13 years of weekly posts – 10,000 Birds


As I sit at my desk penning this put up concerning the newest try at breeding for considered one of our pairs of Pied Oystercatchers I realise I’ve written 677 posts now for this website. This pair of Pied Oystercatchers are utilizing the same nest site as final yr, which does make it simple to seek out. The nest website has moved sometimes since I first noticed one on Cable Seashore in 2000. If there are modifications to the place individuals stroll by way of the dune programs then they are going to modify their nest website accordingly. This explicit nest website is the furthest again from the seashore throughout this time interval and the individually marked male Pied Oystercatcher “A1” has been trying to breed right here since 2008.

This rocky space excessive up past the seashore sand gives nice camouflage and safety. The Pied Oystercatchers can see far and huge and monitor the world for threats from floor stage and above. The photograph beneath exhibits the precise nest with the eggs in, however that might not be initially clear to you, so I’ve underlined them in a replica of the photograph beneath.

Eggs in a Pied Oystercatcher nest

I at all times stroll by briefly to substantiate the variety of eggs, however it is vitally not often greater than two eggs in Broome. The color variation could be fairly excessive and there’s at all times sufficient variation within the eggshell sample to determine the person eggs. I’ve additionally famous the eggs largely seem to level in numerous instructions, however they’re additionally continually being rotated by the mother and father. Each mother and father are liable for the incubation, which takes twenty eight days.

Pied Oystercatcher eggs

It’s Winter right here in Northern Australia which implies loads of cloud-free blue sky and there are positively worst locations to be sitting for twenty eight days watching the world go by!

View from the nest website in the direction of the Indian Ocean at Cable Seashore

View from the seashore wanting again on the distant nest website

Very sometimes I observe “damaged wing” show from this pair of Pied Oystercatchers. I suppose they know me! They are going to do it for different threats as a distraction to guard their eggs or chicks. A menace from above when they’re nest-sitting tends to contain the grownup going as flat as potential.

Pied Oystercatcher “damaged wing” show

It’s at all times apparent when the eggs are as a result of hatch, as a result of each mother and father will stay on the nest relatively than one being absent feeding. They are often two or three kilometres away, but when the nest-sitter calls the opposite one will quickly arrive to assist defend. I believe they fairly presumably have a lot better listening to than you’d give them credit score for. The male Pied Oystercatcher is standing guard while she does the sitting on this photograph beneath.

Nest website

On my subsequent go to I used to be not shocked to see them nonetheless on the nest website, but it surely was not till I checked out my pictures at dwelling that I realised that I had a photograph of a Pied Oystercatcher chick standing within the nest. As soon as once more I’ve positioned a replica of the photograph beneath displaying the place the closely camouflaged chick is.

Pied Oystercatcher grownup and chick

I had walked extensively across the space and brought a number of pictures and observed that there was now one egg and one chick and naturally they have been nonetheless nicely camouflaged.

Pied Oystercatcher chick and egg on the nest website

Over the next days I might return to the seashore and stroll alongside the excessive tide mark. I may observe the place the household had come all the way down to the ocean at night time on the massive tides. The footprints within the tender sand confirmed their actions as they moved nearer to the excessive tide space. I may see their most well-liked vegetation for hiding the chicks.

Pied Oystercatcher household footprints within the tender sand and all the way down to the excessive tide mark

The 2 Pied Oystercatcher chicks have been obedient and hid after they have been instructed by their mother and father. They might generally select totally different hiding spots and stay utterly immobile till the mother and father made a distinct name and so they knew that they may then come out. As an observer the small footprints that they made allowed me to rapidly observe the hiding spot and transfer off.

Pied Oystercatcher chick hiding in vegetation

Pied Oystercatcher chick hiding beside a rock

Generally the 2 Pied Oystercatcher chicks would go to the identical vegetation in the event that they have been shut collectively. Typically they’d be with one grownup every, however that they had began to maneuver North over a number of days and strolling collectively the chicks may cover collectively. As soon as once more their footprints within the tender sand was a giveaway! You’ll be aware that the footprints are fairly massive for a small chicken, however they seem to hatch out prepared for strolling.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Pied-Oystercatcher-chicks-14.jpg

Following the footprints brings you to the 2 Pied Oystercatcher chicks

The mother and father have been shifting North by way of the busiest part of Cable Seashore, however making an attempt to maintain the chicks protected within the dunes.

Pied Oystercatcher mother and father

I want I may have satisfied the Pied Oystercatchers to not maintain going North and try to get by way of the four-wheel drives, individuals and canines. I perceive they knew the meals was higher to the North and all of us take dangers, however……

Anyway, inside days there they have been. Alone. Nothing to do for a number of days aside from stand round on a rock collectively and ponder one other try at breeding. That is no totally different to another yr you probably have adopted my weekly posts over all of those years. Usually inside ten days there might be two extra eggs, one other twenty eight days of sitting round watching the tide go out and in after which the exhausting work of defending susceptible chicks. 2014 was our most profitable Pied Oystercatcher season with three chicks from one clutch surviving to fledge. One massive Pied Oystercatcher family!

Considering one other try at breeding in 2023

So, it’s at this level that I hope over the previous 13 years of weekly posts from largely Australia, but in addition different locations that we now have visited across the World, that you might have been impressed to journey and revel in your native pure environment.

In January this year I did a post to allow you to seek out a few of the posts that I’ve written extra simply in case you have been questioning the place you would possibly prefer to go birding in Australia. I hope a few of you might have explored a few of these areas.

Different posts since then have been filed beneath “birding” and have concerned largely round Broome with a number of latest visits to locations round Melbourne.

My 677 posts are beneath Clare M and I’ll apologise now if a few of the pictures have been misplaced “in house” over the previous 13 years! It is perhaps too moist someday to exit and you’ll learn my posts. You’ll must ask your self why you didn’t get to Australia but!

Anyway, thanks everybody for studying and carry on having fun with birding wherever you’re within the World. Possibly someday our paths will cross……



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