Nature's Place



If you go down to the woods today you’re sure of a big surprise. No bears here but nature fascinates anyway. While I was watching a robber fly do its thing, killing and eating with aplomb, I noticed movement out of the corner of my eye. As I turned to look she saw me and stopped dead in her tracks.

So many creatures have as their first defence to be still. No surprise since it is movement that usually gives them away. A stick insect, looks like, probably related to the mantis I often see around the house and forest, climbing the trunk of a tree about six feet from me. I only saw her because of the light background, otherwise she is just another brown stick at the edge of the forest.

She is about ten inches long and he, on her back, is much smaller at about half that. They are in the process of mating, to make more of themselves. That’s nature, always reproducing, always dying, to live again. I have heard the female mantis consumes its mate head first after mating, to feed the seed of the young he has just planted no doubt. Other females of their species do the same.

Man and woman, hmmm! I wonder. But these insects produce many offspring that take care of themselves very soon after birth, one for many self sufficient is good trade. One adult who can mostly take care of himself is not good trade for one baby that takes years to raise. Better to let him live if only for the money he ‘might’ contribute. Or the loving he might do.

I reckon men are safe, for now.
© Mark Berkery ……. Click any picture and click again to enlarge

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One Summer’s Day


Ahhh! That’s the sound of the body as it exhales in relief at being in nature. The pleasure it is, no problem. It’s the sound of the world of mind leaving the body of earth. That it can be, what a wonder that is.

I found a new flower today in the coastal wetland forest Billinudgel NR is. A lovely soft yellow standing out in the greens and browns of the trailside brush. There were no visitors to them but many passersby, many different kinds of little cricket – if that’s what they are called, one big black wasp about two inches long – too quick to photograph, a lone hoverfly, restless robber flies, hunting dragons and a few fluttering yellow butterflies amongst others.

There was the rise and fall of the sound of cicada, a song of expectancy, in metamorphosis. One to the other and all around. An enveloping presence. A song of bounty. Death of the old and new life. It resounds in me still.


I came to a creek where I know dragons dance, I have seen them, really. And they were dancing there today. But today they were not dancing for me, I’d had my special performance. Today they were just Dragons dancing. He, or her, displaying his aerial skills and dipping in the muddy waters shallow edge. She, red rising swiftly in chase as he dodged in short circuitous ways. Gossamer wings glittering in the sunshine between the shadows of the trees and reeds.

After watching a while I passed on, to another spot I know. Where I go is often a matter of the earth opening up as the tracks and trails that other creatures make, or are made by fallen tree or shade or clumped and dried out growth. I rarely go where people go.

There’s an old burnt out bridge across a wet creek where two red Dragons lay. One took away as I approached, the other waited a while then away it went. But soon enough the second was back to a different spot and I waited. To see what next. She came and sat beside me in the grass, no snakes about, who knows.

I got closer and closer till I was in comfortable shooting range, about ten inches from the camera. She sat there preening and alert for any passing food but not at all bothered by me. She flitted here and there but never far away and always back to the place comfortable for me. Then she took to the air and disappeared and reappeared on my flash diffuser. The one place I couldn’t get a photo of her. But I got a good look with my glasses on and it is a wonder to see them up close and live, I mean alive, they are not that dangerous.

A remarkable thing, not one mozzie bite today in spite of being in the shade most of the time. After a few hours I went home the way I had come and enjoyed the simple pleasure of the wind and sun and green things with the occasional bird dropping into my existence to say hello, in sense, of course.
© Mark Berkery ……. Click any picture and click again to enlarge

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Red Dragon Dancing


After a few days rain I thought the dragons would be out today with the sun and it was so. I suspect they are hungry after sitting out the wet and windy weather. It showed in their unceasing movement, to and fro, chasing down the prey that is theirs to eat.

Shelter, then food. That’s the order of things. The body needs protection first or all the food in the forest will do no good.
There were a few dragons on the trail but none were inclined to sit still for more than a few seconds at a time. So I observed and enjoyed the display of aerial mastery that is the dragon’s sig-nature. I don’t know their names, just their colours, and many there are. Green, blue, yellow, brown, red, grey and striped. All magnificent creations. Beautiful little forms of life.

This forest, Billinudgel NR, is a sponge to the rain that comes down from the hills to the west and in places it is nearly always wet. It is at these places where I find the most dragons, though my best pictures are from alongside the trail where the open space is better defined.

In spite of the wet and warm weather there are few mozzies so I can stand around in the shade at the wet places and wait for whatever happens along. Today it was a red dragon. She? Perched on my stick for just a few seconds, long enough for me to get the camera out but not for a shot. But she didn’t disappear.
From perch to perch she went, from twig to grass to stone and eventually to rest on the forest floor a few feet away. It is a real pleasure when they rest close by and I can see their detail. And since I can’t chase and stalk them as I did in the beginning close proximity is a necessity for a good shot.

I got a few and just after the last one she took to the air and was mating in the blink of an eye with a yellow dragon. It was amazing to see, an extraordinary occurrence. They flew in perfect harmony and hovered over the pool of water at my feet, moving slowly over the surface. They parted for a time and the yellow one, still airborne, dipped his rear end in the pool and used his tail to flick water up. Curious behaviour. While he was doing this she was hovering over him, following him around the pool. Proud beings they were, unselfconscious.

I felt privileged to be there and witness this dance of life in these little beauties.
© Mark Berkery…… Click any Picture and click again to enlarge

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Little Lady Lizard


There is an old rotting tree deep in the forest where a lady lizard lives. It is home to many creatures, such as ants and termites and other intelligent crawling things. I have met her on many occasions, usually as she was sunning herself. That would be a certain time of day since the sun can only reach the spot for a couple of hours at a time.

She got used to me very quickly, not so she would let me pet her but I was allowed to photograph her close up. The first time was when she was moulting, early in the spring. You can see where the old scales are off or are coming off. Everything grows anew in springtime. The later photo’s, which are the first two, are of her new beauty, her new coat. And she is beautiful, if you can see it.

There is a softness about this little lady lizard that touches a softness in me, and I am softened. A little more.

Lovely little lady lizard.
© Mark Berkery…… Click any Picture and click again to enlarge

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Moth – Old Friend


Clouds come and go, shade – light. Inside and out. The track is an uneven surface so I need to keep an eye out for rock and hole and fallen branch. Spider webs too, and mozzies. Against the light ahead through the overhanging foliage I see a fluttering shadow, a dragon in the distance? Butterfly dancing?

Eyes up, down and up again as the shadow quickly resolves into a small dark brown and orange moth. It’s only two feet away now and heading straight for my face. I ducked and past it went, heedless of the near collision. It turned out to be a different colour under the flash, beautiful thing.

Some encounters are to be sidestepped, some are opportunities. And some opportunities are missed when the inner vision is blurred with stuff of the mind, the past.
© Mark Berkery…… Click any Picture and click again to enlarge

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Butterfly Night – Cicada Sky


Or, keep your feet on the ground of sense kid!

I was out looking at the sky and things, stars, insects around the light, frogs at the water tank. One of the frogs favourite places is a little water bowl by the old tank. I was looking into it to see if there is any mosquito larva in the water when I heard a buzzing of wings rapidly approaching from behind. Then plop, into the water bowl a huge green cicada flies.

As the sun was going down I saw a big butterfly land in a nearby tree. I stopped to have a good look and eventually disturbed it so it flew away, but not far. It was getting dark and butterflies don’t fly at night. It landed in another tree so I noted its position to check on it later. Much later, around 2am it is still holding on to the tree in a blustering wind.

Have you ever wondered what butterflies do at night, where they go? I’ll tell you. They seek a sheltered place, like you and me. Sheltered from the many predators there are at night in the forest, bats, snakes, all sorts of creatures would find a butterfly good eating. Shelter to a butterfly is out on the end of a branch where few other insects wander. It folds up its wings and hangs on in the wind. There it stays till sunrise. At least this one did.


And the sky, I mustn’t forget the sky under which all this nature happens. What magnificence, majestic, mystic clear endless space with all those stars bright. An unusual brightness tonight.

I have to give the night sky more time, just to look at it. Here in Wooyung it is dark and clear enough at times to really see it, simple and wonderful.


Smells of sweetness from the forest, aroma of mint – the tractor had been this way this morning. Today it is vanilla cocoa carried on the breeze. An unbelievable lightness of sense. And fresh mown grass.

Emotions overboard. Help! Help! Whatever will I do without my unhappiness!

I know, I’ll make some up. :)
© Mark Berkery ……….Click on pictures, and click again to enlarge.

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