Australian wood duck? This, dear friends, is not a duck. Of any kind. Don’t even think it’s waterfowl. It’s an emu. In Australia. Really. Took the picture myself. Long ago, on a continent far, far away.

Fair dinkum...Australian wood ducks spotted...

Please read this. . .

G’day, duck.

One evening last week, yours truly stepped outdoors...and was instantly reminded that Southern Illinois can get rather hot and humid during the summer time.

So hot and humid, as a matter of fact, that I actually saw dragonflies which were breathing fire. Sorry. That probably doesn’t even make any sense.

Anyway, I’m outside enjoying the heat when I happen to hear a commotion in a big tree, a soft maple perhaps, across the street. Something is stirring the leaves. Given that it was fairly late in the evening, almost night fall, it was hard to see into the dark shadows of the tree. 

The commotion continued for a moment or two, and was accompanied by sounds that your intrepid observer (that would be me) could not identify. Kind of screeching sorts of sounds. And that is not a good description at all.

Next thing I know, I spotted three winged creatures are in the evening sky above. All I could see were three silhouettes. Enough to suggest that what I was seeing might have been ducks of some sort or another. 

The flying creatures were accompanied by the aforementioned, and not very well described, screeching sounds. The silhouettes circled overhead a couple of times, and then disappeared into the dark of the evening.

I hadn’t thought about it until now, but the creatures I saw definitely were not those creeping flying monkeys which tangled with Dorothy and her friends in “The Wizard of Oz.” Those monkeys always creeped me out.

Anyway, I had happened to mention my encounter with the mysterious flying creatures with a fellow traveler on The Journey Through Life. We’ll call this fellow an ornithological expert, in that he probably knows more birds, and, maybe, flying moneys, than yours truly. 

He subsequently came up with a possible identification for the creatures I had seen: an Australian wood duck. Well, maybe.

Now, I never would have thought it would be possible to spot an Australian wood duck in Southern Illinois. To tell you the truth, I had never even heard of an Australian wood duck. 

Some quick research on the internet revealed that there is indeed such a thing as an Australian wood duck. They are common in Australia. They also quack with a funny accent. The flying creatures I saw and heard sounded pretty American to me. 

Long ago, and far away, yours truly actually had the opportunity to spend some time in the Land Down Under. Can’t recall if I saw any Australian wood ducks during the visit.

However, I did see a platypus. And an emu, which is kind of like an ostrich, in that it is a bird which is tall enough to be a starting player, maybe a guard, on a basketball team somewhere.

And, as you might expect, I saw kangaroos. Lots and lots of kangaroos. During a visit to a park, I had “up close and personal” contact with some ‘roos, which were supposed to be wild animals. These critters were not doing a very good job of being “wild.”

As I write this, I still don’t know what I saw flying around in the summer evening sky last week. I do know that they weren’t flying monkeys. Or kangaroos with wings. That much is sure.



The Gazette-Democrat

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