It’s spring in Australia, and birds are nesting. From the end of August, Centennial Park bird watchers start looking for the nest of a very special bird – the Tawny Frogmouth.
The first sign that the birds are “in the family way” is a pair of Frogmouths sitting on one of the trees in Lachlan Swamp. When one of the pair disappears, it’s a signal that the bird is sitting on the nest.
Finding that nest is not easy and it takes an expert to locate it. In the last two years, that expert has been Graeme.
In early September he sent us an email to say: “The Tawny Frogmouths are nesting in a large Melaleuca on the lawn between Lachlan Swamp and Dickens Drive in from where the rubbish bins are located by Dickens Drive. I placed a few dead Palm Fronds at the base of the tree.”
Time for the paparazzi to get busy!
Our daily visits to the “maternity ward” showed one parent, a dour model of patience, on what must be the most untidy nest in the bird world – a few dry twigs in the fork of a tree.
With Tawny Frogmouths, nest building may not be a forte, but their parenting is faultless. Imagine spending 30 days taking turns sitting on eggs in 12+ hour day shifts and sharing the night shift so each has a turn to stretch a wing and hunt for food. No time off, come wind, rain, hail or shine!
Vigilance is the key as there are predators around ready to snatch the precious eggs.
We expected that by the end of September we’d be taking the first baby photos. As luck would have it, we missed the hatching. It was Graeme who had the first sighting on 29 September.
So new ‘Park Royalty’ has entered the world. There was no bell-ringing, no world media and no dotty dresses, but, well, I guess this is as close as we get to the ‘official photo’…