4. Parrots and Herons
After continuing along the path for quite some time we pass through a clump of eucalyptus trees and stop to turn back and admire them. Suddenly the silence is broken by the harsh, loud cries of a parrot. A dozen heads turn this way and that. A dozen pairs of eyes search the sky, the nearby tree tops, and hills. But the bird is nowhere to be seen.
As we go on our way, we imagine our colourful national bird sitting on a branch somewhere close by. We can picture him in our mind's eye. His green and blue feathers ruffled from flight, his heavy curved beak pecking away at the rosy-red fruits of the aralee vine ...
Here in the rainforest, a tree is a complete ecosystem. All sorts of plants cling, twist, climb and hang onto it. Creepers, ferns, lichens and of course, orchids. Birds nest in its branches. Some sip nectar from its flowers others will eat its fruit. At night the bats will come to get their share. Insects feed on it and green and brown lizards scamper up and down its trunk.
After walking for about two hours, we reach a place where the land falls away steeply on one side. The forest stretches away to the south as far as we can see. There is a rough wooden bench and so we sit to admire the view. Beside us, a tangled vine with shiny, dark green leaves twines around a bush. It has sprays of blood red flowers shaped like little trumpets. They have no perfume but the air all around is full of the smell of grass and damp earth.
An orange butterfly flutters by, bright as a flame against the dark green leaves. And as we look down onto the tightly packed tree tops a little blue heron flies slowly across the valley. Its snowy white plumage tells us that it is an immature bird. Here in the unspoiled place it is a beautiful sight. Everyone is pointing. - "Did you see it? Did you see it?"
Then it is gone, and we turn back to the path to continue our walk.