One that didn’t make it

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 shearwater_1Little shearwater_2Little shearwater_3Little shearwater_4Little 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.

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4 Responses to One that didn’t make it

  1. kathy says:

    Tiny little blue feet, like lifeless leggings. I remember our bird watching episodes on Lord Howe. I simply cannot say what was favourite: listening to the cries “pick meeee”, as we walked in the pitch dark amongst the Mutton bird nests; or watching the rafts of birds on the swells as they came home; or the individual acrobatic antics of the Red Tropic birds; or the intimate nesting activities of those lovely white birds that used to lay eggs on bare tree branches; then the LHI hens… Easy to tell I am not a good birdo as I can’t even remember the birds’ names. But I have the memories. Thanks for sharing the photos, Joy. Such a simple commemoration of life.

    • Joy Window says:

      You did well with the names! The cute small tern that lays its eggs on bare branches is the white tern (Gygis alba). Birding on Lord Howe is a fabulous experience. I’m glad we enjoyed it together.

  2. I’m not nearly ready to give up summer here in N America–so your spring seems early to me, too!

    I’m with Kathy–ohhh, those sad little blue legs!

    • Joy Window says:

      Hi Patricia. I tend to go all philosophical and maudlin when I see dead things that used to be so full of life and beauty. Makes you appreciate what you’ve got when you see something that has lost everything. Enjoy the rest of your summer!

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