Friday, 26 June 2009

Magpie buskers

We were up early at Lakeside Farmers Market this misty Saturday morning buying organic Charlotte potatoes, tiny cauliflowers, Queensland blue pumpkin and quince jelly. Yin bought some good luoh bak (daikon - it's actually Chinese in origin but most people know it by its Japanese name) to make his wonderful fried radish cake. Of course if you look closely Yin is not standing by Fernleigh Farm, source of delicious organic vegies, but by Buninyong Wines, our local vignerons.

Compelled to buy sausages by the super young saleperson on the Scout's sausage stall, we sat down on a damp seat with a lake view to wash down a well-cooked brekky (no parasites in these snags!) with very strong coffee.

I threw a bit of meat to a teenage magpie and the whole family - seven of them - flew down to join in.

When I wasn't quick enough they opened their beaks and gave me a seven-bird chorus. I adore magpie singing. They got my whole sausage, in dribs and drabs to keep them singing for more.

Unfortunately, by the time I got the camera out they were going off to look for other sausage eaters.

It was an interesting performance, I haven't had magpies around the lake beg for food like this before and wonder if pickings are slim with the continuing drought. These incredibly smart birds are quick to work out new techniques.

I have a very soft spot for them. They're clever, they have the most beautiful song of any bird I've heard, and they won't live anywhere except Australia. Apparently the idiots who introduced Australian possums to New Zealand and rabbits to Australia tried to settle Maggies in New Zealand, but they never prospered. Here they manage country and city with equal aplomb.

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