Tuesday, 4 October 2011

The Dance of the Lyrebird

The lyrebirds of Karbeethong are a lovely bunch. This morning I came across a youngster strutting his stuff in the undergrowth. I'm pretty sure he was a youngster because his tail feathers weren't very big. I shot a video of him on my mobile phone, but the quality was too abysmal to upload here.

Anyway - I did a couple of voice recordings (again. on my phone - aren't telephones amazing things these days?) and identified a heap of different bird calls (all produced by the lyrebird) - a kookaburra, a currawong or magpie, a golden whistler, a south-eastern whipbird, a satin bowerbird, and several other calls I couldn't identify. The clearly identifiable lyrebird sound, though, is the sound that's reminiscent of a camera shutter - a sort of metallic chyoo chyoo chyoo followed by a squawky chirrup. Upon the squawk, the bird does a funny sort of sideways hop, and bobs the 'lyre' shape of his tail feathers forward over his back and head. I wish my video had worked out! The little fellow let me watch him for about 10 minutes, and then my knees gave out, ha ha, and I had to move. Startled, the bird skedaddled.

I'm not sure yet how to upload sound files so you can hear the variety of his calls, and the genius of his mimcry. Watch this space.

Lyrebird-chasing is one of my fav pursuits whenever I come to Mallacoota - that, and feeding the dozens of birds that come to the door of my flat. I have a new magpie who must have young to feed, as she keeps coming back for more, and leaving with a beakful of food, presumably for the babies. She was so eager to see me this afternoon that she came running, and I thought she was going to come inside!

Of my latest pursuit - house-hunting - on this perfect Mallacoota day of blue sky, bluer water, sparkling views and balmy weather - I can't give you any updates - but I have been back for a second look at a house I rather like. Stay tuned!

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