2008: The Narrogin Lesson

Galahs, Myamin

Also like many small Australian towns, Narrogin had its resident flock of galahs. Sometimes a place would have corellas and sometimes, in the east, cockatoos; but galahs it was for Narrogin. Come the evening and time to roost, the birds would make the fact obvious with mass screeching flights. I’d wonder if there would be any rest that night but, like model citizens and unlike human beings, the flocks would quieten to silence as darkness grew.

A road the other side of Narrogin’s defunct station was Galah Central. A few corpses over there seemed to bear witness to an attempt to mow them down. There were more than natural mortality could account for and, given an excuse to bet and given what I know of people, I’d have my money on that.

In any case it was a grisly farewell from the town next morning – not much mitigated further south by a little reserve created from a railway company dam. In another culture shift, I wondered why a train business would construct a reservoir. The answer must lie in Australia’s lack of water which, as much as coal, powered early railways. This particular dam grabbed what it could from an arid landscape to supply both the station and its locoshed.

That was the Narrogin lesson: loadsa space; not much water.

Any birds in the reserve? The odd dusky moorhen, and coot – exactly the same species as we get in Europe. How did such a crappy flier naturally end up in both places? And the highlight of a little eagle. Not a sniff of a lifer. My next stop was to surprise me with that.

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