Photo: Cracticus tibicen – Mr Photogenic

As with a number of other birds in Australia, it’s currently mating season for Australian magpies (Cracticus tibicen). I’ve been swooped a number of times already (even double teamed by a pair – a new experience), which is normal behaviour when they have eggs or young in the nest.

That being said, they can be pretty sociable as well. (Unless you’re a cyclist.)

Cracticus tibicen (2011)

I’m going to put it out there, that this is a male; the deliniation between the stark white back and the black feathers being well-defined, without a dirty white or grey feather in sight.

Trying to work out the subspecies is the difficult part. Distribution of C. tibicen telonocua, to the west, isn’t supposed to reach Adelaide. Although our little friend here looks a lot like one, and there are intermediaries in the area (growing up as a child, I lived where C. tibicen telonocua is distributed – they’re what seems ‘normal’ to me) . Conversely, the white back doesn’t descend far enough for it to be C. tibicen tyrannica, a subspecies distributed to the east – starting south-east of Adelaide in the Coorong, and spreading further east through southern Victoria before eventually reaching the southern end of the east coast.

Maybe Melbournites will notice that the white feathers on the back seem to finish a little high.

At a guess, I’m going to go with an intermediary somewhere between the two, m0re telonocua than tyrannica. Of course, if you were wanting something definite, then I’m afraid you’d have to go elsewhere. (I don’t know anything about the population genetics of the Australian magpie, and my understanding of the taxonomy going on between currently recognised  subspecies borders on the non-existent).

An enjoyable little encounter all the same. He didn’t seem to mind my walking up within a foot of him, and the little fella strikes a nice pose.

~ Bruce

Advertisements

Photo: Dutton Bay Jetty

If there’s anything I hold as a single sacred site, this spot has got to be an easy contender for the title.

dutton_bay

Dutton Bay Jetty (2003)

It’s a beautiful little spot, and a few, but as yet not quite too many sea changers have moved in with new abodes in the area.

It also has a lot of significance to my family. When my Dad was four years old, he jumped off of it and was lucky to be helped by a fisherman who happened to be there. My Dad ended up working for the Department of Marine and Harbors in the late 70s and early 80s, fixing jetties up the west coast of South Australia.

Dad was an excellent diver.

He and his siblings grew up in the area, and for the first few years of my life, so did I. I spent a bit of time in these waters as a little one myself.

The photo was taken in 2003, out back from Cliff Dobbins’ home. Cliff was a long time friend of the family and in the 80s was president of the Marble Range football club that my Dad trained under-17s for in the 70s. Sadly, both Cliff and his wife passed away only weeks after this photo was taken, surviving my father by only a few months.

2003 was a bad year for the family – my Grandmother on my Mother’s side also passing away in December.

About four months after the photo was taken, my Father’s ashes were spread from the Dutton Bay Jetty to join with those of an Uncle who’s ashes were also spread there.

My father, like his father before him, were fishermen in the area. But they were also custodians, not afraid to enter conflict with other fishermen who didn’t have the proper respect for the environment by over fishing or polluting the water and it seems fitting that my Father has been returned to the ecosystem that he grew up in.

Aside from the history my family has with the locale, going for a walk along the beach or down the jetty always precipitates contemplation, so I thought that it would make and appropriate title bar for a contemplative blog.

Before he passed away, Dad told my cousin that he’d protect her from sharks if she went for a swim here. I rather suspect that he was being poetic, but all the same I’d rather go for a swim here than other areas around the southern Eyre Peninsula. It’s a sheltered little bay and is a comforting distance from the tuna nets in Port Lincoln.

If you are ever in the area, be sure to get out of the car and have yourselves a stroll. There is a bed and breakfast by the jetty and The Woolshed museum is worth a look-in as well. 😉

~ Bruce