Belonging places

Recently I posted this short clip of what I thought were Cockatoos, on Facebook. Then I was sitting over lunch with some friends visiting from Indonesia when they flew overhead in a cacophony of sound.

Birds in flight from maximos62 on Vimeo.

“Kakatua”, I exclaimed, for my Indonesian friends.

Then my wife Catherine commented.

“I was talking with someone the other day who said they were something else.”

“Yes, come to think of it”, I thought, “I didn’t see any sulphur crests, perhaps they are.”

Now if you ever want to identify an Australian bird quickly then go no futher than The Michael Morcombe eGuide to the Birds of Australia.

As apps go it might seem to be on the expensive side but don’t be deceived by appearances. This is probably the most functional and useful app I have across iPad and iPhone.

Go to for a complete account of the app’s functions.

So in a very short time we were able to identify the vast flock that was circling overhead as being Little Corella. These birds are mostly white with a blue/grey eye ring. When in flight you might notice a sulphur coloured wash on the underwing.

At this point I felt a little silly, not having bothered to do more than make a guess at their identity and then in the rush to use my iMovie app and post on Facebook, calling them Sulphur Crested Cockatoos in the short video.

So now I can make amends.

Meanwhile a good friend and colleague, originally from Palm Island, responded to my Facebook post with these words.

Have you heard them going off like that through the night and 2am in the early morning and daytime too! Distressed I don’t know maybe the fires! Flying low and fast on a daily basis around where we live since Xmas. Yep sometimes it’s unsettling and you feel for them and its been like this for thousands of years. I suppose it’s their flight and Cockatoo belonging place.

She crystalised what I’ve been thinking about our impact on this land for a long time. In this land there are many ancient belonging places but the relentless expansion of agriculture, industry and infrastructure has greatly disturbed the ancient relationships between the land and all living things.

Australia Day Reflections
On this Australia day, I don’t only remember the impact that colonisation has had on the Aboriginal peoples, I also reflect on the impact modern Australia is having on the ancient relationshops that were once both so universal and also so finely tuned to place. Despite the increasing dominance of the technosphere, the relentless advance of ‘progress’, it’s often possible to encounter the ancient fabric of connections where we least expect it.

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