Showing posts from 2015

Colors of the season

Despite being Australasia's winter (or dry season, depending on the location) my mother & I spotted exuberant fowl endemic to the region.  Shark Bay's protected 2.2 million hectares supports 100 reptile and 230 bird species alone, comprising 35% of Australia's total!

Found only in the state of Western Australia, White-tailed Cockatoo flocks indicate precipitation, appearing just before the rain.

A male Plum-headed Parakeet with his variety of pastels.  Like the majority of animal species, the male has more vivid colors, in this case, a rosy head.  Hilariously, its contact call is an "oink."

Red King Parrots like I saw six years earlier at Australia Zoo. Also displaying a pastel palette, Princess Parrots.

The male Mulga Parrots displayed the most iridescent aquamarine of any wildlife I've ever seen.

These Gang Gang Cockatoos were so cuddly with each other I assumed they were a species of Lovebirds.

This Australian Magpie sang the loveliest song though the…


"As you grow old, you learn more. If you stayed at 22, you'd always be as ignorant as you were at 22.  Aging is not decay, you know. It's growth.  It's more than the negative that you're going to die. It's also the positive that you understand you're going to die and that you live a better life because of it."
-- Mitch Albom [Tuesdays With Morrie]

Panting after walking up a flight of stairs; hangovers that leave you debilitated all day; wrinkles and gray hairs sprouting overnight... when did this happen?  We are all aware that we're aging, but then something that used to be so simple -- like staying up until 03:00 -- occurs & we feel 100 years old.  Typically followed by the abhorrence: my God, I can't believe how terrible I feel.  Next, the little white lie that runs through our mind: "Geez, I've got to do something about this!" knowing full well we won't follow through.

Now that I have been traveling internationally for…


"...For my ways are strange ways and new ways and old ways,And deep ways and steep ways and high ways and low;
I'm at home and at ease on a track that I know not,
And restless and lost on a road that I know."

-- Henry Lawson [The Wander-Light]

The idea of hitting the open road, driving wherever your heart pulls you, has long been alluring, especially in modern America.  Jack Kerouac & John Steinbeck catapulted their career by writing about it.  Thelma & Louise was a blockbuster.  Willie Nelson & Red Hot Chili Peppers crooned about their love for it.   The infinite autonomy is so tantalizing: Want to make a detour for ice cream?...add it to the itinerary on the spot.  Want to pause to photograph a watercolor sunset?...simply pull over right then & there.  Hate the town?...leave whenever you like.

However, it's easy for an adventurous soul to romanticize a nomadic life on the highway only for reality to come crashing down.  Oh a road trip across America, s…


"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it's not."
-- Dr. Seuss [The Lorax]

No doubt Nicky and Surprise had rough upbringings, but they weren't the only ones in the area with gut-wrenching stories.  In fact, the common theme in Shark Bay -- the UNESCO World Heritage Site encompassing Monkey Mia Marine Reserve and the entire peninsula -- was hardship.

Like the other two, elder matrons of Monkey Mia's feeding program (Nicky & Surprise), many of Puck's calves passed away soon after birth.  Fiesty Piccolo was her first baby to survive weaning. However, Piccolo almost lost her mother as a yearling when Puck became entangled in a large net, the seamen oblivious to Puck drowning.  A nearby research tinny noted Piccolo's frantic whistling and zipping back & forth. The scientists alerted the fishing boat. However, Puck's dorsal fin and melon still bear the markings of her brush with death; the cartilage from her…