Monday, March 24, 2008

Breakfast with David Attenborough

I hope you had a Happy Easter!
Yesterday morning, Easter Monday, Elliot and I decided to go out for breakfast. Where we live in the city, we're lucky enough to take a short stroll over a bridge and through a park to find any number of restaurants (although, on Easter Monday in Townsville, not many of them were open!)
Anyway, we went the long way, so that we worked up one or two credit points before we dined out. For me a walk through the park, by the river is just that -- a pleasant little bit of exercise. I enjoy the autumn sunshine, I invariably start thinking about the characters in my current work in progress.
For Elliot, walking in the park is a very different kettle of fish. To start with, fish are on his mind literally! He cannot observe at a body of water without looking for fish. But yesterday his observations were rewarded by the discovery of a baby plover swimming.
When he pointed it out, the screeches of adult plovers all about me registered. Until that moment, they'd merely been background bird noises.
Clearly, at least three adult plovers were very agitated that one their young had forgotten it wasn't a water bird. We watched this tiny little thing valiantly swim to shore (which took some time) but then it had the Titanic task of climbing the steep concrete bank. I was sure it would be exhausted before it reached the top.
The bird was tiny, the bank so steep -- and it had already had a long exhausting swim. Baby plovers, however, are plucky. (I hope that's not an unfortunate adjective to apply to a bird.)
Anyway, it reached the top, but then -- as happens to so many mountain climbers, there was a final, sheer vertical lip that was impossible for it to scale.
This was where Elliot stepped in. Holding my handbag over his (bald) head to protect himself from avenging plover parents (he had memories of being attacked by the spur wings on plovers in his boyhood) he boldly went forward, and rescued not one, but two baby plovers crouched helplessly on the river side of the concrete lip.
One ran off immediately (plovers nest -- rather dangerously -- in grass), but the other, presumably the swimmer, crouched, clearly needing recovery time. We went on to breakfast.
Returning through the park after our leisurely breakfast, Elliot pointed out mother lorrikeets feeding their young in an overhead tree -- another sight I would never have noticed on my own.
The plover family had vanished, so we can only hope they are well and happy.
But I would have been completely oblivious about this huge drama if I'd walked on my own. It's rather nice to have my personal "David Attenborough."

4 comments:

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2paw said...

Oh what a lovely story!!! Plovers scare the willies out of me: they have done since I was a child. They nest down the road at the river in the reeds and make a terrible noise and swoop mercilessly. Hurray for Elliot!! Glad you had a great Easter break.

Andrew Hannay said...

2paw, how lovely to hear from you. I do hope you're feeling much better.

Barb said...

Woops, sorry. That was not from Andrew. I forgot to log in as me!!!