Even as I’m sitting to write this post there’s a bump on the front window – it’s that Red Wattlebird again! For the past few days I’ve seen them scouring our windows and those of my neighbours, not for insects as I first thought, but spider’s webs. It’s nest building time! Try as I might I’ve not caught their activities with the camera as yet, but the Peewees (or mudlarks for those from further south and west from where I grew up) are another matter.
It took me a while to realise that they weren’t digging around our water chestnuts for insects or the corms. They wanted that muddy spent foliage for their nests. Peewees build the most beautiful mud nests, somewhat smaller than the large mud bowls built by Choughs. The Peewee’s mud bowl is built on a branch high enough and far out along the limb enough to make it hard for predators to get them. In the past I’ve seen these nest built out over creeks, or in the absence of a watercourse built over a busy road.
These birds are nesting in our neighbours tree, one of the few large trees still around us. I fear that the number of really tall and old trees that have been cut down in our area will be having a negative impact on the number of birds nesting in our suburbs. I’m pleased that in our own small way we are providing ‘garden services’ for those who are trying to raise their young.
PS Pardalote Palisades seems to be keeping the Currawongs and neighbourhood cats at bay. Fingers crossed.
Sad news at Chez Fork this week, one of our chickens has died. Our Australorp Dotty choked on an unknown object. Sadly she didn’t make it to the vet’s alive so we are none the wiser about what she ingested.
Last Sunday I spent the morning in the garden. The weather was reasonable and all those little jobs were waiting to be done.
First on the list was doing some hand-pollinating on the apricot tree. I know, not a lot of fun and just a wee bit anal, but the low temperatures mean that bee pollination is not guaranteed.
Luckily for me I was about a third of the way around the open flowers when I realised I had some help.
Good enough! No need to get in the way of the experts.
Earlier in the week we had found some vegetable seeds in one of the Asian supermarkets near the university, so job number two was planting these out.
I had chosen seeds that would be able to bear the cold temperatures, Chinese celery, also called mitsuba and a short white radish, that grows to about 20cms.
I also planted out my old garden boots. Yes, they had done their job and while the uppers look quite OK the soles were completely broken and holey. These now are planted with chives, that came free from a magazine cover.
And while all this busyness was happening I noticed something out of the corner of my eye. At last, our nesting spotted pardalotes have arrived. Once more our large compost heap has been pressed into service for these tiny nesting birds.
This is one gardening service we are happy to provide.