Saturday, 6 April 2019


Yesterday was my 1,061st walk.  I do try to walk every day, regardless of weather.  I walk north or south or east or west.  I always like to record more than ten species of birds on each walk.  Today I recorded ten; yesterday I had eleven.

Yesterday was a south walk, not usually a record-breaking occasion.  (I do much better on north walks, where I walk through a large park.)  Yesterday, I was on my way home, thinking of other things, when a small bird darted out from a bush in front of me.  My first thought was 'Eastern Spinebill.'  Spinebills are not common here and I always love to see them.  I tried to identify the bird, but he was most uncooperative, flitting in and out behind the foliage.  Finally, I got him.  It was a Grey Fantail, a new bird for my walk list.

Grey Fantail, photo by Ken Haines.  Not my Kew bird but hopefully the same race.

I have seen Grey Fantails near home before, but never on a walk.  Alas, I don't know the date when I first saw one.  The second occasion was in October 2004 and the third in April 2005.  This bird was my fourth sighting in suburban Kew and it had been almost exactly 14 years since I'd last seen one.  (I say suburban Kew because I'm sure Grey Fantails are frequently seen near the Yarra River in Kew.  This is nowhere near where I live.)

There were two things noteworthy about this morning's walk:  (1) I did not see or hear a Noisy Miner (Hooray!) and (2) I heard a Spotted Pardalote (not rare, but unusual).

Tomorrow is a west walk.  Clearly, too much to hope for another new bird.

Tuesday, 2 April 2019


In the early hours of Saturday 23 March 2019 my darling husband, Roger, died.  He was in Box Hill Hospital.  No one knows why he died.  He was a diabetic with a bad heart. Nevertheless his death was sudden and unexpected.  The coroner has performed a partial postmortem but no conclusions have yet been reached.

Roger was not a birder, but for the 46 years of our marriage, he drove me to countless birding spots.  He also drove me to the airport so I could fly off on various birding adventures.  We enjoyed sherry from Rutherglen (or recently Wahgunyah) so several times each year, after we'd collected our bulk sherry, Rog drove me around the birding spots of Rutherglen and nearby Chiltern.

As Roger's health deteriorated, I did more and more trips alone.  Four of my five trips to Christmas Island were done without Rog.  He didn't accompany me to the Torres Strait or to the Coral Sea.  I felt guilty leaving him and decided that my recent Christmas Island trip would be my last.

So I was home alone when he made his last trip to hospital.  He'd been there four nights and was scheduled to come home on Friday.  I rang to arrange picking him up and the doctor said that Rog wasn't quite right and they'd keep him in one more night.  That night he died.  

I should thank all my dear family and friends for their wonderful support in recent days and particular mention must be made of my favourite (and only) brother, Richard.

Life will never be the same again.
Roger as I will remember him, photo by Michael Seyfort

Christmas Day, 2013 when Rog took me to Werribee