Unlike last year, where I was surrounded in numerous Spring water babies, numbers this Spring are greatly reduced in both specie varieties and baby numbers per family. You may remember in a previous blog I showed the pairing off of the future parent water birds in the ponds of Oatley Park Reserve. Each time I went out searching the usual ponds and waterways it was surprising to find how different this year is from the last. The picture above was taken of a Chestnut Teal family in October, it is surprising that only two babies are present, as they have up to six. I have seen foxes in the reserve which may account for the loss.
It was heartening to find the same Chestnut Teal family thriving, and the babies are now able to fend for themselves, diving for weed.
I thought to include this immature Eastern Magpie (an early Spring baby) testing its vocal chords alone by the ponds, as you can hear it warbling as the Chestnut Teal babies are diving. Notice it is brown in colour (like most bird babies) and looks similar to the female specie.
Not far from the ponds I found this immature Little Wattlebird, a spring baby out on its own.
One of my favourite spring wildflowers is blooming, the Flannel Flower, a beautiful white flower. The Grevilleas are in full bloom also.
Water Dragons and lizards are out sunbaking in the Spring sunshine, as they do.
Above are some of the birds in the Reserve that did not have any babies, or any visibly apparent partner either. Check out how small the Striated Thornbill is compared to the size of a eucalypt leaf!
Take a close look at this old tree trunk where the Sulphur-crested Cockatoo have been chewing. A friend of mine had her whole timber veranda demolished by a flock some years ago. I showed in previous blogs how they chew out a hole in the Angophora trees to have their babies with their extremely strong beak.
It was pleasing to see many Sulphur-crested Cockatoo nesting in the park. This one made an alarming racket as I walked below its nest. At first it appeared to be one lone noisy bird, but as i approached I saw the female with her head poking out as she sat on the nest.
Checking out the river, again we see no babies, even the Chestnut Teals here have none, though the White-faced Heron is donning breeding plumage.
I am always thrilled when my little shy and always alone Mangrove ( also called Striated) Heron is out on the mudflats at lowtide. Check out the way it stalks its prey, how it shapes its body like a stick, waits completely still and then pounces. It always keeps a long way away from people, these shots are from quite a distance. These birds stand perfectly still, and can easily be mistaken for a piece of wood. I know because it has tricked me several times.
My wife found this tiny delicate bush orchid growing near the track, have a look at the amazing detail of it, remembering that I have blown it up for your appreciation.
As you know from last weeks post, and my current Bird of the Week page the Tawny Frogmouth family are doing very well in the Reserve, and I hope to have more pics as they grow to the next stage.
Last weekend my wife and i flew to Melbourne to visit my auntie who lives alone for her 80th birthday. Everyone was amazed that ‘aussiebirder’ did not take a camera with him. Thankfully his wife did, and the following shots of the Southern or White-backed Magpie, as it is known, are from her little Lumix camera. Above is a comparison of the Eastern Magpie on the left (which we have here in NSW) and the southern which is in Victoria and South Australia.
Here are some more photos, we found a street near my auntie’s home where over a dozen magpies congregated all day. We think they are being fed by residents. I did see an occasional young one being fed by its parent (see above).
The sound of their morning song is amazing, above is an example, but when a dozen ‘maggies’ are all calling together ( as they usually call to one another) it is so beautiful.
One amazing scene I did witness was this male and female Magpie love making under a tree. That is what it appeared to me. It was lovely to see how the female was grooming the male as it lay entrusting her. I have deleted some scenes, as they were not appropriate for me to show, we have to have some dignity for the pair.