Saturday, 30 November 2013

Window 1 Fan-tailed cuckoo ? Dog 0

The question mark in the above scorecard is to show that the final score by the Cuckoo is not yet known, but is not 0.

This morning I was aware that a pair of Fan-tailed Cuckoos (Cacomantis flabelliformis - see below) were doing a call and response routine in the grdean so took myself off to see if I could score a photo or two - possibly an X-rated action shot.  The first bird located was a male, perched in the base of a crab-apple tree.
Then a female joined it and perched in a Pistachio tree.
After a short while the female took flight and for reasons known (briefly) to itself decided to short cut through my study.  Which does have a window, but not with a straight-through view.  In the words of Comics: thud!!!  and also splat!!!!
The bird soon got its head up - and seemed to be looking for some analgesics.  The small dog  - in my study - was very interested in this appearance on the deck.
She stayed indoors.  I doubt if she would play well with others (unlike this Jack Russell).

I then shifted the cuckoo out of canine sight and left it to recover.  I did take the opportunity to photograph the diagnostic yellow eye-ring!
After about 40 minutes it was still in the same posture.  I came up with two possible explanations of this behaviour.
  1. It was studying art-history and planning a dissertation on "Mark Rothko: the blue period in rural Australia"; or
  2. It had somehow become mesmerised by the boring phenomenon into which it had been thrust (not necessarily ruling out option 1).
Assuming option 2 was the go I shifted it to the edge of the deck.
The bird seemed quite pleased to have been removed from its dreadful predicament (again, both options still seem viable) and after about 5 minutes it took off and flew 10m or so to our Cypress hedge.

About an hour later I became aware that a bunch of assorted thornbills were making a ruckus in the Cypress so went down to see what was going on.  I wondered if I might be getting an additional image of a reptile.  No. it was just the thornbills demonstrating their view on evil prophets (see discussion of genus name below).
I thought the words of Ian Fraser and Jeannie Gray on this species were worthy of wider dissemination.
  1. The genus name combines Greek 'kakos" = evil and "mantis" = prophet.  Personally, I reckon hearing one of these birds in the area is bad news for fairy-wrens and thornbills who are hoping for a happy family life and no further explanation of that name is needed.  .
  2. The specific component comes from Latin, with "flabellum" = a small fan or fly whisk and "forma" = shape.  I take heart from that, in so far as being able to assume that any references to my being 'flabby' mean I look like a fly whisk rather than being a porker (which is, unfortunately more truthful). 
Overall, I think I would now change the scoreline to "Window  0 Fan-tailed cuckoo 0 Dog 0".

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