Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Betty's Wild Mallacoota Life

Try to imagine this post - the next bit of it, at least - spoken in a sort of David Attenborough whisper, if you can.

The tally of wild things continues to grow here in lovely Mallacoota. On another marathon walk into town yesterday with buddy Smack, who's passing through on his way from Tassie to Phillip Island – Aussies will get the joke there, but others will need a map) I identified a pair of Royal Spoonbills poking about in the shallows with something that may or may not have been a sandpiper, or perhaps a godwit (it was hard to tell). I also know the source of that funny 'chee chee chee wit' sound now (more high-pitched and twittery than an eastern whipbird) – it's this little fellow – a golden whistler. What a little beauty.

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A kookaburra, complete with lifeless lizard dangling from its beak, stood its ground against a pair of very indignant brush wattlebirds. I don't know why they were so cross – unless the lizard was a close personal friend.

Then there was the Shag that appeared to be mud-puddling in a stormwater drain – a sudden movement caught my eye, and when I peered over the side of the board bridge, there it was, soaking wet and paddling about in the thick mud of the drain, and evidently having a lovely time. It looked at us unperturbed, then turned around and stomped back into the stormwater drain.

The lyrebirds have remained elusive so far this trip. This morning, though, I was sitting in the flat minding my own business when a lyrebird nonchalantly made its way across the pavers right in front of the window.

I've made friends with a crippled magpie – he and his Significant Other have begun peering through the window to look for me - they take small pieces of sausage out of my hand. The king parrots are also back, and a female satin bower bird has put in a few appearances.

On the wilder-than-wild (despite being domesticated) front – there are the geese. The bloody geese.

These Chinese geese are ok. It's the cranky Euro-Geese I have problems with. No pic coz I was too busy running for my life!

Peter & Margaret have had to go away for a day or two on family business, and in their absence I have been on goose patrol and possum detail. Possums I can handle. Geese are a whole different kettle of, um, things. They have hissy fits whenever I approach.

I've heard that the secret, if under attack by a goose, is to spread your arms wide and to look bigger and more threatening than they do. That's kind of hard when a homicidal goose is rushing at your vulnerable bits with murder on its tiny mind. If Peter & Margaret don't get back this afternoon I will have another go at it. Wish me luck!


lemmiwinks said...

The depth and breadth of your ornithological knowledge never ceases to amaze me!

Sue said...

LOL, nah - I just have a good field guide with fairly detailed descriptions and pictures. If a bird sits still long enough for me to take in details of colour/pattern etc (and perhaps if it is good enough to sing for me as well!) I can identify it with the help of my trusty bird-nerd book (and hopefully commit it to memory). The variety of birdlife here is amazing, and I doubt that I'll ever really scratch the surface in one or trips a year!