Cold

Tannin

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Messages
4,430
Location
Ballarat, Oz
Website
www.redhill.net.au
#1
Monday was a superb day. I took it off to deal with a number of long-put-off urgent domestic tasks, not least buying a new lawn mower. I figured that it was time I stopped messing about with cheapskate solutions and went straight to the heavy-duty quality, a Honda HRU 215SP: 5 horse motor, two-speed self-propelled, shaft drive (no belts to slip) and ... um ... $1400. Ouch! www.hondampe.com.au/HondaMPE/Power/Range/Lawn+Mowers/HRU215+(SU).htm

It took me an hour or two to buy the mower, and about fifteen minutes to mow the grass with it. Meanwhile, my credit card is looking rather the worse for wear.

And today (Tuesday over here)my incredibly ancient gas heater went kaput. :(

It actually died nearly twenty years ago. The main switch failed, and there was only the emergency safety switch that cuts the gas off if it is not hot (i.e., to prevent explosions). But with a little ingenuity, I found that by sitting a heavy object on top of the switch to hold it down against the spring I could still make it go. Unfortunately, that meant all five burners, and that was way too hot for this little house. Not to mention expensive. But that too could be fixed: a little ordinary soap in the burner nozzles blocks them up. (You use slightly damp soap from the bathroom.) So I blocked up three burners and continued being warm. Just for the short-term, you understand. I was a student and stony broke. This would do until I could afford to have it replaced. (Oh, I forgot to say: back when it failed the first time, almost twenty years ago, it couldn't be mended because the heater was too old: no parts available for it.)

And that strictly temporary fix lasted all this time. :) Until today when I reluctantly decided i had better go to work and went to switch the heater off. (Well, OK, dislodge the heavy sticky-tape dispensor atop the switch that has made it work all this time.) And it wouldn't switch off. The other switch is buggered too. Time, I decided, to start thinking about a new heater. :wink: I had to turn the gas off at the tap to stop the heater running. So today I ordered the new heater. Another $1400. :(

Worse, the one I decided on needs a couple of parts to come from Melbourne. It's an antique-style thing with decorative ceramic tiles. This isn't it, but it looks a little like this one:



only I've chosen nicer-coloured tiles for it. I have to wait for the tiles to come from Melbourne. That will be about Thursday. And then I have to get the plumber to come and install it for me - Lord only knows when that will happen. About this time next week, I guess. In the meantime, I have no heating and no hot water either. :(
 

time

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Jan 18, 2002
Messages
4,819
Location
Brisbane, Oz
#5
Tannin,

Now I know you are truly insane.

I went pale when you described your "repairs", but then I'm more used to LPG than natural gas. :bibber: Are you saying that thing didn't even have a thermostat? :eek:

And why did you buy a self-propelled mower if it only takes 15 minutes to mow your lawn? Okay, I guess that's a stupid question to ask someone with a collection of X15s. ;)
 

Tannin

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Messages
4,430
Location
Ballarat, Oz
Website
www.redhill.net.au
#7
Thermostat?

Actually the mower is part of a conspiracy. Tea and The Grammar Police and I take turns visiting Belinda (Kristi's mum). Among other things we do over there, we quite often mow her grass. She's on seven acres, about three or four acres needs regular mowing. (For some reason the other two don't seem to do much of the mowing. Tea in particular seems to go AWOL when there is work to be done.) Anyway, the three of us conspired to buy a mower suitable for Belinda's place. She has a good one, another Honda, but the poor little thing has been doing it tough these last five years or so - it's not really designed to do the broad acres, 21 inch cut and five horse motor notwithstanding.

Our new one is a little bigger but still not really ideal, but then she has an area of proper lawn close to the house, which needs a "conventional" mower, and a much larger area of longer stuff that only gets mown when it gets six inches or so high, plus a couple of other areas that are only cut at all to reduce fire risk (maybe twice a year). The ideal solution would be a ride-on or (better) a 30-inch plus, 10 horse thing, plus a normal mower. I'll do that one day, no doubt. In the meantime, the conspiracy was designed to replace Belinda's mower with a similar but newer one, and I'll take hers back here to mow my little suburban block (a task that it does with ease) before it gets worn out, and my stupid little toy of an electric Flymo can go to the office to mow the postage stamp out the back.

So, buying the mower was the easy bit. The tricky bit is infiltrating it into Belinda's place wiothout getting in trouble for spending money on her.

So far, so good. :wink:
 

timwhit

Hairy Aussie
Joined
Jan 23, 2002
Messages
5,278
Location
Chicago, IL
#9
The Grammar Police said:
Cliptin said:
It doesn't get oppressively cold here but I tend to lose feeling in the fingers and toes from the wind in the apartment. :eek:
Have you considered seeing a doctor about your diet? For starters, try not to eat baked beans.
Nice...I'm still laughing at that one.
 

Tannin

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Messages
4,430
Location
Ballarat, Oz
Website
www.redhill.net.au
#10
No photos I'm afraid. I lent my camera to Belinda three weeks ago and don't really expect to get it back anytime soon. :(

Well, I got the heater today - earlier than expected. And - wonder of wonders - I got hold of my old mate Andy, who is an excellent plumber. He's working for a big company full-time now, but he moonlights a little on the side, and he's coming over when he finishes work at 5:00 tommorrow. Only trouble is, I told him that I'd have the physical installation done before he gets here, so he can just connect it all up to the gas. I've got the old one out OK (albeit a dirty job and not as easy as you might think), and enlarged the hole by knocking bricks out so that the new one fits. Now I'm trying to figre out how to assemble the damn thing. :( Give me a computer any old time. I'm good at computers.
 

Clocker

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Jan 14, 2002
Messages
3,539
Location
USA
#12
~US$700 dollars for a lawn mower? WTH...it it remote controlled or something? The pictures don't look like anything fancy....are they taxed a lot?

C
 

Tannin

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Messages
4,430
Location
Ballarat, Oz
Website
www.redhill.net.au
#13
No, standard 10% tax, just a Honda. Honda seem to think that they make the best mowers and mower engines you can buy, and charge accordingly. Unfortunately, they are right. I could have bought a similar-spec Briggs and Stratton powered one for maybe three or four hundred dollars less, but everyone I know that is informed about these things (like my mate who works at the hire place, where the mowers really get a beating) says it's worth paying the extra for a Honda.

Hell, I remember when you used to see cheap Japanese products retailing for 30% less than high-quality Australian or American or British-made things, back in the 1960s. Not any more.

If I wanted a bigger unit, in the 30 inch cut class, I'd buy a Duetscher: hand-made here in Ballarat and simply unbreakable, for around $3000. They make the same model with a B&S motor for $300-odd less, but everyone says to get the Honda-powered one.
 

Fushigi

Storage Is My Life
Joined
Jan 23, 2002
Messages
2,890
Location
Illinois, USA
#14
Clocker said:
~US$700 dollars for a lawn mower? WTH...it it remote controlled or something? The pictures don't look like anything fancy....are they taxed a lot?
Go down to Home Depot & compare Honda to Toro. The Honda's really are US$600+. I bought a Toro for $350. It's a side throw / mulch / bagger combo with self-pacing self-propel (it goes as fast as you walk) & electric start and an extra year warranty (the special at the time).

As much as Honda does make good equipment, having just bought a house I couldn't justify so much money for a mower.

- Fushigi
 

Clocker

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Jan 14, 2002
Messages
3,539
Location
USA
#15
I'm using a 13 year old 5HP Toro now. It used to be my Dad's but he gave it to me. I used it to mow his lawn while I lived there and we has a pretty big lot.

It's still running strong...it just needs new wheels! They're worn out!

C
 

time

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Jan 18, 2002
Messages
4,819
Location
Brisbane, Oz
#17
Toro has a good reputation, but they're only used commercially here. The closest I could come was a Rover with the Suzuki engine used on some Toros. Not as sophisticated as the Honda, and a narrower cut, but about two thirds the weight.

My place is built on a hill with a grade of about 1:9 (although it varies a lot). It has lots of curves and things which make it difficult to get a long straight run, the province of self-driven mowers. However, I was getting a guy in with a really expensive Toro mulching mower, who could go back and forth without ever disengaging the drive. Tearing along with the thing in the fastest gear, he'd just lift the front and hold back on one side, and the mower would snap around in a 180 degree turn. Fascinating to watch, but I figured it took skill. :(
 

time

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Jan 18, 2002
Messages
4,819
Location
Brisbane, Oz
#18
Oh yeah, the Rover can be switched between mulch and catch (it has a patented tilt adjustment to optimize both), and it has a good size catcher. I use both.

Now what I want to know, is why do Americans persist with bags instead of solid body catchers? They were a disaster for firms like Honda over here.

My friend's neighbour has a large John Deere rider mower with twin bags at the back. He has to remove them from the mower and shake them vigorously to empty them.

My friend's rider mower has a huge steel box on the back as a catcher. It holds twice what the bags do, and when he wants to empty it, he just pulls a lever. :D

Actually, he's kind of obsessed about his mower. He has several acres to mow, and in peak growing season does it twice a week, so he spends more time with his mower than his wife (j/k). He stripped the mower completely and sent the chassis off to be galvanized, then powder coated. :roll:

He reckons that engines wear out but he can't afford to lose the chassis to rust. The climate here is not metal friendly, 'tis true, and my Rover has an alloy chassis for that reason (and weight). Honda is moving to plastic chassis, which although not as light, are nearly indestructible.
 

Pradeep

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Jan 21, 2002
Messages
3,845
Location
Runny glass
#20
I have a Cox 12HP ride-on (with Briggs&Stratton) and it has been working fine since 1990, cutting about 4 acres of hilly lawn. The electric start died a few years ago but it starts with the pull cord first up everytime, so no probs there. And the seat safety switch doesn't do it's job, but it was a pain anyway. Stubbie holders had to be installed myself.

Only major maintenence required was the continous drive doodad (it uses a single pedal for forward and reverse, no gears) :)

$1400 for a walk behind mower is quite a sum.
 

Buck

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Feb 22, 2002
Messages
4,514
Location
Blurry.
Website
www.hlmcompany.com
#22
NRG = mc² said:
How sad... a lawnmower thread!! We're computer geeks, not gardeners!! :roll: :mrgrn:
Gardeners? HA! Landscape Architects.

Actually, as your grin points out, we're enthusiasts. We can appreciate the best out of almost anything, whether it be the reliability of a lawnmower, the speed and commotion of an offset press, or the raw power of a 15,000-rpm SCSI drive.
 

timwhit

Hairy Aussie
Joined
Jan 23, 2002
Messages
5,278
Location
Chicago, IL
#23
I started mowing my neighbors lawns when I was about eleven years old with a Toro Lawn mower. I went door to door getting customers and ended up with around ten total. That lawn mower lasted about 5 years mowing 5-10 lawns a week, about 25 weeks a year. I bought a new one when that one was pretty much a piece of junk.

I have never even seen a Honda mower for sale in the local dealers. I didn't check at Home Depot or Menards, sometimes the local dealers are better for some things (I'm sure Tony will agree with me here :) ).

Toro's are well built and when the gears on the rear wheel on my first mower went out the engine was still running fine. I tried to replace the wheels and other parts, but in the end I never got the thing to run right again.

Mowing 5-10 lawns a week does get real tiresome after awhile though, I sure am glad I'm not doing that anymore...
 

Tannin

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Messages
4,430
Location
Ballarat, Oz
Website
www.redhill.net.au
#24
Exactly, Tim. I chose the mower dealer using a very simple and effective method.

Last month the throttle handle on Belinda's mower broke. I managed to find an old mower with a working throttle lying out in the paddock and butchered that into service as a temporary fix. (As the great Murphy observed, these things only ever happen after business hours. I wasted several hours driving around town on a Saturday afternoon trying to buy one. It was easy enough to find a place that could sell me an entire mower, but the spare parts places all close at 12:00. People, trying to be helpful, kept saying "but Cassels is open Saturday afternoons, pop over there". Naturally, "over there" was clear across town. Then I'd get there (it takes about 15 minutes to drive from one side of Ballarat to the other side) only to find the place shut. Then some helpfull passer-by would say "Ah, you wan't Henderson's - they are always open till 4:00". Naturally, they would be on the side of town I'd just come from. And equally naturally there would be a sign on the door saying that they closed at 12:30 on Saturdays. But someone else would say "What about CCM in Sebastapol?" And so on. Round and round and bloody round. I gave up and went searching through the junk in the paddock in the end.) That borrowed part got me through the weekend, and cut a swathe through the spring growth. But, being the wrong part, it didn't have enough travel. I could adjust it so that you could get the proper revs OK, but not turn the thing off short of using the fuel tap and waiting a while, or I could adjust it the other way and be able to switch it off but not rev it up past idle.

So a week or two later, we slipped across the road to the mower place about 100 yards from my shop, took the broken part in, and asked for a replacment. The bloke who served us went to a good deal of trouble, making sure I knew how to fit it and so on (they can be a bit tricky), and spent five or ten minutes with us when he could just as easily have handed over the part and buggered off to do something else. It was a crappy little $10.00 part and he took the trouble to be helpful anyway.

Which is why, when I decided to buy a mower, it didn't occur to me to go anywhere else. Service sells. Attention to detail sells.

I should know this as well as anyone, as for the last 12 years I have had a crappy-looking little shop, badly in need of renovation. (One day. When I get around to it.) I go out of my way to be open for as few hours as possible (11 till 5 sharp and an an hour off for lunch), never answer emails, the phone is always engaged, and we don't ever bother trying to be the cheapest. But when you finally do get hold of us, we give the best service in town. In consequence we always have plenty of work.

It seems that the mower people have learned this too: once I decided to buy a new mower (something that hadn't particularly crossed my mind when I was buying the spare part) I was always going to go back there. A few minutes "wasted" being helpful to a blow-in off the street who just wanted a spare part led directly to a $1400 sale.
 

skeet

What is this storage?
Joined
Oct 27, 2002
Messages
35
Location
Marlow, UK
#25
Aha!!!

I recognise that heater. Bone, what are you going to do for sticky tape now. Can you light your ciggies on it, do girls take off their tops when they sit on the lush shag pile carpet perspiring with anticipation. Have you considered the ramifications of faux Victorian, middle class, suburban heating. What does it say about you!
 

Tannin

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Messages
4,430
Location
Ballarat, Oz
Website
www.redhill.net.au
#27
Re: Aha!!!

Ahh, the passage of time is a wonderous thing, Skeet. Who would have imagined that you, of all people, would find yourself in Blighty with a wife and (dare I say it?) children? Certainly not me.

Time leaves its indelible mark on most things, even Bone (who is more often known as Tannin these days). I notice stuff less often at this advanced age, and find that, in the inescapable nature of all things, I have come full circle. The girls may or may not take off their tops, but I don't recall it either way. Perhaps this is because, just as it was during my extreme youth (yes, even I had an extreme youth once upon a time, or possibly was one), there is now little difference to be seen between the flat-chested masculine sort of person and the other sort. That which Mother Nature gifts half the race with at the age of puberty appears in all its wonder, then dissapears: little by little. Is it not fitting that the passionate interest held by the other half of the race in that wonderous thing (or pair of things, I should say) fades and shrinks into insignificance, just as the objects of that interest do also?

The famous sticky-tape dispenser, shorn of its reason de etre (excuse my dreadful French) which these last 18 years or so has not been adhesive but instead gravitational, has dissapeared also. Doubtless it is somewhere in amongst the chaos, which, strange to relate, has not dissapeared but, rather, grown into its full strength, maturity, and majesty.

One can light all sorts of things with a naked gas flame, but at least thus far, the new heater has only managed to light the mundane and commonplace. Doubtless, it will be many years before it reaches the heights of the old unit's greatest achievement, which was to light the cat. Yes, dear Woof went .. uh .. there is no other word for it ... she wandered a little too close to the heater, did an elegant U-turn with regal feline tail-swirl, and went woof! (Sad to relate, this is not where her name came from: Woof is called "Woof" because she is a cat and I am an Australian - and am therefore fond of the grand old local tradition of naming tall men "Shorty", bald men "Curly" and redheads "Blue". Hence Woof the cat.) (It was either that or "Rover".)

As for being Victorian - well why not? This house was built (if one can use that over-generous term, perhaps "slapped together" would be better) during the reign of Her Majesty Queen Victoria; I live in the State of Victoria, my postal address is Victoria Street, and that antique brass paper holder of inestimable virtue in the place that must not be mentioned is proudly emblazoned "Victoria Toliet Fixture". Now that I am reminded of it, I went out with a girl named Victoria once. Alas, in some respects I shall never measure up to Good Queen Vic. Aside from the small matters of wealth, station, and choice of century, Her Majesty (bless her) was ugly, fat and virgin: criteria on which I shall never measure up, I fear. (Though I am working of the first one.)
 

Tannin

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Messages
4,430
Location
Ballarat, Oz
Website
www.redhill.net.au
#28
Well, I gave the new Honda a real thrashing today. Seven acres doesn't sound so much, but it was hot and I'm .. er ... I believe the polite term is "buggered". It's a good little mower, but I'm starting to wonder if I shouldn't have bought a ride-on instead.
 
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Messages
3,173
Location
Salem, Or
#29
yes, 7 acres is better served with a riding mower. I personally believe that the breaking point is about 1 acre. I'm actually surprised that you can do seven acre's in one day with a push mower. I actually have almost exactly an acre and I find it much better to do that over two days with my push Honda.
 

Tannin

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Messages
4,430
Location
Ballarat, Oz
Website
www.redhill.net.au
#30
I didn't do the whole seven acres, Mark. I just feel as though I did. :( Yesterday I did about 2 acres, plus some cleaning up of bush litter (because it's the start of the fire season, and while fallen leaves and bark are good for the trees, they are a fire hazard and this year is going to be a very bad year, it seems).

Today I did another acre or so, mended two gates (it's not hard to have a gate that opens and shuts easily, and it's not hard to have a gate that's rabbit-proof, but having a gate that opens and shuts easily and is rabbit proof is tricky), cooked one of my favourite fish+tomato+onion+herbs+rice things for lunch, and brush-cut 50 metres of fenceline. I'm looking forward to the start of the working week tommorow so I can have a rest!

In a week or two, I'm going to take a couple of weeks off and work full time on the place. Belinda is not getting any younger and has been getting very depressed because she can't keep up with the place the way she used to. She has been talking about selling up and buying a place in town, which is just crazy: it would break her heart. Anyway, I'm aiming to get the place into good order for the summer, and maybe get rid of a few of the mindless, repetitive jobs that just suck the energy out of you and need to be done over and over again.

Next up, I want to overhaul the petrol-driven water pump so that it starts first time (no point having a fire pump if you can't get it started when you need it!), see if the gutters need cleaning out yet, and clean up a lot more bush litter.

After that, there are lots of shrubs that need trimming (yes, even the shrubs in a native garden need attention - before we humans arrived to bugger the place up, there were leaf-eating animals to do that, but we killed them all off and now must either do it ourselves with loppers and chain saw or let the fires do it for us), and the part of the block we call "the forest" needs a good many trees felled.

What am I, card-carrying greenie, doing felling trees, you ask? Well, like every other place within 50km of Ballarat, this part of the world was clear-felled back in the 1860s to provide firewood and mine timbers. The bush we have, in other words, is not actual bush but regrowth, much of it coppiced. (At a guess, I'd say this particular patch of regrowth is a good deal younger than that. I'd estimate that it regrew, and was then clear-felled again, perhaps about 1930.)

What happens to regrowth forest is that all the trees are the same age, and so they compete with each other for water, nutrient, and light. The result is that none of them are really healthy, and they are all poor, spindly, half-starved things, mere shadows of the forest giants that they ought to be. Unless you take a hand yourself, they will never recover properly (well, they will if you wait long enough, but we are talking hundreds of years on this sort of soil). In the meantime, you have regrowth forest, which is dull, oppressive, grim and lifeless. (Lifeless because the middle-layer trees take all the water and nutrient, so there is no top layer and no undergrowth to speak of: it's a virtual monoculture.)

So, we need to cull out some of the weakest ones to make room for the heathier ones to grow, and for other things to grow underneath and between them. I've used a chain saw from time to time before, not a great deal, but I think I'll be sick of the sight of the damn thing before too long. Not to mention that I'll need to extend my skill set a little to fell some of the tricky ones. Dozer? Feel like a working holiday?
 

skeet

What is this storage?
Joined
Oct 27, 2002
Messages
35
Location
Marlow, UK
#32
ala Capability Brown in reverse, Tannin. He planted fast growing trees around an Oak to force it up tall and straight, then cut the surrounding trees away to let the Oak grow wide producing Oak monsters in the classic English garden style. Who is your friend, Belinda?
 

Tannin

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Messages
4,430
Location
Ballarat, Oz
Website
www.redhill.net.au
#33
Just in case I didn't mention it elsewhere, today is the first day of my holidays. I'm off to play with rakes and concrete mixers and chainsaws and stuff. I may or may not be around here for the next two weeks.

Just be sure you all behave yourselves while I'm away!
 

Handruin

Administrator
Joined
Jan 13, 2002
Messages
12,888
Location
USA
#35
Tannin said:
Just in case I didn't mention it elsewhere, today is the first day of my holidays. I'm off to play with rakes and concrete mixers and chainsaws and stuff. I may or may not be around here for the next two weeks.

Just be sure you all behave yourselves while I'm away!
Enjoy your time! Have a good holiday! :beer:
 

Tannin

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Messages
4,430
Location
Ballarat, Oz
Website
www.redhill.net.au
#36
Enjoy. Humph. I spent the morning getting hot and sweaty buggerising round with pruning saw and loppers, the afternoon listening to the roar of the mulch-maker and feeding the morning's prunings into it, turning big lumps of tree into small lumps of tree. From time to time it occurred to me that I could be sitting in my nice airconditioned office in my nice comfy swivel chair drinking nice hot cups of tea and making piles and piles of nice folding money. And as I was tiding up a pile of spare building timber, I dropped a bit of 3 x 2 hardwood on my foot.:(

Now I'm tired and sore. And the dreaded l'ange de l'enfer des pertes gelées has made Tea miserable by out-folding her.

Still, I'm starting to see some results now, so that's something. And (if I am to 'fess up to the truth here) it was a perfect day, not hot, not cold, and I wouldn't dream of swapping it for a day at the office. Saw a Black headed Cuckoo-Shrike today too: we don't see them often and they are one of my favourite birds.
 

Tannin

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Messages
4,430
Location
Ballarat, Oz
Website
www.redhill.net.au
#37
I mean black faced cuckoo-shrike. The usual copyright violation follows, though it doesn't do justice to this magnificent bird, particularly not to it's extraordinarily beautiful plumage - a delicate shade of grey that lifts "grey" right out of its usual humble position somewhere unnoticed between darkness and lightness and into a whole new category: there is a softness, a depth, that you have to see in the flesh.



The one in the picture, by the way, is standing on a very large cable: they are quite a large bird, about the size of a magpie or (for those readers that are not blessed with magpies, smaller than a hawk, bigger than a pigeon.
 

Buck

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Feb 22, 2002
Messages
4,514
Location
Blurry.
Website
www.hlmcompany.com
#38
Interesting bird. It sounds as if you've come across its habitat in the woods that you are thinning out. This time of year also happens to be in the middle of their mating season. The brief information here was helpful.
 

Tannin

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Messages
4,430
Location
Ballarat, Oz
Website
www.redhill.net.au
#39
Don't I wish! Alas, in my experience it's nowhere near as common as that article (or others I have read) suggests. There are several places I know of where it's easy to find one, but I think our part of the world is too dry, as they pass through now and then, but don't seem to want to stay. Perhaps they are more common in the central and northern states, as all the standard reference books say "common" and yet, despite our frequent birding trips in the local area, we only see one on perhaps one trip out of ten.

When they say "the nest is remarkably small for the size of the bird", they ain't kidding! The year before last I was lucky enough to discover a cuckoo-shrike nest in a tree on the banks of a river down near Geelong, about 50km south of here, only about 20ft up. It was certainly no larger than the one in the picture, if fact I think it was smaller. I was a little surprised that the single full-grown chick fit in it. (Same size as the adult, near enough, but different plumage.) And quite surprised as I watched a bit longer and discovered that there were two chicks. And then very surprised when my companion noticed a third head pop up. How on earth could three large birds fit in that tiny nest? And when mum (or dad - you can't tell the sex easily) arrived with some lunch I was absolutely dumbfounded: there were four heads reaching up asking for the grasshopper! We just couldn't believe that four big birds could possibly fit in that nest. We sat there, having our own lunch on a delightful early summer day not unlike today, watching the parents hunt up and down the riverbanks and returning with the loot, and trying to work out how they managed it.
 

Buck

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Feb 22, 2002
Messages
4,514
Location
Blurry.
Website
www.hlmcompany.com
#40
That is a small nest for even one Cuckoo-shrike. How large are the eggs? I'm expecting that the photograph in the article that I linked to is an enlargement (I sure hope so for the sake of the mother) of the real size.

Living in such an arid climate as you do, I'd imagine that food would be difficult to come by for the Cuckoo-shrike, or any other insect feeding bird. With the drought that we've been experiencing for the past two years, the bird population has dramatically changed. Scavengers and predators (crows, owls, and hawks) are on the increase, nectar-feeding birds continue to flourish (most people put out sugar water during the winter), and insect feeding birds have slowly disappeared. Hopefully this winter we'll be blessed with a decent amount of rainfall so that the following spring will be a feeding frenzy for our bird life.
 
Top