Properly, it’s that point of yr once more and shorebirds are breeding. Hopefully all the migratory shorebirds that left Roebuck Bay earlier this yr have been profitable at breeding within the Northern Hemisphere and can quickly be heading again to our shores. In the meantime, right here in Broome our resident Pied Oystercatchers have been busy making an attempt to breed too. The header photograph exhibits the brighter color of the legs and payments of the Pied Oystercatchers through the breeding season. I’ve written many articles about our resident Pied Oystercatchers over the previous twelve years. I’ve additionally learnt to not depend my chickens earlier than they hatch.
Since I discovered the primary Pied Oystercatcher nest on Cable Seashore in July 2000 I’ve learnt that the eggs not often hatch as a result of predation and in the event that they do hatch then a completely fledged chick is a uncommon and fantastic consequence. Pied Oystercatchers do reside a really very long time and native metallic leg band and engraved flag marking on a number of birds has proven that many are over twenty years outdated. The Pied Oystercatchers don’t begin to breed till they’re round seven years outdated and will try to breed with just a few totally different mates earlier than they seem to calm down with a companion. With out particular person markings it is vitally straightforward to presume they keep collectively in pairs, as a result of they do all look the identical.
This yr has been like different years with the primary eggs being laid late June and the primary chicks hatching not too long ago. The grownup Pied Oystercatchers are continuously looking out for threats from above. Black Kites and Brown Goshawks are a menace within the dune system and likewise sand goannas can take the eggs.
Consistently wanting upwards
After I discover these Pied Oystercatcher household footprints like above I don’t must see the younger, as a result of that’s sufficient proof to know there are younger hidden within the vegetation. The adults at all times warn the younger of an intruder anyway, so I stroll away content material within the information that they’ve knowledgeable them to hunker down. Sadly this pair of Pied Oystercatchers didn’t have a lot luck with their first try at breeding this yr, however they typically lay extra eggs inside about ten days of shedding their chicks.
One other pair of Pied Oystercatchers are nesting in a really open space that gives good views of surrounding threats. They’ve solely laid one egg for his or her first try this yr, however round Broome just one or two eggs are usually laid. It has been a really uncommon prevalence that three eggs have been laid. Offering shade is as essential as retaining eggs heat in our local weather. Now we have been having fairly excessive variations between day and night time time temperature this previous few weeks, so they may have needed to adapt accordingly.
Pied Oystercatcher nest in an open space
One pair of Pied Oystercatchers have chosen to nest on a rocky outcrop. The benefit of this nest website is that there are not any footprints main on to it. After they stroll away from the nest they don’t go away proof as to the place it’s. Pied Oystercatchers round Broome at all times lead you away from their nest websites or their chicks whether or not you might be human or a canine. It may be fairly amusing when a Pied Oystercatcher walks a canine away from an space fairly than simply fly off.
Pied Oystercatcher nest on rocks
One other pair of Pied Oystercatchers have chosen to nest simply above the excessive tide mark. It’s a dangerous technique as a result of the truth that there could possibly be a tidal surge with sturdy winds. Additionally the truth that autos are allowed to drive on the seashore means that there’s a probability that the nest might be run over. This pair of Pied Oystercatchers typically appear to love to nest with a rock, piece of coral and/or a stick shut by and it’s no totally different this yr.
Pied Oystercatcher nest at excessive tide
There are additionally quite a few nest scrapes which have been made by different pairs of Pied Oystercatchers. The nest scrapes are made by the smaller male hen, which she then checks and finally will lay eggs in. As soon as there are eggs within the nest they may then each share the accountability of incubating the eggs and feeding the younger. I’ve observed over time that whichever hen is on the eggs once they hatch will then be the hen that appears after that chick.
Pied Oystercatcher scrapes
You should have little doubt observed that there’s fairly a variation within the egg color between nests and this turns into extra obvious the extra eggs you observe. Not solely does the egg color range considerably, but in addition the markings on the eggs. The Pied Oystercatchers will go away the nest to feed on some events, however they principally stay on the nest right here to shade the eggs in the course of the day and return inside a matter of minutes if you stroll away upon getting found a nest.
Our resident Pink-capped Plovers are additionally capable of conceal their nests very effectively and they’re additionally presently breeding. Now we have to be hopeful that a few of these eggs will develop into totally fledged chicks over the following few months and they’ll then produce other migratory shorebirds be part of them alongside our shoreline once they return from the Northern Hemisphere.