Saturday, 31 August 2013

Jottings from the Tropics: 31 August 2013

What is this on the calendar? September? Who put that there?

— o O o — 

Every morning, I check my footwear before I put them on because spiders. For years, it's been a pointless activity — my slippers, boots and shoes have been spider free. But this morning, I did not check. I'd like to apologise to the dazed and slightly compressed huntsman spider that I eventually shook out of the toe of my right slipper.I hope the rest of its day went more smoothly.

— o O o —

A small flock of figbirds stole all the neighbours' mulberries, which was a shame, because I was going to steal them*. The birds flew off when I brought out my camera, presumably aware of the value of photographic evidence.

Later in the day, a kookaburra landed in the same tree and demonstrated a similar level of familiarity with photographic evidence. This is unusual. Kookaburras are not known for their shyness, as anyone who has tried to have a barbecue at any number of locations along the east coast can attest. They'll** steal sausages off your fork, nestlings out of your hands and would probably raid your fridge if they could only manage the door handle.This un-kooka-like behaviour makes me wonder if this is the bird responsible for the missing rubber snake. Perhaps it has learnt a lesson. Not sure what lesson, but one of them nonetheless.

— o O o —

This is a good time of year for watching birds of prey, but I'm not very good at identifying them. Oh, I can manage the easy ones, such as the Pacific baza, grey goshawk and black-shouldered kite, but those browny greyey ones get me every time. So, may I ask those of you who are better at raptor IDs than I am***, is this a brown goshawk? Thanks in advance.

Either this one, or its buddy, keeps hurtling through the garden when I least expect it. To be fair, I keep leaving the house just when the bird least expects it. If we're tallying surprises, the bird and I are about equal.


* I wasn't.

** Kookaburras. Although I'm sure 'anyone who has tried to have a barbecue at any number of locations along the east coast' might also be a food thief of the first order.

*** Which is everyone, up to and including the spider in my shoe.


biobabbler said...

I love those shots of the raptor. I'm a pretty crap birder re: U.S. birds, so am REALLY not in a position to help in any other country. pardon.

Maybe the kookaburra has a tummy ache. Maybe it's an introvert. Maybe it respects your personal space. Maybe it's shy 'cause it has a crush on you. =)

I shake out my bath towel before I use it EVERY TIME 'cause someone just MENTIONED her brother had a very bad experience with his bath towel and a scorpion in the Virgin Islands. I've never actually HEARD the story, and I am 1000s of miles fm. USVI, but every day, SHAKE.

Neil said...

Hi Snail the raptor looks very much like a juvenile Brown Goshawk. You live in a very interesting place with what goes on in the garden.

Snail said...

Kookaburras are the epitome of extrovert! I wonder if this one was waiting to see if I had some food, so it could launch a stealth attack.

I've had a scorpion + bath towel experience, but it was in a guesthouse on the Great Ocean Road in Victoria. I got stung by a small scorpion, but, my goodness, it hurt. (But not for long.)

Snail said...

Thanks, Neil! This poor thing was being mobbed by an irate magpie-lark, which is why it had that startled look in the last pic. The raptors are still around, but the magpie-larks have moved out.