I made my way to Etti Bay for one reason only. Word was out that cassowaries had been frequently spotted by the beach lately. Well, what I can I say?
A prehistoric flightless dinosaur strolling along tropical beaches? I just had to check it out. Going through my snapshots afterwards, a familiar and precious story materialized.
Etti Bay is a tiny community by the beach, holding a fair sized Caravan Park and a Surf Life Saver Club. This relatively small beach is surrounded by thick tropical rainforest, a cassowary’s Shangri-la.
The arena was set and I was hoping to at least catch a glimpse of this elusive and prehistoric bird. Little did I know for the show that Etti Bay had to offer on this particular afternoon. I came prepared. Or so I thought. As I turned in to the beach area, I almost turned around again. So many cars, so many people? Why are they all here? Most seem happy to picnic on the beach.
But the magic words going through my head were cassowary and beach. I was determined to push my luck. Looking out for a suitable carpark, I noticed a group of people of all ages walking along the beach.
Phones and cameras were held up in the air as they walked the beach in zombie-like style. Hypnotized by someone or something, this stop-and-go motion was bizarre. If this behavior isn’t strange, then I don’t know what is as I looked a bit further ahead. What is the cause for this strange behavior?
Off course! There he was.
A cassowary was roaming along the open beach, leaving a tail of people behind; The fellowship of the cassowary! It made perfectly sense now. Both parties are looking for something precious.
The cassowary was roaming for precious food, whilst his followers hoped to capture a precious photo.
Now I get it. Wait for me. And so it started. With camera in hand, I followed in the footsteps of this beach parade.
Painted like a clown with a party hat on, the theater was set. Let the show begin.
This cassowary was in no hurry and casually strolled south along Etti Beach.
He was obviously hungry and stopped here and there for a delicious snack.
This started the cassowary shuffle. One by one, me and fellow worshippers overtook the cassowary carefully in safe distance.
We then waited for him to come towards us and pass in a favorable spot. With a little luck, he would bypass us closely.
My calculations and luck were a little to accurate at times.
He passed me in touching distance a few times, pumping adrenaline through my veins.
No aggressive behavior was indicated and it felt incredible.
A touch of uncertainty involved this strategy.
This is a wild and oversized bird, which survived the ice age.
’Am I a worthy supporter’? I wondered.
I don’t suppose that I was. He left me standing unnoticed.
How about my fellow followers? This group of kids were well directed and orientated.
Last time I saw a perfect line-up was during my air force times. Holding their arms out in full praise truly impressed the cassowary. And myself!
Such distinction, slightly cheeky. Love the smile on the kid behind. Too cute.
He didn’t find any fruit loops here and moved on. Surely these kids passed the the test.
With his troops assembled, this cassowary cut through scrubs to continue his fruity motive. He was hungry and he was on a mission.
I had to admire his determining search for delicate fruits of the forest.
Or anything to eat? So far, this mission wasn’t fruitful at all.
He looked here.
And he looked there.
He stared up.
And he searched below.
He literally rummaged everywhere he could, but no juicy fruits were found. And that’s how it all changed.
His frustration was hard to miss.
So far he ignored the doom and gloom calls from the two towers, but they couldn’t be rejected any longer.
To be continued.