Laughing Kookaburra, Dacelo novaeguineae, at Tom Groggins, Kosciuszko National Park, New South Wales, Australia.
Now, I’m sure there’s gonna be Australians who wonder why I’m posting such a common bird, but I’m very taken with them. I saw lots of kookaburras while in Australia, but these are my favourite images of what is essentially a huge kingfisher with attitude.
My first encounter was in 2007, a few days after arriving in Australia for my first visit. I was staying at a house in the New South Wales bush, sleeping with only the screen door separating me from the outside world.
In what seemed like the middle of the night I *seemed* to awake to what sounded like a mad person laughing racously in my room, or perhaps even in my head. Maybe I was still asleep. The fright caused me to levitate a good half metre above the mattress.
It was the dawn chorus, lead by at least a brace of kookaburras.
And here’s what they sound like: