Sunday, July 05, 2009

Where's brekkie?

Well, 'spose that I'd better write something. Not sure what, since quite a few notions and subjects have drifted in and out of brain over this past week, but have been too lazy to connect them all into a coherent essay, so will just plink this post directly into the mix - "off the cuff", as it were.

At this point, am not sure who's training who .. this little pixie let's me know he's around by the pitter of little feet on the roof of the van. So I poke head out of door. "ChCh Chchch Chchchchchch" he says, feed me. Ah, what the hell, say I and get the plastic container out. "Chka Chacha k k k k k" he says, little tail furiously wagging back and forth.

Ah, have mentioned it in a comment on previous post, but will repeat it here. The "common" name for this bird is a "Willy Wagtail" but is, in fact, a misnomer. It is related to, or belongs in the avian family of "fantails" - Rhipidura.

"Wagtails" (family Motacilla) are "irregular migrants or vagrants from the northern hemisphere" and are generally only seen in the far north of Australia; according to The Slater field guide to Australian birds.

Ah, one might ask, what's the difference? Well, fantails are active flycatchers and, while on the ground, move their tails from side to side, probably to disturb any flying insect nearby. "wagtails" move their tails up and down. Have renamed my little bloke "Fannie", just to confuse things even further (though have no idea whether it's male or female).

It had been hanging around for some time, but had been chatting with one of the locals who told me that he feeds them, and managed to get one to sit on his shoulder so - began project Willy. He was, at first, quite startled and fled the arm action when I threw the larvae over to him , however, didn't take him long to figure out that there was food as a result. Now he comes and calls. Also catches them mid-air -

Wish I could get that on slow motion video. 'Tis an incredibly intricate, beautiful, delicate - but deadly accurate - piece of balletic flight.

Its also been bloody wet, of late. Was a bit wild and woolly a few days ago, apparently. Roofs off houses over on the other side of the gulf and a B-double blown over. Didn't see that here, though. Bit windy, but the rainfall was only slanted at 45 degrees, and am tucked behind a fringe of sheltering scrub. Did manage to collect some welcome water, though. (oh oops, haven't prepared the pics - back soon)

On a different tack .. have just noticed that yesterday was July 4. Does anyone else think it odd; that for a nation which trumpets "freedom" and "democracy" - a rather uncomfortably large number of them see no paradox in wearing identical costumes, standing in straight lines and taking orders from what is, essentially, a strict pyramidal "authority" structure??


Link said...

Also known of as the 'Australian Nightingale'.

Vincent said...

As for July 4th, I said my piece in a comment on Beth's blog.

Don't imitate whingeing Poms and complain about the weather. It seems only yesterday you were complaining about the drought! Not that i think you are complaining, really---as you say, water is welcome.

& I like your bird notes too.

Anne Johnson said...

The pixie looks like a bird we have here in E. American called a "junco."

Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

Thanks for the lesson. Trying to figure out the sex of birds is always difficult. We had Harvey Lino the lovebird,but never found out if he was really a male;) lol!

Davo said...

Mahndisa; this reply is a bit late in coming. Yes. Avians have their own system of identification. Predominantly, the males have the more 'noticeable' plumage. With juvenile budgerigars, the males have a blue tinge on the bit at the top of their beaks. Perhaps that also applies to parrots.