It’s no exaggeration to say that we live among some of the world’s greatest achievers on Kangaroo Island. Extraordinary acts of extreme endurance are performed every year, but they’re hardly noticed. Survival journeys, which require unfathomable navigational skills, begin and end on our beaches, with no fanfare, ticker tape parades, motivational speeches or medals.
For tens of thousands of years dozens of tiny bird species have migrated annually between our shores and the Arctic, China, Japan, Russia, Mongolia, Siberia and Alaska, up to 11,000 km away (‘as the crow flies’). These little wonders include the Bar-tailed Godwit, Common Greenshank, Curlew Sandpiper, Great Knot, Grey-tailed Tattler, Latham’s Snipe, Wood Sandpiper, Red-necked Stint, Pacific Golden Plover, Whimbrel and Ruddy Turnstone.
The Bar-tailed Godwit actually wins the prize for ‘the longest known non-stop flight of any bird and also the longest journey without pausing to feed by any animal‘. Its eight day journey ‘outdoes all human-made aircraft’. I’m still waiting to see one – Cape Rouge, when they return in spring, according to Chris Baxter’s beautiful new field guide: Birds of Kangaroo Island.
Waiting for Godwit
500 Leafless Bitter-pea (Daviesia brevifolia) dehisced seedpods, Native sarsaparilla (Hardenbergia violacea) seeds, found metal, linen thread and bookbinder’s gum on canvas
75 x 75 cm framed, image diameter 47 cm
Framed in white moulding, with a white circular cut matt, internal side spacers, glass and hangers
SOLD – Private collection, Victoria
Detail view, photographed on an angle:
© Janine Mackintosh, All Rights Reserved 2015