So sad…

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…

Future plovers...

The original nest

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.

Abandoned nest

Disguised, but abandoned

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.

35 thoughts on “Abandoned…

  1. That is very sad. Do you have neighbourhood cats?

    • katechiconi says:

      No, none. It’s also highly discouraged to let cats out of doors here because they play havoc with the native wildlife. I have been keeping an eye out, but have no clue what prompted it.

  2. nanacathy2 says:

    Sad little tale, what might have been…

    • katechiconi says:

      It could have been so much worse if the chicks had hatched… The eggs are quite beautiful. I couldn’t let them be mowed over, so they’re in the fridge till I work out what to do about them.

  3. When a broody hen sits on her eggs there’s usually one or two that don’t hatch. We put those eggs on a stump in the woods as an offering, acknowledging that loss for one is life for another.

    • katechiconi says:

      I would have left them if it hadn’t meant the ride-on mower smashing them up. They are just too beautiful as an object to be randomly destroyed. I suspect they may be too advanced to blow them and preserve the shell. In the end, I may do as you suggest…

  4. dayphoto says:

    Darn! I always hate to think that a little family couldn’t stay to raise their chicks.


  5. What a shame – though she might be back to the nest to try again – I don’t know whether plovers do that though.. c

    • katechiconi says:

      Plovers are appallingly casual housekeepers, building nests in totally inappropriate places, and there are millions of them all over the country. I think they’ll just try again somewhere else.

  6. Bummer, for sure – I was hoping to see chicks! But the eggs are stunning, best of luck in finding a way to preserve them.

  7. EllaDee says:

    Although plovers seem to nest in random places, they seem to know best. Eggs might not be viable, and they decided to try elsewhere. Good of you to give them the space though.

  8. tialys says:

    Well, you did your best to accommodate them and could have done no more. Now the L of C has no more excuses not to get the mower down there.

  9. tialys says:

    p.s. Why is your photo in the ‘Blogs I Follow’ column?

  10. tialys says:

    Oh! I see now – it’s your new F2F blog.

  11. Grannymar says:

    Just popping in to say hello, Kate… not fully back in harness yet, but getting there. Sorry to read the sad tale of the plover eggs but look forward to a close-up photo of the shells.

    • katechiconi says:

      For now, they are in stasis in the fridge. It may be that I can’t keep the real thing, but only a photo. The first step will be to ‘candle’ the eggs to see if the chicks had started to develop.

  12. Lynda says:

    I hope they only had to abandon the site and eggs, and that they moved on to a safer place to raise a new clutch of chicks. Sad.

    • katechiconi says:

      You know, they’re one of Australia’s commonest birds, and if one pair fails to raise eggs one year, it will not endanger the species. I’m fairly relieved to be able to walk down the yard to the mandarin tree without being squarked at and dive bombed!

  13. Kirsten says:

    I didn’t really want to press the ‘like’ button because I don’t like it. Poor little eggs. Fingers crossed for next year.

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