A Little Visit: Stop Picking on Me!

At the Point Cook Coastal Park, there is pair of Black Swans that are always together, and almost always distinguishable from others in the area because of their behaviour together.

I was casually watching them, as they don’t do much really, just swan about together.
When on a sudden one of them arched up from the middle and sort of jumped up out of the water.  Curious, but it quickly settled down again.
A few seconds later it did the same thing, and then a Little Pied Cormorant popped up out of the water along side it. The swan took a swing at the cormorant and it quickly submerged.

Then, the swan arched up again, and I figured out the cormorant must have been hitting or poking it underneath.
This time it was a bit too much for the swan, and it gave chase to the cormorant.  And again it submerged and the swan gave another start, and the process repeated.

Perhaps the cormorant was gaining some underwater advantage from the bulk of the swan, or perhaps their movement stirred up the waters and the creatures.

Eventually tiring of it all the cormorant swam off, while the pair of swans went back to ‘swanning about’.

Enjoy

Little Visits: When I Grow up I want to be a Black-shouldered Kite

Ha!  Kids today have such ambitions.

For the queasy of stomach, time to click away.

This is just about straight out of the “Ripley’s Believe it or Not!” archives.

It was a cold wet morning. However #kneetoo was keen to see how the little Kingfishers were progressing, and we only had a narrow space in the ‘very busy’ diary.

Knowing they had been on the wing for several days, our probability of anything other than a chance encounter were slim to say the least.

Nothing around the now abandoned nest site, nor by the old blackened stump training ground.

I managed a sighting of a small blue blur in the forest and headed over for a looksee.  And sure enough a young one perched among the branches of a black wattle.

Then with no warning, an adult turned up with quite a large bundle.  And at first it was difficult to make out.  Not a large skink or beetle.
Are they really legs, or is it a fish tail I could see?

Then she flipped it about in the air and it was a mouse! No way!

At first the young one didn’t seem all that interested, but after a few more flips and attempts to turn it round so the small end would go down first the adult presented it to the young one.

Now on an aside, your average field-mouse is around 20gm. Your average grown Sacred Kingfisher might come in a touch over 30gm.  So I’m guessing the little dude was at best, 25gm.
UPDATED: HANZAB give the bird a weight of 55g which would be a more reliable weight I think.  Still give the little dude 35gm and it’s going to be a 55gm tubby blue blob for awhile. 🙂

It took the mouse head first, not headfirst, even that suits. 🙂

And so began a 10-15 minute battle for the young one to eventually ingest the mouse.
On quite a number of occasions, it had to stop, and I guess catch its breath, or simply rearrange the internal spaces to make space.

A couple of times it began swaying back and forth on the branch, and I feared it was going to choke and fall off the branch. Not much in my skill set for resuscitating a downed Kingfisher.

And slowly—very slowly—the mouse began to disappear.

After it was all over, a tubby little kingfisher gave a few shakes of its body, to rearrange all the feathers and no doubt the internals, and then sat. More likely squatted.

A few minutes quietly sitting to let the digestion process begin, and a tubby blue blur sped off through the forest.

Where is Ripley when you need him?

Little Couch Visits: On the trail of growing Black-shouldered Kites

Added the “Couch” heading to my normal visits and journeys.  We are as it happens, at home on the couch, iPad in hand.

So come with me on a journey back in time. Shades of “Back to the Future —another couch-time activity.

We had been, in early Feb and March, working with a pair of Black-shouldered Kites at nest. The day the first lockdown took effect, the young had only just flown. And then we didn’t see them for over three weeks. By then they were well advanced.
It was a bit of a missed photographic opportunity as the nesting site lended itself both from great light and open areas, for some really clear shots of the birds as they began their life on the wing.

Time passed, and restrictions lifted and we went back to the usual haunt to see if they were still around.
No. Well gone.

A couple of weeks later we returned with Flame Robin arrivals in mind.
EE spotted way, way, way down the paddock—even for her— a flash of white in the sky and declared that the young kites were probably way down the fence-line in the distance.

Robins, or Kites?
We set out along the fence-line.
The mice population among the bracken must have been very good as all three quickly scored a meal while we were approaching.
They settled down in among some of the small trees to enjoy a feast.

Out of nowhere, Dad arrived on the scene and took station on one of the higher branches.  But rather than welcoming him, they harassed him for food.

However he wasn’t taking any orders. His Uberfood days were over.

The interesting thing that we noted was the colour change, each one was well into moulting the subtle grey and white and the ginger colours were being replaced.

I guess having some more time at home, I can work through the files and find some images, or sets that normally I’d just leave to mellow on the disk.  A  tweak here, a slider or two there, a brush on a mask there, and ‘hey presto’.

Enjoy

Remain.

The Doona Hermit.

They were down in a tree-line, and it took EE awhile to locate them
Perhaps pretending not to be there. It is starting to replace the juvenile feathers with the adult grey.
Easy to see how the grey adult feathers are moulting in
Dad dropped in to see how they were doing and immediately they all thought he should be hunting for them.
Fully able to look after themselves
Not a good idea to knock Dad off his perch
Feed me, feed me. That look on his face says that he is not hunting any more for them.
A Hunting We will Go
Hunting like the professional it has become