It is always a delight to visit Oatley Park Reserve during the Spring months to see the new arrivals of the waterbirds, as well as passerines. Though there are less […]
It is always a delight to visit Oatley Park Reserve during the Spring months to see the new arrivals of the waterbirds, as well as passerines. Though there are less than the usual numbers of species breeding here this year. The added feature this year is a family of Australasian Grebe that many have been returning daily to view the growth and development of their Grebe chicks. Note the breeding plumage on face and neck.
here nest is a mound of reeds beside a reed bed our in the main pond. Both parents busily care for and feed the now two remaining chicks, as the weaker third appears to have either perished or been taken by a predator, such as the Sacred Kingfisher which I witnessed swooping on it. Sadly, a couple of days later the third weaker straggling chick was not present and each parent adopted the principle of feeding and protecting one chick each.
Below is live footage of a Kingfisher attack on the young Grebes. Notic how quickly they duck under the water when the Kingfisher swoops down on them. Thankfully on thi occasion they all escaped.
Similar to other Grebe and Swan species, the parents carry their babies on their backs tucked under their wings for protection, as they are very vulnerable to predation on the open lake.
Initially father Grebe will bring to the nest small fish and aquatic food to feed the hungry youngsters
As the Grebes get older they venture out onto the water where they wait for their parent to dive and emerge with food for them.
Below is a photo of a non breeding and breeding Australasian Grebe for comparison. Both sexes display the same breeding plumage:
This little Pacific Black Duck baby was cruising the pond continuously without its family, being quite vulnerable to predation. We found its family hidden in the wetlands some 50 metres away.
In the same pond this juvenile Dusky Moorhen was chirping, awaiting a feed.
Waterbirds have a high predation rate, as they are literally sitting ducks exposed on open water, which is why large broods of young assist in their survival as a species. They may start with a dozen chicks and end up with only one or two reaching maturity. This depends on the number of predators, and how skilled the parent is in protecting them. Predators include raptors, Currawongs, Kingfishers, Kookaburras, and sometimes other large omnivorous birds.
Another non avian creature we saw in the park on this day was the Short-nosed Echidna, which is a unique species of monotreme or prototherian mammal. The Platipus is the other. This little guy is occasionally seen in the park and has his own little hideaway. These are very shy and spend their day poking their long snout down ant nests, since ants, termites and other insects are its main diet. It is commonly known as the Spiny Anteater.
This tiny Hyacinth orchid (Dipodium punctatus) is in flower again this year for a very short time in Spring. The petals are very small and are covered in tiny dots. Notice the blade of grass in background of the photo.
I love the way the Parrot family peer at you as they feed. Often all you will see is an eye. This lone Eastern Crimson Rosella was feeding away in a rocky corner of the park.
Have a most enjoyable week birding and stay safe. We have been enjoying a little more freedom here, but now this South African variant has hit our city from overseas travellers. So the whole Covid thing starts over again, with a new chapter and a new normal, this virus just won’t go away.
Last Saturday on a cold Canberra day, we visited the National Library Bookshop in Parkes, Canberra, where my books are sold. While I was there speaking with the shop assistant several people heard my conversation came up to me and bought books. They sold out of stock so I had to go to the car and bring more in. Book signing was the order of the day.
Remember the perfect Christmas gift is but a click away here.
As parents we love our children and grandchildren. We love seeing them develop and grow and feed into their life not only food , protection and provisions but also encouragement and wisdom to become the very best they possibly can.
Passing on a solid platform of faith, trust and integrity of character is just as important, if not more. Our world view will be passed on to our children, in our language, behaviour and values also, without us even realizing. It may be wise to ask am I mainly a Balcony or Basement person. Am I basically happy or depressed, encouraging or discouraging, positive or negative, faithful or fearful, hopeful or pessimistic, gracious or judgmental, always giving or always on the take, always thankful or always complaining in both language and actions. This will have a marked affect on those around us including family and friends. Taking stock of our relationships and those of our children to ensure that the number of Balcony people outnumbers those of the Basement variety, can be helpful to maintain our emotional, mental and spiritual health. Needy people attract needy people as do hurt people hurt people.
“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” – Proverbs 17:22
“The father of a righteous child has great joy; a man who fathers a wise son rejoices in him.” – Proverbs 23:24
“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” – Proverbs 22:6