Brolga Morning

Some birds seem to me to evoke more involvement and emotional attachment than others.   A big purple, Australasian Swamphen doesn’t get more than a glance, a cute-fluffy Pacific Black Duckling in its yellow and orange, trundling along behind mum gets ‘cute’.

And so to Brolga.

Perhaps it’s the sheer size of the bird? Perhaps it’s the mystic that seems to be attached to the bird both by new settlers and old inhabitants. Perhaps its the awesome majesty of the birds in dance, or their apparent concern for one another. It may also be that in the southern part of Australia, where once they roamed freely in huge numbers, they have been reduced to just a few hard-pressed birds in such small locations.
The Western Treatment Plant has been fortunate to have had a number of pairs in the area over the years and they have breed successfully, and also lost their clutch to such things as human stress on them, and from the feral foxes (are there non-feral?). Build and area that is fenced off to help them in their endeavour to bring on a clutch and inquisitive senseless humans advance over the fences, knock down the posts, trample the ground and in the end, the parents abandon the attempt.

We came across a local pair with their young one, and Mum won’t nest again until this one is fully grown, (several years), that flew into where we were sitting at the WTP.  I’ve no way of making contact with these bird—not that I’m going to try. They deserve the widest berth I can make, and I’m loathe to move toward them or to gain some favour with them. As I’ve quoted before from Jon Young, that is an option that the bird makes.  And no attempt by me to speed up the process is going to bring that awesome moment of grace any closer.  And I’m satisfied if it doesn’t happen.

So we sat and watched.  A spot of preening, a little feeding, some family discussion, and they were gone.

A visual feast says it best


6 thoughts on “Brolga Morning

  1. Beautiful series David. Such majestic birds. The lack of respect which they are accorded by people who only care about getting a photograph and not about the bird is pretty depressing, so thanks for setting such a great example.


    1. Hello Eleanor,
      Glad you dropped by. They are such magestic creatures, and it so really hard I think in just a few photos to be able to show their elegant and almost reserved knowledge. It is something that is just a ‘presence’ thing with each of the birds.
      They are aware of all around them, and of each other and the interaction is what is so hard to depict.
      I’d been talking with Maarten B. who had been invovled in the fencing off of the nesting pair and how in a few minutes— hours of work and trust by those working with the nesting birds —and the trust of the bird themselves was lost.


  2. G’day David,
    How come I always wholeheartedly agree with you?
    Your photos are really beautiful and I would not wish for more. When I spotted the brolgas (already twice recently) I could not believe my luck, especially when I saw 4 of them. In both cases I just stopped to change my Bogs to regular shoes after leaving WTP, both times in different spots: brolgas were there!
    I was tempted to sneak in and try to get closer but I just observed them from that God-given place and distance and took photos. I realised they were just documentary photos but, after all, I’ve got already a couple nice shots, so why push my luck? I’m never pushy with birds.
    Again, thanks for sharing your pictures and thoughts.


    1. Adam,

      Yep, its a strange fact of life that as soon as we decide to move somewhere else, the birds turn up in the first location. 🙂 I think the Brolga down there, by and large are pretty much over humans, and are not so much fussed by our presence. Besides they have really big long legs and seem to be able to walk about 1 1/2 steps faster than we do. So if we get too close they just move on down the track. Then there is the ultimate moment when they all look at each other, and the next breath they are on the wing. It is realy something to see.
      I guess the first few times we tended to get really excited like kids in a lolly shop, and perhaps were a bit to forward with the birds. But, now its a pleasure to have them do their thing and not interfere.

      Glad you found them, I think there are around 10-12 pretty much permanent on site, but not always in the same locations.

      Be nice for a turn in the weather.

      Thanks again.



  3. Great that you have access to Brolgas. We did not see any in Broome because they had the driest wet season in 20 years and the inland lakes were all dried up. The only ones I have seen are at Tidbinbilla in Canberra. I still would love to see them in the wild one day.


    1. G,day AB, I think I wrote once before about the Brolga in this area historically. Apparently early in the european settlement they were quite large numbers.
      I have a friend who grew up in the Geelong area in the 1930s-40s and she would see them on the way to school in the local paddocks and just thought that was ‘normal’.

      I’ve had the privilege of seeing them ‘dance’ several times, and once they were both very enthusiastic for about 10 minutes in the late evening sunshine. Just a long way away.
      See here

      Liked by 1 person

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