Spring has arrived somewhat earlier than usual. The resident male bowerbird has been stealing the dried shoots off the water chestnuts for his bower, and rosellas are flying around in pairs looking for suitable nesting sites. The local magpies are swooping the local kookaburras (but not us local humans, thankfully – they never have) and temperatures are on the up and up. Soon the fireflies will arrive, and the cicadas will start their chorus.
Egg-laying is also occurring on outlying islands. Little shearwaters (Puffinis assimilis), like the one below washed up on a Ballina beach a couple of weekends ago, have a peak in egg-laying activity in June and July (according to Lindsey’s “The Seabirds of Australia”).
Little shearwaters are coastal and oceanic in flight, and breed in colonies, constructing a nest in rock crevices or at the end of burrows on islands. They rapidly skim the seas a metre or two above the surface, looking for small fish and cephalopods to eat. They are considered sedentary (don’t migrate).
We often see short-tailed shearwaters (muttonbirds) dead in large numbers on beaches, but this is my first little shearwater. Still, a dead ‘tick’ (in birdwatching terms) is still a ‘tick’, I suppose.