Lake Mac Breeding Events and Sightings

- posted by Rosey Pounsett

October and November provide visitors to the lake with loads of opportunities to witmess the courting behaviour of ducks, nesting Black Swans and Royal Spoonbills, as well as breeding events of more infrequent visitors such as Striated Pardalotes, who have, for the past two or three years, taken a liking to the big dead tree in the round-a-bout and successfully fledged young. This year there were two young fledged, and we were lucky enough to be able to get a quick photo.

Photos were also taken of a pair of Blue-billed Duck, with the bill on the male being especially blue at this time of year, he is much more easily spotted on the lake than his rather plain and duller female. Although the lake only supports one or two pairs, they breed regularly, but are very secretive while nesting and very difficult to spot until the young are out swimming with the adults.

Another species of duck which is reasonably common at the lake is the Australaian Shoveler. Although they are present, and sometimes with 2 or more pairs, there have been no recorded breeding events of these ducks. Perhaps they do breed, but like all other ducks, their nesting sites are very well hidden. We continue to be on the look-out for any tell-tale signs of a successful breeding event. The photo shows a female, who like the Blue-bill female, is much plainer then the male. Both however have the bright orange legs which are easily spotted when the birds are feeding in the lake.

One of the regular successful breeding events we have had at the lake for quite a few years has been that of a pair of Black Swans. This year was no exception with the pair having two cygnets. They were seen frequently with the adluts swimming and resting right around the lake, but unfortunately they seem to have disappeared. As with all natural environments there are dangers for the young and unwary at the lake. These include birds of prey such as Whistling Kites, Swamp Harriers, and even on rare occassions Little Eagles, with foxes and cats also present from time to time.


A pair of Royal Spoonbills have been breeding at the lake for the past 2 or three years, but this year has seen an increase in the number of pairs breeding. We have had three pairs nesting this year, and one pair has successfully hatched at least two chicks. The photo of one of the nesting pairs was taken earlier this month, with some photos of the young hopefully coming in the next post.

We are very familiar with the Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoos that fly overhead regularly when doing bird counts at the lake, but they very rarely call in for a rest. Luckily we sighted these two Yellow-tails having a look around the other day. They did stay long enough to get the camera out and get a quick photo. It just goes to show that there is always something new to see at the lake if you have the time to wander and look.


 

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