Saturday, February 23, 2013

Between 5:30 & 6:30....

 Between 5:30 and 6:30 in the evening, is the hour of the giant Kingfisher. Or rather, it's the hour in which the neighborhood Kookaburra family finds a roosting spot for the night. They live in large family groups, in fact I think this one is rather big, given the 12 members I see flying past. They pause on the big light posts overlooking the Australian Bowling Lawns, in groups of 3 or 4 and call (I just can't call it singing), letting everyone in the vicinity that this is their area and other Kookaburra families are not welcome. The calls are unbelievably loud when you're close up, and I can hear them calling even when they're miles away. Every morning the first call I hear clearly from a bird is the Kookaburra family that lives/sleeps in the park. They generally start in before 5:30 a.m. when it's light enough for them to fly safely. This is the bird you most often hear in movies whenever the main characters are in a jungle of some sort.... which is something short of improbable as they inhabit one of the most arid places on earth. And they only live in Australia. You won't hear this bird in the jungles of Africa, Central America, South America or in Asia... Unless you're in Papua New Guinea or in Northern Australia where there is rainforest and jungle. I think they do have some there, but I could be wrong. They aren't strong fliers for distances.

The pictures aren't the best, but I was taking them from some distance, and I was trying to be fast as they don't stay in one place long, unless they're calling, and even then it's a race to get the pic before they stop and move on. Once they're in the gum trees you're out of luck, because they hide well up in the branches for the night. 

Anyway, I was lucky enough to catch them as they made their flood-light pit stop on the way to their roost. They're as regular as clockwork about this too. I always know when dinner time is because they're out there creating an almighty racket before their bedtime. Then they spend another 20 minutes or so babbling amongst themselves while they get ready for bed. They're not the only ones doing that though. At about the same time, although generally a bit later, the Rainbow Lorikeets arrive shrieking and squeaking and settling down in some tree somewhere out in the park. I haven't figured out which one it is yet.

It seems that here in Perth, it's all about the birds. I know there are other animals lurking here, but you rarely see them. Then again, I live well inside the city/suburb area, and my guess is that creatures of the larger land bound variety don't venture in this far. Nor have a need to. Much of Western Australia is uninhabited, except by its regular natural critters. 

Here is a bit better picture of a Kookaburra, but this one isn't wild. Well, he was wild, but he was hit by a car, and can no longer fly, so he resides in the Sydney Wildlife park with a girlfriend. It was a little cold the day I was there, so he was all puffed up, but still alert and watching everyone who was watching him. If you are curious about what they sound like, so you can pick it's call out of the movies, click here. Surprise! That wasn't a monkey! LOL!

I do really love all the birds I see here. We have birds at home too, but not like this, and the calls (with the exception of the American Robin, and the Western Tanager) just do not compare. They make me smile even before I'm fully awake in the morning... even if it IS before 5:30 a.m.