Magpie-Larks – Take Off
I love springtime and I love seeing chicks. There’s plenty of action around at the moment. The magpie-larks have left the nest but are still living in the garden, semi-reliant on mum and dad for feeding.
Chicks in nest
We had 4 chicks hatch. Sadly, 1 fell (or was pushed) out of the nest very early on. Even more distressing was when another was squeezed out only a week or so before it would have been able to fly. It was very stressed – so were the parents. Not surprisingly, it didn’t survive.
Leaving the nest
For several days the chicks left the nest but stayed in the tree, hopping between the nearby branches and practicing flapping.
This is the tiny nest of a Wagtail. The nest is about 2m below the magpie-larks’ nest and it’s only about 6cm across. They don’t seem to have eggs yet as they aren’t sitting on the nest much.
Purple Swamp-Hen Chick
This is a purple swamp-hen chick. Something of an ugly duckling, but it won’t be long before he looks like this …….
Adult purple swamp-hen at Yanchep National Park.
Lots of the swans now have cygnets. This one was at Herdsman Lake but Lake Joondalup plenty too.
And the ospreys? Still no chicks, but mum is sitting on the nest and I think it should only be about a week before the eggs hatch. It’s up at 30 degrees C now so it’s hot work sitting out in exposed sunlight all day. You can see the mum ‘panting’ to keep cool. Hopefully I’ll write another chicks post in a few weeks with wagtails, wattle-birds and ospreys in action.
Spring is very much upon us and the magpie-larks have nested in the front garden. This is the male taking his turn on the nest. When I first saw the nest I didn’t think it looked anywhere near big enough, but it seems to be just fine at the moment. The problem is that if too many chicks hatch, one or two are likely to be pushed out of the nest. It’s made out of mud
- Female Magpie-Lark on the nest
and grass and really well anchored onto a fork in the branch. We had a fierce storm this week with winds of 50+ miles per hour (80 km/h) and I worried about whether the nest would cope, but I should have had a little more faith in nature as it was still there the following morning. This is the female taking her turn. She has a vertical black band over her eye, the male has a horizontal bar, so it’s easy to see who’s in residence. About every 15 mins, the bird on the nest calls to the other one and they do a quick swap. If the crow arrives, they both join in with the wattle birds to harrass and chase it away.
This is the male when he was displaying. He looked very scruffy and not at all well preened, but it must have impressed as it did the trick.
- Female Courting
And this is the female during courting. Very active and very noisy. And I’m not sure why it involved flying back and to in front of my back door. It’s strange that they react very strongly to the crow, the magpies and some of the small honey-eaters, but they are completely at ease with me or the dog around the garden. We don’t raise an alarm cry at all. Magpie-larks are well known for dive-bombing people who pass too close to a nest site so I’m not sure why this pair is so trusting. Maybe once the eggs hatch it will be different.
Big Question –‘Who Named the Magpie-Lark’? Why? Because it’s not a magpie and it’s not a lark. According to that fountain of all knowledge, Wikipedia, it was an Englishman named John Latham who named it after birds it reminded him of from home. Not very scientific.
Fingers crossed I’ll soon be able to post pictures of a little row of beaks peeping above the nest edge.
Not a magpie or a lark, but an Australian Bird