Short fiction #44 “Galahs”

An Australian parrot called a Galah

An Australian parrot called a Galah

The flock of galahs must have numbered three hundred, perhaps even as many as four hundred. Their pink breast feathers were shining brilliantly in the evening sun as they wheeled together as one against the deep blue sky. Their screeching could be heard many hundreds of metres away, and as they flew overhead, the flapping of so many wings sounded like a wave washing over me.

With much squawking and flapping of wings the flock settled on the powerlines near our driveway. Several of them couldn’t decide where to sit and they began circling around the others looking for a spot to perch.

The setting sun accentuated the beautiful pink feathers as they began to quieten and settle. A few noisy individuals spoiled the calm evening air.

A passing cyclist disturbed the flock which ebbed and flowed as one on its way the settle for the night in the trees up the hill from our home.

Peace at last.

All rights reserved. Copyright 2015 Trevor W. Hampel

Notes: although I have classed this under “fiction”, an incident like this actually happened to me about 5 years ago which prompted me to write this piece as a writing exercise. Above I have posted a recent photo of a Galah.

You see more photos of birds and read more about them on my other site Trevor’s Birding here.


Happy 10th birthday to Trevor’s Birding

Australian Pelicans, Mallacoota, Victoria

Australian Pelicans, Mallacoota, Victoria



I started blogging about Australian Birds ten years ago today.

What an interesting journey. It has, in part, satisfied some of my writing dreams. Even though I have published over 4000 blog articles in that time, on this and other sites, it has still amazed me of the result. Over all of my sites I have had over a million pageviews, over 7000 comments, over half a million readers from over 200 countries and a steady, but modest, income stream.

Trevor’s Birding, a companion site to this one, features photos and articles about Australian birds. Over the years I have travelled to many places here in Australia to capture photos of our wonderful and colourful birds. I have also taken photos and written about some birds I have observed in other countries, like Thailand, Nepal, Ethiopia, Morocco, and Spain. This site actually started on another platform and has had several upgrades over the years. I am hoping for some exciting new developments in the coming months, so stay tuned.

Trevor’s Travels, another companion site I write, and this one features articles about and photos of places I visit. These articles cover several states of Australia as well as Thailand, Nepal, Ethiopia, Morocco and Spain. I have many more photos yet to share on that site too. This site celebrates its 10th birthday late this year.

Of course, the site you are reading at present, Trevor’s Writing, has its 10th birthday in March next year. Many more articles to come and some interesting developments in the coming months.

And did I mention I also maintain and do some of the writing for our church website here?

This all keeps me busy writing.

You can also follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

I hope you like the bird photos featured today.

Happy writing


Further reading

  • Trevor’s Birding – where I write about Australian Birds
  • Trevor’s Travels – articles about and photos of my travels in Australia, Thailand, Nepal, Ethiopia, Morocco, Spain.
Flame Robin, Mt Macedon, Victoria

Flame Robin, Mt Macedon, Victoria

Rainbow Lorikeets, Taronga Zoo, Sydney

Rainbow Lorikeets, Taronga Zoo, Sydney

Writing prompt: How’s the serenity?

Laratinga wetlands, Mt Barker, South Australia

Laratinga wetlands, Mt Barker, South Australia

Earlier this week I visited the Laratinga Wetlands on the outskirts of Mt Barker in the Adelaide Hills of South Australia. These wetlands are frequently visited by birders like myself because the ponds often teem with birds. I write about my birding experiences and show photos of Australian birds on my site called Trevor’s Birding.

Many people visit the wetlands every day, including walkers, joggers, runners, cyclists and picnickers.

On this occasion it was early on a frosty morning and the water was still quite smooth. The photo above shows this well. This scene – or another similar which you have experienced – could well be an interesting prompt for your writing.

Here are some writing suggestions:

  • Describe the scene in the photo.
  • Imagine yourself in the scene shown in the photo. Why are you there?
  • Write a short story about a very serene place you have visited.
  • Write a poem inspired by the photo.
  • Imagine you are a bird – for example, a duck – living in the pond shown in the photo. Describe a day in your life

Good writing.



Writing prompt: close encounters

Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Lane Cove National Park

Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Lane Cove National Park

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).

Our picnic area in the Lane Cove National Park

Our picnic area in the Lane Cove National Park

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!

Sulphur-crested Cockatoo on our picnic table

Sulphur-crested Cockatoo on our picnic table

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?

Good writing.

Writing prompt: To sleep, to sleep, perchance to dream

Koala asleep in the Australian Reptile Park

Koala asleep in the Australian Reptile Park

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.

Writing prompts:

  • 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