In Strathalbyn, a little of the outside always comes in through the door. Today, there are leaves there; these are Chinese elm leaves and seemingly the first to fall.
A lady came in to talk about The Forsyte Saga. She was showing me her mother’s copies of the series, small books in dark green with gold lettering. Then a couple burst through the door and fresh from Cox Scrub! They were looking for Sun on the Stubble but wanted to tell us about their hours in the scrub because autumn is the best time to be there.
She said they had seen a New Holland honey eater and the European bullfinch but her husband said they had not seen the bullfinch. She said they had seen a red wattlebird and her husband said that they had indeed and also a brown tree creeper but his wife said they had not seen the tree creeper.
We admired the massive camera she carried and I thought I do not often seen people so excited by these little birds they film.
She said she had a thing for owls and her husband agreed that this was true. Then he told us about the time he stood on a common death adder when they were on the Yorke Peninsula. He showed us how he stood and how the snake was hidden under the leaf litter. And his wife said that this was all true. But she thought that there was not that much leaf litter. He said they are the fastest striking snake in Australia and she said that this is true.
He thought they might go to the bakery now but she was remembering something else. That at home, she had seen a white bellied sea eagle and it was just incredible and there it was eating something in the paddock as calm as you please. Her husband said that this was true. They gazed at each other, so happy that this had happened – but that wasn’t all. That while she was filming this white bellied sea eagle as it sat there eating – there were three ravens attacking it.
And she had taken photographs of the ravens up close as they attacked precisely and furiously, showing their small mad eyes and the eagle just sitting there as calm as you please.