I love the haunting cry and there’s something I find visually appealing about them too.
To get on with the story, our family went to the Brisbane Botanic Gardens on Sunday afternoon for a friend’s farewell party. We’d barely walked through the gates when I spotted these two lovelies.
While we walked around we saw three others too. Being in the CBD they were a little more tolerant of people and didn’t run before I managed to get a few quick snaps with my phone. Well, actually they didn’t run at all, but that’s because I didn’t try to get so close as to disturb them – just close enough for a good shot!
Why is it that I never actually have my good camera on me when I find these guys! (╯°□°）╯︵ ┻━┻
And no, you will never hear the end of me talking about and sharing my photos of bush-stone curlews, not until I stop finding them 🙂
I didn’t post even once last month o.0 that’s not like me at all!
I was busy, organising a big holiday, experiencing the big holiday, getting back and unpacking and recovering from aforementioned holiday, an MRI, the Brisbane Writers Group Convention, driving down south of the border for a close family friend’s 60th, and of course endless agonising over whether or not to do NaNo while I’m as sick as I have been the last 2-3 weeks.
The holiday was Xander’s first time on a plane. He loved it when we were flying through the clouds like Hiccup on Toothless’s back. Luckily we had no popped ears so tear free – thanks to his chewy straw drink bottle and lollipops ;p . Plus the plane ride being a short affair definitely helped.
It was pretty awesome when we came across a bush stone-curlew too ;p (if you’re not sure why I care, check out this post, this one, this one, and this one – long story short though, I’m obsessed).
I spent a long time agonising over whether I would be able to do NaNo this year, and I figured, heck I might as well try. You can check out a bit more about what I’m doing here.
As for this month, I’m looking forward to several games releases (though thanks to NaNo I’ll probably not do much playing), and thought I’d share this amazing trailer with you ;p
This weekend just passed we(myself, my husband and my parents) took Xander on his first camping trip. He had a blast, but of course all he wanted to do was touch the campfire and run around exploring, so we parents are exhausted.
average quality, but the best I could do on a phone at a distance
One very interesting thing also occurred. You may remember my many prattles about the Bush Stone-Curlew (here, here). Well at the camping spot we selected there was a wildlife sign announcing this area was one of the few places were you could find the rare and reclusive Beach Stone-Curlew.
I swear I didn’t know this until after we got there!
Only seven breeding pairs have been seen on the Northern Coast of New South Wales (where we were camping) but luckily we saw two, each on separate days. The first day we took Xander to the beach and saw one back in the dunes. I didn’t realise it was a stone-curlew but looking at it I thought it looked like a softer-hued bush stone-curlew. My father had the same suspicion.
the sign at the camping spot
So he read the wildlife sign later that day and we discovered we’d been right.
On the second day we were taking a walk back from the beach and spotted another one. Sadly, we only had our camera phones with it so the best picture I got was this one, but still, it was fun to spot a new type of stone-curlew. And to take Xander on his first camping trip 🙂
If you read my post a while back on the screaming woman bird you know I quite like bush stone curlews. There’s a haunting mystery to them. Until I googled them I had never even seen what they looked like and it has only been recently that I have seen them live and in front of me.
There is a park near by that Xander likes to visit after dark sometimes (because his sense of adventure knows no bounds) and being near the water there is a nest somewhere in the area and as he plays you can hear them calling from the shadows. A couple of times as we pull up into the car park we’ve been lucky to see one in the head lights, but way off.
Tonight they must have been tempted by all the scraps left by Easter holiday visitors, because it wasn’t the odd one visible in the distance, but several of them, some as close as only ten meters away(which sounds far away, but considering how hard it has been to see one until now this is pretty special).
Just like when I first heard them as a teen and I imagined them to be some odd sort of owl then was surprised to find them a ground-dwelling bird, I was surprised again tonight. I thought they were small, quail-like in size, but some looked like they might be almost up to my knee height.
Sadly, I only had my phone so couldn’t get any good pictures and I didn’t want to chase any and disturb them from their feast. I’m hoping tomorrow will be another big day for visiting the park so our family can drop by after dark and this time I can bring my camera along and get a shot. Fingers crossed 🙂
I’ve been doing a lot of work late at night recently. Once TJ is in bed the TV is off so the house is quiet. That means I get to write to the sound of the screaming woman birds down by the creek.
If you have never lived in the right part of Australia you have never heard the call of the Bush Stone-Curlew. It doesn’t take much imagination to turn the bird’s cry into a woman’s scream.
The first time I heard one I was in my teens at my best friend’s house. Her property backed onto a swamp. While camping I heard a shriek and my friend laughed at my panic, telling me it was just a screaming woman bird. I honestly believed that was its legitimate name until I moved into my current house and heard the call again.
With a good ear you can distinguish the bush stone-curlew from a woman in distress, but at midnight when that haunting cry wafts through your window from the bush beyond your backyard you can’t help but wonder…
Kirstie Olley is an award-winning speculative fiction author and the full-time wrangler of her children Xander and Harlequin.
Newsletter Sign Up
Sign up for my newsletter to be notified when I publish new stories and when discounts and freebies happen. You'll also score an exclusive freebie: an ecopy of my Redlitzer winning short story 'Stolen Hearts'.
Read The Troll's Toll: A Retailored Fairy Tales Novella now.
Read 'Charming' (Honorable Mention in the Writers of The Future contest Q4 2014) in Leading Edge Magazine issue 68.
Read 'Short Circuit' (finalist in the 2013 Aurealis Awards Best Fantasy Short Fiction category) in Oomph: A Little Super Goes A Long Way from Crossed Genres.
Read ‘Hanabi to Kitsune'(Fireworks and Foxes) now in Tales of the Sunrise Lands from Guardbridge Books.
Read ‘Glass Bones’ now in WARRIOR an anthology choc-full of LGBTQIA warriors all across space, time, and imagination.
Read 'Gaps' in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #63. Click the cover to buy.
Read The Beauty of the Dance(Honorable Mention in the Writers of The Future contest Q41 2015) in Myriad Lands vol 1: Around the World.
Read 'Nightfall' for free now in 18. Click the picture to decide where to download it from.
Read ‘God’s Chosen’ for free now in Darkest Depths – the Vision Writers 20th Anniversary anthology. Click the picture to decide where to download it from.
Free Story Sign-Up
Want to grab a free copy of the out-of-print, Redlitzer Writing Competition winning 'Stolen Hearts' AND get emails whenever I release new fiction and offer discounts and new freebies? Click the book to sign up for my newsletter and have it all!