Sunday, 14 July 2013

Jottings from the Tropics: 14 July 2013

The pub is holding a woodchop contest. There is also a bouncy castle. It's raining. What could possibly go wrong?

— o O o — 

So there I was, sitting at the computer, pretending to work, when I heard something that sounded like rustling paper. At first, I thought it was interference on the radio. But it kept going. Also, it seemed to be coming from exactly where the radio wasn't.

The rustling was not paper, but the feathers of a pheasant coucal that had wandered into the house and couldn't find its way out again. Those of you who are familiar with pheasant coucals will know that confusion is their permanent state. They are large and (I think) handsome birds, but they are not going to win 'Avian Mastermind'.

Here is what First Dog on the Moon has to say about pheasant coucals.

I stood there, bemused, as the coucal swaggered past me. At this point, the bird realised that there was a human quite nearby, so it was probably time to make a getaway. Instead of turning around — the strategy favoured by brush turkeys — it kept going until it reached the bathroom. Unfortunately, the bathroom is a dead end.

I did, eventually, herd it out through the front door, a process that should have been accompanied by 'Yakety Sax'. Instead, it was accompanied by the bird's alarm call. (You can hear a coucal's alarm call at this site.) And although the coucal left a trail of chaos — mostly because it tried to fly — it did not poop over everything. And that puts it much higher on the favourite birds list than the minuscule white-browed scrub wren. (I'd put it at the top of the list if it would take care of the cheeky little house mouse that runs over my feet at night while I'm sitting at the computer, pretending to work.)

(No photos, I'm afraid. The bird was upset enough without having a camera shoved in its face.)

Here's Yakety Sax, so you can recreate the event in the comfort of your own house.


mick said...

I am sitting and chuckling at the images conjured up by your description of chasing that bird through your house - plus I am wondering why such interesting things keep on happening to you?!

Snail said...

I was so surprised by the coucal. I hadn't even seen one in the garden, let alone walking through the hall as if it owned the place.

I do enjoy having the wildlife treat me as part of the furniture, but it doesn't happen as frequently now that I'm not in the rainforest.

Denis Wilson said...

Seemingly, you missed your calling as a Snail Academic (Gastopodologist? Molluscologist?)
Clearly you have a comic genius residing in your brain.
You gave us the cast of freaky characters, the cartoon sound track, the script. You only needed to somehow chase the Coucal down to the Pub, where it was accidentally decapitated, as the winning Axeman slipped on the rain-soaked grass.
Good fun post, Bronwen.

Stiletto ElsieXie said...

Too bad you didn't take any photos of this scattered-brained bird. Its quite hilarious the way you describe this anecdote and must have provided you much amusing diversion from your computer. You were pretending to work after all ;)

Kalyan Panja said...


Ira said...

This is fantastic!