The Daisy Chronicles, Day 14-15

It is 15:00 in the Sydney Olympic Forest. You can hear the old Ironbark Tree creaking as the 23 kph winds twist the branches about. It sounds like old doors that need to be oiled. The gusts seem to be more. Daisy seems undaunted. I cannot hear any bird vocalizations in the forest.

The camera operator checked to see if the Sea Eagles were at the River Roost. There was one bird – WBSE or Gull? – flying over the Parramatta River. It is that white dot against the far dark trees up at the top – almost in the middle of the background.

I continue to keep in my mind that last year we kept saying, ‘If Daisy had only come in late November or December.’ Gosh, we surely got that wish this year. But, this year feels like a ‘cake walk’ compared to last year. (Still I do not want to get complacent – anything can happen!) I don’t think anyone slept while Daisy was on the nest. We did not know how the Sea Eagles would react – we didn’t know when they would be coming to try and catch Daisy. You could almost see the steam coming off the top of Dad’s head last year trying to ‘catch’ whatever bird was brave or stupid enough to lay their eggs in ‘his’ nest. I am posting one of my blogs from last year. Every moment was tense. In the image below, Dad has landed on the nest. You can see that Daisy had no time to cover her eggs!

Daisy had only a split second to get off the nest and no time to conceal her eggs.

https://wordpress.com/post/maryannsteggles.com/2957

People from around the world were cheering this brave duck. There is another difference this year also. The temperatures. It is 23 degrees C today. Last time Daisy had eggs on this nest, it rose to 40 degrees C. The sun was so hot she had to leave frequently for breaks and she often left in the middle of the afternoon. That is how the Ravens got the eggs. This time it appears it is after sunset and before sunrise that could at least hold off the Ravens. Maybe there is a ‘finishing school’ for future duck mothers???

The weather forecast has now posted a 40% chance of a shower – not rain – with the winds gusting to 30 kph. Here is a very short video clip of our little Daisy – gosh, she looks tiny in that big tree – as it is swaying with the gusts.

I am not expecting anything to happen – famous last words – until Daisy leaves for her evening break. Sunset is at 20:03.

Daisy surprised me and left at 17:22:30 for her evening foraging. This was two and a half hours before sunset! This is unusual compared to her pattern. She did spend considerable time covering up her eggs and she appeared to be looking for more leaves.

Off she goes! That blur of feathers under the branch on the right.

I had convinced myself that I could fall asleep and wake up and check that Daisy had returned and the eggs and her were both alright. The problem was she left too early. Who would come to get those eggs? Would the ravens be around on a quick fly through before roosting? Normally Daisy departs for her break right at sunset. So I waited with a pot of spiced tea, a box of shortbread, and Mark Bittman’s recipe for No-Knead Bread from The New York Times. Our forecast was for thin layers of freezing rain – the kind that covers everything but you can’t see it. Black Ice. And then snow as the temperature plunges from -1 to -14. Daisy is enjoying cooler temperatures than her incubation time last year. It was 19 C during the evening and early morning hours.

Daisy did return and no one bothered the nest. She was a very lucky little duck. She landed back on the nest at 19:43:23 ——- 20 minutes before sunset.

Oh, I hope we get some close ups today. Just look at the down – it must feel good compared to those hard sticks.

Doesn’t she look adorable?

It is 04:16:00 and Daisy has not left for her morning break. She fooled me yesterday by slipping out for a quick foraging trip at 04:46. I wonder if she will do that today?

Daisy flew off the nest at 05:09:04. She spent considerable time before leaving covering up her eggs.

And she is off! Daisy is a Dabbler. I hope that she finds lots of yummy plants to enjoy.

In the background you could hear the Noisy Miners and Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo easily over the hum of the camera. The forest is waking up just as Daisy is leaving. They are particularly loud this morning. I wonder if they alerted her that she should get going?

The cam operator gave us some beautiful shots of Daisy’s nest covering. Thank you!

Sunrise is at 05:39. Yesterday Daisy was back on the nest a little after 06:00. Fingers crossed.

It is Day 15 of the Daisy Chronicles and so far all is well.

Thank you so much for joining me. I will bring an update on Daisy in about six or seven hours. Let us hope that today is as uneventful as all the others. Please take care. See you soon.

Thank you to the Sea Eagle @Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre for their streaming cam where I took my screen shots.

4 Comments

  1. Linda Kontol says:

    Thanks Mary Ann for the updates and memories of Daisy from last season too. Hope she has a good day again today. I’ll be looking forward to your newsletter update later.
    Have a good day!
    Linda

    1. All fingers and toes are crossed, Linda! Today, so far, has been good. You are welcome for all the updates. It is my pleasure.

  2. Salliane says:

    It is amazing how the environment sometimes dictate behavior responses in animals.
    We shouldn’t be embarrassed to be called bird brain anymore 🙂

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