I’m going to slap the next person who tells me how peaceful living in the country must be.
Peaceful, huh?? Yeah, nothing much disturbs the equilibrium in the country!
Like the other night. The open window directly above the bed didn’t just let in the cool night air – the weird sounds of the night came streaming through too!
‘What’s that noise?’ I hissed, nudging Pilchard with my elbow.
‘Huh?’ he murmured, rousing slightly, then rolling over to return to sleep. Just like a man! But I digress …
‘I hear something!’ I persisted. Another nudge in the small of the back and he was awake. Of course the sounds had stopped.
‘I don’t hear anything.’ he mumbled, predictably! Just like a man!! But I digress…
The burnouts up at the corner stopped and the cars roared past, drowning out all other sounds for a moment. Then … peace and quiet reigned. Or would have, if not for a smorgasbord of unidentifiable noises.
Pilchard was having trouble identifying which one I meant.
Was it the possums rampaging over the roof like a herd of manic, tap dancing baby elephants? They HAD to be possums – the alternative was too scary to contemplate! Although the feral cats were giving them a run for their money. A distinct ‘meow’ and another thump on the roof. Were they fighting the possums?
Duelling owls – Southern Boobook and Tawny Frogmouth – hooted and boomed their way into the night, while a disturbance in the force set the ducks on the dam quacking and flapping. Restless ewes bleated, unable to find their lambs in the night. Yeah, once they’re ALL awake you’ll find YOURS!
Frogs croaked in the fountain and the mosquito’s unmistakeable dentist-drill whine hovered round the bed. And if I listened really carefully, I could hear the pitter patter of countless tiny gum blossom caps pinging onto the roof, ready to be scrunched underfoot and turn to dust. Oh joy.
Then a smaller, scratching noise. That’s what I’d heard. Sadly not yet in death throes from total toxic overload, a rat inched its way down the chimney towards the please-god-lethal-this-time stash of rat bait. Wondering why we’re deliberately luring rats inside? Well … the bait isn’t just lethal to rats, and call us crazy, but we didn’t REALLY want an array of random dead birds and animals around the house in the morning.
Although if the cat chose to kill and eat a loaded rat, there wasn’t much we could do …
Now I’d identified the strange noise, maybe, just maybe I could fall asleep!
But then, even more dreadful than the other noises, we heard it. A hideous banshee screeching and shrieking broke the dawn in two as it swooped down closer and closer, so loud it precluded all rational thought – let alone sleep. Leaves, twigs and small branches rained from the trees all around and the air shimmered with sounds of mass destruction.
Yes, the ‘Chainsaws of the Sky’ had arrived.
Sulphur Crested Cockatoo is an agent of evil magnificent bird! Ask anyone – except us!! As the 30-strong flock circles above for what seems like hours each morning, we fantasise about wreaking vengeance and violent death. But sadly, there’s not enough toxic rats to go round.
Although, to be fair, apart from the morning, evening and any other time of day or night they damn well please, they’re pretty quiet!
Pet owners (!) speak of above average avian intelligence – and we are forced to agree. They know EXACTLY when we’re not guarding the fruit ripe enough to destroy by digging through to the nourishing kernel inside. And their devil spawn offspring – the dastardly, defective, demented love children of a hedge trimmer and a Dalek – learn to chainsaw use their beaks by nipping off young, tender shoots – often fatal to the tree. Unless there’s anything else around they can nip off at the base – like corn, from which there’s no recovery.
Are they Australia’s most omnipresent bird? Lately, they’ve been everywhere we’ve been – but maybe they’re just tormenting us by following us around?!
Sadly, I can’t claim the epithet ‘Chainsaw of the Sky’ as my own having first seen it HERE where the wonderful Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge thousands of kilometers from me describes disturbingly similar behaviours.
A sadly apt description, I fear I’ll be using a lot more as my Australian Adventures continue! Maybe I’ll get some peace and quiet on the road, ‘cos it sure ain’t happening here!