Saturday, April 29, 2017

kookaburra quest


one of the more noticeable, if not particularly interesting, aspects of life in Yorkshire is one seldom sees wildlife more commonly associated with Australia. seldom yet, look you see, not if ever. certain splendid specimens of the Australian way of life sometimes make it to this fair part of the world. and no, not by cheat means, such as being brought in captivity or as part of a touring cricket side.

something i have become quite enamoured about is that there have been sightings of that most splendid of birds, the kookaburra, here in Yorkshire. i am quite sure that i've mentioned this in another post, but to recap the sightings stretch back at least a decade. whether it is an elaborate hoax, or if the birds somehow escaped captivity i know not. i do know, however, that i am quite keen to try and spot one. but just not so keen that i am prepared to look anywhere beyond our garden.

as the quality of the image tells you no, the above is not an image of a kookaburra taken by me. it's far too good. instead, then, this is one of them "free to use" images of the bird i wish to see, placed here so that you may have a suitable point of reference in evaluating, if not judging, my valiant efforts to attract such a fine bird into our garden. although yes, if a kookaburra turned up and was keen to be in the house, i might consider allowing it.

do i have some sort of issue or quarrel with the more English in nature type of birds that visit our garden? far from it. mine is the pleasure in regularly placing food out for them, and it is always a delight to see them swoop down and eat it. to me it just seems jolly pleasant, really, the idea of a kookaburra coming all that way to come and peck on stuff here.

my hopes are always raised when i see a bird of decidedly Australian colour come into the garden. that and this was and is the case with episodes like the below, where through the magic of zoom you can sort of kind of see a bird resplendent in the colours of Australian gold and green perched on the seed feeder.

whilst clearly not a kookaburra as such this bird is reasonably close. a suggestion would be that this bird is, too, Australian, or at least has a fondness for the place. why, after all, would the bird cover itself in shades so closely associated with the country if it were not from it or passionate about it?

there are of course those who would suggest that i am courting danger, if not death, by attempting to attract a kookaburra to our garden. this is because of the fact that, despite this not being widely known or recognized, the kookaburra is the single most deadly animal off of Australia.

yes, i will leave that to sink in and indeed will go into further detail just now, but first here you go, here's another look at this delightful little bird.

there are of course many, many wonderful contenders for the most lethal and prolific of killer creatures from Australia. which is the greatest, or most dangerous, is determined by the frames of reference used.

many, for instance, might consider the great white shark (not the golf one) to be Australia's most prestigious predator. true, perhaps - if you are in the sea. no, i am afraid, you cannot place conditions on how and when such a life form may be considered the most dangerous. if we say the shark is at home in the sea and the kookaburra is at home in the sky, then a common middle ground between the two is land. i shall forever argue, and indeed would be prepared to place money on, that in a fair measurement a kookaburra is a far more proficient and successful killer on land than any sort of shark is.

where a kookaburra is not at home is in a storm of hailstones, or if you like in the midst of a hailstorm. as this is the kind of weather phenomenon we have been struck with during late April it is then of no surprise that i have not seen a kookaburra.

indeed yes, the above is a look at the window on the world i have from my elevated shed, and what you can see is the hailstones gathering upon it. this is instead of a kookaburra flying by.

should you have the capacity to play the videos i from time to time upload here and for some reason you wish to watch ten seconds of the hailstones hitting the window, you will love the below.

whilst the above has all been a wonderful and, i trust, welcome diversion for those of you who really like adverse weather conditions i suppose we'd best get back on subject. and that subject is the presence of kookaburra in my garden, or rather the distinct lack thereof.

like many, many gardens across England - nay, the UK - it could be said that what i presently lack in terms of kookaburra presence is amply made up for by the number of pigeons i appear able to attract with seed, bread and the occasional bit of fruit. like, for instance, this one.

great in number is the amount of people who are diligent in providing food for a variety of birds with the finest of intentions yet seem to succeed only in making one or two pigeons considerably fatter than they normally are.

also great in number are those who, and this can be said to be a consequence of the above, consider pigeons to be a nuisance and a pest. rats with wings is how i have heard them described, and more than once. whilst admitting they are not the most attractive of birds - familiarity breeds contempt and so forth - i wouldn't go so far as to express such dislike. my approach is that all birds are very welcome to feast upon what i provide; it's just that i'd really prefer it if a kookaburra would drop in at least once.

is it not possible that the kookaburra are visiting my garden - just not at times when i am watching? yes, i suppose. and no, i am not going to set up surveillance to record such things. if i were to resort to that then i might as well just watch existing videos of this most magnificent - if lethal - bird.

the above may or may not be the same lovely Australian green and gold bird from the pictures above. it was not an image captured at the same time, however. this was from a quite different, indeed earlier day.

and so on to tits, then, in conclusion. tits are of course phenomenally popular. this is a good thing, as frequently there are indeed tits on display both in my garden and in gardens across the land. whilst tits come in many a fine size and colour, it is the little blue tits of the world that i see most frequently in my garden.

here is a picture of a tit in my garden, eagerly pecking away at some nuts.

yes, sorry about the low quality image of the tit in the picture. or rather the low quality image. i was understandably quite excited to be seeing such a fantastic tit in my garden and so my hand was a little shaky as i took the picture.

and so off i go, then. to where? well, probably to place some more seeds and so forth out in the garden. i remain optimistic that one day i shall in fact place out the correct blend of seed and feed to attract a kookaburra. should i have my camera or phone at the ready when this happens, most happy day and i shall surely share the image with you here.

until then, then,

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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