Little Journeys: Around the Block

Was chatting with my local Barista, Steve, this morning, and he said, “I am over 2020, and am not going to bother to apply for involvement in 2021.”

Easy to identify with the frustration. Their business is hanging on by ‘take-away’ coffee and food.  He said that they enjoyed table service and the clientele and the community that comes from that and for now he is just plodding on day by day.

EE and I have been taking a morning ‘exercise’ before breakfast around the block. Well, actually a couple of blocks.
What we have discovered in our perambulations, is a number of Masked Lapwings that have taken to nesting in small park areas that have been relatively quiet since the lockdown.

I’ve featured the “Quads” before, and they are all now quite experienced flyers.  And are beginning to look quite dapper in their changing wardrobe.

A couple of streets further on, and a small linking pathway between two housing estates had enough grass to allow another pair a home for their young.
These little dudes are now about two weeks hatched and the adults are moderately tolerant of passing traffic. The young are just starting to lose the baby feathers as the richer dappled juvenile plumage comes through.

And as we swing for home, a children’s playground has become a nursery.
The council mowed the lawns yesterday, and were kind enough to mow around Mum sitting on her precious little nest.
Somebody, (perhaps the council worker ) also has erected a sign to help. Hopefully she will be ok, but has at least two more weeks to hatch.

Finally the little water retarding basin near the local supermarket, on the way for a milkrun had two new visitors this morning. A couple of Hoary-headed Grebe graced the water.
Not sure if they are moving in, as the ponds also support at least one Australian Grebe.

And no photos, but we have found seven Magpie-lark nests.  Mostly buried in trees along the main road so a bit hard to photograph without attracting attention.

Little Journeys indeed.

Photographic Essay: New Life Abounds

Here is a quick update of several of the clutches of Masked Lapwings in our area.

The single one, seems to be the most accessible, so guess you’ll see a few more pictures of it as it matures. I’ve named it Opal, from opalescence, a visual quality of milk.  Why milk?  Ah, you’ll have to read the back story. 🙂

Also included is a shot of three others in a large water-collection pan, that doubles as a community park.
And a couple from the supermarket pair, but they tend to stay just too far away for short lenses, and there is no-way I’m pondering wandering along with the long tele-hardware anytime soon.

A bright blush of colour, that has opened up all along the streets after the cold wet past few days. Isn’t nature amazing.

From The Global Headquarters of The Doona Hermit

Three of four that are in a large water overflow area. It is also used for a number of community activities including bike riding and football and off-leash doggies in an on-leash area.
(Sorry Magda no Nettie).
Parent of the group of four. I thought it was going to have a go at me, but it was getting ready for a run at a dog that was off-leash in an on-leash area.,
One of the two young next to the supermarket. They are pretty advanced and seem to be putting on weight.
One of the supermarket young.
Opal with a typical lapwing pose with one leg lifted and paused.
Opal on a wing stretch.
Still practicing for the sprints
Head shake
Fine hope of spring.

Little Visit Off the Couch: Hot off the Press

Now into the third week of a six week isolation lockdown, it’s been very challenging to find suitable images for the day to day lives of the birds we work with.
In spite of the “We’re all in this together”, mantra, the birds don’t seem to have taken it too heart much, and haven’t been lined up in the street outside waiting for me.
We also don’t have any real suitable birding areas to walk by in our 1 hour a day “exercise” allowance.

But there are quite a number of storm water run-off drains and basins, throughout the suburb and several of them are within easy walking, and two are directly on the way to the local supermarket.
Every year Masked Lapwings gather to use the various open paddocks, drains and basins to creche their young. One pair has always chosen the grass verge between a dual carriage way.  And try as the parents might, it always ends in disaster as the little tykes run about on the road.  Not much between a fully laden Mac truck at 80+ kph and a baby lapwing.

One enterprising pair have located into a paddock directly behind said supermarket and as they are well protected by a 3m high chain mesh fence, and sharing the location with two rather large goats, they seem fairly secure, and have two spritely young.

A second pair have taken advantage of an unused house block and the nest is almost dead-centre in the middle of the block. No access for me. 🙂

A third pair, are using a run off basin that is also used as a local scratch-match footy oval, soccer-field, dog walking and mountain bike area. However restrictions have given them pretty much run of the area, and on the couple of times I’ve visited early in the morning, they seem to have four young on the go.  Not easy to find, and I for one am not venturing out into the open field for a closer looksee.

A fourth pair, and subject of the blog. (Didn’t think I was going to get here did you!) have taken up ownership of an open storm water runoff drain.
EE located them the other morning, and I thought a trip by with my biggest shopping bag was in order.  They seem  to only have one that has survived. But it is doing quite well.  On my first visit, it spent most of the time running about on a disused concrete footpath above the drain as the surrounding grass verge was particularly thick and over grown.
But in the meantime, the council, bless their environmental cleanup hearts have moved into the drain with mowers and brush-cutters and turned it into a “V’ shaped version of a bowling green.

Look as we might we were unable to see if the little dude had survived or where the anxious parents might have relocated it.

However, all is well.  This morning on the milk run, I found it back in the same area and sprinting up and down the footpath.

So hot off the press.


From the Global Headquarters of The Doona Hermit.

The day before the grass on the verge was over its head.
An adult that is ready to defend its prize.
Ready to run.
Still plenty of hiding spots on the far side of the footpath
Stepping into the sunshine
Get set. Go!

A tiny wing shake.