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Wildlife:  Tawny Frogmouth - Podargus strigoides

Tawny Frogmouth - Podargus strigoides

Is that a dead branch?

Strolling along the drive one day I spotted a Tawny Frogmouth perched in a tree - returning with the camera I was disappointed to find the bird had flown.

However as I returned to the temple I noticed a dead branch in the fork of a gum tree next to the road which looked odd - there seemed to be a lot of sticks caught in the fork and the “dead wood” was surrounded by ample healthy branches.

Zooming in I discovered, to my delight, that it was a Tawny Frogmouth in its daytime camouflage of a dead stick. This pose is so perfect that I would not have been able to discern the difference without the zoom.

The Field Guide to Australian birds says this:

Probably the best known Australian nocturnal bird; occasionally seen in camouflage pose on an exposed limb,stiffly posed to mimic a broken branch. The streaked and mottled plumage looks like old weathered wood or bark, the bill and bristles like the jagged end of a broken branch, and the untidy white spots and dark streaks are like lichens and sap stains on old timber. Yellow eyes look through narrowed slits; the head turns almost imperceptibly to follow an intruder's movements.

I couldn't agree more.

You are being observed

Tawny Frogmouth with nestling

More delight was in store when I noticed a white ball of fluff was in fact a newly-hatched chick and the rapt attention of the parent was no doubt heightened by the nestling.

Meanwhile, in a tree not far away, the other parent kept a wary eye out for intruders, too.

This photograph was taken from a long way away and the bird did not, as yet, feel the need to become camouflaged.

However as I approached the Frogmouth slowly and impreceptably adopted the classic "dead stick" pose and seemed to vanish.

Another shot of this most charming of all camouflage experts Podargus strigoides

A few days later......

We had by now discovered that there were 3 chicks in the nest who were learning the camouflage trade - they were already putting their skills to the test in the nest.

Within a very short time they had been coaxed from the nest to a nearby limb where the lessons seemed to be continuing.

The next day (after this photo was taken I couldn't see where they had gone to but, a few nights later a friend managed to get the pictures below so that we knew they were still in the area.

Sadly I had found the carcass of one of the chicks on the ground near the nesting tree - it looked like it had fallen prey to a wandering predator - by now only 2 of the chicks were surviving.

Continue your exploration of wildlife at Middle Path......
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