Along The Track: Spare a Thought

I was on my way in that lovely pre-dawn light to check on a pair of Mudlarks and their nest.
As R L Stevenson said, and “I found the dew on every buttercup”

On a tree some distance down the road, the familar shapes of Black-shouldered Kites. It was enough for me to try to find a place on the narrow roadway to pull over and take a walk back to see what was happening.

As it turned out.
A lot.
This is not a pair that I’ve worked with before, and probably won’t see again with any regularity.

The male was in the business of renovating or newly constructing a nest, and to my surprise, chose the tree quite near me for his timber collecting duties. It caused me to spare a thought for the effort he has to put in to select and acquire just the right piece of wood.

I don’t normally see this action close up so it was quite intguiging to watch him at work, first selecting a stick to break off, and failing, and then collecting another.

She on the other hand, sat quietly on the other side of the tree. Dreaming, no doubt of mice, or a wide screen tv.

The nest I discovered is 600-800 metres further down the paddock, and far too far away to monitor.

Dropping in to select a branch.
It is always a pleasure to watch the Kites work the air so gently and softly. Each feather working hard to control the approach
I have no idea how he knows which is the best branch, or does he just keep going until he can find one to break off.
It seems to be quite a balancing act to hold on, and at the same time tug away at a branch. One he was standing on gave way. But he quickly recovered
A bit like the big bad wolf, huffing and puffing is not getting this branch lose.
Time to re-evaluate the options
Quite amazing to see how well he can move about on the tiniest of branches
There, that is the right one.
And away we go.
And there is the nest tree. Way, way, way down there. Two fences a gate and an irrigation channel away.
Quite an enlargement, but you can see his progress.

Enjoy

9 thoughts on “Along The Track: Spare a Thought

  1. A splendid find and series of image, David! I hope they have a successful nesting!
    It is amazing to watch the gathering and building process!
    A shame the nest is inaccessible!

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      1. Yes, the Sneydes pair are nowhere to be seen for now. We had a pair there for some years ago who disappeared for about ten months and then returned.

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  2. A lovely series of images. It does suggest that it’s a case of getting a stick about so big, that will break off. So it needs to be dry enough to break, but not dried out completely as it needs to be a bit flexible for weaving into the desired shape.

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    1. There is such an amount of tugging and twisting, but they don’t seem to favour sticks on the ground. The flexibility must be important, as I’ve seen Kites spend a few minutes weaving the sticks, seemingly large long ones into position. How they figure out how to get it between the leaves and branches of the site must be another lesson in clever.

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  3. How remarkable David to observe this behaviour, of breaking off sticks from trees. It reminds me of the Zebra Finch that was nest building at the zoo when with my granddaughter and how amazing it was to watch it lift this huge twig many times larger than itself, dropping and retrying till it finally got it up on the tree and the crowd that had gathered while they saw us watching, all cheered and applauded as the tiny Finch moved the stick with difficulty toward the nest. Beautiful captures as always David . I particularly liked the shot of the Kite looking at you as it sat on the stick.

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    1. Hello Ashley, yes I saw some Red-browed the other day with amazing long lengths of grass trailing behind them as they moved to the nest.
      One bird we’ve been following is a Black-faced Cuckooshrike. The nest is so tiny, and they bring in such tiny twigs with web, it takes them many days to complete the process. Yet the nest seems hardly more than a bump on a fork in the tree.

      This is only one of two pair that are currently active anywhere in our area that we’ve been able to locate. And a pity that we can’t get closer to the nest site and sitting on the verge of a small, but busy road is not a good photo opportunity for a range of reasons.

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  4. Very interesting observations, David. I’ve never been so close to the action. I observed the Braeside BS Kites building their nest but from a fair distance. Now I know all the details. Thanks!

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