This is what the edge of my pond usually looks like, all frog and insect friendly …
And this is what it looks like at the moment, a sloshy muddy mess, with the liner exposed. Not an attractive sight.
And the cause? A pair of black and white birds usually called Magpie-larks or Pee Wees. These birds are also less commonly known as Mudlarks and guess what? It’s Mudlark nesting season.
Unsurprisingly, they build their nests from grass and plant material stuck together with wet mud, and it only took me fifteen minutes of following their calls and tree checking to find the nest.
There was MY pond mud, on a branch fifteen metres up in a Paulownia tree!
Mudlarks are diligent parents and quite territorial, with both taking turns to incubate the eggs and to keep a lookout for interlopers. Towards the end of this video, you’ll hear the alarm being sounded by the on-duty parent.
Now I’m quite fond of wildlife, but this means that I’m going to have to crawl along the edge of the frog pond and reconstruct it, which peeves me more than a bit. Even though in the process of searching for the Mudlarks, I found the new roosting spot of the Tawny Frogmouth couple who used to live under a banana leafnearer the house.
It’s early morning and I’ve been sitting here listening to a native Wonga pigeon go on, and on, and on …
It’s a very pretty bird, plump, beautifully marked and quite shy, but it has one of the most annoying calls of any Australian bird. It can be heard up to two kilometres away and can continue for hours!
I’m wondering if the one I can hear is the same pigeon that has taken to parading backwards and forwards outside my bathroom window. My bathroom has large windows and no curtains so I enjoy a lovely view of the surrounding bush and wildlife while showering. I suspect that the pigeon is not actually interested in my ablutions, rather it can see its own reflection and is putting on a mating display.
Whilst searching for information on the Wonga pigeon, I discovered that the early settlers considered them a delicacy and often used to serve them roasted and basted in lemon butter with a bread sauce. One of Australia’s first cookbook writers Mrs Hannah MacLurcan published a recipe in 1898 …
Mrs MacLures Cookery Book
Wonga Pigeon recipe
Now I don’t wish this pigeon any harm, but it does sound rather delicious.
So Wonga pigeons should perhaps consider a new tune !
They’ve been taunting me with their cat-like calls from the tops of tall trees for weeks, but today was my lucky day! Forty minutes of sitting still with a cramp in my hip and mosquitos biting me through my clothes and I finally had a photo of a Green Catbird …
He seemed quite aware of my presence as he kept looking in my direction and cocking his head but providing I didn’t move, he seemed quite relaxed. Another photo for the Bird Gallery.