I was contemplating recently those moments in life when you feel a sense of total peace, perhaps some people would relate it as a spiritual experience. For me, I think those moments are generally involving communing with the natural world – other species who have total freedom of whether they are near you or not, or interact with you or not, especially in a world where humans predate or deliberately trample on so many of those species without a second thought…considering ourselves superior…for food or sport or otherwise.
It is unusual for me to feel those kind of things with people, but occasionally that can happen too. I guess hugs with loved ones or close friends can achieve a similar feeling. Those moments tend to be quiet also, words having no part in it, fuelling that peace.
In New Zealand, it is notable that a number of the native species (the diurnal ones at least!) are quite trusting and will not be quite so fearful of humanity as the UK. Even introduced species somehow seem more “friendly” as a rule…while keeping their distance. Whether this is because of a later arrival of mankind and differing attitudes or the fact that mankind is proactively working to save so many species in NZ, who knows! Perhaps we should just put it down as a superb outcome and enjoy the mystery and inner peace it can bring.
As the southerly winds whipped up their seasonal force and chill; and began to topple the leaves from the tree in the garden in ever greater numbers, requiring me to get out there with a rake once more…I was amazed to find a fully intact birds nest woven from natural and man-made materials such as moss, grass, fishing line (I think) and some sort of white fibres. Such a thing of beauty that it seemed such a shame that it couldn’t now be used again.
I am 99% certain it is the nest of the silvereye (pictured below), one of the smaller garden visitors. Beautiful olive green little bird which makes awesome constructions to boot!
I must confess that I don’t know much about these little guys (maybe about 1cm long) but they are quite fun to watch up close in the garden. This one seemed to start displaying to my camera by tilting its wings from side to side as I zoomed in, and even jumped onto the lens to get better acquainted. Beautiful colours and patterns, and they can jump like they have jets in their little legs!
Here is a photo of a cicada skin I found in the garden recently…incredibly it was still clinging to the fence where it had been discarded by the new adult. Perhaps it is perfectly formed for a larval stage which happens underground…but quite alarming to see up close. Thankfully they provide what, for me at least, is a lovely soundtrack to summer.
I have posted a long time ago about the time when I encountered a Praying Mantis munching its way through a wasp in the hedgerow of the garden here in Auckland. At that time I didn’t have quite as good a camera lens (or understanding thereof) as I do now.
More recently I had the fun of spending time watching quite a large one on the fence and here are a couple of my favourite photographs. Hope you like them!
No other insect seems to be happy to look down the barrel of a lens at you like the Praying Mantis, with no hint of running away. Almost like they know they are top of their little food chain, come and have a go if you think you’re hard enough! After birds, they are probably my favourite creature to watch.
I even had a tiny (1cm approx) baby one sat on my finger a few weeks ago quite happily cleaning its legs like it owned the place, too small for me to photograph but incredible to witness.
Beautiful, amazing, awesome!
I never thought I would see someone choose to enter an enclosure with a crocodile…much less sit on it! Here we are at Rob Bredl’s wildlife park in Airlie Beach, Australia.
I mention this because there are two things I wanted to tell you…
First…that the man in picture actually told us about how his niece had slipped in such an enclosure and the crocodile had grabbed her and broken her pelvis (she survived).
Second..he rapped the stick in his hand on both the concrete surrounding the enclosure and on the head of the crocodile…they produced the same sound.
The moral of all of this is simply to respect wildlife and do not trust that because something has always done something that it will always continue to behave in the same way.