Saturday, October 27, 2007

From the Land of Strange Beasties...

From the Land of Strange Beasties: This is a noisy friar bird. They're a large honeyeater. Issi is very interested in them just now.

At the end of our verandah there is a big ironbark, which is a gum tree with very hard timber & in our case wirly~girly branches & at the very end of the lowest branch that dips alarmingly over the verandah there is a friar bird nest. Now in the friar bird's defense the verandah wasn't there when they built their nest & they do know about Issi.

The nest is a large ungainly construction of leaves & twigs cobbled together with cobweb & in it there is at least one chick. We have been watching with delight as mama & papa friar bird work busily to keep their offspring well fed. So does Issi. He sits at the furtherest extremity of the verandah planks with his great topaz eyes fastened on the nest of squwarking chick. Perhaps he remembers how last year's chick was blown out of the tree, nest & all. Perhaps he has visions of launching himself supercat like into space if a bird flies too close.

Despite their name these birds are relatively quiet, for which we are enormously grateful The nest hangs on a level with our bedroom windows. Last year two frantic brown honey eaters (which are tiny, like sparrows) attempted to raise a cuckoo chick. Like other cuckoos these are opportunistic birds & the chick was much larger than his foster parents. It cried all day from first light to full dusk & believe me a hungry cuckoo chick can make a phenomenal amount of noise. If I could have reached the nest that bird would have been Issi's dinner!

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