The weather here was not kind to the first clutches of Willie Wagtails. Those birds that started early ran into extreme conditions and as the nest is mostly spider-web and at best minimally attached to the branch, rain and high wind inevitabley took their toll. Some Willies brave it and have nests on open branches, while others adopt a more sheltered approach. Some will work on just a branch, while others go to the extreme of working on a branch junction and get the support of several branches, and even a vertical one which does give them extra support as it seems easier to bind the spiderweb tightly.
But little Wagtails grow fast, (about 14 days from hatching to fledging) and they soon overwhelm the tiny nest.
One pair we’ve been monitoring of late, has built their nest under the branches of a old, small, Peppercorn Tree. However it is right alongside a very busy walking track, and a few steps from a picnic/rest/viewing area. Wasn’t hard to find them. And they seemed unconcerned about the human presence. We try not to get too close or get in the way, and they just go on with the important job of first sitting, and then feeding.
I do get complaints from time to time that we are obtrusive and break the ‘rules’ of not photographing nests and it only encourages others. So, just to set the record.
No photo is worth stressing a bird.
If we aren’t invited to be there. We don’t. Willies pretty quickly establish the boundary rules.
This pair, had chosen both the place and the time rather cleverly. She had nested through the last of the storms and the three young hatched just as the weather picked up, so they have had about two weeks of no rain and winds. Interestingly, on the day that these young flew, the weather turned nasty again. But they should survive in the thicker pines nearby.
Let’s see how they progressed.