A close brush for a Brush-Turkey

Australian Brush-Turkey

Australian Brush-Turkey

Australian Brush-turkeys are a very common bird in the eastern states of Australia. Despite being very common, I had only seen this species on one occasion before – and that was in 1981. On this current trip to Sydney I was very keen to not only see this bird but also get some good photos. I scored on both counts.

My 5 year old grandson has recently started gym sessions, learning a variety of gymnastics skills. He is a very physical boy keen to emulate the Circolombia gymnastics/circus troupe one day. He was born in Colombia, so they are something special to him.

Being the keen grandfather I went along to see him go through his paces. On our return journey his mother was driving past the Artarmon Public School oval – the school he will start at next year – when a Brush-turkey crossed the road right in front of us. It nearly came to grief under the wheels of an oncoming truck, but the driver managed to avoid receiving a free turkey for Christmas. Actually I have no idea what they taste like, and it would be an offence to kill and eat one because they are protected by law.

In the previous few days I had been keeping a close eye on roadside verges, parks and gardens because I thought I had seen one a few days earlier while taking the grandchildren to child-care. This was a only a few streets away. My son used to regularly see one scratching around in the small patch of vegetation lining the Artarmon Railway Station, but that was several years ago. Good to see they are still in the district. Readers not familiar with the Artarmon area of Sydney should note that this is about a kilometre south of Chatswood, a very thickly populated and busy part of north Sydney, and a mere 15 minutes train ride from the CBD of Sydney itself.

In case you were wondering, today’s photos were not of the bird crossing the road. I took these photos three days later in a national park a little further north – but that’s a story for another day.

Australian Brush-Turkey

Australian Brush-Turkey

Rainforest: the secret of life

I thoroughly enjoyed tonight’s nature programme called “Rainforest: the secret of life” on ABC1 television here in Australia.

It was particularly pleasing to see so many of our birds featured on the programme. I enjoyed the long sequences showing the Albert’s Lyrebird and his extensive repertoire of calls and songs. Another feature was the Brush Turkey dispatching the carpet python from stealing eggs from the nesting mound by violently flicking leaves and sticks at the hapless snake.

The only criticism I can level at this lovely documentary was at the commentary. Whoever wrote the script needs a lesson in basic nature writing. It was far too lighthearted and anthropomorphic for the seriousness of the subject matter. The final few minutes highlighted the global importance of rainforests. They are being destroyed at an alarming rate. This is great cause for concern, but I fear the message was lost after the humourous sections earlier in the documentary.

Despite my criticism, this is a worthwhile show to watch. It’s not available from the ABC Shop Online as I write this, but will probably be available in the next few days.

UPDATE: the DVD of this programme is now available – click here.