This blog is a record of the life of a wagtail family in a suburban garden during the Spring of 2010 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sunday 10 October 2010 - Empty Nest

This is the image of the empty nest syndrome from which we are now suffering. We have been surprised at how fast it's all over. Once the chicks started flying that was it - they are out in the big wide world and we feel bereft. The paper is down from the kitchen window, there's no longer any point in squinting out of the bathroom window and we find ourselfs straining for the call of the parents. We have seen one of the chicks and one of the parents today but they have places to go, birds to meet and procreation phase is over for now. What a privilege it has been to witness this little family grow from two to five members and to see how it's done in the Wagtail world. We look forward to next season....

Saturday 9 October 2010 - I believe they can fly.....

We've been anticipating the flying lessons and hoped it would happen when we were around to witness the great occasion. This morning we noticed that the parents were doing a lot of calling and flying back and forth to the roof and the wash line.

We then realised that one of the babies, Jaws, was standing on the edge of the nest. A short while later Mark called me out to the garden to see the brave little fellow perched on a flower pot, looking very pleased with his new-found freedom and Mum and Dad fluttering around excitedly. One of our dogs was nosing around nearby and the next thing Jaws flew up to the garage roof where he could survey the world in relative safety.

The parents continued to call and fly from the gutter above the nest and back to the back garden. Then I noticed that Fang was standing on the edge of the nest and I could see his little chest beating from where I was at the window. He "chickened out" and re-joined his sibling in the nest. Unfortunately I had to go out at 7:30am and only returned at 3:30pm. The first thing I saw when I drove in was one of the chicks on the driveway. He flew up to the wall when he saw the car. By this time all three of the babies had taken wing and flown the nest. They have been around on and off since I came home but a season is now over. I wonder if the parents will be back to lay another clutch of eggs?

Here is Jaws, the firstborn proudly perched on our garage roof. He's very proud of his new flying skills which got him up there and he is surveying the world.

Friday 8 October 2010 - Feeding Frenzy

The chicks are growing and the parents are rushing about frantically trying to keep up with their culinary demands. Here is one of them searching for insects on the lawn.

The babies are certainly outgrowing the nest and peering out at the big wide world. They are now almost as big as the parents. We're sure the flying lessons will begin soon.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tuesday 5 October - Growing Up

Here are Jaws and Fang patiently waiting for breakfast. It's amazing how quickly they've grown into recognizable wagtails. I'm not sure where Grootbek is - I hope he's behind these two in the nest. The leaves on the creeper are beginning to spread and soon we won't be able to see into the nest. We should be able to witness their first attempts at flight soon. It has been such a joy and a privilege to watch this little family.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Saturday 2 October - Peace in the Nest

Just a bundle of feathers... When I peeped into the nest from the bathroom window this morning the parents were "out shopping" and the triplets were snuggled up and sleeping soundly. We are very impressed at how hard the parents work to feed these hungry little chicks. We see them flitting around the garden with hapless insects hanging from their mouths, ready to feed their young. Parenting ain't for sissies.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wednesday 29 September 2010 - Three fledglings

Here they are - the singing wagtail trio. Mark managed to get this shot with his Berry at lunch time today. It was pretty hot and they looked rather stressed. Mark named the third chick Grootbek - or Bek for short so they are now officially Bek, Fang and Jaws. Meet the gang.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Monday 27 September - Fledglings

Whilst I've been away Mark has taken on the duty of chief nest watcher and photographer (except I have our camera with me). This is what he has to say about today's entry.
I noticed when I got home that there was a parent on the nest and then as I gave the dogs their biscuits heard the high pitched chirrup of the departing parent so I took the gap, no adults @ home! Just missed a brilliant pic with all three (yes, dear! 3!) beaks wide open as they sensed the movement of the camera just above them.  In the best picture you see Jaws with gaping maw and siblings on either side. They are very silent, not a peep!