At last. We have reached the end of a breeding season and normality has been restored. I must admit, it is relaxing not having to note everything down and to be able to stay at home and bludge. There is still a lot I want to observe this season, but I’m not sure I’ll be able to see everything before the birds fly.
In the below photo, you can see a pied cormorant. But wait: isn’t this post about Princes Bridge? I had never seen one here before and have no idea if it is unusual behaviour. I know it’s only a couple of km from the ocean, but they are still a bird I associate with beaches.
I did manage to get a photo of it defecating, so now have the complete set of Australian cormorants pooping.
Towards the end of February, I noticed that a pair of darters apparently courting. On this visit, however, I was greeted by mostly empty nests. It was a bit of a shock, similar to when all the birds left the mating tree. There is still courtship behaviour going on elsewhere. I have no idea what makes them choose to abandon an area. It really does feel like they use a particular batch of trees to their full potential and then move away a little bit.
I was photographing the darters swimming when I noticed these turtles in the background. I managed to get Seth his first turtle lifer recently, he really wanted to see one along the river. Of course, my notes show that we both saw one along there when he was a little tacker but that doesn’t really count.
I took the below photo to show the differences in colour in the birds. One is clearly juvenile, you can still see that dangly bit of skin under its chin. The other doesn’t look like a full adult, unless it is moulting. Also seems to be some staining? Interesting.
The final set of photos show little black cormorants showing courtship behaviour. I think they may be making another genuine go at breeding. No idea if they always breed a bit later or if this is just a recent thing. I did get poor quality video of it though.
And thus concludes a season of cormorant observing! I suspect there is a lot of useful data in these photos but I have no idea what to do with it. I need to come up with a better strategy for future seasons, especially with breeding data. There is just so much going on that it’s easier to avoid and rely on someone else to report.
Looking forward to going to Apollo Bay at the end of the month! Nice to have a change of scenery 🙂