Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.
– John Lubbock
Last week I decided to take an hour out of my busy pre-Christmas schedule to visit my local pond again. I was so glad I did. There were lots of beautiful birds there – some the same as last week and some different.
I sat on a seat for a while and watched the ducks and other water birds dozing on the grass. I never knew Royal Spoonbills sat like emus, with their legs bent the opposite way to ours.
Like last week, Royal Spoonbills flew overhead and so did two birds I’ve never seen at the pond before: Australian Darters.
I saw the funny lobed toes of a Eurasian Coot.
Yesterday, I went to my favourite bird of prey place and saw a magnificent juvenile White-bellied Sea-Eagle (see above). As I looked at my photos later, I saw that I had one of a White-bellied Sea-Eagle …
… and one of a Whistling Kite …
where the eye looked opaque and grey. I think what I captured was the nictitating membrane – the third eyelid – sweeping across the eye to lubricate it so it didn’t dry out when the bird was flying into the wind or to protect it from flying debris or bugs.
I’ve seen all these birds before but even the common ones surprise me at times. And I love being surprised by birds.