Friday, August 24, 2012

In a Tree....

Right outside my window is a big tree. It's not tall enough to reach my window, but it does fill quite a lot of space even without leaves. Currently it's winter down under and most of the trees that lose their leaves have dumped them some time ago. This particular tree did something similar, as it's nothing but a large log with tons of twigs, sticking out of the ground at the moment. All those twigs however provide wonderful places for all manner of birds to sit. Or hide. Or, when there's a storm, hang on for dear life. Or spend all freaking night singing... Here is a picture of the culprit. If you want to hear what he sounds like, try this link. Australian Magpie . Normally I wouldn't care if he was singing or not, because it's gorgeous... but not at 2:30 a.m. and not when you've only been asleep for 45 minutes. The link doesn't really do him justice as he's extremely loud. I mean loud. REALLY loud.

People opened windows and told him to shut up (I'm ad libbing, because the actual phrases used were not truly fit for the ears of mere mortals.) and at some point a shoe was thrown, and is now hanging in the tree, swinging gently back and forth. Meanwhile some extremely stressed student is contemplating, to paraphrase David Tennant while portraying Doctor Who in the proper first episode of season three,".... looking daft with one shoe." My apologies if that made no sense.

In case you're interested they're about the size of a raven. Not a small bird. They are also extremely smart. Just as smart as these I'm willing to bet. This, is the Australian Raven. They're about the same size, but the Raven is all black and he's got a little beard. Well, more like a little tuft of feathers that look like a beard than an actual beard. That little tuft puffs up when they call, and the call is quite mocking. Apparently it changes from place to place. In Sydney, it's a mocking HAAAH Haah Haaaaaaa... Here in Perth, it warbles quite a bit. Try clicking here to hear what they sound like. Sorry, it's not all that great a recording, but it's the closest I could find. The Ravens here, tend to warble a bit when they call, so it sounds mournful, rather than mocking. This particular Australian Raven spent most of the day sitting up there during a storm. I have no idea why he didn't go somewhere more sheltered.

And since I'm rambling on about birds I've seen in the tree outside, I might as well show you this one too. This is a Singing Honeyeater, and is by far the most dull coloured Honeyeater I've seen so far. I really have to go and take pictures of all the different kinds that are crawling all over a tree on campus. Everything eats off that tree... Anyway, this little guy and friends took refuge in the tree during a windstorm that was howling so loud that it was setting off the neighborhood Kookaburra family. Took me forever to figure out what it was because it doesn't really have an bold markings like it's relatives, plus it was hunched up, so it didn't look like a Honeyeater. It looks more like a thrush, and if anyone has a different answer for what this bird is, please don't hesitate to correct me. I was going on what I found in a birding guide I got from the library on campus.

Just one more, and then I think I'm done for today. My food is getting cold. This next one is a Black Faced Cuckoo-Shrike. Again, I could be wrong, but that's what it appears to be to me. The link I attached to the name was really the only one I could find, so, I'm not sure what they sound like. The one in the tree was pretty quiet too. It spent it's time scratching like there was no tomorrow, but it might have just been grooming. It didn't appear to health issues. Maybe he/she was just enjoying a good scratch.

I think I'm going to have to invest in a bird book, because the one I got from the library wasn't in good shape when I got it, and it appears that traveling home in my backpack hasn't done it any favors. Oh well. I'll take it back to the library tomorrow and see if they slap me with a replacement fee. They didn't on the last one I found falling to pieces, but two times? That's probably pushing it. My poor poor pocketbook.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Tale of a Double Yoke Banana

There are many mysteries of life out there in the world. Kookaburras that love a good windstorm. A local duck that can't get enough of basil flavored noodles. A ring necked parrot that likes to play with the aglets on my shoelaces while I wait patiently for a bus. However, the very last thing I ever expect to see was this.

Yes, I know, it's a banana and I can hear your mental gears slowly beginning to turn, wondering,"Why in God's name, is she posting about a common fruit? She's in Australia. She could be showing the world any number of amazing things and yet, she picks a banana." But before you really get going about the travesty of fruit upstaging other things of startling colours (no, I did not spell that wrong. I'm in Australia. That's how I'll spell it while I'm here. I shall observe 'proper' English... and because I got scolded by my C&DT teacher...) and variety, I would have you examine said tropical fruit closely. Please note that it is rather oddly shaped, as if perhaps that, inside that lovely yellow skin, there may be something unwholesome going on??

Lets open the convenient natural zipper that bananas come equipped with and expose the truth. Now, I've seen things doubled up before, like eggs. Sometimes a chicken will decide to hold up the whole laying process for a day, and two squishies end up inside one hard shell. Its the miracle of the chicken. One egg, two yolks, although I do pity the chicken that has to pop that sucker out. Ouch. Neat party trick, but the consequences to the old egg chute can be problematic.

Enough nonsense. Back to the matter at hand. When I went shopping I found this among the bananas and got it just to see what was inside. Here is the truth revealed. Yes inside was a double yoke banana! And they were delicious! I had them with oatmeal, fried apples, brown sugar and some cinnamon sprinkled on top just to be sure I had a good case of indigestion by the time I got to class that morning. Actually I'm kidding about going to class afterwards. It was a Wednesday and I stayed home to work on a project for one of my classes. But the bananas were still really good.

In all seriousness, generally when I find a veggie or a fruit like this, they don't taste good, but this one (two?) was very sweet without tasting like it was going bad. Really good with the oatmeal hodge-podge, and thus it must be recorded somewhere for posterity... Not that any self respecting future generation is going to look at this blog. I can hear them now,"You want me to look at a blog?! Are you trying to make me look totally uncool?" That's assuming they're still speaking a language that I can understand.