It must be getting nippy up there in the hills – the “winter birds” have arrived in the last week or two, while the run-off after the rains has brought plenty of black duck and teal along the river. They are hunkering down in the reedy beds and will start breeding soon.
The Boss always likes to announce the first Flame Robin but, let’s face it, they are pretty hard to miss. All you need is one perching on the fence and it lights everything up around it.
Soon we’ll have a dozen or more hanging around; they seem to like working in family groups or even bigger flocks, like the firetails and finches. They are the only robins that do that.
They are often simply called “the robin red-breast” but that name also goes for its cousins, the Scarlet Robin and the Red-capped Robin, which also have red breasts but in different shades. The Flame Robin is more of a bright orange.
Then, one day last week, the currawongs arrived in a great big mob. These are the Pied Currawongs and they are noisy critters and they aren’t quite as welcome. Well, I don’t mind them myself but The Boss isn’t keen on them.
“Look at the wrens, General,” he says, pointing to the resident Blue Wrens as they scatter.
He doesn’t like the way the currawongs attack the smaller birds and raid their nests. I could point out to him that the Kookaburras do the same thing but he overlooks that because he likes their calls and the way they clean up the baby snakes in summer.
The Boss has a long memory too and he’s never forgotten the time he and the missus took the kids camping at Carnarvon Gorge in central Queensland.
It’s a pretty spot by all accounts and when they arrived they set up camp and went off for a splash along the creek that runs through the gorge. But he left the back of the camper open, didn’t he?
And sitting up on the shelf above the kitchen was his supply of home-made bread, porridge, cereals and biscuits – which the local currawongs hoed right into while they were away.
They came back to find a terrible mess, along with currawong poo all over the chairs, table and kitchen stove and bench. I reckon he’s looked at them with a jaundiced eye ever since.
Speaking of eyes, the Pied and Black Currawongs have these beady, intense, golden-yellow eyes that peer at me like they’d like to peck mine out.
They don’t give much away. Woof!