Sunday 12 July 2009

Avian mayhem

For a couple of minutes yesterday, the garden erupted in ornithological pandemonium.

In the moments before, the Macleay's and Lewin's honeyeaters were shouldering each other away from the azaleas. (Even though there's enough for everyone.) A pair of spotted catbirds perched in a nearby tree, watching the dispute. Scrubfowl and turkeys scratched through the leaf litter. The usual scene. Not entirely peaceful, but Zen-like compared with what was about to happen.

Enter a whipbird, the most cartoonish of the forest birds. They look like the Roadrunner but have the demeanour of Looney Tunes Tasmanian Devil. This one had flushed a frog from the undergrowth and was determined to catch it at any cost. The bird came scooting out of the forest, chuckling and chattering as it chased the frog, which was making enormous leaps to escape. The parade zipped past my window. And then came back again. The circus was in town.

I grabbed the camera and did what I could. But whipbirds are very quick and somewhat unpredictable. I wonder if they know what they're going to do next.

Usual view of a whipbird

Caught in the open

There must be some food somewhere