There’s plenty on when driving a tractor dragging a slasher across fields atop the Bundaberg red dirt. The diesel engine rumble being tempered by ear protection is accompanied by the sound of shredded plants, the rattling of safety chains, and whine of the power-take-off.

Birds keep company. Kites the first to join, hovering meters above the surface then diving it amazing accuracy to captures small animals and large insects. One appears to catch a mouse and an in-air kite battle ensues. The competition over the prize a grizzly end for the rodent. Between hunts the kites rest on the white containers places atop star-pickets used to mark the location of water hydrants.

A lone curlew walks about the freshly slashed paddock finding tasty morsels keeping a safe distance from the slowly moving tractor. Some other stalk like birds soon arrive, along with a couple of magpies. There seems to be some sort of code in play as the larger birds do not occupy similar patches of paddock while the magpies roam freely amongst them all.

A flock of peewees arrive. Like miniature magpies they fly in and out of the paddock on mass which is quite a sight as they clear the area of any insect not fast enough to take cover. The cloud of black and white is not in starling murmuration territory yet impressive nonetheless.

The relative peace of the slashing is brought to an abrupt end by an encountering a boulder hidden amongst the long grass. The sudden “bang” and resulting actions to mitigate damage including a few choice words a sharp reminder of the dangers farming. Fortunately no lasting damage as a bolt sheared saving the slasher and tractor. $5 for a replacement bolt a cheap repair.

Fortunately the boulder incident occurs after finishing the majority of the slashing. The halt in progress a signal to the birds to make their way to new hunting grounds as paddock activity has slowed. The local birds seemed attuned to the movement of agricultural equipment and the feeding opportunity a freshly slashed paddock provides.

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