Spring is here! How do I know? Well there are certain signs of spring that are unmistakable; the unpredictable weather for one. One moment it’s a beautiful spring morning; the sun is shining but the air is crisp and cool, mist is drifting across the dam early on but burns off as the morning continues and the sun gets warmer. The next moment the sun is obscured, the sky is grey, a bitter cold wind is drifting in from the south and it looks like rain. Then the sun is back again and everything is greener, brighter, fresher.
Another sign is seeing the wildflowers start to take control of the beautiful karri forests; purple Lobelia vine, coral vine and white clematis to name a few. Peach and plum trees are in full blossom and everywhere you look there is colour.
But my favourite sign that spring is here is the birds. Little birds, big birds and all manner of birds in between suddenly seem to be here in overwhelming numbers. They are everywhere! In the flowers, in the trees, along the fence line, in the paddocks eating from animal feeds troughs and on our chalet’s verandahs. They are very vocal and they are starting to colour up because it’s mating season.
Little male splendid wrens are suddenly a brilliant blue, brighter than their winter colours. Red breasted robins are a vibrant red. Even our peacock and our ducks are shining with iridescent blues and greens; strutting their stuff for the girls.
We are so lucky to have so many birds here at Diamond Forest Farm Stay. Of course we have our birds: ducks, chickens, turkeys, peacocks, cockatiels, galahs and quails, but we also have a myriad of native birds that are particularly active in spring.
It’s not uncommon to find parrots (28’s- so named because their call sounds like they are repeating the number 28 over and over again) disputing who has first dibs to bird seed in our bird feeders hung from our chalet verandahs. When they’ve had their fill you’ll see Splendid Wrens, Silvereyes and Robins pop in for a visit. Flitting amongst the trees you’ll spot New Holland Honeyeaters and Western Rosellas. Swallows like to make their nests under the eaves of our chalets. Magpies and Kookaburras prefer the open paddocks and crows hide out in the blue gums, sneaking over at dusk and dawn to pinch eggs from our chicken and duck pens.
Of the larger variety we’ll see whistling kites, hawks and the occasional wedge tail eagle. Thankfully we don’t see them that often. As beautiful as they are, they like to steal our ducks for their dinner. In fact, we lost one just the other day.
The wild black swans will begin their nesting ritual on our neighbour’s dam and we won’t see much of them until they reappear with a new batch of cygnets in tow. Last
year’s cygnets will be almost fully grown and will leave to find their own nesting area. We’ll see cormorants, spoonbills, storks, wild ducks and wood ducks and even an occasional pelican. One year we even had a lone currawong living in the tree near our kid’s playground. He didn’t stick around for long. They are not as common here in Western Australia as they are in the eastern states so we had to double-check that he was indeed a currawong.
Birdsong fills the air and there are worse things to wake up to than the song of the magpies. At night, if you listen carefully, you can hear the call of the mopoke owl which has, on more than one occasion, startled me as I’ve taken the dogs out for a late night toilet break.
When Mark mows the lawn in front of the cottages the 28s and rosellas gather round searching for bugs and seeds and worms while a spring rain shower has the wrens and robins splashing about in the puddles having a bath.
Whether you’re an avid bird watcher or not, spring at Diamond Forest Farm Stay offers and amazing array of native birds putting on a grand display. I wouldn’t miss it for the world.