Tuesday, 9 April 2013


This morning I was evicted from my own home by window cleaners.  Every room I entered, there was a man with a ladder and a drop cloth.  I couldn't possibly work in those conditions, so I decided to go birding.  I went to Hay's Paddock.  This is not far from Willsmere Park where I often go birding.  There is a small lake, a couple of footy ovals surrounded by parkland and a very interesting adventure playground for children of all abilities, intellectually and physically.  It's a while since I've been to Hay's Paddock and I found the reeds around the lake had grown enormously.
Lake at Hay's Paddock
The place was full of lorikeets and corellas.  I had a lovely view of a Musk Lorikeet in a flowering eucalypt.  All the usual suspects were on the water and I scanned the muddy banks for crakes.  I've never seen a crake or a rail, or even a dotterel here, but the conditions seem ideal and I live in hope that I will one day.

But perhaps I am wrong.  Perhaps the conditions are not ideal.  Hay's Paddock is a popular place for the locals to exercise their dogs, which is fine, if only they could control their pets.  The first dog to attack me this morning was a border collie - one of my favourite dogs.  He ran straight at me.  I turned away, but this didn't put him off.  He jumped up at me.  I'm sure he meant no harm, but he was not welcome.  He gaily ignored his owner yelling at him to leave me alone.  The second dog to invade my personal space was a doberman.  Poor thing had had his tail docked.  What sort of a dog owner does that?  He barked and was most intimidating.  He jumped all over me.  I don't suppose he had any intention other than making friends, but I found it a very frightening experience.  He also happily ignored his owner's instructions.  The third dog was a small brown curly haired bitser.  I saw it coming and deliberately walked off the track into the bush, a long way out of his way.  He was not to be put off.  He ran to greet me and took much delight in jumping all over me.  The thing about these unwelcome dogs is that not one of their extremely rude owners spoke to me.  I didn't expect them to offer to pay for my dry cleaning, but I thought an apology was in order.  It wouldn't have hurt them to ask if I was all right.  I was never paranoid about dogs before I started going birding alone.  It is absurd that I cannot walk freely in a local park without having dogs jump all over me.  I was quite furious and cut my birding short and returned to my car.  Who knows what birding delights I missed out on?

Because of the window cleaners, I didn't think I could return home quite so soon, so I sat in my car and read my book.  It is about Scott's expedition to the South Pole, using ponies.  The chapter I read was about the unmanageable dogs pulling the sleds.  A pony fell down in the snow, and the dogs immediately turned into an uncontrollable wolf pack, viciously attacking the fallen horse.  Just what I felt like reading.

If anyone reading this has any useful hints about how to avoid contact with dogs in the local park I'd be most grateful to hear them.

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