Sunday, 1 March 2009

Flights of fancy

Last night I dreamt that Prince Phillip had died and I was in trouble because I didn’t tell the Queen but apart from that I am quite well in the conscious world, despite the ever present Sydney spectres of sharks, ATM bandits, bikie wars and acronyms.

Today marks the six month anniversary of a special bond that has developed between me and the Avian Kingdom.

I recently bade farewell to the Channel-Billed Cuckoo, a visitor from Indonesia and/or Papua New Guinea between September and February. This cuckoo’s dignified and handsome appearance belies a god awful (no, that is unfair, nothing could be that awful) cry that is uttered at dawn and dusk. Its cry is the combination of a wail and a shriek.

With the cuckoo’s departure my fascination/irritation has been transferred to the plague of Umbrella Cockatoos who have beset Victoria Park. There must be a couple of hundred of them flying about in the evenings when I walk through. They are really rather cracked and full of energy with a hideous plaintive cry and they have so much fun. They fly in packs and then hoards of them congregate on the branches of gum trees and some quite small trees. They hoe into the leaves and nuts causing the small trees’ branches to bounce. The trees look as though they will topple under the weight of so many birds. Imagine the trees’ bitching afterwards. It’s a ludicrous sight, the birds are so out of proportion to the tree, it’s like a medieval painting.

Generally the birds fly, squawk and defecate across the park and pool oblivious to the pedestrians and swimmers. However last week as I crossed the park the wind’s direction changed and it spun out the cockies, who decided to leave their trees and head towards more sheltered terrain. However the wind and their panic disoriented them and they flew low and entered the human domain. I had to raise my umbrella to defend myself as they swooped askew. Their swooping intensified and it seemed that battle had begun so I ran, squawking with terror and delight to the end of the park and the sanctuary of City Road.

Next week: my encounter with Gang-Gangs.


David said...

why do you assume they are oblivious.

Mistress Bel said...

I don't assume, I just know for I am part avian. "Avian woman, she can read birds' minds" as that Guess Who tribute went.