The boys are back in town with smart black suits and beaks to match….
I love this first line of a poem called, Currawong, written by Bill Chestnut and displayed in his Tasmanian garden.
Canberra is full of birdlife, and as our garden is close to Mt Taylor, we have our share and more. Most of the birds are welcome, interesting to watch, and some, like the magpies, are part of our every day life in the garden.
However, the currawongs….. regular visitors from Mt Taylor, are the least likeable of all the birds. They fly into the gum trees in our street like jet pilots, aerodynamically perfect, and with a confidence to match.
This grey currawong, photographed and found in Western Australia, is not native to our area, However, I could not resist using this shot as the photographer has captured that menacing look …….
Grey Currawong (c) William Betts 2015 www.birdlife.org.au
Here is the Pied Currawong, the type found in our region, more frequently than we would ever want..(despite their beautiful song)
When the Currawongs arrive ..all the other birds in the garden disappear; no more wattle birds, parrots and honey-eaters taking turns at the birdbaths, no more parrots softly chattering in the trees as they feed.
Needless to say, the Currawongs are not welcome in our garden, and when Mr Greenspaces (Gardener No 1) is around, they fly off pretty quickly. I am known by birdlife and animals in general to be a bit of a pushover.
In the interests of this blog, I have tried, many times to get a photo of a currawong…with no luck.
I had given up on the currawong, but the lovely Eastern Spinebill spent most of the autumn feeding in our Peppermint Sage plant, right near the kitchen window. I had the camera ready for this beautiful little bird, and then I noticed the Currawong land on the railing of the deck, not very far from the Peppermint Sage. A very bold move on the part of the Currawong because the deck is definitely out of bounds for them, and they know it.
A photo of the elusive Currawong was tempting. I fiddled with the camera, hardly noticing the Currawong getting closer and closer to the Peppermint Sage. There was a flurry and the Currawong flew away…..the Peppermint Sage leaves waved and the Eastern Spinebill was nowhere to be seen.
I had a moment of paralysing Irish guilt…had the Currawong left with our Eastern Spinebill in its beak?
Fortunately for me, not long afterwards, I heard the reassuring shrill call of the Eastern-Spinebill..it had survived to continue feeding for another day.
Here are is my photo of the Currawong on the deck…certainly not good enough to risk an Eastern-Spinebill. Next time I’ll be paying attention…..when the boys are back in town……