Good news on the Dusky Moorhens, all three survivors are thriving. The smaller chick with a nasty bite to the leg has healed perfectly. The larger chick is almost fully fledged and has developed the customary white tail feathers.
It has been a long eventful journey for them all, since the day one adult first appeared on our dam at the beginning of December 2011. Three weeks later a mate had joined the first bird, and signs were positive.
At the end of January six tiny chicks had hatched and were brought onto the dam for the first time. We were so disappointed when the chicks began to vanish, and we suspected the eels were feeding on them. However last week we heard a loud alarm cry from the remaining adult and the two juveniles swam to the lotus leaves, and instantly dived under as a Brown Goshawk swooped in for the kill. It was high drama, and the Moorhens remained on alert for about ten minutes until they felt the Goshawk had left. We have also seen the adult birds attacking the water after a big swirl from a resident eel, and the adults also chase any hapless black snake that ventures to close.
When the chicks were three weeks old the second adult disappeared. We were all hoping she had gone off to sit on a nest and raise more young, but that has not been the case, or she would have been back by now. Of course there have been floods and strong rain, so nesting may have not been successful, and the bird may have been taken by predators.
Now the remaining three birds no doubt form the beginning a new flock, certainly there are two more now than when that first pioneer arrived in December!
You can find all the Moorhen posts by clicking on Dusky Moorhen in the tag cloud on the right.