Darters: You’ve gotta pity poor old Dad

We took a quick trip to see what was happening, and with the promise of a Routley’s Pie on the way home we didn’t mess around getting going.

The Traffic on the Bridge was about the same as last time. Think the same bus went by about 5 times.  Still, the birds are not in the least bothered, and apart from one “Oh, what are they?” question, the majority of the commuters simply commuted.

The two have grown to about full size now, and they are just as hyper-active as ever.  Dad had come in to relieve Mum who went off for preening and hunting.  By the time we got settled, he’d fed them and was all out of food.   Not that they believed that for a minute, and continued to pester him from one side of the nest to the other and back again.  Its pretty amazing to see how those big rubber flippers can hold on to the sides of the nest and move them the chicks about with relative ease, not graceful, one has to admit, but purposeful.

His tactic to avoid the snapping little beaks is to push his head under his wings and mantle.  Once they can no longer see his beak, they settle somewhat.   But, they know he’s there somewhere and with little else to occupy them, they soon begin to search him out.  All the tickling and poking under his feathers eventually wins out, and he has to endure another round of little snaky waving heads pushing him for a meal.   Then he’d tuck under once again.  It was really interesting to see that he put his head under his mantle, and then the two wings closed like automatic doors over his head and neck. No sign of him now, and not doubt they wouldn’t have been able to part his drawn in wings.

But little heads, and beaks can get under the outside feathers and after a little shaking and pushing,  “Oh, there he is!!!” and much more jostling and waving.  No doubt he was counting the seconds until Mum came back, and no doubt she was counting the seconds to see how long she could stay away.
We waited about an hour, but she didn’t make an appearance, so we travelled back up the highway to Routley’s Pie Shop on Melbourne Road, in North Geelong. What a great selection, so perhaps we’ll take a couple home as well.   Ohhh, Lamb Tandoori sounds nice, and I challenged myself with the Beef, Tomato and Chilli.  Yep, that’s got chilli in it.   Topped off with a fine Cappuccino, (it was, still, after all, morning) and we were ready for the trip home.

Wings spread out to confuse them, he tries to find a quite moment
Wings spread out to confuse them, he tries to find a quite moment
Settling in behind his chest, he hopes to get a few moments rest.
Settling in behind his chest, he hopes to get a few moments rest.
He's in there somewhere.
He’s in there somewhere.
Where'd he go?  Confused because they can't see him, they turn on one another.
Where’d he go?
Confused because they can’t see him, they turn on one another.
Persistence is their middle name, and little beaks can penetrate the feathers
Persistence is their middle name, and little beaks can penetrate the feathers
Peek-a-boo.  Found you.
Peek-a-boo. Found you.
"ENOUGH".  He looses his cool.
“ENOUGH”. He loses his cool.
The lady in the upstairs apartment looks on.
The lady in the upstairs apartment looks on.
Recently fledged young bird is waiting forlornly for its parents to come back with a feed.
Recently fledged young bird is waiting forlornly for its parents to come back with a feed.
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2 thoughts on “Darters: You’ve gotta pity poor old Dad

  1. Super series of these crazy kids! No wonder mamma stays away as much as she can. All great shots especially the last one of the lonely kid with the big feet 🙂

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    1. Hi Christine, We are really late into the season and we’ve missed some great opportunities, but really are enjoying the intimacy of these shots. Its a bit of a hike to travel there, but we can be down and back in a morning, so its not too bad.
      He is such a patient bird, they are so energetic, big and ungainly, so that we have to hold our breath on some of their antics.

      David

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