favourite sightings

Subject: favourite sightings
From: Una Stephenson <>
Date: Sun, 22 Mar 1998 18:46:18 +1100
One of my favourite sightings last year was of a pair of overworked crows
trying to feed an enormous young Channel-billed Cuckoo, near Georgetown,
last Easter. The "baby" kept wailing in a shaky imitation of a crow's call;
the parents kept up a shuttle service poking food into it's beak .... and
two peewees got so fed up with the row that they started to harass the crows.

And last year we had an interesting encounter with some Radjah Shelducks at
Lakefield National Park. We had camped beside a billabong, and since one of
our party had seen a crocodile at another waterhole, we were a little
cautious. There was a small group of Shelducks at the other side of the
billabong; they were there in the evening and in much the same place next

Then my family noticed a Floating Log close to the nearer bank, and became
mildly paranoid ...... was it just a log?? Then the ducks apparantly had
similar doubts! They went into a huddle then one single duck "volunteered" -
or was sent -to investigate. It swam over to within a metre or two of the
log. Nothing happened, and fairly soon the rest of the party joined it. They
were quite unconcerned about our proximity; they all stared at The Log,
posturing with arched necks towards it in what we took to be a 'threat'
stance; they appeared anxiously engrossed, then slowly got a little more
daring and aggressive; after some minutes a "volunteer" sailed straight up
to the Log; climbed up onto it, and strutted about. Soon, they were all
walking up and down on the Log.

I've visited the local crocodile farm and noticed that the birds there seem
oblivious to the crocodiles. 

Anyone observed similar behaviour? Were they just putting on a show for my
croc-shy Kiwi relatives?

Una Stephenson.

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