Woodswallows on the wing

We were pondering what to do for new years eve.  Not being the standing around with glass in hand yelling at someone over loud music sort of folk, nor having the need to declare some new resolution, such as “Take more photos in 2014” or drunkenly exclaim, “I’ll photograph every species in Australia, in 2014”, we decided on a quiet evening.  Besides, I’ve seen a few new years come and go now, and apart from ripping down the old ‘last year’ calendar and gleefully putting up the new one, not much changes.

We in the end picked on a picnic in the forest with Karen, Jimmy and Ginger (recently named as the story will show).

There is also the family of Dusky Woodswallows, and while EE settled in with the Robins, I went a looking for the Woodswallows.  To be honest, I thought they’d be on the wing by now, and it was a pleasant surprise to find that the three chicks were still in the nest, or should that be very over crowded nest. Much preening wing polishing and down removal was going on.  The parents kept up a steady supply of food, and in the end I thought it was just another day in Woodswallow land.

Till one of the parents dropped in on the top of the post, and the largest of the chicks proceeded to climb up the shard of wood to meet it.  After much begging and wing fluttering, the adult flew away, calling softly as it went.  The young one attained the top of the stump, and did a couple of quick wing flaps, and a few more straighten up those feathers, flapped once, and … was gone!

So much so that I’d taken the shot of it wings extended, and when the mirror on the camera came down, there was not bird to see!

The other two looked on in amazement, then decided there was so much more room in the nest and settled down to have a nap.   The parents had other ideas and more food arrived, more cleaning and flapping and eventually the second one flapped to the top of the stump, and simply jumped.  Oh, flap, flap, flap, and it sort of sailed down to the ground, then hopped from branch to branch on the ground trying to figure out what to do.  More food was the parental response.

Meanwhile back at the nest.  No way was the third one moving. Much discussion ensued with the parents, and they got a lot of cheek for their trouble. Mostly I suspect in Woodswallow for “You don’ t image for one moment that I’m going to leave the security of this nest!”.

Try as they might it remained stubbornly in the nest. But in the end, of course, the need for food became greater and it reluctantly took its place on the top of the stump.  And waited.   So did I. And after what seemed hours, (it was probably only 5 minutes), it too made its first journey on the wing.  To the delight no doubt of the parents.

They of course had now created a new problem for themselves.  Three young birds with no navigation skills spread out over 100m of the forest and they still needed constant attention and food.  When I left, they were doing the rounds with supplies.

Not that they were hard to find, the young put up quite a wail when they were on their own.

Another day in Woodswallow Land.  Three sitting pretty at the nest
Another day in Woodswallow Land. Three sitting pretty at the nest
Climbing up to sit with the parent.
Climbing up to sit with the parent.
One wing flap away from freedom
One wing flap away from freedom
Where'd he go. Magic.
Where’d he go. Magic.
Now we've got plenty of room again let's settle down for a nice nap.
Now we’ve got plenty of room again let’s settle down for a nice nap.
More food, that should get you going.
More food, that should get you going.
Let's discuss this mum!  I stay here you bring the food ok?
Let’s discuss this mum! I stay here you bring the food ok?
On the cusp of adventure, but just not ready to make that leap of faith.
On the cusp of adventure, but just not ready to make that leap of faith.
Out of the nest and ready to explore the world
Out of the nest and ready to explore the world

Better than fireworks, and we watched the evening sunset and finished of the picnic (which really means a couple of nice cups of Earl of Grey.)

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Scarlet Robin female

I have been looking for redcapped robins at Woodlands Park for the last few weeks, there is still a little activity, but they are quite furtive at the moment.

On a very overcast Friday, heard a familiar redcap “tic” and went to look.  To my surprise I found not only a female Redcap, but a Female Scarlet Robin, in moult. Her distinctive call took me a few minutes to figure out, as I would not expect them for another 6-8 weeks at the earliest.  So It was great to see this one bird.  It stayed close to the recapped robin and they ‘tic-ed’ at one another to stay in contract.

What I am unsure of course, is it a visitor, or did it stay over in the park for summer, (I haven’t heard it previously), or is it a juvenile that is on the move to a territory.  Things I guess I’ll never know.

The only pair that wintered over did have a juvenile with them initially in May last year, but I only saw it for a few weeks.

A subsequent trip out on Sunday, confirms it is still there, and as vocal as ever, so that is a good sign.

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Black Shouldered Kite visits Woodlands Historic Park

Some days it is very quiet, and other days are quite exciting.  On the way home after a fairly quite afternoon’s ramble, I discovered a Black-shouldered Kite hunting along one of the main roads past Woodlands.  It was able to catch mice from the roadside verge and spent an hour or more before I had to get on the way home.  Probably was just passing through, but it certainly had no problem locating food by the roadside. It’s biggest problem was avoiding the fast moving traffic when it took off with its latest catch.

There is a few more images in the Blackshouldered Kite gallery

Scarlet Robin

This  year has been a quiet year at Woodlands for Scarlet Robins. Only one pair showed up that I could find and then most of the time were quite furtive.
This male I found late in the afternoon as he was feeding in the sunshine.  He managed to strike a pose for me on an old stump.

Male Scarlet Robin
Male Scarlet Robin near cemetry