Earlier this week my wife and I had a few hours free from grand-children caring duties. We drove the short distance from our son’s home where we are staying. About 15 minutes later we were in the Lane Cove National Park, just a short distance north of the CBD of Sydney.
In the national park there are numerous delightful picnic areas next to the Lane Cove River. We choose one of them to have our lunch (see photo below).
As my wife starting eating her lunch she had a close encounter with a Sulphur-crested Cockatoo (see photo below). I didn’t manage a close-up photo because I was about 50 metres away taking photos of other birds. The cockatoo decided that my wife’s lunch was worthy of investigating, and landed on the table next to her. My wife quickly covered up her sandwiches!
Later I was able to catch up with the cockatoo and another one as they were also having lunch on some nearby flowers (see photo at the top of this post).
Writing prompts: close encounters with birds:
- Write about a close encounter you had with a bird.
- Describe a time a bird snatched food from your picnic table.
- Write a poem about the pet bird or wild birds in your life.
- Do some research about the birds in your local area. Write an article about your discoveries and observations and submit it to a local newspaper.
- Take some photos of birds in your garden and write a caption for each.
- If you write a blog, write about your close encounters and include photos of the birds seen.
- Write about time you had a sudden, unexpected or frightening experience of a close encounter with a bird.
- Have you ever found an injured or dead bird? Write about your feelings. Tell how you helped the injured bird. What happened to the dead bird?
As the years encroach I find that more and more frequently I am in need of sleep. I can be reading a book and I slip off into noddy land; it doesn’t matter how interesting the book is either.
Or I can be working at my computer hammering out my latest best-seller, er… make that my first best-seller as I haven’t had one yet, and I will nod off into slumberland.
Trying to watch the news of some other interesting show on television is often fatal too, because sleep often creeps in and I don’t see the end of the show.
It can be quite frustrating. In all seriousness, my wife tells me that I frequently have a sleep apnoea problem. On advice from my doctor I have an appointment at a sleep clinic in a few weeks’ time and I hope that will indicate what needs to be done to solve this problem.
But I digress.
The koala in the picture above shows a koala enjoying a nap. Koalas often sleep for 18 to 20 hours a day. Bliss. I think I’ll become a koala, but the downside is that I would get very little writing and reading done. Perhaps I would finish off a few writing projects if I reversed the koala’s sleep regime: sleep for 4 – 6 hours and write for 18 – 20 hours a day.
- Write a story about a koala’s dreams.
- Write a story based on one of your dreams.
- Write a story about a dream you would like to have.
- Write a poem in praise of sleep.
- Research the sleep patterns of your favourite animals or birds and write an article based on your research.
- Write a story in which animals feature in your dreams.
- Write a limerick about someone who can’t sleep.
- Write a story in which you cannot sleep for months on end. What do you do to fill in the time?
- Write a story about two fictitious characters who only meet in your dreams. You can be a part of the dream too.
- Describe the places you find it easy to fall asleep.
- Describe the routines you include in your day to help get a good night’s sleep.
Good writing, good sleeping and goodnight.
Photo credit: Taken during a family visit to the Australian Reptile Park near Gosford north of Sydney. © Trevor Hampel
Last week my wife and I went for a drive from our son’s home in Artarmon, Sydney, to Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park. We stopped in several places along the way and ended up at West Head Lookout. From here you can see over Broken Bay and some of the beaches and islands in that area.
At one point my wife was sitting on one of the seats admiring the view when her phone rang. It was her sister calling from South Australia. She was so distracted by the conversation that she didn’t notice our visitor, an Australian Brush-turkey (see photos). The turkey just casually wandered around us, merely a metre or so from us. It was a wonderful photo opportunity.
I love having close encounters with birds and the natural world of animals. I’ve written many poems about birds.
- Write a poem about a close encounter you’ve had with a bird, animal or other creature.
- Include animals, birds and the natural environment in a short story.
- Relate an incident where you were surprised, frightened, amused or amazed by a close brush with a bird, reptile, fish, animal or some other creature.
Read more about Brush-turkeys:
I enjoy the challenge of getting a good photo of many things in nature. One of my minor interests is photos of trees, especially the trunks of trees and in particular those with interesting or arresting colours or patterns made by the bark.
The above eucalypt tree caught my eye while birding in a park near my home some time ago. The colours stunning the bark are quite special. When combined with the light and shadows cast by the sun, this is quite a noteworthy picture in my opinion.
While looking at it the idiom “barking up the wrong tree” came to mind. (For a definition of an idiom click here.) It’s an expression we use, especially here in South Australia, to indicate that we – or another person – is wrong, or misguided in some way. For example, if I was adamant that we had been to a certain restaurant on a certain date, and keep on insisting that this was correct only to find out I was wrong when later my wife produced proof that we were actually interstate on that day, I could be said to have been “barking up the wrong tree.” Plainly, I was wrong.
- Write a story about a time when you were completely wrong.
- Use the expression “barking up the wrong tree” in a short story.
- Have a character in your story use this expression – but incorrectly.
- Write a descriptive piece about how a dog chased a cat up a tree – but kept on barking at the wrong tree.
- Write an imaginative piece explaining how you think this expression was first used.
- Write a poem which is an ode to trees.
A few years ago my wife, daughter and I travelled through magical Morocco for two wonderful weeks. One of the places we visited was the village of Sefrou which is about 30km from the city of Fes. It was one highlight in 14 days filled with many highlights. You can read more about my journeys on another site I write for: Trevor’s Travels (click here).
On our visit to Sefrou we wandered through the local farmers’ markets, featured in today’s photo above. Farmers from the surrounding districts had brought in their produce for sale, set up on stalls in the streets, squares and lanes of the town. The locals crowded into the cramped spaces buying up delicious looking vegetables and fruits. We bought some yummy bananas and mandarins as a treat. Other fruits included oranges, apples, dates and many more. The vegetable range was even more diverse, with tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, silver beet, cauliflower, capsicum, beans, cucumber and much more.
The displays, like that shown in today’s photo above, were colourful and inviting.
Here are some ideas for writing. Use these prompts as an exercise in warming up your writing at the start of the day, or perhaps even as the start of a short story or poem.
- Describe the scene shown in the photo above.
- Imagine being one of the vendors shown in the photo. Describe what you are feeling.
- Write a short story from the point of view of a young child lost in the marketplace.
- Tell the story of the journey from the farm to the home of the buyer. Try it from the point of view of the farmer – or perhaps even a vegetable.
- Write a poem describing the sounds, colours and smells of the market.
- Write about how you would feel if you had no money and was starving and you saw the above scene.