No, my friends, I don’t mean “black” in funereal sense. Stay with me and I’ll explain.

But first… as you know, I have  claimed the jaded “busy” excuse for  too long. My busy-ness was the making of an edition of artist books and now that I have mailed them to their distant recipients I can get back to more regular posting. Maybe! I’ll be posting  more about the artist book on our group blog (http://bookartobject.blogspot.com) later today.

So I popped into my little Computer Corner, clicked on my blog and thought: time for a change! Actually, there was a more serious reason for tinkering under the bonnet of this page…I had my eyes examined the other day and, as I had suspected, I do need slightly stronger lenses for close work. Dear god! Our house is already littered with reading glasses, must I add even more! 

The problem (with the blog) is not really the fault of WordPress (or even Blogger, where I still have a presence); it seems that whenever I pop into my Computer Corner and use this computer, my lovely laptop, I’m unable to enlarge the font. So I need coke bottle specs in order to see what I’m typing. Alternatively, I could just type and let you lovely lot to decipher it! 🙂


And now, about today’s title. Black. I suppose  a lot of people tend to think of it as gloomy, but I’ve always thought black rather stylish. One of those wardrobe basics that can be jazzed-up or toned-down accordingly. Not necessarily the preserve of pall bearers. Of course, I am a bit of corvidophile! Hey! If I say that’s a proper word, then it is a proper word. I just googled it..ooh! what a lot of entries!

But I’m getting side-tracked… the other day, I saw a black bird (not a blackbird because we don’t have those here) perched on a chair on the deck. Sort-of magpie size and with the bi-tone bill of a magpie, but ALL BLACK.

WTF? So I grabbed a camera and snapped a few shots, hoping they wouldn’t all be close-ups of fly screen mesh!  Click to enlarge.

I realise it’s one of the most pointless pictures ever to escape deleting, but I was curious, wondering if , perhaps, it was a magpie mutant. Or something. Of course, as soon as I’d got it on the computer screen and enlarged it I could see it was a butcherbird. But BLACK? Huh? I’ve only ever seen the Pied species here, but a little Googling filled the gaps.   http://birdsinbackyards.net/images/audio/cracticus-torquatus.mp3

If you click the audio link you’ll hear a very brief recording of their fantastic musicality. I’ve hunted around for a link that has a recording of the opening bars of Mozart’s 40th symphony, but no joy. Here’s the music, so if you have a  piano in your pocket…oh! OK, a flute will do…http://www.8notes.com/scores/10028.asp Now, take the tempo up a click or two and that’s what a butcherbird sounds like. Of course, the bird only sings the opening notes…

And don’t think ol’ Butch is our only classicist. Oh, no. The magpie does a very creditable first 4 notes of Beethoven’s 5th. Once again, I can’t seem to find a recording of that.


Finally…about the  new-look blog.  The background image is a photo I took a few weeks ago when The Man and I walked down to the beach. The tide being over in California or somewhere, we wandered through the mangroves and across the flats. The header image is a cropped portion of the same picture. Easy enough to change from time to time so expect “matching titles and images” occasionally!

Off to write that other post…


26 thoughts on “A BLACK DAY

  1. That’s quite a beak on that there bird and its music? Coco was really impressed, tilted head and all, and she’s not feeling well! I like how you’ve spruced the place up. Nice change.


    • Thanks. I’m still squinting at the tiny print, but will let it run for a while.
      The beak? I believe that hook is why they are called “butcher.” Like shrikes, they sometimes impale prey, but mostly go after smaller insects.
      Love to Coco.


  2. Hmm, if Christopher is correct and that it is a corvoid (and I haven’t taken time to Google the butcherbird), then it is related to our American Crow. However, I don’t think the call of our crow could could be called musical. Closer to nails on a chalkboard, but certainly not Mozart or Beethoven.

    Like the new background.


    • No, the American and Australian crows are not related. Well, no more than any other feathered critter. Our crows are a bit bigger than yours, I think. And not very musical!But smart as a whip. Oh yes!


  3. Do you think he’d butcher the French strikers for me??? Feed him some caramel and he’ll do the whole symphony for you I’m sure 🙂
    Now – let me find that other blog …


    • Haha! I can see it now…a squadron of birds, dive-bombing (that would be the magpies-they’re brilliant at that) and strafing the picket line. Backed up by crows, sneaking’round behind to steal boot laces and kerchiefs. Yes, Ange, you might have a winner here! 😉


  4. I like this new look. Black is cool.

    I’ve seen ebony. It’s breath-taking.

    I once saw an Indian actress in a black lace sari. Wow!

    And black isn’t used for funerals in some cultures.


  5. This new look is fantastic. You have my approval. (Not that you needed it.) And as far as black is concerned, when I was living on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, wearing all-black was at the heart of a very strict dress code. If you wore any bright colors you were run right out of town.


  6. Ooo I’m a corvidophile too! Mostly crows and scrub jays in my yard now, and I watch them pick up mice and bash them in the head against the gutters–do NOT mess with jays. Anyway, what, New Zealander you are? I’m headed your way next year. Very excited.


  7. Beautiful new background. Wonderful butcherbird song. I have a long ago memory that when I was a kid there was an illustration in a Blinky Bill book (by Dorothy Wall) of a butcherbird’s “shop” in a tree with little dead animals hanging up by twigs. A bit gruesome…


  8. Wow – the varied bird species you get over there! We have a few magpies and pigeons that visit our garden but sadly, they drive the little song birds away.

    Change must be in the air because I’ve migrated my blog to a new blog. I’m hoping to learn HTML and do a little more with it but perhaps that’s too ambitious for me. We’ll see, won’t we?
    Cheers, Kim


    • Drove me nuts yesterday, but I think I’ve figured why. When I carve some holes in shopping, laundry, ironing. et cetera, I’ll fix it.In the meantime – squint! 😉


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