The Friday Fillip

I just want to clear something up before we begin this Friday’s Fillip. No worries: not a philippic. More of a prolegomenon really. It has to do with birds, as you might imagine, and more to the point, with a seeming interest in birds. See, the thing is that some people think that birding is the natural result of being retired, along with sporting Tilley hats and acquiring RVs. Isn’t true. I know lots of people who noticed birds even before they retired. And another thing: I know I’ve posted about birds before in the Friday Fillip spot, but that doesn’t make me a birder, okay? I am retired, though. More or less. I lost my Tilley hat; it floated away during a canoe trip.

With that cleared out of the way, I offer you a lyrebird, courtesy of the Daily Mail and David Attenborough. The British nature broadcaster (also retired, no I come to think of it) was recently the subject of a poll to identify viewers favourite scenes from his various TV shows. The winner was a clip (Windows Media File) involving a Superb Lyrebird in Australia. I’ll leave the explanation to Attenborough, but I’ll simply say that you’ll be blown away by the bird’s ability to mimic certain sounds. Promise.


  1. Simon, this was great! Better than the lousy Crows I wake up to every morning.

  2. I used to hate the crows in my neighbourhood, too, until West Nile virus did away with all of them. It was eerily quiet two summers ago, and I truly miss them. They are slowly coming back–there is the odd sad sounding solo crow cawing now and then. I do hope they come back soon. And even those noisy jays would be welcome!

  3. Crows are one of my favourite birds, one of the most intelligent and full of symbolic significance, especially on the left coast Neil!

  4. Sorry, Mark – I was awakened at 5:00 this morning by a horde of crows all cawing at something that bugged them – it went on for an hour, so I’m not sympathetic to sympathy for crows.

    I think you might be thinking of Ravens, as well, which do have symbolic and mythic significance for the first nations culture. Same family, Corvid, although a lot bigger, and a lot smarter.

    I’ll ignore the “left coast” comment. I’m too tired to reply. But I’ll get you for it, you bet!


  5. You are right, in my mind Ravens and Crows are so similar I often don’t differentiate, even though I know different. I am most certainly not a birder. Nonetheless I do think the Corvid family is an interesting one. I would still rather be woken by the crows than by the heavy truck that idles outside my apartment every morning!

    I always think of left as opposed to right geographically, i.e. the left hand coast, instead of the political spectrum but would you prefer British California? :)

  6. Mark, Do you mean California as in great wine? Micro Breweries? Temperate weather? Great beaches? Convertibles? Year round golf? Sure, I’ll take it.

    Nova Scotia, now, let me see . . . that means New Scotland, right? As in lowering skies and freezing rain? Beaches made out of rocks? Golfing in hurricanes? Scratchy, smelly winter garments? Old geezers forever scraping away cacaphonously on fiddles? Cape Breton? Alexander Keith’s beer? Nova Scotia wine?

    Mine ancestor got off the boat, took one look and said, “Nope, too much like Scotland”, and bolted for the west as fast as a dram gets drained at closing time in Aberbeen.


  7. HAHA! That about sums it up, one has to have a perverse appreciation of hardy weather, rocky beaches and challenging golf. We will have to wait until this evening to see if we keep our fiddling premier. However, we do have some great microbreweries, Propeller is my personal favourite. And Nova Scotia wines are coming along very nicely, especially the desert wines, my favourite local vinyard is Grand Pre about 45 minutes away just outside of Wolfville.

  8. Ah Mark what the west coast folk don’t know is that the surfing is spectacular at Lawrencetown – check out the winter surfing photos at and the description of Nova Scotia extreme sports at

  9. That is true we have some very avid surfers at Dal Law. In fact one student told me that the only applied to Dal Law because they wanted to come here for the surfing! The only catch is the cold water, but if you have a wetsuit you will do fine. In addition to the world class waves our surfing areas are not crowded. But I must be clear that this is all second hand information, I’ve never actually surfed myself. I wasn’t kidding when I said the water is COLD!

  10. The key test for any law school which advertises itself as a surfer-friendly place is whether Bruce Welling would be a visting prof there.