The wild becomes unwild

The rainforest boardwark and a black booyong tree

Sitting quietly allowing the birds to come to you can, and does, produce some amazing up-close wildlife encounters. I don’t dress up in cammo gear or hide behind bushes – I feel sure the birds can sense they are not threatened.

I parked my backside on my camp stool, hoping the Eastern Whipbird family would come closer. And it did. A juvenile did its very best to coerce its parent into giving up some food. It pecked mum’s cheek, quivered its outstretched wings as if performing some ritual dance, all the while uttering a strange whinging sound that could only come from a hungry youngster. It chased mum around, darting under the boardwalk where I sat, even jumping up and down at my feet in anticipation of a hand-out. But it went without.

04 O'Reilly's Rainforest Whipbird adult
Adult Eastern Whipbird
03 O'Reilly's Rainforest Whipbird Juvenile
Juvenile Eastern Whipbird

Entertaining. But what came next was even more delightful. A pair of tiny mouse-like creatures poked their noses through gaps on the boardwalk, sniffing, then flattened their bodies, pulling themselves through to the surface of the boardwalk. Yellow-footed Antechinus (pronounced anti-kye-nus). They jumped about in search of insects like they had springs under their feet, slid off the edge, scratched around in the leaf litter, and climbed trees. The more adventurous of the two disappeared into a hole, re-emerging from a hole in the other side of the tree. I couldn’t wipe the smile from my face.

01 O'Reilly's Rainforest - Yellow-footed Antechinus
Yellow-footed Antechinus

Wild nature touches my soul. Warms my heart. It’s such a privilege to be able to watch native creatures at close range in their natural habitat, and I’m always grateful for the gift.

And just as I considered moving further up the track, a totally awesome bird, the Crested Shrike-tit, perched right in front of me at eye level. Shrike-tits are usually hidden and elusive in the canopy, but this beautiful thing showed itself to me. All the forest animals ignored me as I sat still and quiet, unobtrusive and non-threatening.

02 O'Reilly's Rainforest Eastern Shrike-tit
Crested Shrike-tit

For a moment, I too, am a part of my natural surroundings, at one with the earth and its creatures. And I am beholden to the beauty and wonder of Mother Nature.

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