The parrot came from the north, carried on winds of salt spray and desert dust, and fragments of dead leaf of wattle and gum.
Swift it came on northerly winds, flying hard and low through scattered woodlands, at times sweeping out over beaches, mudflats and sea.
North Bruny reached after that epic flight from the far side of Bass Strait, still flying hard and low, swift and direct, through scattered trees then over sea and sand.
And the parrot asked where had all the penguins gone, the thousands of them that had churned the ocean? And where were the whales? The sea silent of their breaching and spouting.
And over mudflat swept and carried by the swirling tides: where had all the wetlands gone? The marshes and marsh-warbler song, saltbush, stilts and oystercatchers.
In lagoons without life, the swift parrot looked for fellow travellers on the spring winds, stints and godwits making their own epic journey to Bruny Island from within the Arctic Circle and he asked where had they gone?
And the swift parrot carried on northerly winds reached South Bruny, not as he remembered it all those eons ago. And he asked, as he had asked on his odyssey across mountain and ocean, where had all the trees gone, the swaying carpet of them, of blue and white gum, of stringybark, of ironbark and mountain ash?
And the parrot, carried by northerly winds with the sea spray and fragments of eucalypts, flying particles of the past, asked where had all the swift parrots gone, of eons ago when once the carpets of canopy rang to their cries.
Photo one and three are forest behind Cloudy Bay threatened by logging, the recently logged coupe is SB17D logged in 2015. Logging was suspended in SB017D for wedge tailed eagle breeding season as there are two active eagle nests in the coupe. Logging is scheduled to recommence in February 2016. Photo two is Adventure Bay north and Coal Point. Intact forest in the foreground behind the private properties is scheduled for logging on Forestry Tasmania’s 3YR plan. Photos by Warren Frey for Bob Brown Foundation
LAST WEEK on Tasmanian Times ...
• *Don Knowler is a veteran journalist and bird-watcher who writes the On The Wing column in The Saturday Mercury
*The poem appeared in BIRDSONG, a celebration of Bruny Island birds, launched at the Bruny Island Bird festival last year. It’s a hardback of artwork, photographs and poems and is on sale at Hobart bookshops.