Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Mixed findings

Spring is rolling on and yesterday I saw a fledgling Horsefield's bronze cuckoo being fed by a pair of buff-rumped thornbills. And today I found a grey fantail incubating one egg.

Fantail nests are delicate eggcups of cobwebs balanced on a thin branch. They always have a tail hanging down which seems to break up their outline and reduces the risk of predators seeing them.

Meanwhile, predators seem to be finding the frogmouth nests. In the past few years, only a few nests have been predated, but this year eight have been lost so far. Currawongs or possums might have taken some eggs or young, but some nests have eggshells and young lying below them, so they hadn't been eaten by them. I have seen brown goshawks most days when I have out in the bush, and one pair which have abandoned their nest have a goshawk nest only 25m away. And I found the plucked remains of a chick on a branch not far from another nest which had been raided.

A dead frogmouth chick of less than a week old lies below its nest.

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