Tom and the Magpie

Tom learned about death today.

For some years, a family group of magpies have been coming to our garden each spring to make and raise babies. Last spring was no different. However, as all but one of the young learned to feed and take care of themselves, it became more and more obvious that one was a bit behind the 8-ball brain-wise. It fell off the shed roof, it couldn’t feed itself, and eventually it’s family abandoned it to stay unsupervised in our garden.

This afternoon while Thea slept, Blaine heard a commotion in the front yard. She went to investigate, and found 2 big crows attacking a magpie. She shoo-ed the crows away and gently carried the mortally wounded magpie in, calling “Wendy!” As soon as I saw the poor little bird I knew exactly which one it was. Tom came running too and of course wanted to know what was going on.

Although nature was taking care of its own in its own way, we thought it kinder to this little bird that had endured so much that it died in peace. So we called Rob and asked how much of the anaesthetic that we keep for just such occasions we should administer to put it to sleep. We gently placed the little creature in a big airtight container, put a cloth soaked in anaesthetic in as well, and shut the lid. The struggling ceased. Some time later, when we were sure that the little one was dead, Tom helped us to wrap the body in a beautiful cloth, and he chose where we would bury it in the back yard. He helped to dig the hole, and we prayed for it to be at peace as we put the wrapped body in the hole and gently covered it with earth.

Tom shed a lot of tears when he realised that even his beloved Pa could not make this one better. And then he shed tears for the sadness that the “Mummy and Daddy” of the little guy would feel on the loss of their baby.

A very big day for our Tom.

We never got a photo of this magpie, but this photo is of a very healthy magpie in Tom’s back yard:-)

It’s hot!

This afternoon it was 43 degrees in the shade!

As I was sitting at my desk I noticed a butcher bird land on the bird bath just outside and have a long drink. Then another one arrived. The first bird tried the usual response of chasing the other one away – they are very territorial! However it almost fainted in the process so let it be. Instead he held his wings out to try and get cool.

Soon there were 4! All panting with their beaks open, holding their wings out and having long drinks.

After losing a lot of our precious endangered black and white cockatoos on our south coast in the heat last week, it was good to be able to help these little guys through this awful heat:-)

Golf Buggies are FUN!

Today we made the most of Elwyn’s last few days and celebrated the first day of 2010 on the golf course! Yesterday Rob and Elwyn carefully hauled the spider-web laden golf club sets out of the back shed. They hadn’t seen the light of day since Elwyn was last here about 20 months ago.

This morning Rob, Elwyn and I met Tristan at the golf course. We hired 2 golf buggies – I drove Rob and Elwyn drove Tristan. These things are so much fun – I can’t wait to get old and have  my own gopher!!

I trailed around after the 3 of them as they played the first few holes. The highlight for me was finding a rainbow bee-eaters nest by one of the fairways, dug into the sandy bank! Joy when a bird flew out of it!!

When Blaine and kiddliwinks arrived I drove my buggy back to the entrance to meet them – what fun!

After that they both helped me to drive the buggy. They were OK with help on the wheel but when Tom “lead foot” tried to use the accelerator we went flying! So that was immediately banned and he was only allowed to steer.

It was a great way to spend a morning together, and Rob won (see one of his winning shots in the pics)!