Golden flashes of sun

Female SunbirdThere’s something so joyous in an animated discussion between a pair of sunbirds that I have to smile. These tiny northern-dwelling honey-eaters are happiest nesting as close to humans as they can reasonably manage – including building their homes hanging off the centre piece of a wind-chime… How’s that for thrill seeking?

Like so many birds, the boys get the beautiful colours, but with that comes responsibility. They take turns not only building their ice cream cone shaped nests, but also sitting in them minding the eggs, and all being well, their chicks.

Sunbirds rate a special mention in Border Watch because of their unique personalities. In part it’s because they mate for life, because they defend their young so fiercely and because they are optimists. It’s possible you think I’m attributing human emotion to branch of the avian family in some sentimental madness (and you may be right…), but it’s more than just poetic licence.

Male Sunbird 2For the last twelve years I’ve watched them, cheering as they defend their nests, their young, against the savage attacks of butcher birds and kookaburras.

I ¬†hear them scold each other when the soft feathers brought by one to line the nest doesn’t live up to the designer expectations of their mate (nothing less than 1000 thread count egyptian cotton for theses guys!).

I laughed with them as they hang from my plants after the sprinklers have been on, washing their iridescent plummage, shrieking with delight. Then they stick around, their eyes bright, waiting hopefully for the shower to start again. When I give in and flick the tap, they fluff their wings and cheep with a high pitched squeal of joy that would do my nieces proud…

Even Zeus the wonder staffie knows that the backyard is to be shared with these little fellas and watches out for them with bullterrier like zeal!

Male Sunbird 3
Male Sunbird
Female 2


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7 thoughts on “Golden flashes of sun

  1. Hi Amanda, give that self doubt a big flick and get those fingers tapping! 5DI will be a wonderful experience.

    Sounds like you’ll finally have some time to write now the hectic pace has slowed down…

    Thanks for listing Bron Parry and myself on your intranet. That’s fantastic! Have had a couple of lovely reviews on Good Reads – good to get some feedback!

  2. Dana, lovely to hear BW is being read all over the world! I hope the recipients of all those pressies enjoyed the story!! Lovely seeing you at the book launch, even though it was literally a flying visit for you.

    Thank you!

  3. Hey Helene,

    What delightful little feathered friends… yes, I recall your vivid picture of them on BW…

    How goes the next MS?!

    I am madly trying to finish mine for 5DI and am struggling terribly with a large attack of self doubt… I am sure it will pass! (IT MUST!)

    I have finished my evening work for at least 3 months, and just have 2 days of teaching/facilitation, so hoping life is a little less chaotic…

    Look forward to catching up with you soon!

    PS Have launched Border Watch (and BP’s books) on the intranet at my work place as “must reads” – so plenty of potential there!

    So, hope all is well… Shan tells me the weather is dreadful up there, so may the sun shine soon!

    Amanda x

  4. Hi there, I just thought I would let you know that Border Watch is being enjoyed as close as Redland Bay and Burleigh Heads and as far away as London… and that’s just my family. It is also being read by my friends in Sydney and Western Australia. And it has been read aloft as a brand new bride jetted to Honolulu on her honeymoon – but it is now safely back in Bowral. Phew! It is a very busy and well traveled book! Dana x x

  5. Hey Helene,
    You bought back a memory with these beautiful little creatures. We planted rainforest trees in our yard in Cairns and each afternoon when I’d go out to water the gardens the little sunbirds would come and have a shower. They’d prance and flicker all of the azalea leaves – and you’re right, even KC the bird dog wouldn’t chase them. Also reminds me of how the willie wagtails would come from everywhere at the sound of a mower! Oh, nice impatiens by the way.

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