good things only #2

I haven’t been writing lately, because it’s marking season and I haven’t had time or head space for anything else. But it’s all done except the late submissions now, so here is an animal edition, for my second good things only:

1. Driving home from school drop-off on Wednesday (campus is still closed although the Canberra lockdown has lifted), with the prospect of another day of nothing but marking, when crossing the road in front of me:

Of course I had to stop and get out and watch it finish crossing the road and trundle off into the bush.

No matter how urgent the marking, there is always time to watch an echidna. Echidnas are egg laying mammals with an electric sense in their nose. How cool is that?

2. Flying ants – the big meat-ant nest near the shed was swarming with ants yesterday, because the flying ants were coming out! Once a year a great flurry of mature males and females swarm out to mate. See once upon a summer gloaming. I didn’t see them in flight this time, but I’m not actually that keen on being in a cloud of these big bitey ants.


A very dirty cockatoo, yesterday and back again today at the feeder. Cockatoos

are always a bit childlike, with their screaming and destructive behaviour. But they usually look magnificent – bright, unblemished white, with the sulphur crest providing the only contrast. They look dignified and even majestic until they open their beaks. But not this one. It looked the way cockatoos behave!



Filed under musings, prose

17 responses to “good things only #2

  1. Ahhhh, nice to see more good things only. I never get tired of watching an Echidna. On the matter of Cockatoos, they return in numbers to our area about now. Every year it takes me a little while to block out the dawn shrieking so I can sleep beyond first light. I do admire their genuine avian community though. They are masters of their environment.

    • I don’t think I see them more once a year here. So it’s still very special. Cockatoos though – there are dozen or more that come to the feeders every day and scream and chew them up. They do seem to have more community than the rosellas, which can’t share and will chase each other off. But the best sharers are the choughs, there can be a family of 7 at the feeder, all eating at once like a great black-feathered flower.

  2. writingwhatnots

    That is quite a shot – the Echidna on the empty road. Really enjoyed reading your nature notes.

    • Thank you πŸ™‚ Echidnas are really fascinating – related to the platypus, which is the only other egg laying mammal.

      • writingwhatnots

        I had no idea there were any egg-laying mammals. I should have paid more attention in biology!

        • Just the two – platypus and echidna, both native to Aus. πŸ™‚
          I guess we’re all used to what is local, and anything else seems bizarre. My kids don’t have any interest in kangaroos, wombats, etc, but the first time my boys saw a cat was when they were about 3 and they were fascinated!

  3. I wonder what happened to that cockatoo?! πŸ€” πŸ˜† love the echidna. Always love echidnas

  4. Hello Kate! What a fun read. I love that cockatoo, hilarious! I wonder why it looked so grubby? I’m sure it was naturally brown! 😊 Those pesky ants, of course! And the Echidna, I’ve never heard of such a thing! I honestly just thought it was a hedgehog. Is it from the same family?

    • Hi Sunra! Echidnas are most closely related to platypuses, both of which are monotremes. They split off very early from other mammals in evolutionary terms, hence the egg laying which is more like a reptile. But they produce milk – hence mammals. So not related to hedgehogs, just convergent evolution I guess.

  5. Seems you’ve been ‘marking time?’

    • yes, but I’m done now!!! hoo-bloody-ray…
      now I just have to get the marks into one online system, which then takes overnight to roll into another system, which I then have to log in to and check all the marks and approve them… then I have to fill in 2 separate spreadsheets in a shared drive with the mark distribution and comments on all fails.
      A few years ago we just uploaded one spreadsheet, and it was instant. I’m not exactly sure how this is an improvement. Especially as I have less marking time, because of the overnight roll-over from system to system…
      I think I need a bad things only post πŸ˜€

  6. Hi, Kate! Loved your most interesting post. Echidnas are so cute and my wife wants one for a pet! LOL! I am trying to get back into my writing mode too; seems like summer’s end and early autumn had a hidden pile of priorities. As our Thanksgiving holiday nears, I have raked most of them away! So, God be willing, I can get back to what I love. Regards.

    • Thanks Al πŸ™‚ I’m glad you’re finding time to write again, I really enjoy your poetry. I also really like the contrast with here – autumn and frogs and gators, cf our late spring, echidnas and ‘roos. πŸ™‚ I think an echidna would be a difficult pet to cuddle – those spikes are hard and sharp! I picked one up once to move it off a dangerous curve in the road, and I had to wrap it in a jumper and even then I was a bit perforated.

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