Moreidlethoughts Weblog

humour,art,gardens, books and whatever idle thoughts float through my mind (it's a very draughty mind.)



A couple of weeks ago, late one Sunday afternoon, we heard a group of red-tailed black cockatoos (Calyptorhynchus banksii) arrive to feed in the terminalia catappa next door.

A male, showing just a tantalising glimpse of brilliant Ferrari red tail…(No, that red paddle shape sticking up is a leaf!)

The Man grabbed the Fuji and went out, shooting. Pfft! As I said, late afternoon and we have so much tree cover now he found it well-nigh impossible to get the birds in focus. And would they display their glorious tail coverts? No. They would not.

So I thought I’d try to do a colour sketch, but life, as it tends to do, impinged!

But this morning, I heard them again and managed to get a couple of shots.
Holding a terminalia nut in her left claw, she cuts into it with that bill.

I also sustained a bump on the head when a terminalia nut was dropped! Yes, it hurt, but I will suffer pain to bring you entertainment! Clicking for an enlargement might give you a better idea, but for even clearer photos, ask Google.

Sporran arrived with a very determined look on her face. She was hell-bent on having one. Or so she thought…Fat chance, kitten, these guys are bigger than you! How big? Around the 60cms (2 feet) mark. And that beak! Like all the parrot family, the bill can do some serious damage, especially at this size.

But some people keep these birds as pets. (Personally, I hate animals caged; birds in particular.) They are, apparently, very affectionate and highly intelligent. Here is a link to an audio clip.


Remember this Cassia javanica from a couple of months ago?

Here it is today, laden with seed pods…

I’ll have to measure them, but I’d guess they are about 30cms (12″) long. (I just did run the tape along one pod and it’s 22cms. )

And because I have something to brag about…

This is the most magnificent oregano I’ve grown in this climate! It’s in a big shrub-tub, folks and, until I gave it a hair-cut, was trailing across the deck!


The sun has reappeared so I’ll put some lino out to soften and have an arty afternoon…


Author: dinahmow

A New Zealander, currently living in tropical Queensland,Australia (with 2 cats and one Main Man).Old enough to remember George VI, white tennis balls and life-before-television.You want more? Read the blog!

23 thoughts on “THEY’RE BAA-AA-AACK!

  1. “terminalia catappa”? We call them “trees”.


  2. Your black cockatoos are stunning. We have the black ones with the yellow patches (I know I should know the name but too tired to go excavate the book). They’ve been here at the beach for about 5 years, due to drought I guess, and they love the coastal banksias. They sit in the footpath trees, not at all shy, though why would they be with beaks that can cut through branches of trees, and they throw whole “banksia men” out onto the road. Very entertaining, I love them and especially love that plaintive call which is our warning that they are on the way.


  3. what is it with the dawn chorus eh? What evolutionary advantage is there to birds to make so much noise at an unearthly hour? Or, do they do it all day but we can’t hear for the noise pollution of eveyday life?
    I need to know this!


  4. vicus…nice to see you about. “Trees” is much easier to say. Thanks.

    carol…yes, they are entertaining (unlike the sulphur-crested cousins which are plain annoying!)and fun to watch.(Don’t think we have your variety up here.)

    ziggi…Seriously? You really want me to tell you about the sex/territory thing? Oh, alright…it’s believed that birds call at daybreak to re-establish their boundaries. And, obviously, if they have a boundary, they also have a mate, or intend to get one.
    Not much different from lager-louts singing in pubs. Except the time of day!!


  5. Very cool and so exotic compared to our city birds in Denver!

    I just planted some oregano this year. I hope it takes.


  6. cynthia…we have some interesting and very colourful ones.
    Oregano comes in the “easy” category, but I wouldn’t leave it outside in your winter!


  7. We have Crows and a couple of Sparrows here in the Great White North.

    Your fancy schmancy colourful Calyfrigelistic banksialedocious would freeze their cockatoos right off.


  8. donn…yes, I’ve heard that your winters are chilly.You need chilli!


  9. I’m just jealous..
    I would love to have Budgies flying around the backyard.

    Hmm, I wonder if people would keep boring, old, Sparrows in a cage if Budgies were a dime a dozen?


  10. I told my daughter about your cockatoos and she had trouble believing birds like that live outside of pet stores. i love looking at the photos of your part of the world, it’s just seems so exotic compared to ours.


  11. donn…hundreds of people keep cagedfinches, relatives of the sparrow, and budgies fly all over the Outback in great flocks. I think if something has a tinge of the exotic its prestige and dollar value goes up.

    ellen…i think it’s wonderful when children (adults, too) can see animals in their natural environs. Gives a greater appreciation of the world in general. Tell your daughter I’ll take a moose and a beaver for a crocodile and a wombat!


  12. I find caged birds really sad, too. I once babysat for a parrot and I let her have the whole run of our lounge and only put her in her cage at night. She pooped everywhere but oh well. She scared me and my husband because she liked to chase us around and nip at our toes (with that BIG beak.) Then she chewed our antique apothecary chest and our TV cable and I was almost electrocuted when I touched it.

    Her name was Rosie. I’ll never forget her.



  13. boundary disputes? are you kidding? They’re waking up saying ‘this is mine this is mine’ – how disappointing – surely they should be doing that all day any way? Same with the mating call.


  14. Oh Dina… live in such a fantastic part of the world. I would love to wake up to black cockatoos, budgies etc. in my yard. Yes, we have lots of birds, part of the year here, and bluejays and oriols(sp) are pretty, but not exotic like down there!! Why does the grass always seem greener??? LOL


  15. pearl (or kim, cos Pearl wouldn’t want a parrot!)…yesterday, one of the kittens jumped up at a neighbour’s “jailed” budgie. This morning, I told the neighbour and suggested that perhaps the bird would be safer indoors.The poor thing would have no chance if a big ol’ Tom cat came along.

    ziggi…as I said, we humans tend to do much the same, but at the other end of the day.I guess, being an early riser, I don’t mind the dawn chorus.

    shez…welcome back! Everyone seems to think I have cornered the market on “exotic” but you guys have the Burrowing Owl, which has learned to make a ‘go-away’ noise to rattlesnakes. Now THAT’S what I call smart!


  16. Absolutely beautiful and fascinating! I love your world!!!


  17. lovely oregano!

    and the seed pods are gorgeous. . .


    (and less of the Old Fogey stuff! my whole blog is a homage to Camberwick Green . . . “here is a box, a musical box, wound up and ready to play, this box can hide a secret inside, I wonder what’s in it today”)


  18. Ohhhh, your garden! The birds! I am all giddy!

    Up in Canada, just across the border here there is a little victorian era town where all the street plantings are that beany tree Cassia thing. They are the oddest, coolest tree and the shade they throw is so lacy and fernlike.

    It’s autumn there now, right? I gotta hear more about your garden and the plants and the animals and whatevers going on out in your back yard (except for crocodiles eating small children or volkswagens or what have you.)


  19. val…thanks.(I still envy you the big ones, like cougar!)

    isltv…and guess what? Most cassia seeds are viable!
    Yes, I did “get” the musical box and the comments header.I just mean that I watched that show in my 20s!(But Tony Hart was/is my fave rave!)


  20. fn…thank you;I’ll see what I can “dig up” for you.I hopoe you checked that link(previous post)to the Seattle chookenaria?


  21. I’m glad I found your blog again – I lost it along the way. And now I get to see your Flickr photographs too. The Cassia tree is beautiful in bloom and magnificent with seedpods.

    Thank you for taking a knock on the head for your blog readers. Those birds look huge – maybe because I’ve been seeing swallows and finches for much of the day.


  22. kate…yes, welcome back.I’m not sure how I lost you, but thanks to flickR we’re back on track!


  23. Hi–just found this blog after reading Victoria’s blog- (The Night Shift)-I love your blog–I love cockatiels and cockatoos too–I had a grey cockatiel for 9 1/2 years–he sang and was quite a lovie and flirt. Thanks for reading my blog too. Have a great week. Yes my mention was about Peter & Victoria and the Negril to NYC route!!Small world.


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