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Different species, same story

December 31, 2019

Last year I blogged about watching Grey Fantails (Rhipidura albiscapa) build a nest in the vines outside the kitchen window. This year they have not returned but my ‘neighbour’ Corrine has had a pair of Willie Wagtails (Rhipidura leucophrys), pictured left, nesting in a tree next to her house and I have been gaining vicarious pleasure from listening to the reports of their progress. The scientific name is derived from the Greek words rhipis (fan), oura (tail), leukos (white) and ophrus (eyebrow) – a ‘white-eyebrowed fantail’.

Willy Wagtails inhabit most areas except dense forest. In 15 years we have never observed them on our bush block though they are plentiful in the neighbour’s paddocks. The birds are aggressive and territorial and are one of those you see harassing eagles and the like to protect their territory. Like Fantail nests, Wagtail nests are built of grass and bark held together with spider web and lined with animal fur. They do not however have the wine-glass shape. This nest in question was in a citrus tree 2 metres above the ground.

Last night an SMS accompanied with a photo, see picture right, proclaimed that two chicks had hatched and that I was invited to come around and take some photos with a ‘proper’ camera which I duly did. The resulting photograph (left) revealed an empty nest. Known predators include feral cats (unlikely), rats (maybe) or Pied Currawongs (most likely). Nature is nature!

Same story as last year, different bird.

 

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