On a recent visit to Clare late last year I took off about a half hour from helping my daughter in her garden and took a five minute walk down the road to Lake Inchiquin. Yesterday I wrote about some of the birds I saw.
One of the highlights was this little family of Pacific Black Ducks. From the size of the ducklings I’d say that they are about half grown. It was a lovely sight and they let me come to within a few metres of them.
I guess they knew that I wouldn’t dive in and harm them in any way.
Christmas greetings to all of my regular readers – and to those visiting for the very first time. Christmas in Australia is usually a special time of family gatherings, some people travelling long distances to be with family.
This Christmas we had the delight of having all of our little family together, something of a rarity as my son lives interstate. It was delight to see our two lovely grand children excitedly opening their gifts.
Because I was distracted by playing with my grand children, I didn’t get out to do any birding today. A few weeks ago, however, I took the above photo of a family of Pacific Black Ducks on the lake next to the golf course in Clare in the mid-north of South Australia.
Last week I wrote about the young Grey Currawongs being fed by the adults in our garden. They are still hanging around and squawking noisily whenever they get hungry – which seems to be most of the time.
Yesterday morning I was doing some reading in our sun room when a sudden screeching noise outside interrupted my thoughts. I grabbed the binoculars (but not the camera, alas) and raced outside. High up in the sky above our house a Little Eagle was soaring around on the gentle breeze, obviously looking for something to eat for lunch.
The eagle seemed oblivious to the fact that both currawong parents were attacking it, screeching loudly in order to chase away the offending predator. Slowly, almost nonchalantly, the eagle glided away out of sight and the currawongs calmed down and resumed feeding the young ones., and peace resumed in the garden.
More angry birds
The currawongs are not the only angry birds resident in our garden. The Australian Magpies chase off the Grey Currawongs and the White-winged choughs, the Willie Wagtails are constantly attacking all three already mentioned and the Red Wattlebirds appear to have a distinct dislike towards anything with wings, including the hapless tiny Pardalotes. This latter conflict is a real miss-matched war: wattlebirds are bout 36cm long compared with the pardalotes weighing in at only 8cm. I reckon the wattlebirds are the big bullies in our little patch.
I had almost finished dressing this morning when my wife called to me from the kitchen. She had just seen a bird she didn’t recognise fly onto the branch of a tree in our garden. I grabbed the camera and headed out to capture said bird on film – well, digitally, anyway.
It turned out to be a very downy young Grey Currawong waiting patiently for the parents to come feed it. Both parents were hovering in the background waiting for me to move back indoors. Later, from a distance, I saw another young bird being fed in trees a little further distance from the house.
Only a few days ago I was wondering why we hadn’t seen any currawongs in our garden recently. They must have been nesting elsewhere and busy feeding these two large babies. Nice to have them around again, though the smaller birds like the honeyeaters detest them, especially when they still have young in the nest. A baby honeyeater, pardalote or thornbill makes a tasty meal for a fast growing currawong.
We have a pair of Willie Wagtails who live in our garden. They often come very close to us as we work in the garden, especially when we are weeding or digging the garden beds. They are quite unafraid of us. Every year they build a nest somewhere near the house. Quite often they will even have a second brood of young ones.
This year I noticed them building a nest a few days before we went to Sydney for just over two weeks. I checked on our return and one of the adults was sitting on the nest; I didn’t know if there were eggs or chicks in the nest and didn’t want to disturb the parent bird. Now two weeks later and the nest is empty – in fact, it’s on the ground.
Enough time has elapsed for the eggs to have hatched and the young to have flown. Strange then that we haven’t seen the little ones begging to be fed. I suspect that the nest may have been raided by some form of predator: raven, magpie, currawong, falcon – even a stray cat that has been lurking in the vicinity.
All I can hope is that they decide to nest again – in a more secure location.