Nest news good and bad
My suspicion is a cuckoo. Soon after reading about cuckoos supposedly carrying eggs to plant in nests I witnessed the end part of more probable behaviour. A Brush Cuckoo (Cacomantus variolosus) flew into view with a small white egg in mouth, landed on a branch, swallowed the egg, and flew off.
Many birds have demonstrated the capacity to distinguish between small numbers. If the preyed-on wrens know two from three, it makes sense that the parasitic predator does also. It would also make sense not to waste food by throwing the host bird's egg(s) away. Wren watch continues tomorrow.
The good news was stumbling upon Large-billed Gerygones (Gerygone magnirostris) and a White-browed Robin (Poecilodryas superciliosa) at their nests, the first about 750mm long dangling over a rainforest creek, the latter in plain view about two metres up in a dying Tulip Tree sapling in Tyto.
There is no thick rainforest in Tyto but the fire trails lead a kilometre or so southwest to a dense 4sq km patch of forest, swamp and riverine jungle, all largely hidden from the highway by stands of pines and conifers and semi-ringed by sugar cane and flood grasses.
Chasing the high-pitched 'zeep' of an Azure Kingfisher (Alcedo azurea), I edged down a steep creek bank, spooked a duck lurking in the dark-shadowed long pool - topped up by unseasonal rains - and found two Large-billed Gerygones flitting about in trees across the water in front of me. One was carrying nest material.
The bird flew toward me to the nest - which dangled with entry hole almost right in front of me - popped the additions in place and headed away for more. Another site to keep an eye on. I left them to it. Cuckoos may not however.Cuckoos also make use of White-browed Robins, which usually build low on horizontal branches in shaded groves. Today's find appears to break every building code. Will try for better picture tomorrow, and see if clambering up nearby tree allows a view into the nest.
More good news, but stop reading if you hold all creatures equally sacred.
Feral pigs (Sus scrofa) began running amok early last year. After months of failed action, the shire got a professional trapper in. Nine shot in one trap at the edge of the main lagoon today brought his kills to more than 80. Tough on the pigs, but left alone they churn and destroy huge areas, and cost cane farmers a lot of cash.