Over another Hump

Monday, June 06, 2005

Newbie at the desk

Okay, so I have finally taken my courage in both hands and am attempting to set up this blog site. Until a couple of months ago I had never heard of blog. Now it seems exciting and a place to voice my opinions on how the world works. So far I haven't discovered how to post my photograph, but I'm sure I will eventually weave my way through the dos and don'ts of blog designing. Until then you will have to wait and wonder.

One of the reasons I have attempted this challenge is because I wanted the world to know how beautiful this area is where I now live. Over time I will tell you about this little village in outback Australia and how we discovered it. For now I will just leave you with one of the reasons why think this place is special. Oh I'd best warn you that the fauna around here fascinates me.

Outside My Window.
The relatively cooler weather has brought the Happy Jacks back. The first indication of their return was the plaintive 'meows' of Em, our ginger cat, asking for asylum on my bed. Em is noted for conspicuous cowardice in the field of battle and sees retreat as the better part of valour.

This morning there was a noisy group (there's usually around twelve) of these birds outside my window and I watched them fighting over some choice morsel. Several were perched on the fence, shouting advice to their mates on the ground. Occasionally one, overcome with excitement, ran over the backs of the others to find a better vantage-point. They ignored him and kept shouting advice or insults to their peers on the ground.

A cat appeared around the corner of the house and the birds took chase. The cat, running sideways to keep the birds in view, scooted into the house. The Happy Jacks ran around the back door, calling encouragement to each other. "Ha, d'ja see her scoot? We showed her wa'fo." "C'mon, wuss. 'ave another go - dare yu!"

These plain, almost ugly birds fear nothing. They sit on my clothesline as I hang out my wash and chatter away, enjoying the rotating line as I move it around and talk constantly to me or their mates while my cat sits under my stool to protect me. "Don't you dare poo on my clean clothes," I scold. I'm sure they understand because they never have.

Happy Jacks are clever. They have a highly organised clan system and their vocabulary is complex, with obvious 'conversation'. I watch them give instructions and gossip to each other, or insult and intimidate another group that dares to infringe on their patch.
Once we fed the birds but the Happy Jacks chased other birds away from the feeder, even had the nerve to come inside to tell us when the seed was gone. They gave my husband what-for when he went to re-plenish the supply too. We felt we were endangering their natural environment (and us) so stopped the supply.

I have spent hours watching one group kidnap another's young. They do this in a devious way. laying on the youngster's curiosity, kidnappers attract the youngsters attention and inveigle them away while the diversionary team picks a fight with the parents. Confusion reigns and kidnappers retreat with new blood lines.

And I go back to cleaning house...


  • What a vividly descriptive piece this "Happy Jack" article is. You make your life in this outback area of Australia seem so alive and most interesting.
    I also love your character analysis poem
    Great start for your site.
    Mrs Willow

    By Anonymous Mrs Willow, at 9:06 PM  

  • Seems to me you have started off in grand fashion. I'm also new at the blogging game but have had a web site for some time.
    Bob Liter

    By Blogger Bob Liter, at 5:37 AM  

  • Very interesting, Frances. I knew things were dry there, but all those dead kangaroos really surprised me. Frank never told me about them.

    Keep it up. I'll keep on reading you. Sandy

    By Anonymous Big Brucr, at 5:04 PM  

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