now they are racing around whipping and investigating with their mohawks waving in the chill air.
it is happening
even though the sky darkens and the bitter wind harries the house and rain from snow clouds falls
spring is returning.