My home is a tiny cottage, surrounded by the Australian bush, loads of wildlife, and just enough people for it to feel neighbourly, but not so many people that you feel uncomfortable wandering around taking photographs in your pyjamas and a pair of flip-flops. There’s always something interesting going on and when I hear the resident kookaburra family start to roar with laughter, I try to head outside, as it usually signals that an event worth looking at is about to unfold.
On this particular morning, an adult and newly fledged baby were throwing their heads back and chuckling heartily away on the wires out front. I ran outside to get some photographs of them. But about a metre away there was a very heavy thud and the sound of leaves being crunched and rustled about. And then silence. I turned to find a lovely big kookaburra sitting on the ground – and it had an awfully big ‘something’ grasped tightly in its beak.
In the beautiful dappled light of the gum trees, it was difficult to decipher the kookaburra among the fallen leaves with… what exactly was that hanging from its beak? My mind turned the image over and over. A giant brown earthworm?
The kookaburra clamped its beak down more tightly on the creature’s black head. Then it flipped the long, thin, scaled body around in its mouth. A red-bellied black snake, and a young one at that! Just as my brain finally put two and two together, the kookaburra flew up into the n