The birds are gone. They are still hanging around Balyang but the nest has been abandoned.
I wonder how long it will last for. I wonder if it will be reused again.
I hope the chicks survive 🙂
My Nature Blog
On Monday, I was at Balyang. I sat down at the mating tree and looked over at the nest where the mudlarks liked to hang out.
They were gone.
It was a bit of a surprise. They were there the day before, but I decided not to photograph them and look for bugs with Sethy instead.
I felt a bit sad. I’d been watching them for weeks. I know it’s silly to bond with chicks, especially considering not all of them will survive. But I’d watched those parents working their butt off for weeks. I wanted a happy ending.
I heard the chicks calling. I looked a bit higher. It turns out the babies had left the nest and were sitting one branch up!
On Tuesday, I went down with the goal of getting more photos. I only had a one hour trip the day before, as I’d spent the bulk of the day at Buckley Falls with Sethy. I looked at the branch above the nest.
They weren’t there!
Again, I heard the chicks squawking. I looked up. They had made their first flight across the water and were high up in a tree near one of the seats. 🙂 It was pretty awesome to see. The parents are still feeding them and they are very much hanging out in a group. You can also clearly see the chest markings. I’ll be looking into them later to see if they are indicative of anything.
I was walking home when I saw a mudlark flying into a tree. Normally, I wouldn’t care. But this tree is very well defending but a protective willy wagtail.
It turns out another mudlark couple are at the start of their family journey. And the cycle continues 🙂
Last time I was Balyang, I noted that there was teeny weeny mudlark chicks in the mating tree. It was pretty exciting to see. I had seen fledglings about to leave the nest near queens park a couple of weeks ago.
I must say, I didn’t expect them to be quite so big when I got there! They have grown so much. They were very demanding and their parents were working very hard to feed them both.
The lighting was poor and the nest was in a tree in a little island, so the photos aren’t the best. There was also a pesky leaf that hid them at times.
My book, ‘Australian Birds, Their Nests and Eggs,’ says that they breed twice per year but sometimes can breed up to four times. I wonder how they can sustain that population or whether a lot of the young die. What influences their breeding? So many questions 🙂
They definitely weren’t pleased at this little pied cormorant that landed a bit too close for their liking! They chased it until it flew away. I experimented a bit with the cropping a bit – I hope it’s still interesting. So much going on in this one tree!
There is a tree at Balyang that is very popular during the Spring. It is the ones that the cormorants have chosen for their nests – and it looks like many other birds have followed suit.
This tree is in the centre of the larger lake. Many birds enjoy hanging out here because they are safe from the plethora of young children who visit.
I’ve written before about the sulpher crested cockatoo nesting in this tree – and the cormorants that sometimes don’t enjoy their presence! You can read more about that here.
Last Wednesday, a cockatoo (it may not have been part of the pair) flew a little bit too close to this great cormorant. It certainly told him or her off!
This tree is a fair way away, so I’ve been photographing this little mudlark nest from a distance. I had assumed that they were incubating the eggs, despite both parents flying and swapping duties frequently. I zoomed in on the photos later and could see the tail from a younger bird. In the next photo, I could see a babies head! How awesome is that? The parents are doing a fantastic job. Of course, I’d love to get better photos but it’s not feasible here. I’m just happy to see babies 🙂
Earlier in the week, I was walking to Balyang from Queens Park after looking for the tawny frogmouth nest.
I was keeping an eye out for any nests. A friend had seen a black faced cuckoo shrike nest and, me being me, I thought it could be fun to photograph. I had no luck finding it – granted, I wasn’t looking particularly hard – but I did see these mudlarks. I initially thought they were adults until I saw them from the front.
😉 I was hoping I’d get some mating shots but it looks like I’m a little too late in the season for that!
Interestingly, I also saw a couple of cormorants displaying courtship behaviour. It was odd, as I hadn’t seen any for two weeks. No idea what brought it on – maybe the heat? I didn’t have a brief “Glenn, I’m borrowing your camera moment” so I could take a video.
Below is the video I took the first time I saw courtship behaviour. I couldn’t find any videos or information online to show Glenn and Seth, so I decided to make my own.
This teal has been taking advantage of the nest box, which is amazing to see. I haven’t really seen any baby ducks, or swamphens, this season. I’m not sure why. I have seen wood ducks that are several weeks old, which has been beautiful.
I can’t make sense of who breeds when, and why.
These two long billed corellas have been busy protecting their nest for a while. I usually only see just one in their but try to give them a lot of space. It doesn’t help that other photographers pretty much set up their tripods next to the tree – although they are fairly high up and should be safe 🙂 I mostly avoid this tree because there is a sulpher crested cockatoo nesting at about 2 meters high and it is very flighty. I’m not sure I like their chances!
Yesterday, I watched the little dude. One of my first thoughts when mum asked me was “Oh, what a shame. I guess I’ll have to check out Balyang again.”
I don’t know how often is too often when checking out on the nesting behaviour, but once a week is seeming like a good balance. Last year I would have said that was too much but now I am a lot better at observing behaviour I would have missed last year.
It was an unexpectedly warm day and hit early 30’s. The cormorants were definitely feeling the heat.
Last week I saw a number of birds hanging out at the nests together. This time, many of them were hanging out away from the nests.
There were two great cormorants there, both panting, which led to some interesting opportunities. Was able to get great detail shots of their mouth.
I got this awesome shot. I’m actually getting quite good at pre-empting what was about to happen. Of course, it is easy to know when a bird is about to poop. They raise their tail and squat a little bit. If you’ve had a pet, you know it. But it’s so difficult to actually get because you have to watch forever to actually notice the original behaviour.
I now have an official page for photos of birds pooping. This is the best photo I have so far because it is the clearest. I only have three but I now want to collect ‘the set.’ I want to get as many photos of birds pooping as possible.
Normally I don’t really pay attention to birds clearing out hollows or poking their heads out of them. It could mean anything.
I got intrigued in July when I saw the cockatoos clearing out a hollow. I developed this obsession with nesting. I’m glad I watched.
The above photo is pretty tedious. The below series is awesome. I got a photo of this cockatoo leaning out of the tree. I *knew* there would be another nearby and it could lead to some interesting photos. I was right.
The cormorant went to the hollow. Then it flew to a try to, well, be a cockatoo. The nearby cormorants weren’t too happy!<
I was so lucky to get the following series. I saw movement near the trees and thought ‘they were going to mate!’ It was incredibly difficult to see. It was about 1o metres away on the little island. They were specks against a similarly coloured background. Incredibly difficult to capture. But I did it! The photos are mediocre but that is okay considering.
White plumed honeyeater. I’m in love with this lens.
Arguing silver gulls.
I’ll be returning here frequently over the coming weeks to get more nesting/mating behaviour. The narrative isn’t as creative as it could be but the behaviour certainly warranted a post! 🙂