General chat

“Is there any way we could have a thread for the more lightweight stuff like music and general chat?”

Do it here. Please no personal attacks or bickering. Anything abusive, provocative or inflammatory may be deleted.

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  1. Gezza

     /  March 9, 2018


    It’s been fascinating watching Pickles the pooklet grow.

    He hatched I think on 3 January. Since then he’s gone through several distinct growth spurts.

    I learned rather rudely that the pukekos had a nest on the stream bank below my fence. It was carefully hidden. Foliage was cleverly pulled over & around it to hide it, & all I could see was the occasional glimpse of a red beak, which would quickly duck out of sight again. Bluey, the big male, burst out of it aggressively when I approached it, thinking some poor pook’s been stuck in its sleeping spot in the rain for 3 whole days. Maybe it was old, or sick?

    After that, I looked over frequently, & soon realised all three adults were changing places through the day, careful to do it quietly & unobtrusively, taking turns sitting on the nest for long periods between foraging stints. (Previously my pooks have had twins, further downstream, but none of the last two sets of twins since August have survived beyond about 2 to 4 weeks.)

    On 4 January, I saw that all 3 pooks, the two males & the adolescent female, were very busy, repeatedly visiting the nest, & that day I first saw Pickles, when he came a short distance out from the nest. He was only the size of a hedge sparrow, with short, sparse, wispy, black feathers, a bald spot on top of his head, & with a patchy bare neck & cheeks. 

    He could only stumble around, not going very far from the nest. No chirping. Bluey was very protective, & for the first few days all 3 adults would make an alarm noise, when they saw me watching, that made him instinctively get back into cover.

    A week later he was twice the size of hedge sparrow, a very confident & agile walker, a vigorous cheeper – it always brought the adults to him with food – and his black feathers were thickening up and getting fluffy. Except around his now visible little sticking-out ears.

    The adults started out on day 1 taking one or two wheat grains at a time down to the nest from below my fence, where I feed them. But within 10 days Pickles was cheeping his own way up to just below my fence, following them, & they were feeding him wheat grains there, happy that I wasn’t any threat to their baby as long as they were there. Also protecting him from greedy ducks, who would carelessly barge him out of the way to get at the pooks’ wheat.

    It didn’t take him long to start picking wheat up as well as getting beak-fed by the big birds. About then, his legs started also growing really quickly. Within another 10 days or so they were comically long-looking for his fluffy little body, and where the bald spot had been he now had a very distinct greyish-black head plate. Separate from his beak.

    On 1 February I noticed that his formerly black underside had suddenly turned blue – like in only 3 or 4 days. By then his head plate had also grown forward & joined with his beak, his downy feathers had also thickened up, the feathers on top of his body had changed into normal ones – and feathers had grown back over his ears, leaving the small bumps they all have.

    His beak was black with a white tip when born, but very gradually the white tip disappeared & by two weeks ago his beak had become all black.

    Two weeks later, on 14 February, I noticed his stubby little penguin wings had suddenly started sprouting flight feathers.

    Over the past 3 weeks, Pickles’ leg & feet growth has slowed right down, but his body has undergone a catch-up spurt. His wings & tail have also rapidly grown longer. In just these 3 weeks he has very quickly grown a pair of very long, respectable-looking wings. 

    He can get lift out of those already – he flaps them instinctively to power-jump up from the stream, or up steep bits of the stream bank. I haven’t seen him fly yet, but it might not be far away. All it may take is a fright when’s up somewhere high. I’ve been trying over the last 3 days to catch him on video with his wings out – but despite my pleas the silly little beggar’s only flapped or fully extended them when I’m not videoing him.

    Any of you who saw an earlier gif of Pickles’ stubby little useless wings can get some idea of how big they’ve got from this clip, which I took around 7 pm last night, although unfortunately he didn’t stretch it right out for you.

    Also, his head-plate, just over the past week, has now turned a brownish-red, & that colour-change is daily moving further down his beak towards the tip. Wondering how long now before they both turn bright red.

    Up until last week, two ducks would sometimes chase him away, squeaking, from wheat that I’d thrown down just for him. I don’t think they’ll be doing that any more!

    He’s just over two months old. Sad that there was only one that hatched. But Pickles got off to a very good start. All that cereal, I reckon. Problems are starting with his old man though. Bluey’s stopped feeding him & he’s getting very short-tempered with him.

    • Pickled Possum

       /  March 9, 2018

      WoW!!!!! Just wow Gezza Bro that was some good re-call.
      Pickles has grown like a weed. He got the ‘Shoo Duck don’t bother Me!’ thing going on.

      Pickles is going to be the Cereal Pook … maybe a movie role or a doco?
      Give Taika a call maybe he could give Crumpys book
      Mrs Windy Flax and the Pungapeople a make over.
      HE’S so cute. 😉

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  March 9, 2018

        It was very moving to see the poor young pook down the road tugging at the dead large one. One of the other young ones was greyish. They were all looking bewildered, poor pookies.

        Pickles is a darling.

        Noel, I rehung and rehinged another gate with the t-hinges so that it opens the other way, and it looks good. The person who made it had used those butt hinges with the pin, and at least three kinds of screws. What a fiddly bloody job removing them was, as they were all rusted. Once that was done. the rest was easy. I will always use t-hs in future if I can. I don’t know why the person who did all the gates used butt hinges on the inside which makes them so fiddly to remove and replace.


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