Life and death in the wetlands

In the past raptors have chased starlings or mynas (like the peregrine falcons), crested pigeons (like the brown goshawks), mice (like the black-shouldered kites and kestrels) or ducks (like the grey goshawk). Some just soared along and away, like the sea eagle and the wedge-tailed eagle. The whistling kite, however, came to breed and feed.

In the past raptors have chased starlings or mynas (like the peregrine falcons), crested pigeons (like the brown goshawks), mice (like the black-shouldered kites and kestrels) or ducks (like the grey goshawk). Some just soared along and away, like the sea eagle and the wedge-tailed eagle. The whistling kites, however, came to breed and feed.

TAFE students coming from Taiwan, the Congo, Turkey, Thailand, China and Ethiopia gathered in the wind for a day at the wetlands.

TAFE students coming from Taiwan, the Congo, Turkey, Thailand, China and Ethiopia gathered in the wind for a day at the wetlands.

Last Wednesday everything happened. We planted Poa tussocks and Towrang bottlebrushes, weeded and cleaned up … all as usual. The ESL class from TAFE came some days earlier with Raina their teacher and the wind blew us all back to the classroom. But Wednesday was perfect. Divalls came along and all of a sudden the first pool in the anabranch was lowered (for the golf club), new lagoons were created to (over)compensate, the walking track was graded and the bike path was too.

The real drama, however, started with a small crowd of people staring at a pair of birds in the tall, sickly pines across the street. Read on for a set of pictures depicting the unfolding drama of the day. Click on any picture to expand it …

As the bedraggled kite at on the rocks with ribbon weed tangled in its feet, the crowd of ducks milled around once more and then dispersed. No more chicks were taken while we were there, but the kites will need more to prevent their own from starving. High level predators such as the whistling kites are a good thing for the wetlands. Their presence means the ecosystem is working and that there is enough food available at every level of the food pyramid.

As the bedraggled kite sat on the rocks with ribbon weed tangled in its feet, the crowd of ducks milled around the female black duck and her ducklings once more and then made their way back to the other side of the main pond. No more chicks were taken while we were there, but the kites will need to take more in the near future to prevent their own chicks from starving. High level predators such as the whistling kites are a good thing for the wetlands. Their presence means the ecosystem is working and that there is enough food available at every level of the food pyramid.

 

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