Wildlife docos are mostly unwatchably phoney these days. False juxtapositions of predators and prey, wranglers prodding fauna into near studio setups for the cameras and presenters, unacknowledged jumps between nations, soundtracks offering Northern Hemisphere birds in Australia, and vice versa.
In keeping with such standards, a life and death battle from the Townsville Town Common Conservation Park.
'What's all the fuss about? Dead easy, this flying business. Easy as falling off a log.'
Or a dead tree. Young Osprey took first flights today. No trouble flying. Not even too much trouble landing. Problem was the standing. Steep branches proved a challenge, even given almost total lack of breeze. Fidget. Wobble. Turn. Nearly topple. Flap. Flap. Skid down branch. Big flap. Virtually fall off tree. Refind gracefulness. Circle troublesome tree twice. Head back to nest. Security and stability! Later in the morn, lessons learned. Bird now confidently atop another dead tree. Parents impassive throughout. 'What's the fuss? It's what we do.'
Not such happy news for Bush Stone-curlew and eggs (earlier post). All OK one day, gone the next. Plenty to go wrong for ground-nesters. And this bird was close to info boards, most used parking bay, and regularly whipper-snipped verge.
Juvenile Osprey taking interest today in aerial world it's near ready to join.
And female (pictured when junior was still inside shell) less anxious about movement close to nest.
At other end of the conservation park, Red-backed Fairy-wrens' two youngsters quit their hole in the ground some time yesterday afternoon.
So female no longer needs to remove excreta. She also appears to have shed part of workload.
Male today was making many more food deliveries to the yound birds - which went from hole-bound yesterday to ground sprinters this morning. But they ran in different directions, forcing parents to hunt about and listen to the high begging calls.
Feeding nearby the other day, White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike with tree frog plucked from the pandanus. It didn't last long.
Meantime, here's the food. Guess the feeder. Who'd have thought Australian Ravens went for Dodder vine fruit? Pair spent about five minutes yesterday gobbling ripe (rather sweet) and unripened fruit.
Here's the mystery. The nest hidden in long, thick dry grass is empty. But the Red-backed Fairy-wrens keep sneaking in with insects and leaving empty-billed.
Couldn't solve the poser yesterday. Put bit more thought into it overnight and searched more thoroughly this morn.
Found these two tucked into hole on ground close to deserted nest. One poser answered.
However, what happened to number three, or number four? Fairy-wrens don't usually do these things by twos.
As yet, no answer to that. There is a strong possibility, which remains unstated for now. Feel free to speculate.
Another question arises from the feeding pattern observed. Why should the female do almost all the catching?
Could it be because the male knows research shows that many clutches are multi-fathered?
Which means the male may be helping females at other nests. Which, in turn, possibly helps explain why fairy-wrens are so sociable and (though not in this instance) work in kinship teams to feed nestlings.…
Shame, Mr Osprey. Shame, shame, shame on you. Female Osprey appeared through the overcast and drizzle yesterday with fish for fast-growing juvenile. But before she starts ripping into fish and feeding junior in nips male and steals off.
She follows but does no more than perch and watch as he tears into junior's breakfast. He might claim to have earned the feed for earlier chasing away a Brown Goshawk that entered the nesting territory. She, however, has proved just as feisty when other raptors get too close.
And he may know she's the better fisher. It had taken her only 12 minutes from quitting nest to returning with the fish at issue. (Later in the day one of the birds missed twice before success from a third plunge into shallow water: first fishing I've seen by any Osprey in local bay.) And juvenile didn't have to wait long for feed. No thanks to Mr Greedy Gobbler!
Yummy! Self-creaming breakfast. Olive-backed Oriole gets juices flowing in the Townsville Common yesterday after bashing caterpillar catch against a branch. Two Orioles were among a wee wave of insectivores not often seen in the park recently.
In the same casuarina as the Oriole, immature Rufous Whistler takes smaller prey. (Seen in same tree, but no usable images, Restless Flycatcher and Spectacled Monarch).
Today, came across Rainbow Bee-eater intent on tiny prey emerging from road metal. Tiny flying ants, I think, though nothing found upon search after bird flew off.
Easier task obtaining food for granivores. But Double-barred Finch mistimed grab at tiny flower, presumably carrying wee seed. Several finches were busy picking at the plants.
Nutmeg Mannikin (formerly Spice Finch, latterly Scaly-breasted Munia: what goes round ...) sticks to grass seed. (An uncommon four flocks of 8-16 Nutmegs seen this morning, about double usual numbers).