It says something about the whole day in general when, we set out to find some Flame Robins at Point Cook Coastal Park, and end up spending half an hour with a single Pink-eared Duck.
The plan was to have a look around the old homestead area and see if we could locate any Flame Robins that usually turn up for their winter holiday at the beach. And if we were really lucky, perhaps a Pink Robin, or two—that would be nice.
We met Bernie the ranger on the way in, and he (of the sharp eye), said he’d not seen the usual suspects so far this season.
So we went.
And in about 10 minutes we’d spotted at least one male, and several females down near the water’s edge around the open area near some Hundred Year Old plants, (Aloe vera).
But they quickly fled and we were left to watch the cormorants on the old jetty.
And a single, lone, solitary, unaccompanied, by itself, alone, Pink-eared Duck. This is really most unusual as these would have to be one of the most social of ducks. Not uncommon to see them in flocks of thousands around the Western Treatment Plant. They also communally feed. Having among other techniques a process called “Vortexing”. Where 5 or 6 swim around in a circle, bill facing in, and kind of corral any unsuspecting food they come across.
But, this Pinky was on its own, unconcerned about being watched and close enough to warrant spending some time. I ‘snuck’ up on it behind some coastal scrub, and finding a small gap, sat down to watch. Finally laying in the sand, as the little theatre unfolded.
Pinky was not only sitting but taking plenty of time to preen and re-arrange all the important feathers. I’d never thought before of the complexity of preening with such a large, almost cumbersome bill, but to its credit, it just worked on without concern.
A few wing stretches, and a tail wag, and the job was done.
I moved back from my vantage point and found EE, she was tracking down an elusive Silvereye, or was it a White-browed Scrubwren?
By the time we got back to the rock, Pinky had settled in for a bit of a snooze.
Enjoy. We did.