Monday, 5 September 2011

Birds of Summer Hill

 I haven't posted anything for a while, because I've been on holiday in the UK and Japan, and I've been busy at work - I'm now full-time in the News Library at ABC, which I'm really happy about. I'm also concentrating on another writing project, which I'm excited about, and which I may post something related to, but until then:

This is the logo of the Young Ornithologists Club. I still have this patch from around 27 years ago - I've sewn it onto my satchel. The YOC would take us on organised birdwatching expeditions to nature reserves, but a large proportion of their activities involved walking the beaches around Carnoustie and recording the number of dead seabirds we found there. Collecting data on birds was the prosaic side of the YOC, and probably the truly ornithological side of it, but it was still a thrill to find the rainbow bill of a skeletal puffin among the tangle of seaweed on a tide line.

Apparently on one YOC outing I pulled my brother from a frozen pond after he fell through ice. I don't have much memory of this. I remember a small round patch of ice in misty woods, and I remember walking in wet clothes through wooded paths, but I don't remember any drama, and I wonder if my scant memories have been implanted there by the telling of an exaggerated story.  Much of my childhood is recalled in this way, and I wonder if the drugs I did as I was growing up have given me a kind of brain injury that manifests in this way. I will never know.

I still love birds. It's been a great thing about coming to Australia, but it's also the thing that gives me a terrible sense of geographic distance. I had felt little homesickness until I looked up at some ibises perched on the roof of a red brick university building, and got a terrible sense of separation. It must have been the exotic birds on the familiar Victorian architecture.
I never intended to collect birds, but there's a lot of them around my flat anyway. Here's a few:

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