Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Never been there before

The safari has had the trip of a lifetime to...wait for it...the island with the heronry in the park lake...WOW.
Walked round the lake a thousand times, driven past the lake a million times, been on the lake a fair few times but I've never been on the island.

It's only a few square metres and has some largish trees, the Elms have died or are dying but the others are doing well. There are about 25 Herons nests. We discovered that there were nests in all the reasonably large trees except the Sycamores. It didn't matter if the trees were alive or dead although some of the Elms may well have been alive when the nests were started. The bare ground is the result of thousands of ducks and geese feet trampling any vegetation that dares to put a leaf up out of the soil.

I would have thought that it was a bit late in the season for there to be young still in the nest but something quite unpleasant narrowly missed us as we were standing under the tree. Looking up we saw movement through the twigs. Snapped a couple of photos against the sun and looking at them back at Base camp discovered there were two chicks in the nest.
It doesn't bode well for those chicks that don't take care in high winds.
I can almost see Archaeopteryx lying there. Only 145 million years to go.........
The island is home for refugees from the Mutant Ninja Turtles craze a few years ago. The demonic aliens are resonsible for all manner of nasty things from eating all the fish eggs - not true; there are loads of fry and small fish, the successfully breeding Great Crested Grebes prove that - chewing the feet off ducks - not true never seen a duck with no feet on the lake; there is a Woodpigeon with only one foot but that is because it got tangled in discarded fishing lne.
This large one has lost a scute, probably shed it rather than lost it in an accident. I never knew they could do that - you see you learn something everyday.

Where to next? Got a cunning plan for later in the day after my National Whale and Dolphin Watch duties at the weekend (see you there?)...still got that new, to me at least, bird behaviour to report on if I can get close enough for a photo.

In the meantime let us know what is ageing in your outback.


Monika said...

I always love it when you get to visit a new place that's close to home. We had a heronry (I like that word!) near my parent's house in Portland and it's not just falling out of the nest chicks have to worry about, but being thrown out by older/bigger/more aggressive siblings.

Are these gray herons?

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Yep they are Grey Herons. Didn't occur to me that larger siblings may have evicted the deceased one.