12 December, 2012

Oh baby!

Well it is certainly that time of the year and having just hosted two kids' birthday parties I know how the various feathered denizens of the Barwon must feel!
Now that I can actually get back to the river without the need of walking aids, I've been able to cover a bit of ground - although not as far or as fast as I'd hoped during this morning's rather warm run. The most obvious seasonal change I've noticed is the explosion in the bird population which has resulted in a number of rather cute photo opportunities which are the justification for this post.
Firstly I noticed a couple of Dusky Moorhen chicks at Balyang Sanctuary a couple of weeks back, but headed back today to take some clearer shots:
Dusky Moorhen mother and chicks at Balyang Sanctuary
 There were several different pairs of birds, each with up to three chicks.
Next I came across a White-faced Heron chick and a pair of Pied Currawongs nesting not far from Barwon Valley Golf Course (photos of these are on the Birds Nests page).
During a ride last week-end I came across a family of Australian Wood Ducks beside - appropriately enough - the duckpond at Queen's Park.
Australian Wood Duck family
They weren't overly impressed by my arrival and rapidly headed for the opposite side of the pond. A few weeks earlier I saw an older brood who were paddling about opposite the boatsheds, however I haven't seen them of late.

More Australian Wood Ducks
This afternoon I also came across a number of impending parents including a Sulphur-crested Cockatoo and a neighbouring pair of Long-billed Corellas who had each set up home in different branches of the same large eucalypt at Balyang Sanctuary (again, see the Birds Nests page). Actually, I was interested to see the cockatoo was present. During an earlier visit, at which time it was presumably looking to secure some spacious family accommodation, it appeared to be facing some stiff opposition from a scouting party of bees, who indeed may have felt they had some prior claim as this particular hole was used as a hive in a previous season. The cocky didn't seem too perturbed and just shook its head when the bees got too close or perhaps when the buzzing in its ears became too loud. Today there was not a bee in sight.
Not far away a pair Mudlarks was sharing adjacent branches with a couple of Willie Wagtails who predictably spent quite some time trying to convince me that their nest was nowhere nearby.
Willie Wagtail nesting on the Barwon at Balyang Sanctuary
Of course I have both seen and heard various other young birds over the last few weeks and have also seen a number of as yet unidentified nests. With any luck I'll be able to snap a few more pics and find out who's living in those nests!

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