After a brief period of housekeeping at the bottom of our back yard, Mr and Mrs Masked Plover have moved on, leaving three cold and lonely eggs. The Husband has lost his excuse not to mow down there…
We had been careful to go nowhere near them since the day of my last post, and knew they were still in residence because of the loud cries and swooping around that took place when any conceivable danger (wind in a nearby tree, distant bird passing, car pulling up 20 metres away) was in sight. Three days ago, I noticed all that had stopped.
Today, I went halfway down the yard. Nothing. Perhaps they didn’t hear or see me through the long grass we’d carefully left for 3 metres all round the nest? I crept a little closer. Still nothing.
By the time I was right on the edge of Plover Jungle, I could see there was no-one home. No-one came swooping down on me to see me off. They had disguised the nest a little since my earlier photo, using dead mango leaves, but the eggs were stone cold.
I retreated, kept watch for an hour or two, and realised they’d truly moved on. Something had disturbed them too badly to allow them to stay. We get a lot of large birds of prey, mostly Brahminy Kits and Black Kites, both of which would be quite happy to dispose of either eggs or chicks, and a couple of those would have been too much for the plovers to cope with.
Poor birds. Better luck next year.