Nature's Place

About The Place

Whirling FliesSpider or AntDefinitely SpiderSun Kissed FlyOld Neon Fly


Out walking in Billinudgel NR yesterday. It was about an hour before sunset and it was cool and shady with the sunlight streaming through in places. These places were usually occupied by fly’s.

Clouds of them. Whirling in spirals, up and down, around an invisible central column. Causing the column to appear to move slightly, this way and that. Dancing they were, chaotic, in the last light of the day.

Maybe their last day, they don’t last long in the nature once their function is filled. There were webs about the place too. Spider webs. And they were full of fly’s. Spider’s appetite was sated.


It was nice to be able to walk there again after all the rain, and the mozzies. Now the mozzies are almost gone, as an intolerable nuisance. It was a pleasure to walk there again.


When I got home it was time to feed the fish for the last of the day. I inherited him too, a beautiful blue Siamese fighting fish. They are fighting fish because they can’t tolerate company, any company.

I believe they originate from Siam, now Thailand – I think, where they often live in little puddles of rainwater. They can be born, live, breed and die in the same little puddle. Like some people that. Lol.

His expected lifetime in captivity is about two years, it’s almost up. He looks as healthy as a young one so he could live longer, the exception to the rule. There is always one, in fact I’d say the exceptions are far more common.

It’s just we people who like everything wrapped in nice little packages, like rules and numbers.

I was about to feed him his ‘premium’ anti oxidant, full of vitamins, pellets when I noticed what looked like an ant walking along the rim of the glass side.

When I put on my glasses I could see no better so I got the camera and fitted a macro lens to it and had a good look. It wasn’t an ant after all, just a look alike, from enough distance.


It was a spider, about a half cm long. Maybe a young one but it looked like it could take care of itself. It was small but it was fully confident.

I teased it for a few minutes with a small stick, to see how it behaved. And it was not afraid in the least. It just took appropriate action to avoid injury. Sensible creature.

It walked slow and deliberate, carefully inspecting the landscape as it went. Its mandibles were working overtime. It’s not often I see one working its mandibles so much. Then, it’s not often I get to observe one for such a long time as I did this one.

Little jumping spider, though it didn’t jump once. Up and down the rim of the glass then off to who knows where. Probably wandering about the place in search of spider things, food, shelter, etc.

Hmm! Just like you and me.


This fly was sunning himself in the last rays of the sun when I took the photo. Quite deliberately, it was on a green stick used to support plants. It always chose a spot in direct sunlight, never once did it choose a place in the shade.

I had to underexpose so as not to blow the bright spots, maybe a bit too much. All the colours are as it is. It is wonderful how all things enjoy the sun, in their own ways. Soaking up its energy.

The next fellow is all colour. In my quest to get the perfect pic of these neon creatures this is the latest best. I can quest after these fellows because there are so many out back of the house. At least for now, it is still warm. And not too cold at night.


If I am here next year I expect the place will be incomparable to the place as I found it. It was almost barren of wildlife when I got here one year ago, and overrun with cane Toads.

Now there are dozens of green frogs, and other gentle coloured frogs. At least one water dragon. A few lizards that I’ve seen. And there are many plants that weren’t here before. The two Jacaranda’s are four foot tall, from scrawny little throwaway’s I found outside a plant nursery in Brisbane before I came down here.

A few other plants around the place. Including Metropolis – where so many creatures live, different ferns, grasses, water lilies and more. Passion fruit and flower plant, tomato’s, and more.

All surviving because they are watered regularly. They are loved, you could say.


The grass got mowed today too.


All Copyright Reserved / Mark Berkery


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Queenie yawningDjinn SittingFive Green Tree FrogsYellow ButterflyOne FrogTwo Frog


Change is the nature of the game. Change is what causes pain, is pain. And change is all there is in existence. In fact existence is change. The key to freedom is to not hold on to what changes. Gracefully.

A tall order indeed! But one that nevertheless needs filling, eventually.


It’s been raining again. Surprise, surprise!

The cats are lazing about the place, Queenie has been sleeping on the warm bonnet of my car. Djinn is sitting in the dark on the table down by the frogs, listening to the rain and watching for anything that moves.

I’ve told him the frogs are friends and are not to be eaten except in emergencies. I remind him and he seems to get the idea. He hasn’t brought a frog into the house for ages.


The frogs are in abundance. Another two have moved into the sanctuary and I found another two on the dry side of the house last night. Brought them round to the water tank, they’ll enjoy that.

I also found a little Pobblebonk, what a name. Apparently it gets it from its song, plonk! It was under the light out back of the house, no doubt feeding on the insects that inevitably fall to the ground. They are not like the green tree frogs in that they run (jump) when they are disturbed.

This one was so fast it was amazing. Ping, ping, ping and it was gone, off into the dark of the night. Not even enough time to think, ‘camera’. So no picture of it today.

It was only 3cm long and it jumped one and a half feet with each bound. And as soon as it hit the ground it bounded away again. I could have caught it with some effort and risk to its life, as in it getting squashed by me landing on it, but I thought I’d let it get away.

Trusting it’s still out there to jump and sing another day. Plonk! Plonk! Plonk! Ok. Serious now.


The desperate flight of the last yellow butterfly of the day finally ended on one of the tomato plants by the rainwater tank. I had turned the light on a little early, before the light of the day had really gone, and it seemed to confuse the little creature.

For a while it didn’t know which way to go. Fluttering around a foot off the grass it made a few attempts to reach the light but clearly it wasn’t where it needed to be for the night. It isn’t nocturnal after all.

You might say butterfly’s always look like they don’t know which way to go but I would differ. Butterfly knows what butterfly needs, most of the time. This one was just late up, possibly disturbed from its resting place, and I’ll check later if it is still on the tomato plant. We’ll see.

Five hours later and she’s still hanging sideways on a leaf in the rain. A bright yellow spot in the darkness at the end of the house. With just a few drops of rain sticking to her. I wonder if frogs see colours?


The five tree frogs from the yellow plant holder are out on the wall of the house. Making their way slowly towards the light. All different sizes, different ages. All young compared to the big green tree frogs that live in the drain pipes.

I have heard these green frogs have a life expectancy of about twenty years in captivity, outside is another matter. The bats, birds, snakes and dragons, and the cats all change the numbers at different times.

Though once one gets to a certain age I suspect it has learned enough to survive to old age, with a bit of luck. The older ones live up off the ground in the down pipes from the roof, a very safe place. The young ones live closer to the ground, not so safe at all, but safe enough for now.

They also live in various places in and around the garage, they really are populating the place. I am pleased to see them as they come out just after the sun goes down. Slowly, carefully, when they know the daytime predators are settling down for the night.

It can take quite a while before they move far from their sleeping place, from where they emerge into the night. They might take one jump every half hour or so, though they can also move with intent. It’s one way of conserving energy and if they sit still long enough they will see what else moves. And if it’s edible they know. If it comes close enough they eat it.

Top of the class in survival technique these fellows.


All Copyright Reserved / Mark Berkery


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Good Day Sunshine!

Pelican In FrightCurious CockatooWhite Eyed CrowPelican In FlightCrested Cockatoo

Love! Love! Love! All you need is Love, den de de de den. Weren’t the Beatles great? Not the beetles, The Beatles.

Yes, another one who remembers the Beatles. You might even say they were my first teacher, as people, though nature was the first place I found solace from the violent world of human nature.

But then they split up and no one of them was ever as good as the group. They became more personal which drove them apart and reduced their individual creativity.


The reason they come up is, well, all you need is love. Den, de de de den. Love is all you need!

Actually, I was out the back and the song just came into my mind.

All Copyright Reserved / Mark Berkery


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A New Day

Rosella, about to jump.Comfortable Green Tree FrogFrog SanctuaryWater DragonMorning Glory


The Season has moved on. The light has changed. It’s still bright to my eye, and the camera, but the grass knows the difference, it has stopped growing so fast. That relieves me of mowing it so much. Laughs! Quietly to himself.

You can tell the temperature is in the ‘pleasant’ range when the butter doesn’t melt in the dish any more.

There is a big gum tree out the front of the house, the branches reaching to six metres in all directions, it casts a wide shadow. I leave the grass to grow under it to accommodate the creatures that benefit from it.

The Rosella’s that visit in pairs enjoy the grass seed and the cover of the lower branches. It is good hunting ground for the green tree frogs that are now abundant here. And white butterfly’s visit the bright yellow dandelions.

I am pleased to sit and watch when these things happen. Though I need a good torch for the nocturnal frogs.


Young green tree frogs have been showing up at the house for a while now. They often come to the window when I’m working on the computer at night, to catch the insects that are attracted to the light. It’s on the dry side of the house so I suspect they come from the nature reserve or the creek nearby.

If I see one on my rounds at night, to collect the cane toads, I bring it round the back of the house where there is plenty of water. The old water tank and the pot plant trays provide a dependable supply of moisture. A must if frogs are to stay around the place.

Down at the water tank I have planted some tomatoes and I also throw the grass clippings and other green stuff there so there are plenty of insects to feed them as well.

There is a small yellow plant holder where three green tree frogs have made their home. That’s the exposed view, there is a small tub that fits nicely inside leaving plenty of room for the frogs and it keeps the birds from getting in. I check them occasionally and it pleases me they are there.

A young Currawong was getting a bit curious around the container yesterday so I shooed him away. There is plenty of other food for him around here, he’s not getting the frogs if I can help it.


I came across a dragon in the garden a couple of days ago, so the frogs better watch out again. It’s a veritable jungle out in small creature world.

I wonder how Man would do these days if it was a big creature jungle. Not well I suspect.

It’s a Water Dragon, there is an irrigation channel nearby and I suspect he comes from there. Irrigation channels for the sugar cane farms a little way down the road. It’s to be expected the predators will show up after the frogs.

They must be able to tell, either by the physical signs or by an innate sense of where food is. A bit of both I reckon. The inner sense giving them the general way, place or direction. The senses doing the detail work.


Having removed the dominating presence of the cane toad from the acre I live on, plus a few other things, the local biodiversity is burgeoning. Those Cane Toads are so prolific it has made a big difference keeping their numbers down.


I think this is a Morning Glory flower, a lovely mauve colour. They are everywhere in this area and have been made famous in songs from the seventies. What for I couldn’t tell you. But the name speaks volumes.

It is a lovely sight and has a smooth velvety feel. It had just been washed down in the shower of rain that fell a few minutes before. There is a crisp clean sense to the earth after it rains.

Today’s weather is variable indeed, heavy clouds in a big blue sky.


All Copyright Reserved / Mark Berkery


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In The Forest

Golden Lady BirdGolden Lady BugGolden Bum AntBeautiful Blue BugWhite Forest Flower

Walking in the rainforest today, Mooball NP. It has dried out somewhat and there are far fewer mozzies now, thank god. I don’t have to use that Deet any more. There are spiders everywhere, young ones mostly.

No doubt a consequence of the recent and prolonged rains and the subsequent proliferation of insects. You can’t have one without the other.

It has rained all summer long and now the summer is over the weather is beautiful and sunny. Not too much heat. Maybe I’ll be able to go into Billinudgel NR soon, we’ll see.

Apart from the spiders I came across a few interesting creatures, most notably the gold and red beetle. A real beauty to my eye. There’s a gentleness about the ladybird like creature that pleases me.

After a couple of shots she climbed under the leaf so I had to turn it over, I always take as many shots at different angles as I can.

Usually there are only a couple of ‘keepers’, a relative term. I’ll keep a shot if it’s the only one of a thing I’ve got, no matter how ‘bad’ it is.


Right next to golden girl, on an adjacent leaf, there was a golden bum ant. Yes, golden bum. You will always know a golden bum ant by its golden bum. That makes sense.

It was studiously inspecting a bird dropping, perhaps it contained something useful or even essential to the ant. I wouldn’t be surprised either way. There’s gold in muck, as they say.

I tried to get a couple more shots of the ant but he went on down the stem of the plant and disappeared back into ant world. I couldn’t follow him there, not yet anyway.


Down the track a bit I was turning a bend and swinging my stick as I went, whisssh. And again, whisssh. Then I noticed a fellow up the track about a hundred metres.

He had stopped at the sound of my stick whishing through the air and he looked uncertain, as if he didn’t know what to do. Should he do something?

I immediately saw what the problem was. He was carrying a bedroll, all wrapped in black plastic. His clothes were filthy. He had been roughing it in the forest.

My guess is he was ashamed. At his own apparent predicament. Perhaps thinking, as the world would have us do, there was something wrong with getting out of the world for a while and back to nature in the nitty gritty of things.

In his shame he decided to turn and run back the way he came. I shouted out ‘you have nothing to fear from me’, but he was not listening.

I carried on my walk and inspected the area where he had left the main track and I could see there was a well trodden track going up the hill into dense forest. I left him to it.

Further on down the trail I called out, ‘it must get damp living in here’. No response, though I am sure he was watching from the forest.


It was lovely in the forest today. The afternoon sun streaming through the trees, and the cool of the dark shade. It is refreshing to be in nature, enervating, cleansing to the psyche.

This is why it is sometimes necessary, even vital, to get back to nature. The world can be a very hard place at times and it is easy to forget to do the simple thing like go for a walk where it is green.

If we forget for long enough the simple refreshing pleasure becomes an imperative. This is when we go to the extreme. And I don’t see anything wrong with that.

An enlightened world would make room for such ways of being. Alas! Those days are almost gone. But will come again as is the way of things in existence.


Then I noticed this dark blue bug on a leaf. I have to stop to look for what is there or it is easy to miss. This fellow was on the leaf for one shot and then he was gone. They don’t hang around, these bugs.

You have to remember it’s a digital image. It’s not the actual thing. Actually I couldn’t see half the detail I can see on the picture. But the picture looks unreal. But what is real?

It is what I am ok with, surely. No judgment, no problem. It’s a story after all. This life is no different, it’s too short a story to get hung up on judgment of some detail.

It’s a beautiful dark blue bug.


And this beautiful flower, sitting in the darkness of the deep shade of a giant tree and all the green growth around its base. I almost missed it. Little white star in the dark and green. A lovely thing to me.

Isn’t it a delicate beauty? It is so simple and undemonstrative, yet perfect in its being a small white flower in the huge dark damp forest.


All Copyright Reserved / Mark Berkery


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Noisy Miner

Noisy Myna Dust BathingLight BathingSun BathingFinishing OffIn The Shade


Brunswick Heads is a small town on the north coast of New South Wales in eastern Australia. Twenty minutes North of Byron Bay it is too far out of the way for too many tourists so it is still a quiet little town.

The river has three main tributaries that meet about three hundred metres from the ocean. One tributary goes north into the Billinudgel Nature Reserve that I have also written of, and the main one continues west inland to Mullumbimby.

The third tributary turns south and disappears into wetland forest cutting off a huge section of land from the mainland, this is called Tyagarah Nature Reserve.

The town itself is west of this third tributary and access to the ocean and beach is by a bridge across this third arm of the river. It is in this area that I met today’s subjects.

I have been walking around this point along a well worn trail taking pictures and I have been meeting some delightful creatures.

It helps that the place is frequented by people so the animals are less shy.

Yesterday I had been around the place and was varying my route when I came across a group of Noisy Miners preening themselves and sunbathing. And dustbathing.

It was unusual that they let me stand so close, about two and a half metres, and showed no sign of anxiety at my presence. Though I didn’t test this too far. It’s mostly best to accept what is offered without trying for more.

The dustbather was almost comical. He was lying on the ground, wings spread and feathers fluffed up, trying to work himself into it with his wriggling and shivering.

When another Miner came up to him he raised his head and repeated some small sounds over and over. Raising and lowering his head in rhythm.

He was clearly enjoying his bath and was not to be disturbed, just like you and me. Only this was a bath of a different kind. He was actually opening up his plumage to the ants and other predators of his parasites.

Many creatures do this. They work themselves into the earth where the little creatures, like ants, live and agitate them so they go looking for the source of their discontent.

On the way they pick off whatever lives on the bird that the bird doesn’t want there. How nature serves her own.

When he was done on the ground he was up to light bathe, spreading his beautiful feathers to the bright hot sun. He turned this way and that, making sure no place was left undone. It was a very thorough workout if you ask me.

When he was done with the sun he was up on the table in the shade finishing off his ablutions. Fine tuning his cleanup and cooling down.

It was delightful to watch, the uninhibited behaviour, of these god made creatures. Not a single thought for the onlooker. And safe in the knowledge of belonging and numbers.

His mates would have given the alarm if there was any threat. He was clearly at ease here by the picnic table near the river in this good Australian place.


All Copyright Reserved / Mark Berkery


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Little God

Mighty AntZebra FlyHot Pepper FlowerHoney BeeDeva Magpie


That small ant is about one centimetre long. It and a couple of mates were push/pulling the dead fly for a few minutes while I watched. Where do they get the strength? Such determination. Will.

I wonder if ants grow old. I’ve never seen one limping or leaning on a stick. If an ant is injured I bet that’s it for him. Off to the knacker’s yard.

More likely he’s eaten by something. That’s nature’s way. Weakness is not tolerated for long.


Here’s another kind of fly. A zebra fly. How do I know the name? I make them up, so I can’t be wrong. It has stripes like a zebra and it’s a fly, so it’s a zebra fly.

Look at those wrap around eyes. Not much escapes his attention, sitting there under the open sky. Not waiting for the next thing to happen.

A breeze stirs the grass. A bird passes overhead. A man with a hat on comes into view and blocks out most of the horizon. But no danger yet.

Then he points a big black box at me and I see my self for the first time, only I don’t know what it is I’m seeing. Just an image in a surface on a big black box.

Something passing through my globular vision.

Click, click, click. And he’s gone.

No idea what he did after that.


Hot chilli flower. I’ve tasted one of the chilli’s these flowers are the mother of and they are hot hot. I could not have it in my mouth for more than a second or two before I had to spit it out.

But obviously the flower is not hot like the fruit it produces or the bee would be heading for the water, steam rising from her head.

The bee just went on her way, visiting all the flowers she could find.

Buzzing here and there collecting the gold for the hives honey.

Beautiful bee. Gentle bee. Industrious bee. Unrelenting bee.

Thank you for the honey bee.


Warbling in the morning, singing up the day. This one loves his voice. Black and white song of a string of bubbles bursting in the deep well. Echoing up to the ear inside. Musical bird.

He was just walking around me at Brunswick Heads the other day. Keeping an eye on me, but unafraid. Looking for the odd tidbit.

The pied magpie has started singing in the morning at the house. One sings here, another responds over there. A harmony. Lovely mellow sound of varied notes rising and falling, here and there, as a tune.

Expressions of bird. Simple blue song. Inside.


All Copyright Reserved / Mark Berkery


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Global What?

Into The StormDark SeasSign Of LifeBreaking ThroughLight Of Life

Global Warming? Global Insanity!

Nature is the language of Earth’s intelligence. Born of the Sun. Pity we stopped listening.

There is no representation of insanity in nature. The representation of insanity on Earth is the absence of any nature.

Wherever there is no nature there you will find insanity. Or insanity has walked that way. Because the mind that made it that way is insane.

It’s insane to think we can do without nature, even one little bit of it.

It’s equally insane to think we can fix the insanity of the world with more of the same.

Even where we dropped the nuclear bombs nature came back, but not by anything we did.


It was a lovely sunny day today, regardless of the news. News? Is there anything new in the news?

‘Global Warming Worse Than Previously Thought’. I don’t think so.

I can’t go along with that. It’s all mind stuff. And the more I focus on the stuff of the mind the more negative I get. I don’t think it’s any different for anyone else, eventually.

Mind stuff stuffed it up. And now more mind stuff would have us believe even more mind stuff is needed to fix it. God help us.

Now, instead of spewing our planet killing poisons into the air and water we’ll put them ‘safely’ into the ground. And we’ll trade them on the open market.

The culture is finished but the individual is not.


My solution is simple, for me. Focus on the simple good here now. The only thing here and now is the immediate situation and the senses. Deal with the situation and be in the senses.

Plan for probability and inevitability, as far as possible without drifting into speculation.

That keeps me out of the negativity of mind, more or less, and enables me to enjoy the simple life of being where I am with what I’ve got.

This is an exercise, so sometimes I don’t do so well, and sometimes I do. Where it ends is the same for everyone.

Death. And since only form dies Life goes on.

As it was in the beginning.


All Copyright Reserved / Mark Berkery


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My New Hat

My New HatRomantic HatEdge Of HatMe n Hat In WindowIn Mirror


I’ve told you about the old one, did I mention I got it second hand? It was old when I got it. About fifteen years ago.

And I’ve mentioned the new one, never had a new ‘good’ hat before. Now I’ll tell you all about it.

If that’s how this piece goes, because I never really know what I’m going to write till it’s done. Though I do usually start out with an idea it doesn’t always take the expected form.

I’ve been looking at getting one of these hats for a good while now and finally my old one gave up the ghost, so I could. It arrived last week from Canada, in a box. One of the fastest deliveries of all the things I’ve been acquiring on the net recently.

Little camera things to enable me to take the pictures I want for this site.

I don’t want to mention the hat by name because I don’t want to advertise, but I will anyway. Tilley. It’s a famous Tilley hat.

It is considered the Rolls Royce of hard wearing hats and I understand, just like a Roller was, it is hand made of the finest materials with consideration given to every aspect of hat.

The one I got is for hard wearing in the toughest (non industrial) Australian conditions. And though I haven’t been out and about much recently it will be thoroughly tested.

For this hat that will take time. Like the Roller it is just worn in when the others are worn out. But we’ll see.

There’s not a lot more to say about my new hat till I’ve worn it for a while. Then it’ll be my old hat again. Oh well!

That’s OK. I’ll do another piece on my old hat.

For all the fans of hat.


All Copyright Reserved / Mark Berkery


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