Little Visits: The Tale of Wagtails

Some things, as the credit card ad points out, Just can’t be purchased.

On our Kingfisher quest, we’ve crossed the paths of several Willie Wagtail pairs at nest.  Not all of them are successful.  But the agile and relentless little birds only try the harder. Most will, within a few days of loss, be hard at work on the next nest.

We found a pair that have survived with three happy little young—without any catastrophe.  I don’t normally publish nesting photos of Wagtails until I am sure that they have been successful. No point in raising hopes and then seeing the nest disappear.  The Wagtails take it as part of the cost of doing business, we humans seem to take the devastation personally.

A recent fledging of three out of four young Peregrine Falcons at 367 Collins Street is a case in point.  The fb page had thousands of words of anguish at the loss of one of the young that succumbed before flying.  Angry, “Why didn’t ‘they’ Do Something” posts seemed to miss the point that the parents had managed a magnificent feat in fledging three fat healthy young.  It was as if people had lost their favourite teddybear when young and now had a reason to express their own personal loss.
But.
I digress.

It takes the Wagtails about a week to build the nest, about 14 days to hatch and about 14 days to bring them to wing.

This pair had a nest quite low down on a tree trunk that had only recently fallen in a previous storm. Some Wagtails seem to nest in quite secretive behind-the-leaves locations, and others take what seems to be the risk of exposing their work to the world. Such was this pair.

Several days back we’d seen the first of the young ‘branching’, so no doubt they would be on quite mobile when we checked again today.  To add to our difficulty a light rain persisted in falling.  However, the little tackers were quite dry and feisty safely under the leaves of a tree.

Well done, all round.

Sitting Pretty.
Just a couple of days old.
Not ready to fly, but the wings are starting to come away from the sheaths.
High Protein Rocket Fuel going in.
Filling them up keeps the adults busy all day
Testing the well developed wings. Not long to go now
Small nest. Growing birds. Time to take to the surrounding branches for a little extra space.
No doubt they all flew this day.
Out of the rain in the dry under a tree
Ready to explore the world.

Developing that Wagtail stare is a must
A neat little package. Ready for anything.