Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Bowerbirds and an empty nest

An empty nest!  The baby Red Wattlebirds I've been visiting for the past couple of weeks have now flown the nest.  I was amazed at how quickly they had grown up and felt a small sense of loss, my babies are out in the big wide world!  However, I didn't have to look very far to find them both, sitting in nearby bushes waiting for their parents to come and feed them.  One of them was trying some short flights from branch to branch, climbing higher into a tree, whilst the other was happy just to sit and wait in a bush.  I bet the active one was the bigger one in the nest that was always reaching higher for food!

If I'd had a little longer this lunchtime I might have got a shot of the parents feeding these little ones, I tried a couple of times but missed the moment, they are very quick!  I guess before another week is passed they might be fending for themselves. 

I ate lunch close to where I'd first seen the male Satin Bowerbird and after I'd finished I caught a glimpse of him chasing a female through the trees.  I followed them around for a bit, then saw him sitting in a tree - once again he was proving elusive...
...However, I managed to sneak up behind him as he made off towards the female and got a couple of good pictures.  One cheeky young Crimson Rosella sidled up next to him which was quite amusing (I know it is a young Rosella as there is still a lot of green on his wings - when he is an adult this changes to blue).  On my next adventure I will try and find the Satin Bowerbird's 'bower' - here is a link to a flickr gallery of what this might look like.  I like the description from a comment on there of what a bower is: 'they aren't nests. They are dance floors, discos, if you like, for picking up girls!'  So, more like a 'love nest'! The Satin Bowerbird has a fancy for all things blue to decorate his bower.  I've heard that in Canberra milk bottle tops used to be blue, but they had to change the colour as the Bowerbirds were stealing them!

 Just as I was leaving the gardens I couldn't resist trying to get a shot of a cute little breeding male Superb Fairy-wren who was hopping along the path - for once it was quite successful.   He has a few bird rings on his feet so seems he has been part of a survey at some point.  A number of studies of fairy-wrens have been conducted in these gardens by the ANU, some details of this work can be found on Professor Cockburn's webpage at the school of Botany and Zoology. 

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