The pandemic grinds on

posted in: Life and things | 0
Social distancing at the beach

The pandemic grinds on and with it, restrictions, although they are being eased. We’re not much affected, as you already know but we still read newspapers and watch the news. There are some real horror stories from nursing homes in particular, where death tolls are rising. As I write, there have been ninety-seven deaths in Australia, and of these, eighteen occurred in one Sydney aged care home. I’ll be avoiding aged ‘care’ homes for as long as I possibly can. There are many selfless people working in these facilities but often there are not enough staff for the number of patients and profit is put before quality of care.

In the wider community, the supermarket shelves are full of everything – including toilet paper. People are taking advantage of the eased restrictions and flocking to shopping malls and Bunnings. Car parks were packed when we ventured forth the other day. We decided to abandon our mission and try again later. People are clearly sick of staying at home and I can’t say I blame them, although on the whole, social distancing is being practised at the few places we go to.

Maybe some people are questioning the wisdom of shutting down the economy to stop the virus from spreading – but I’ve just read a report about the Russian situation, where the novel coronavirus is spreading like a wildfire in a country with Soviet-era hospitals. Sounds to me that the Russians will be catching up with the American death toll very soon. Because of the sharp fall in oil prices the Russian economy, which relies on oil, is in even worse trouble than everybody else. I’m grateful that I live in Australia in these difficult times.

During the lock-down I’ve been busy slaving over my hot computer finishing a new book for the first time in about eighteen months. I’ve finally watched the latest Star Wars movie, The Rise of Skywalker, which is (thank goodness) the last of the Skywalker saga. I wrote a short review for Spacefreighters Lounge but in a nutshell I scored it three out of five. Pete has been cleaning up his home office and is girding his loins before tackling his shed so there’s a silver lining to everything.

Life goes on in the garden. Here are a few more of our regulars.

A pair of pale-headed rosellas come around a few times a year to check on apartments to rent. I think he’s keen, but she keeps knocking it back. Not sure why.

The lorikeets are always around for breakfast and dinner but there are a few pairs which seem to spend all their time here. And why not? Food source, clean bird bath, shade, no cats… perfect. In this picture, somebody has sent up an alarm call and the more jittery birds are off. I wouldn’t be surprised if the alarm call came from one of that group still on the bird table 😉

Scaly-breasted lorikeets are about half the size of the rainbow lorikeets. We have one pair that comes often for meals and a few casual drop-ins. They’re braver and smarter than the rainbows, but they get picked on because there are fewer of them and they’re small. Rainbow lorikeets are bullies.

The baby butcher bird is begging for food. They have a distinctive cry to go with the performance. Needless to say, it works. We feed them chopped (uncooked) bacon rind, which they like to catch in mid-air. The neighbours give them mince. They come and ask for food and will take it from your hand. Yes, of course they bring the new babies over.

Noisy miner birds are honey eaters but they’ll eat just about anything. They usually operate in family groups. They should not be confused with the feral Indian mynahs, which bear a superficial resemblance but are related to starlings. We don’t have mynahs in Hervey Bay and we don’t want them. They push out native birds. A lot of people don’t like the miners, finding them aggressive and territorial but we’ve made friends with our local family and they’re really quite cute. And smarter than a few of the other species. Although the smaller birds don’t like the magpies and kookaburras, all the others rub along together nicely. It’s a pity humans can’t manage the same way.

I hope you’re all keeping healthy. Stay safe.

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