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Top End Doctor - 25. Dr Chapter 25

I took one careful step forward, and right away the bird flew and landed on my arm. I was so shocked that I stopped still, as the bird began to feast of the fruit on the plate in my hands. “Stay still and quiet,” Tim whispered to me.

“It is beautiful,” Toby said softly eyes wide in wonderment. “That she is,” Uncle James replied. “Do we have any bird mix in the store?” Tim asked, and Uncle James shrugged his shoulders, “One she has gone, I will make a trip into town, and if there isn’t any, I will make an order for plenty of it, plus some bird feeders and nesting boxes,” Tim said.

When the bird had finished, it flew back to the railing for a short while before flying into the jungle garden, “Boys, stay at the house, Uncle James and I are going to checkout the gazebo and the jungle house,” Tim said to us, and they headed downstairs and soon disappeared down the boardwalk.

About an hour later, Uncle James and Tim returned home and they were both smiling. “Well it appears that our jungle garden had become the new home of a large variety of tropical birds, I grabbed my camera on the way down, and I got some very nice photos of about 4 Australian birds, that being the Goulbourn Finch, Parrots, and Rainbow Lorikeets.

We also saw about 8 different non Australian birds,” Tim announced, as he took out the memory card out of the camera and inserted it into the television, which Uncle James turned on and switched the settings. “I have a book on the world’s native birds, maybe I will be able to identify some of them,” Mrs Kennedy commented, as she dashed out of the room for a moment, returning with a large book in hand.

“That is the blue & yellow Macaw, the most common in the Macaw family… oh wow that is a beautiful bird, and a Bird of Paradise if I am not mistaken… yes here it is, that is a Goldie’s Bird of Paradise. The next one is Blue Lorikeet, such a pretty bird too, and that is a lorikeet too, a… Duchess Lorikeet according to the book,” Mrs Kennedy said.

“You are a keen Ornithologist then are you Mrs K?” Tim asked, “Yes, I guess you could say I am,” Mrs Kennedy responded, “A Orni what?” Toby asked. Ornithologist, it is the name for people who are interested in looking at all kinds of birds,” Mrs Kennedy explained. “Oh, why not just say bird watcher?” Toby said, and Uncle James laughed.

“Yes, nephew that would make life easier wouldn’t it,” Uncle James said. “Oh, another Bird of Paradise, this one is the Emperor Bird of Paradise, I already knew that one, and this one is a… Peach-Fronted Parakeet.

Just looking at them I can tell what type most birds are, the next one is another Macaw, this one is the Red-Bellied Macaw, and this one is the Hyacinth Macaw, and the next one is a lorikeet, looks very simular to our Rainbow lorikeet, and they are related, but I think this one is the Sunset Lorikeet, and this is simular to our Australian Kookaburras, but it is called a Paradise Kingfisher,” Mrs Kennedy said.

“That is all of the photos,” Tim announced, “My what a collection we have in our little paradise,” Mrs Kennedy stated, “Yes, and for now we will not tell anyone about it, hopefully they will find it too crowded and fly off to a better location, before anyone realises that we are currently the host of about a dozen overseas birds,” Tim said.

With the Dry season now officially started, we were having cooler days with lower humidity, which is a real relief, and for the next few days, Toby and I remained either in the house or onboard the yacht, under close supervision, until word was received that the police had captured the second man from the ship at Crab Claw Resort, and finally we were allowed to roam around the jungle garden again.

The first thing we did, was to take some cut up pieces of fruit and a bag of wild bird seed mix, and we headed for the gazebo, to see if we could see more of the birds. As soon as we both landed on the hidden boardwalk that leads to the gazebo, we saw a number of birds perched in the trees around us, and we quickly walked towards the gazebo, were we found the doors and storm shutters all closed, no doubt to keep the birds out.

We found a number of trays scattered around the garden, off the board walk, so we carefully walked to each one and scattered some fruit and seeds in each one, and soon there was a huge flock of birds, landing in the feed trays.

“Wow, look at them all, there must be almost a forty of them at least,” I commented, and we saw a few varieties that had not been photographed yet, as we sat down on the boardwalk to watch them all. “Hey what is that,” Toby called out, and he pointed towards a fallen branch on the jungle floor, and there sitting on top of it was two strange looking lizards.

“I’ve then them on the geographic movie, they are called… Iguanas,” I said when I remembered what they were called. “There is another one, but it looks different,” Toby said pointing out some other lizards, “That is a Chameleon, they can change colour depending on where they are,” I said to my brother.

We continued to watch the lizards and the birds for some time, before we headed off back home, to report back on what we had seen. “Let’s just hope that there are no snakes or monkeys amongst all of the smuggled animals, or we may have some issues with them,” Uncle James commented.

Tim had gone into town as he had some work to do at his office, and with no afternoon medical clinic, Uncle James was able to spend some time at home with us.

By the end of the school holidays, the work had been completed on the airfield terminal, while the aircraft hanger is still under construction, and work has began on the community sports and recreation facilities just down the road, with the education building being the first building to be constructed, as that is the one building in most need at the moment.

When we arrived for school on the first day of second term, we were surprised to see that the temporary library was now full of books, and the now three classrooms are now fully fitted out with proper desks and chairs, instead of the mix match of chairs that we had last term, of which some had survived the cyclone.

Ms Wright had us gather in the central hall at the start of school, and we were introduced to a second teacher, Mr Isaac Turner, who would be teaching the senior primary students, which included me.

With three classrooms, the students are now split into three groups, years 1 and 2 in one group, years 3, 4 & 5 in the second group and years 6 & 7 in the last group. We learnt that Mr Turner was a single man who looked to be in his mid twenties, and he owns a small block of land in Bynoe, where he has a small cabin home, so it is only a 35 km drive to work each day.

Before this job he was teaching in Palmerston, which is an 85 kilometre drive from his home, so he was happy about not having to travel so much for work. He told our class that he grew his own fruits and vegetables, and anything he cannot use, he donates to charities, and his property also has s number of goats, which provide him with fresh milk each day.

Most of the students in my class, whom I have got too know a little in the second half of last term, live in either Dundee Downs or Dundee Forest, and only one that lives in Dundee South.

The first few days was spent settling into a new routine with our lessons, with Monday and Thursday being Maths and English first, followed by Arts and sports after the morning break, and Science and History in the afternoon.

Our timetable is set in a simular layout, but rotated a little each day, with Tuesday and Friday starting with Arts and Music, then Science and History after the morning break, and Maths and English in the afternoon, and on Wednesday and Saturday mornings, it is Science and History first, then after the morning break it is Maths and English, and on Wednesday afternoons we have Arts and Sports.

A week after school had resumed, Uncle James announced that he wanted to resume the mission trips to the Tiwi Islands, which meant some changes had to be made with staffing in the community. Already Angela has a staff of three local women who help with running the general store, so that was not a problem.

It would not be to much of a problem for Uncle James to spend one week a month away from his small practice, as he was only averaging about three to five patients a day, and Tim would not be needed for the trip, so he can continue his job and assisting the committee to make the community into a community council, as they put together all of the procedures and policies into place to make it happen.

Other members of the community had taken on jobs in the community, assisting with things like operating the community airfield, which now includes a helipad, collecting rubbish and sorting it, and disposing what is not recyclable into the landfill hole.

For this the community has invested in a rubbish collection truck, a heavy roller and a front end loader to manage the landfill and recycle centre, that now consists of a large shed, and sorting conveyor belts, and the centre now employs a total of 4 people full time to run the centre.

As well as work being done to construct the Community Sports, Recreation and Education Centre, bowling greens, tennis courts and football oval, a second and large aircraft hanger was being constructed, along with two light industrial sheds.

Because of the overwhelming demand for holiday accommodation, Seamus and Irene have decided to invest in the purchase of two more blocks of land next door to their existing villas, to build another 6 modular holiday villas, which will hopefully come into use as soon as they are completed and installed.

With the announcement of the approaching medical mission, and with Tim remaining home, that would mean we too would be remaining home, so as to continue our schooling at Dundee, instead of home schooling on the yacht, and with that being the case all books and equipment in our yacht school room were packed up and taken to the house, with books, posters and boards donated to the school at Dundee.

Mrs Quinn has rejoined the yacht, having caught one of the ferries to Dundee, in preparation for the first mission trip commencing in late April, just one week away. Mrs Kennedy who is not a fan of boat travel announced that she will happily remain at the house in Dundee to look after Tim and us boys.

Due to some delays, the mission didn’t leave Dundee until the last day of April, bound for Darwin to collect the five person medical team, that had volunteered for the mission, and just three evenings later, we received a call from Uncle James, who announced that the medical missions would be extended to a ten day medical mission to Gove, visiting all the communities between Darwin and the community of Galiwinku, which is just west of Gove.

Tim was not very happy with the news, but Uncle James said that all the arrangements had already been made, and that after a four day break in Darwin, they would be commencing the second mission run, which would take 9 days plus under two days to return to Darwin.

After school each day Toby and I would go and visit all the birds, which seemed to have settled into our jungle garden, and there was no signs of them going anywhere, especially with all the fruit and nut trees that Uncle James and Tim had planted, which provided all the food that they needed, with the occasional supply of seeds that we would bring them every few days.

Copyright © March 2020 Preston Wigglesworth. All Rights Reserved.
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Chapter Comments

Awesome chapter. The new community seems to be going well. The Tropical Birds have settled into the tropical gardens. The Medical Mission has restarted with a few changes, the boys and Tim remaining in the community.

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Interesting chapter, I see some problems with the missions on the personal side of things

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1 hour ago, mikedup said:

Interesting chapter, I see some problems with the missions on the personal side of things

Mike, do you have a crystal ball or something?

you may be right...

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From the chapter and the above discussion I take it that Tim is a bit needy with physical connections with his mate?

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