Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Superb Fairy-wrens in the garden

The adult male fairy-wren with a woodlouse
A pair of Superb Fairy-wrens Malurus cyaneus have just fledged a brood of chicks from a nest in our garden, outside our bedroom window. The nest was set under an old lavender bush, woven into the mesh of grasses and twigs. It was not much more than a see-through domed cradle for the eggs with the roof for concealment and a thin lining of fine grass and downy plant seed cases to support the eggs and then chicks.

The female creeps towards the nest, ever watchful for predators
The birds were accustomed to me and other people moving about the garden and carried on feeding the chicks while we were close, so I took the opportunity to capture a few images of these stunningly beautiful garden birds.

The large brood of four nestlings begging for food
I spent less than an hour watching the birds feed their youngsters and in that time they made fifteen trips to the nest, the male seven and the female eight times. They brought in a variety of items and I was surprised at the large size of some the prey, the grasshoppers and butterfly being the biggest.

The chicks were about ten days old and well feathered. They all fledged three days later and are now flitting around the garden following their parents in the ever busy search for food.

The male brings in a caterpillar
The female seemed to have the knack at catching flies for she brought in four during the watch.

The female brings in a fly
And she caught a tiny hoverfly.

Then a hoverfly - tricky to catch?
It was such a delightful experience to sit quietly next to the nest while the birds went about their business. Real live wildlife action in the garden. There is no need to travel thousands of miles to see spectacular animals, simply stop and take notice of what is going on all around us, even in the cities, there is something going on somewhere. Who knows what we'll witness next. Just take the chances when they come.

The male brought in two grasshoppers
I thought the male was specialising in the larger items, until the female brought in a blue butterfly, the perfect colour for such superbly blue birds.

A beautiful meal for one of the chicks