I love the haunting cry and there’s something I find visually appealing about them too.
To get on with the story, our family went to the Brisbane Botanic Gardens on Sunday afternoon for a friend’s farewell party. We’d barely walked through the gates when I spotted these two lovelies.
While we walked around we saw three others too. Being in the CBD they were a little more tolerant of people and didn’t run before I managed to get a few quick snaps with my phone. Well, actually they didn’t run at all, but that’s because I didn’t try to get so close as to disturb them – just close enough for a good shot!
Why is it that I never actually have my good camera on me when I find these guys! (╯°□°）╯︵ ┻━┻
And no, you will never hear the end of me talking about and sharing my photos of bush-stone curlews, not until I stop finding them 🙂
If you read my post a while back on the screaming woman bird you know I quite like bush stone curlews. There’s a haunting mystery to them. Until I googled them I had never even seen what they looked like and it has only been recently that I have seen them live and in front of me.
There is a park near by that Xander likes to visit after dark sometimes (because his sense of adventure knows no bounds) and being near the water there is a nest somewhere in the area and as he plays you can hear them calling from the shadows. A couple of times as we pull up into the car park we’ve been lucky to see one in the head lights, but way off.
Tonight they must have been tempted by all the scraps left by Easter holiday visitors, because it wasn’t the odd one visible in the distance, but several of them, some as close as only ten meters away(which sounds far away, but considering how hard it has been to see one until now this is pretty special).
Just like when I first heard them as a teen and I imagined them to be some odd sort of owl then was surprised to find them a ground-dwelling bird, I was surprised again tonight. I thought they were small, quail-like in size, but some looked like they might be almost up to my knee height.
Sadly, I only had my phone so couldn’t get any good pictures and I didn’t want to chase any and disturb them from their feast. I’m hoping tomorrow will be another big day for visiting the park so our family can drop by after dark and this time I can bring my camera along and get a shot. Fingers crossed 🙂
I’ve been doing a lot of work late at night recently. Once TJ is in bed the TV is off so the house is quiet. That means I get to write to the sound of the screaming woman birds down by the creek.
If you have never lived in the right part of Australia you have never heard the call of the Bush Stone-Curlew. It doesn’t take much imagination to turn the bird’s cry into a woman’s scream.
The first time I heard one I was in my teens at my best friend’s house. Her property backed onto a swamp. While camping I heard a shriek and my friend laughed at my panic, telling me it was just a screaming woman bird. I honestly believed that was its legitimate name until I moved into my current house and heard the call again.
With a good ear you can distinguish the bush stone-curlew from a woman in distress, but at midnight when that haunting cry wafts through your window from the bush beyond your backyard you can’t help but wonder…
Kirstie Olley is an award-winning speculative fiction author and the full-time wrangler of her children Xander and Harlequin.
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