Ok so gangs MIGHT be a bit of a stretch in this case but that’s the impression I got after a few visits to the grassy area in front of the entrance to the Wrest Point Hotel and Casino. The “gangs” in question are the various groups of birds that call this place home and seem to have their own specific territories within the area, hence the theory that they’re in gangs…….work with me here people.
There’s the ruthless Cockatoos, the larger white species with yellow head crests that you can hear a mile away and seem to delight in pissing off every other species, not to mention the local human residents. We had an apartment viewing in this area and I’m kind of glad we didn’t go for it as I’d imagine the cockatoos would make for an awful wake-up call every morning.
The other cockatoos are the Galahs or Rose-Breasted Cockatoos and they are far more pleasant and arguably easier on the eye too with their…..well the clues in the name…rose coloured chests and little white crests which they puff out occasionally. They seem to get a bit of a hard time from their bigger cousins, possibly demanding protection money or something similar.
Then there’s the gulls, a relatively large group of Silver Gulls which seems to be split into two factions. What could have caused the rift? Fights over territory more than likely. See now isn’t that gangs theory looking more plausible by the minute?
There’s a few more groups that seem to stick to this area and they are made up of the Grebes, which I believe are Hoary-Headed Grebes but an ornithologist would have to confirm that one. These birds are quite shy and jittery and tend to flee at the first sign of trouble (I’m looking at you cockatoos). You’ll also see the Masked-Lapwing which seems to be quite common around the suburbs and i’ve even seen them up in Mount Nelson despite their appearance as a wetland based wading bird. They also have funny distinctive yellow faces which look somewhat similar to Proboscis Monkeys, making them a rather strange looking creature. They tend to hide on the edges of the grassy area in Wrest Point particularly around a park bench near the top of the hill.
Another species which you’ll see regularly enough around this area is the Australian Magpie, which is quite different to the European variety we see back home. They are smaller and the white and black plumage is different. Our European version has the patterning of a Killer Whale (if you squint you’ll see it) whereas the Australian variety is more like one of those black housecats you’d see with a few random patches of white. They have a really nice soft call which is quite lovely to hear and certainly one of the more pleasant sounds from the birds I’ve witnessed so far.
For more exotic species you need to head for the hills where the vegetation is thicker and the trees more widespread. It just so happens we’ve moved into such a place, in Mount Nelson. Stay tuned for a blog on the delightful creatures I’ve seen within walking distance of our apartment. In the meantime here’s some photos of the “Gangs” of Wrest Point.