Thursday, 2 February 2012

Jottings from the Tropics: 2 February 2012


It looks as though Tropical Cyclone Jasmine might form over the Coral Sea this weekend. I mention this only because it will bring us one storm closer to TC Narelle. And you can’t imagine how much I am looking forward to commenting on that.

- o O o -

Sigh. First the car, now the work computer. Not a major problem, just a misbehaving screen. The display was all over the place — flickering, slipping sideways, re-recreating Salvador Dali’s Persistence of Memory. Easily solved by hooking up the notebook to an external monitor, but that rather defeats the purpose of having a notebook. You can take your teeny little computer to a cafe and tap away at the miniature keyboard, occasionally pausing to look pensive, sip your coffee and adjust your beret, but the oversized monitor is likely to cramp your pose as an artiste. Mind you, even with the wide-screen monitor, the gear is still easier to lug around than an old Compaq portable.

I now return you to the 21st century.

- o O o -

Following the great rotting fruit pig-out of a few days ago, the pademelons have been less enthusiastic in their attempts to winsome me into sharing my food. I would not have considered it possible, given their normal behaviour. But when I ate banana and mango in front of Red, he sniffed once and then made a point of picking up a fallen leaf and chewing it...very...slowly. Later, he flopped down in the shade of an azalea and gave a sigh like a deflating hot air balloon. Or a furry dirigible.

Pip is still scaring the brush turkeys and cropping the grass, but refuses to even look at me if I am holding a bowl of fruit.

- o O o -

On the 11 Jan, I said that the tooth-billed bowerbird was winding up his advertising for the season. Well, three weeks later, he’s going strong. He has to compete with cicadas that have taken to calling throughout the day, but he makes the effort. He will have to give it away soon, though. His songs are punctuated by increasingly long intervals.Also, when the latest addition to your repertoire is a high-pitched squeal that sounds exactly like feedback, you've almost certainly run out of tricks with which to impress the other birds.

Unfortunately for him, his stage area is an attractive dozing spot for pademelons and brush turkeys. Why, it is lined with fresh ginger leaves, each one turned up the same way and arranged in a pleasing configuration. It’s just like turned-down bed linen and a little chocolate on the pillow.

Oh, to be able to read a tooth-billed bowerbird’s thoughts at those times.

- o O o -

I had a good idea of the thoughts of another bowerbird this afternoon. I heard a commotion in the Callistemon — rustling leaves and intense scolding as a spotted catbird received a hell of a telling off from a black-faced monarch. I’m not sure whether the admonishment was preemptive or if eggs and nestlings were involved, but the catbird hurtled away with the monarch in fierce pursuit. As usual, no camera.

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