My brother moved to Australia a few years ago and, although I’d never really wanted to visit that far away continent, the desire to see my brother’s new home inspired me to pick up my trusty backpack and head Down Under!
I stayed with my brother in Manly – a suburb of Northern Sydney – and was there for quite a few weeks. During my time there I found myself a local patch; the beach.
One particular sunny day I sat with a cuppa at breakfast time and watched sailing boats drift across the beautiful bright blue horizon. It occurred to me that this was a prefect day to visit the beach, so off I trotted.
Garden Spiders were hanging in the centre of their webs, laced between the garden bushes. Despite Australia’s reputation for having dangerous arachnids this particular species of spider is not one to worry about, even if they do look rather large!
Continuing down the street I passed a wall covered in tiny, brightly-reflecting stripes. Small Skinks, basking on the bricks heated by the sun, slipped quickly into gaps in the mortar hoping to go unnoticed.
I walked down the beach to the high street of Manly called ‘The Corso’. I bought my lunch there and ate while sat on the rocks looking out to sea. That is where I first spotted my ‘study’ for the day.
A White Faced Heron stalked the rock pools of the north end of the beach, completely obvious to the world around it. It walked passed fisherman, rock pooling children ran past it and passers by… just passed by! Relishing in my newly-purchased telescopic lens, I followed the heron at a respectful distance photographing it; watching it hunt and occasionally ruffle its feathers when a wave caught it. I gained a huge fondness of this one bird and named it Gerald! But don’t worry, that was as far as the anthropomorphising went!
Gerald stalked the rock pools for small, well camouflaged crabs. Each crab was prepared for swallowing by the careful removal of legs and claws.
After some time I left my new-found friend and walked up to Shelly Beach. Little metal sculptures had been in set into the rocks bordering the walk way.
A lone Gannet circled in the distance against the ever-changing backdrop of the sky. It’s quite wonderful to see something glide so gracefully then, in an instant, change into a dart!
On my return walk I found Gerald still stalking the rock pools. I join him on the rocks, and sat to watch him for a while longer. My fondness was rewarded when he came and sat a few meters from me, enabling me to get a few ‘portrait’ shots of this handsome bird. Finally the White Face Heron departed and I continued on my way.
Before the light faded a Silver Gull flew pass me and landed in the surf. An everyday bird to some, but to others they are smart looking, with a striking red beak and legs.
My day was done. There’s no dusk to be found, only a change from light to dark like a switch being thrown. It was time to head home and crack open an Aussie beer!