Monday, March 28, 2022

Day I at The Croft

In the aftermath of the terrible recent flood event we decided to take a few days away at The Croft, just north of Murwillumbah. Covid continues to stifle desires to head further afield so some shorter more local stays are what we will aim for. This was the first of these. It is also a B&B we highly recommend to anyone wishing to enjoy a wonderfully peaceful setting with excellent facilities and gracious hosts. Our parting sense was that our stay was too short, so we definately left feeling like we had enjoyed our stay! Here is a taste of the setting from our verandah out over the pool ... 

At the rear of the accommodation there was a south facing balcony sheltered well by a stand of Himalayan magnolias. These and their seedpods you will see featured often in the posts of this visit - a variety of birds clearly enjoy the seeds that reminded us of pomegranate seeds without the fleshy covering 😊.

My first bird encounter was late in the afternoon of our arrival. A treat to be able to get quite close to a couple of young eastern rosellas ... one grazing in the dappled light under the trees for seeds and other delights; the other basking and being "lookout" in the foliage enjoying stronger sunlight. Even so young, their plummage is both striking and showing off such a range of colours. Further encounters lie ahead!

The other familiar chirping to be heard was this willy wagtail I caught alighting on a stake adjacent to some flourishing pineapples.

Next morning I wandered around the mown grounds just to see what I might find. What a treat I was afforded! This young spangled drongo was very keen to be seen and photographed ... as you see in the set (of five) below, the distinctive forked tail is evident, the brown circle around the eyeball which has not yet become a more mature red colour, the black plummage in certain light has a clear teal tinge on the wing feathers and the speckled breast. Even the "whiskers" are nice and clear in one of the photos. A real privilege when birds are this comfortable in our presence and eager to be observing our activity without alarm 😊. Enjoy!

At the top of the garden the raucous and distinctive calls of the sulphur-crested cockatoo and a pair of little corellas was heard. The next two photos show a cockatoo perched high up in the ubiquitous eucalypt with the yellow crown clearly on display, then a little while later the same bird taking flight from the pine next to the eucalypt - the pastel yellow tinges of the underwings in flight on full display.

On slightly lower perches in that same pine tree was a pair of little corellas and the second photo below catches the top bird taking flight, the wing position looking like it might be trying to swoop and collect up the lower bird and carry it away ... silly I know, but the wrap of the wings is very enveloping!

Now, in a lovely garden with loads of flowering plants the buzz of insects and fragrance of the flowers is a draw in the early morning. So while not strictly birds, literary license demands a wide interpretation for context because as well as seeds, the insects are also fodder for some birds ... and they also have wings 😏 so I have chosen a few to include below for your enjoyment. I am proud of being able to capture these insects in flight so clearly, and against their foliage they look really spectacular.

First a couple of busy bees hovering in selection of their next blossom.

Next a more complex composition featuring a magnolia flower ... my focus was on the bee's knees with the collected pollen but see how you go noticing any other creatures that happened to make an appearance ... sometimes you don't see what is there until you are reviewing the picture and realise how lucky you have been!! (Remember, if you click on a photo you will see a larger version of it).

This next one is pushing that license to an extreme, but it did look so magnificent in among the frangipani I just had to include this bird of paradise (flower) ... colour and light are wonderful companions ...

Keeping with the insect wings, the delicate and fragile features of the dragonfly having a brief rest from it's flightpath is shown here. The finery of nature in all her glory!

And even this fly seems to be conscious of COVID sanitation requirements ... here it is rubbing its front legs together while showing off quite the range of shiny colours while resting on the pool fence 😊.

Yes, yes, just a reminder as this post ends that there were other birds around too - here a fine bar-shouldered dove specimen sits atop a fence beside the chook pen after taking advantage of some grain on the ground beside the tank.

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