Bird Activity: August
|A mother Australian Wood Duck Protecting her ducklings|
I remember the first time I noticed them. Two of them circled overhead and periodically came down and darted into the shed and back out, sometimes staying in there a bit longer. I figured they were building a nest in there, but they were so fast and I never did find it. I got out my camera and tried to get a photo-of one of them-that was more than a dark streak. Finally I got a good enough photo to identify them from and ever since then, I have looked forward to the return of the swallow each year. The sweet bird is very welcome here.
The little birds seem so joyful, as they swoop and dive around, darting through the sky, snapping up insects as they go. Their feathers shining deep blue and their glossy red throats are a lovely sight. I watched them dart through the sky and skim along the grass, coming up with a white feather from one of my pet ducks, held in its beak. The swallow shot up into the sky and then dropped the feather only to catch it and drop and catch it again. They darted away and returned a minute later, skimming the grass to find another feather.
I have also heard the cry of a young Rainbow Lorikeet, it took me a while to remember what it was, but then I realized it was the same squawking I had heard a year ago. Then I had found two young Lorikeets up in a gum tree being fed by their parents. This time I caught some glimpses of Lorikeets high up, but they were too far away for me to tell what they were doing.
I have also seen the Australian Ravens going back to last year’s nest high in an old gum tree in our back paddock. Maybe soon another young bird will be calling from there too.
As I write this I can see the brown and green spots of a female Satin Bowerbird as she hops amongst the bushes in the garden. Eastern Rosellas are flying past in a flash of colours. I have seen them flying in and out of a bird box in the neighbour’s yard, some have nested here before, but then they deserted the one surviving chick and the neighbours hand raised it, before letting it free. It comes back and watches us occasionally, he’s just a little less wary than the rest of his species.
I am now cured of the “should I take my camera for such a short walk disease” I walked up to our neighbours and (for some strange reason) decided that since the last four times I had done that, I hadn’t needed my camera, so I would not need it this time. How wrong I was. I came across a family of Wood Ducks with six fairly newly hatched ducklings! So I came back home and went back up there with my camera. I found the ducks still there so I very happily took some photos, the sun wouldn’t come out and give me nice afternoon light but they still turned out ok and by the time the sun did return the ducks and their little ones had disappeared.
I also managed to later identify a bird of prey that flew overhead as a Black-shouldered Kite.
The next day I again went in search of the six ducklings and my sister spotted them. At first they looked just like a lumpy twisted stick lying in the shade, but then we realized they were the family of Australian Wood Ducks. The mother and father lay stretched flat on the ground in the dappled shadows of a gum tree. The chicks lay in between them.