Thursday, 8 May 2008

I'm ready for my close up

I like travelling on my own but occasionally I think it would be handy to have someone riding shotgun to draw my attention to things I miss when I'm concentrating on the road. I'm picturing the scene from Twister where Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton — Pullman? No, it's Paxton, isn't it? Anyway, it's some Bill with a two-syllable surname beginning with P and ending with n — are driving through the rain of tornado-supplied debris. Only on the Atherton Tablelands it would be 'Jabiru! Cattle egret! Policeman with radar gun!' (Not that any of these are being hurled out of the sky by a violently rotating wind but you get the idea.)

So I guess I miss a lot. But not everything. (I did, in fact, see all those listed above.) And early on Sunday morning I saw this — a pair of bush stone-curlews hanging around at the edge of a maize field on the road that runs past the Curtain Fig.

When disturbed, stone-curlews usually freeze, relying on their superb camouflage to hide them from predators. Unfortunately, those big yellow eyes are a giveaway. So confident was this bird it let me approach close enough to take its portrait. You can see the reflection of the road, the canopy of an overhanging tree and me in its eye.

I'm curious about the blue-grey in its feathers. All the birds I've seen (almost all of them in Townsville) have been shades of brown, so I'm not sure if that's the true colour or an artifact of the morning light.

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