Dive bombing magpies and fighting kangaroos

Dive bombing magpies and fighting kangaroos.

magpie

Both of these video clips have made the news over the last few weeks

The springtime “fun” in urban Australia of a magpie attacking a cyclist and the unusual sight of kangaroos in the suburbs, even more unusually boxing it out with each other.

Unfortunately both clips have been put to music.

The same music.

I hope you like Ride of the Valkyries.

A crazed magpie in Shellharbour so keen to attack a cyclist it didn’t even wait to finish his lunch before arrowing across the road to strike his victim six or so times. Before the music was overlayed you could hear the cyclist exclaiming at each attack.

And here we have a couple of kangaroos having a bit of a box in the suburbs. Perhaps one took a parking space or maybe the fight was a bit of road rage. Whatever the reason here is 5 minutes of street brawl kangaroo style.

Zebra finches in the heat

It’s been hot this summer in outback Australia. Our average this month will be 5C more than the usual January average at about 44C.

The animals out here are really feeling it. Especially the bird life. My veranda has become a refuge mainly for zebra finches but also a few budgies and other birds. Half a dozen finches are dying each day along with a peregrine falcon, an immature crow and owl and a few budgies. There are owls flying into my trees through daylight as the trees in my yard have thicker leaf cover than those in the bush without a drop to drink.

I have a veranda around three sides of the house with masses of zebra finches along two sides. Here’s a short video with the zebra finches in one corner taking off when my troopie goes past and a second flight when the dingo runs up to the veranda.

Stalked Puffball – Podaxis Pistillaris

Well that’s what I think these are. The CSIRO estimate there are 250,000 types of fungi in Australia. 5% of these have been identified.

This ugly looking thing has a much more slender “puff” early on. The Stalked Puffball can be up to 15cm high and inside contains lots of purplish black spores.

It has a number of names depending on the language. Pitjantjantjara ilpatilpata, Western Arrente kwepe-kwepe and Warlpiri ngupu-ngupu
are just a few.

Apparently, though I have never seen it used at all, kids can paint their bodies with the spores or draw pictures. In the old days it was used to darken the white hair in old man’s whiskers! The Warlpiri people further north supposedly use the same spores as a fly repellent.

The stalked puffball has a close relative, Podaxis beringamensis, which only grows on termite mounds. That’s specialisation for you. It was used the same way.

Next time I see one I might have to give it a go.

Click on the pictures gives a bigger image

References
CSIRO Fungi of Australia accessed 31 Dec 2010
Aboriginal Use of Fungi Australian Fungi Website, Australian National Botanic Gardens accessed 31 Dec 2010
Bushfires and BushTucker: Aboriginal Plant Use in Central Australia by Peter Latz. IAD Press

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