I have been a little puzzled about our resident pair of Australian Magpies this spring. Although they showed signs of building a nest earlier in the spring they seemed to abandon the idea after a few days. I had observed them refurbishing the nest they have used for the last four or five years. Instead of continuing the nest building and then sitting on the eggs and finally being busy feeding the young in the nest, they seemed content to just occupy themselves searching for food during the day, visiting the bird bath (as in the photo above) or chasing away the White-winged Choughs whenever they came into the garden.
I thought they’d given up on breeding this season.
It seems I was wrong. Earlier this week I was passing the garage when I saw a young magpie fresh out of the nest, all downy and begging for food.
This is perplexing. I still haven’t found any nest. There are two possible explanations:
- They made a new nest in a location I haven’t yet discovered. This is entirely possible as it would take quite a while to check every tree on our five acre block.
- The young bird I saw was from a neighbouring magpie territory and it had wandered into our garden.
It does not matter. It is good to see that at least one magpie was hatched in this locality this year.
I was sitting outside on the back veranda having breakfast this morning and I heard an unusual bird call, one that was vaguely familiar but I wasn’t sure.
I looked up to see that three Grey Currawongs had flown into a tree near my wife’s Australian native plant nursery. Two of them still had downy plumage and both were not very confident moving around the tree. They flew to another tree and I could see that they were recent fledglings barely out of the nest. The third one was kept busy searching for beetles and spiders under the bark of the trees while the young ones persisted in begging for food.
Before long they flew off to another part of the property. It was already far too hot to go chasing after them through the scrub with a camera. Here in South Australia it is supposed to be spring with lovely sunny days with temperatures in the low to mid 20s. Instead, we are experiencing an unseasonal and record breaking heat wave. Later today it reached 42C under our veranda. That might be fine for the height of summer in January and February – but not in November.
I heard my first cuckoo for the season today. Officially it is the first day of spring here in Australia, so that’s quite appropriate.
This cuckoo was some distance away and I didn’t get to see it. Going on the call alone, it was probably a Fan-tailed Cuckoo, a relatively common species in the Murray Bridge area at this time of the year.
Many other species seem to be quite busy and calling frequently but I’m not sure what is nesting yet. I must take out a little time over the next week or so and wander around having a look in all the trees and bushes around our house. Some of the resident breeding species are very sneaky about where they locate their nests.
Getting back to that cuckoo – I don’t yet have a photo of this species. Instead, I can show you another common local species of cuckoo, the Pallid Cuckoo. (The photo was taken at Round Hill Nature Reserve in NSW.)