Early mornings can be exciting! By Emelia Ball
Monday 14thJanuary, 2019.
“My eyes!” I exclaimed, as mum turned on the bright light.
I checked my Kindle to see what time it was. The clock read 4.16am. So early, I thought, and then I suddenly realised the reason why!
“Are we going to see the Bird of Paradise this morning?” I asked mum, excitedly.
“Yes” she said, “so get dressed and get ready to go, you will need to wear your shoes today.”
I grabbed my trainers, a t shirt and some running pants. I put the clothes on and ran up the stairs for some breakfast.
I had just started to eat my cereal when our tour guide pulled up in his boat to take us to the birds.
I grabbed my shoes and camera and jumped quickly into the boat.
All was black apart from the light of our guide’s torch.
We drove to our friends’ boat, Lukim Yu, and they hopped in.
We speedily drove five minutes across the large, black bay until we reached a shallow river mouth with fast flowing current. Dad and Robin (our guide) had to jump out and pull us over the shallow sandy area until we were deep enough to motor again.
Through the river we drove, navigating high coral bombies and rocks, looking out for fireflies in the trees above us that were twinkling like stars in the sky.
The bioluminescence followed us as we made our way up the river to a wharf.
When we arrived, we climbed out of the boat up a staircase, onto the sturdy T shaped wharf and put our shoes on before setting off into the dark jungle in front of us.
The path was steep, narrow and rocky. Sometimes it had thin branches to hold onto, other times we were scrambling over the rocks and roots that lay on our path.
We heard bids calling to each other in the darkness and the crunch of dried leaves being stepped on as we walked through the darkness.
After about 30 minutes of hiking through the rough terrain we arrived at ‘The Spot’. This was the place where the birds do their dance in the early morning light.
By now the sun had started to peak over the horizon and it was getting lighter.
The birds only do their special dance in the mornings.
We all found a place to sit in the clearing and watched the trees above us. Robin the guide was making bird calls to attract the males to the area. I think he was making the call of a female bird to attract the attention of the male birds in the area.
Suddenly we see a flutter in the trees overhead.
A medium sized bird was dancing gracefully on a bare branch, high in the trees.
It was yellow and red, with 2 very long and thin feathers, one on each side of its tail. Its head was bluey/black and it had orange feet.
I think it was with either the Goldie’s Bird of Paradise or Raggiana Bird of Paradise. It was too far up to tell certainly.
It primped and preened, dancing between tree branches.
After a few minutes, another one came to join it. Then another! We couldn’t believe it! This was amazing!
Before long we had 3 magnificent birds bopping and dancing to impress the plain and small female who was on another branch, watching these males perform.
We watched them fly in circles, swooping gracefully between the branches, singing the most annoying song! It sounded like a siren! ‘Wee Wahh, wee wahh, wee wahh’ all morning long!
We were mesmorised by these beautiful creatures. One of the males came and landed only 15 m above us in one of the trees. It hopped around us and then flew over by the female again.
We finally decided to leave and walk back down once was the sun was up completely and the birds were winding down their performance.
We walked back down in daylight this time, everything looked completely different! We saw loads of cool trees and rock formations.
I really liked one tall tree with high thin roots. They were so high you could have played hide and seek in between them!
We saw fallen over trees with spindly, moss covered roots and a hollowed out inside.
I also saw thousands of mushrooms that looked like small brown plates and a giant centipede slithering between the leaf litter and rocks.
Noah and dad tried to scare us from behind a tree, but it didn’t work as Noah’s t shirt was bright red, poking out from behind the tree, and everyone knows that a red t shirt stands right out in a green forest! Better luck next time Noah!
When we got back down we were greeted by a magnificent view of the wide, still river and all the trees and rocks lining its sides.
We got into the boat again and drove slowly down the river again. This time we got to enjoy the beautiful sights around us as the sun was fully up.
We saw loads of limestone and orange colours cliffs, tall trees and loads of birds.
The water was as still as glass and full of big dinner plate sized, clear jellyfish, blobbing along.
We got out of the river and drove over the shallow sand area, but this time it was deep enough to dive over.
We drove over the reef, watching the fish swim in the crystal-clear water.
We arrived back at our boat and I went straight inside to download my photos to see how good they were. I got some great shots of the birds dancing in the trees and hopping around.
What a great morning, I said to myself!
By Emelia Ball.