White Faced Herons Fishing

Waiting for the end of Summer

I’d imagined Summer would be a hive of activity, with new birds arriving for the water in the dam, flowers appearing everywhere, and an active planting season in the vegetable garden, but I’ve come to realise Summer is a time of waiting and watching. Waiting for the vegetables to grow, waiting for each high fire danger day to pass while watching the CFA website for warnings. Waiting for rain. Even waiting for our usual water-bird visitors to re-appear.  They have been notably absent over the last two weeks.  Waiting to plant the olive and bay trees I received for my birthday and Christmas – it’s too hot to plant them at this time of the year. Waiting for Autumn.

Three weeks ago, it looked like we were heading into a mini-Spring.  Instead of a family of thirteen Australian Wood Ducks, we had ducks arriving in pairs.  The usually solo White Faced Heron began bringing a friend, and the White Necked Heron arrived displaying breeding plumage. I can’t help wondering if the absence of these birds indicates they are sitting on a clutch of eggs somewhere.  More waiting is required before I can know the answer.

 White Faced Herons Fishing
Our solo White Faced Heron started bringing a friend along to fish in the dam.
White Faced Herons on Jetty
It then became apparent that these two White Faced Herons were perhaps mating.
Afterwars, one heron went back to fishing, and the other waited on the jetty.  Notice the way she (I presume) is sitting down!
Afterwards, one heron went back to fishing, and the other waited on the jetty. Notice the way she (I presume) is sitting down!
White Faced Heron watching its mate.
The waiting heron kept shifting position to watch the fishing heron.
White Necked Heron with breeding plumage
This photo is over-exposed, but it shows very clearly the plum coloured spot on its shoulder. This coloured patch is the breeding plumage, and only appears when the bird is actively breeding. I was hoping to get a second opportunity to photograph this, but no luck so far.

While the herons and the ducks have now been absent for two weeks, there are some signs of activity. Each time I walk around the path through our patch of bushland, I notice new diggings around the ant nests.  Some of these are suspiciously Echidna shaped – pointed at one end.  I know there are Echidnas on our property, as the previous owners remarked on them. I keep walking around hoping I come across one, but so far, no luck.  I’ve researched their habits, and apparently they don’t abide by routine – simply wandering where they please across a range of 22 acres or more.  Finding one is going to be more good luck than good management, I’m afraid.  At least they emerge in daylight hours, so there is a chance!

Like me, apparently Echidna’s don’t deal very well with hot weather. On hot days they hide in a burrow, or emerge after dark when it is cooler.  This means I do more searching on cooler days.  I can’t wait for the milder Autumn weather.

I’m starting to find a lot of ant nests dug out in this manner. Pointed at one end. Is this the work of an Echidna?

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