We came across a pair of Masked Lapwings today. They are thinking about making a nest. Actually, that is far too sophisticated a description. These birds are legendarily fuckwitted. Just have a look at their tiny little heads and consider the tiny volume that has to contain their entire minds while leaving space for an advanced avionics package. Deep thinkers they are not.
They nest on the ground, choosing (although that verb gives them far too much credit) a location in the open clear of undergrowth. I assume this is because they hate their chicks and want to facilitate faster predation. Having selected a spot, they scoop out a shallow indentation (if they remember) and start laying. Last year a pair decided that a random spot in the middle of the car park was just the ticket. You really have to wonder how that behaviour evolved in.
The pair we met today seemed to have selected a location and were scratching around in the leaf litter in a fairly desultory manner. As we approached to within about 30 metres they started their other signature behaviour: vicious defence of their rubbish location against all interlopers by any means necessary.
They both took off (leaving their laughable ‘nest’ entirely undefended – I told you – complete shitwits) and started strafing us from altitude. While Other Bloggers retreated to avoid stressing the birds too much, I pointed the long lens at them and started shooting.
We left them alone after a few minutes. No matter how entertaining it is to annoy sub-sentient avians, it does come at a large cost to their energy budget. We watched them terrorize some noisy miners, a magpie lark (which is neither a magpie nor a lark), a currawong, several turtles and a duck. Speaking of ducks, this one was being photogenic.