Lockdown Walk No 3 Crackneck Lookout to Shelley Beach by Colleen Keating

Crackneck Lookout to Shelley Beach 

 

Whenever we  are out walking especially in the areas of beauty around our place on the Central Coast we pay tribute to the Awabakal and Darkinjung peoples and this makes us a little more aware  that we walk on sacred ground  and reminds us to pay attention and just ask and thank our entry into a place .   this of course is only a small section of the national Park which clings to the narrow line right along the coast. For us there are three main walks :

1    Crackneck  Lookout to Shelley Beach  and picked up at end  (north)  Ocean

2    Crackneck Lookout to the Trig station and back  (south)  Ocean

3    Magenta  ( lake side) to Canton Beach  north  (Lake )

Winter is  the perfect time for stepping out into our local Wyrrabalong National Park (gazetted in 1991) has the best of all worlds , the wonderful Australian Bush with its Red Gums, Blackbutts and Spotted Gums and  Scribbly Eucalyptus,  the lingering of wattle and other Acacias, Hakea, Myrtles,  Banksia  and the  promise of the odd siren of a red Waratah . (Good to know where they are so you won’t miss the October bloom.) This is backgrounded by the coastal bird life with the iconic crack of the Whip Bird and the spectacular glimpses of the blue reminding us we are walking in a rare piece of land where the bush meets the sea.

Michael gave the walking a miss today but drove me to Crackneck Lookout where we joined with many watching the wide blue sea for the whales travelling north. Excitement each time there was a blow of spray or the break of the water and a silver streak of a tail appeared. Of course they are very distant  and only those with binoculars and one woman I spoke to with a highly magnified camera. (So interesting as she is a poet and writes haiku and uses her photography and poetry together. 

Michael left me to walk down to Shelley Beach and he drove down set up the picnic and read his Kindle. The path has been newly upgraded.  In a way I preferred the old ramble of a track. And I was distressed at some damage along the sides where they haven’t worried about Grass trees and flannel flower plants and other small planting I have been aware of in the past. No doubt next time I come nature will have overcome the damage and be back to it s beauty. The blue glimpses and lookouts give a lovely touch to the walk as it clings to the coast as far as safely possible.

 

 Brush Turkeys    There was activity with the brush turkeys sometimes called scrub turkeys or bush turkeys. I observed three hens grouped and a bit lost, you could say. I walked on and saw the male rooster cocky as ever coming down off his huge mound of leaf litter, twigs and dirt, which I presume he built although who knows??? but just along the way he met a few more cocks all up tight . Were they fighting over the same mound I am not sure but they flew at each other and chased each other. They all landed on a tree and stalked each other trying to win the battle to be the main cock  . . so funny.  I was caught in this wonderful display.

One stalked the other not knowing he was looking down on him from on high. It was a marvellous bush experience to watch. Not having any understanding but still fascinating. The photos demonstrate some of the activity. Of course the noise as they clashed and fought cannot be captured.   Bush energy at its best.

Yes I know some of my friends shoo these scrub turkeys away and dislike the way they wreck their gardens  but they have wonderful things going for them for us to be aware of .

1. They are the most ancient member of their family dating back  30 million years so that should humble us. 2. They have a hard beginning because their parents don’t care for them after they are born . . .they have to defend for themselves 3. they make compost in the name of love as they rack the garden  into a mound so the heat can build up inside for the eggs and to attract the female for firstly they are built by the male to attract a mate.  And then the eggs follow.No wonder there was such a frenzy going on during my walk. 

Superb Fairy Wren by Colleen Keating

 

Finding that the Superb Fairy Wren has not disappeared from our city but has just retreated to a last safe vestige of the Creek reserve is my gift for today.
Even so man encroaches as close as building are permissable into this fragile habitat.

Yesterday I discovered another new track in legal safe walking distance from my place.
It is the fourth new track I have explored since the pandemic lockdown.  I have been here 5 years and just find myself walking familiar ways .

At this new discovery of a world away from the world I was so happy


I felt like shouting my delight from the mountain top but knew that was impossible then I thought of telling the world through face book but decided against that as so many put things up and it depends on other readers moods if it works or not. It can be seen differently from how I meant. So I decided I will recored it for myself on my blog and if it is seen well and good. But it is a gift of this Autumn walking time, it is a gift of this slow down and self isolate time for me and of course it is a gift from the Waitara Creek Bush Walking Track.
Along the way, before I climbed down to explore the bush,  I enjoyed the thrill of autumn colours and  some wonderful Camellias so picturesque with the carpet of petals falling.


And a wonderful shot of a lorikeet. It looked up at me and I captured it.

I felt so happy but the happiest I was finding the superb fairy wrens that I thought had left our city because their habitat is destroyed . A dubious reason some agree some dont that our bush and scrub and undergrowth is burnt in winter as a fire-hazard reduction . The creek is an exemption and hence my discovery. I wrote a poem to celebrate.

Can you see the trill of his tail? 

 

in search of  the small birds

the superb fairy wrens 

the lyre bird
scratching at the forest floor
and singing
every song she could mimic
pulls me up

i fail to see her
rustling along
at the edge of the creek
which was singing its own song
a rainy flow and fall song
delicious to hear after
the lament of summer silence

it is one of those places
with haze of blue gum air
that McCubbin could have painted
with deepest space
of a child lost amidst the threat
of muscular rocks
but here softened
by moss and maiden hair fern
shadowed by tall tree ferns
still in their stillness
eerie and lonely

i disturb a brush turkey
who trips across my rough track
like a jazz dancer across a stage

then i hear them!

i stopped to touch the pink dimpled trunk
of a river gum
looked up at its grandeur
that makes me feel so small
and catch
the trill twittering of small birds
in the undergrowth
to the far side of the creek

i still
became one with the trees
and watch the play like ritual

it was a salutation to the whole world
only they could capture it in this bush
as they whirr needle-like
dance along branches
wings blur blue and brown
flirted fluted fanned
their tiny tales teased
maybe for them even I was their audience

but once again the birds
teach me enchantment from a distance
and they were there
now they are gone
so many times

i worry about our tiny birds
lost from our city by the necessity
of fire hazard reduction
of their habitat
a case of survival of the fittest
in this case the biggest

for me it was the gift
to know they are not gone
just retreated
and i am reminded once again
of Mary Oliver’s words –
walk slowly  bow often