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When you look at it, a satellite dish nesting precariously over a swamp is probably not worth a comment.

Bloodwood Wine Press

When you look at it, a satellite dish nesting precariously over a swamp is probably not worth a comment.

Stephen Doyle

I mean, there must be thousands of swamps around the world, and we are all witness to the fecundity of the Common Rufus Mounted satellite dish so it was only a matter of time before one of similar specifications found a nesting site over our particular swamp. (Mind you, this mother was a big bird, and reports are that its offspring could be heard all over Australia and half of Asia.)

No it wasn't the nesting site of the dish itself which caught my attention, but more the effect its presence had on the native and introduced wildlife in its immediate vicinity. Earlier in the day, a tribe of introduced migratory Lesser Bearded Wilderbeasts had flooded into the Macquarie Marsh wetlands and reverentially set up camp below the aforementioned dish. These reconstructed hippies and disillusioned professional types arrived in un-registered Combis and re-registered Volvos, and began casually scratching about building their variegated nests amongst the roly poly on the edge of the swamp.


This activity continued un-debated until sundown, under the vengeful and squinting eyes of the Greater Agitated Sentry Bird. A long-legged, sun-baked Governmental type, he spent all of his afternoon and most of our night directing direction-less traffic. "Ye shall temporarily build only of empathetic canvas cloth and clean up after ye bloody selves or under the migratory act covering the Lesser Southern Twit, I’ll bloody have ye. " To his recently fledged strutting annoyance, this had absolutely no effect as the sandalled avalanche washed over and around him spreading their instant karma and noodles gently over the flat lands surrounding the satellite dish. So by the time we arrived to set up the Bloodwood Wines "stall-de-swamp", there was a tangible yet uneasy anticipation in the air.


The band Sirocco was going through an energetic warm-up for a performance and recording of their wonderful Wetlands Suite. A couple of kaftan blessed nymphs dressed as impossibly sexy Ibis were stilt-walking about the low ground in flowing time with the band's ephemeral rehearsal. On the front seat of the local SES truck, a scrum of prematurely pissed locals, refugees from the charity sausage sizzle (sic) was falling over itself in raucous delight as St. George yet again demolished Canberra.  And so the beading season began.


Sirocco's music, and there was no other way to describe it, was magic. Our "Grog-de-Bog" stand was in direct line of sight from the island of a stage, and during the performance proper, a quick leap into the lounge on the tray of the ute gave us a dress circle view of this fecund and adoring rookery. The intermissions, (and there were a few because of the nature of the broadcast), meant we became adept at "wackin' the bloody cork out of a coldie mate" and on the occasional visitation of the private school chums, "providing a sample of your red Chardonnay, my good man". Then there was Dave, mean of jaw and lean of mind, assuring me that "these bloody greenies were all right you know, not that you could tell the locals that, and it ain't Country or Western but it’s orright... specially them pole dancin’ Ibis they give a good squawk under the doona on a cold night "


And the night would have been perfect except for the arrival of a flock of dispossessed local scavenger birds who gate-crashed the mystical rookery in the early hours of the morning and proceeded to set the odd hippie on fire. This they slovenly achieved before generally settling into trashing themselves and this special environment. Apparently these defecatingly prostrate young Anglo-Saxon Australians were the tender offspring of local property owners who had lately been refused renewal of their cattle grazing leases on the Ramsar listed marshes. Curiously, their idea of impressing the assembled multitudes as to their bona-fide care for this magical place was to descend by night in a totally paralytic state, criminally set the aforementioned odd hippie on fire, and commence vomiting on themselves and anybody else in their vicinity. After loudly proclaiming the injustice of "the bloody blacks and (expletive included) 'en Mabo" and the actions of the National Parks and Wildlife Service in throwing them off "their" land,  they generally attacked the irresponsible behaviour of our first nation peoples, and proceeded to rampage about our peaceful nesting site, grunting, cursing and vomiting into the softly approaching morning light.


But then again, in every wildlife documentary there are the killer whales or hyenas respectlessly attacking the seal breeding colonies or migratory columns of the Lesser Bearded Wilderbeasts. It's unsettling to observe and all too common but it's the nature of things.  Or is it?