Our resident Wongas here in the Blue Mountains are acting so bizarrely. These monogamous, Australian native birds usually nest in summer, from October until January. They have a clutch of two white eggs, in a rough, twig nest built high in a tree.
However, this year they are breeding completely out of season, and the female is laying only one egg. It’s a complete mystery.
First we had our ‘lock-down’ baby we called Spirit, hatched in a cedar tree which was about to be cut down. A reprieve had to be hastily organized.
What a lot of joy this chick gave us during the most worrying weeks of the pandemic. It arrived months late, in March. That’s the chick on the left below in a hidden ground nursery. Note its wings flapping in milk fueled pleasure.
Once it became a little more independent it would find a protected, sunny spot in our garden.
Spirit had only just been sent off into the wide world when our couple were spotted wooing again.
The adults have been using the same wooden romance bench for years. It’s directly outside my bedroom window.
My associate Editor Des dozed off while watching out for blue wrens and missed all the action.
The nest in the threatened cedar tree was soon back in use. Surely a mid winter chick would not be not sensible in Blackheath, the village we affectionately call ‘Bleakheath’? It actually snowed a few days after the egg hatched. Of course the new arrival just had to be christened June.
Yesterday we spotted the chick being fed its morning ‘milk’. Sorry for the quality of the pic, the parents are still careful about bringing it into the open. I took this shot through the kitchen window.
A few days later, June wobbles into the open;
I am hoping a bird expert may have some explanation for our delightful little winter Wongas. And why only one chick each time? That’s another puzzle. Is it climate change? Or the summer bushfires? Our place and its wider surrounds were undamaged, but perhaps it’s collective memory.
And will there be a third chick in this continuing mystery? All suggestions and theories gratefully received.
Mother nature must be trying to tell me something, but what exactly? It’s making me slightly nervous.
UPDATE – 25/6/2020 GOODNESS ME, THERE WILL DEFINITELY BE A THIRD CHICK! PHOTOS TAKEN IN THE MORNING SUNSHINE. I LEFT OUT THE MOST INTIMATE SHOT, BUT HERE IS ‘BEFORE’ AND ‘AFTER’.
29th June——Yes yes, on the nest!