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Monday, 19 October 2015

Fires, nests, chicks - all happening in the Lower Todd River

Late last week there were fires near the nests of a range of Birds of Prey in the Lower Todd River. I hadn't even noticed the signs stating this was an area until last week, and there is a LandCare Group specifically for the Lower Todd River (another sign I hadn't noticed until recently).

I took the following photo late yesterday, of a still burning trunk - spectacular sight, but a bit disconcerting this was happening along a 400 metre stretch without any monitoring.

Unfortunately one of the Mulga Parrot chicks didn't make it beyond fledging. I stumbled across this sad sight last Friday.

I don't know why it was where it was, or how long it had been there, but there weren't ants crawling over it so I think it had happened in the couple of hours before I discovered it. The parents were both there when I arrived, but were acting very strangely, and then flew off to the east which I hadn't observed them do in the previous couple of weeks. There was no noises from the hollow either and I haven't heard them since (the following 2 days). I can only assume the rest either fledged or perished somehow but there were no signs I could find.

The Black-breasted Buzzards look like thy have only the one chick. I was excited by some "peering" behaviour by the male early last week, looking down into the nest often over a couple of days, but the general consensus is that the hatching period is now too far apart, and I haven't seen any further peering by either adult. The lone chick is growing fast, and is changing almost by the day as the new-born down is replaced by the coloured feathers. I hope to be able to put a series of photos and descriptions together when the chick finally fledges to show the stages of development visually.

The Brown Goshawks either have chicks, or are soon to have chicks. I have kept away from their nest completely recently, although I don't think standing 100 metres away ever really bothered them. I'll try to get some viewing of their nest this week. The female was calling to the male last week for about 15 minutes, and then I think she gave up waiting as she left for a quick hunt and then returned to the nest within a few minutes. I didn't hear or see the male at all.

There is an Australian Hobby nest further north up the river that was much closer to the fires. Their nesting tree is safely in the middle of the river, surrounded by sand so the nest should be safe, although I'm sure they would have been covered by smoke during the Friday fire which was quite close. I checked on them yesterday afternoon and they both seemed content, sitting on and near the nest. There is also a Whistling Kite nest in the next large tree south from the Hobbies. I have only seen one adult attending this nest, and two chicks are visible, although due to the height in the tree of the nest, the photos are difficult to get, but here is one

Unsurprisingly, Red-tailed Black Cockatoos are enjoying the fires, and they are now visiting the blackened areas in the late afternoon. I hear them calling and flying from their regular roosts on a road to the south and they seem to settle near where the fires have swept through in the late afternoon. Here are a few photos I took at their original roosting area on that south road

The Rainbow Bee-eaters seem to be enjoying the warm weather and the "Spring" we are having in the Centre, with lots of flowers blooming and lots of insects hatching/feeding. sitting quietly under a tree in the river can be fascinating listening to the insects and watching the Bee-eaters go about their feeding frenzy. I don't know how many insects they catch in a normal day, but it must be a lot.

The second of the photos below was one of those "almost perfect" photos, something that is rare. If the camera had taken the image a split second before or after the actual photo, the wings may have been lower to see the full head. Still a nice shot though.

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