Honorary Twitcher

For all you Sydneysiders this post might be funny, for the rest of you possibly more so! I’m trying to get into some creative writing in anticipation of future adventures and endeavours so here is an attempt, in between slaving away at the books and company. I moved to Sydney from Cape Town four months ago. Jetlag coming this way is tremendous and my circadian rythms, as they are known, did not level out in the prescribed manner of one day per timezone crossed as they ought. For the first few weeks I could barely get a wink. After a fashion however it occured to me this was more to do with the local fauna than any lack of correct melatonin level or rythm there of! I’m staying in Northern Sydney and whilst clearly not “bush” there are hundreds of different bird species here. The cacophony of noise they produce was initially fascinating and in fact enjoyable, this soon turned to despair when they started sitting in the tree by my window, seemingly rotating their duty to keep me awake! Trying to turn a negative into a positive I’ve become what I understand to be called a “twitcher”, or at least an honorary one. So the first culprit is this ugly gestapo looking fella, commonly known as the Australian Mapgpie aka Gymnorhina tibicen. Now the magpies I recall in the UK don’t make much of a sound, this chap however revels in ganging up with his mates and letting loose. His range is four octaves and apparently can mimic thirty five other bird species as well dogs, horses and even humans at times. I wouldnt believe it if I hadnt heard it. Sitting outside the window with his buddies he is only rivalled by the cacophany that comes from the Sulphur-crested Cockatoo aka Cacatua galerita. In fact cacophony is too fine a word for this ear insult! I’d love to know how these birds ever find a mate when making a sound like that. I’m sure everyone has heard it but when there are half a dozen at your window screaching as they do, there is no mercy but the mental asylum. Apparently often domesticated it too can imitate humans, if only they would perhaps take tips from Billy Holiday or the like, it truly is a flea infested mongrel and I struggle to find its good points! Speaking of mongrel though this brings me nicely to the Flaming Galah better known as the Rose-breasted Cockatoo aka Eolophus roseicapilla. Rivalling its sulphur crested cousin in the racket department this variety at least has looks going for it. It was at the sight of this and the realisation of the name connotations that I started to soften to my new feathered friends. Whilst noisy they are colourful and quite relaxing to watch once the aggression of being woken up has subsided!  Speaking of aggression this brings me onto this veritable dinosaur; the Australian White Ibis aka Threskiornis molucca. The size of a turkey they thankfully don’t tend to say much but what they lack in voice they more than make up for in gall. With the gait of the gestapo bird and the lack of manners to boot, they’ll happily relieve your sandwich straight out of your hand. Moving onto the last two is proof that I am softening and where the title of the honorary twitcher comes to the fore. The Rainbow Lorikeet aka Trichoglossus ubritorquatus, what can you say, most definitely my second most favourite bird in the world and immediately smitten I was! With the colours of the rainbow on its back and seemingly joined at the hip with its lover, it has no cares in the world other than to fly free. If I am to be reincarnated this would be high on my wish list at the pearly gates! Saving the best to last I give you the Laughing Kookaburra aka Dacelo novaeguineae. Initially this was the straw that nearly broke the camels back but as its call its possibly the most amusing thing I’ve heard in a long time, it too was responsible for my new found birding fascination and appreciation. I’ve seen a kookaburra before, as a lad I owned a kookaburra cricket bat for a while too, but I never realised they could sound like the cross between a hallucinating hyena and a mental monkey! I have yet to get a picture of this little beauty and I apologise for the poor pictures above, they are however at least mine… as I type it seems a possum has taken on the mantel of sleep depriver while he services his missus in same said tree! More to follow as and when I find the inspiration, I do after all also now have wings 🙂

3 thoughts on “Honorary Twitcher

  1. Wow Ranj, It’s makes the seagull, that landed on our bird table, look boring! It was huge compared to the house sparrows we’re used to, but it would have looked so much better if it had had the same colouring of the rainbow bird you wrote about! Hope you’re getting some sleep now you’ve got used to the noise! Love Min xx

  2. Toro!!
    I laughed so much when reading it, cause I just happen to have the same experience! At first I was really excited about this birds standing out of my window, but now I don’t know how to keep them away! haha!!
    Cheers! Congrats for the blog!

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