Masked lap-wing families don’t have a preferred natural habitat.
Insects and vertebrates are found almost anywhere in substantial quantities.
These birds can be spotted in most of scruburbia.
Or even along the beach.
Their yellow mask is easily spotted whilst stalking shallow tidal areas.
Deception Bay is one of these locations.
The long tidal mud zones are not favourable for human activities, but ideal for all other visitors.
Mangrove forests offer hiding spots from those, who are seeking.
Whilst exploring mudflats near the shoreline, all movements are closely monitored by mom and dad.
There aren’t any sufficient hiding spots for these cuties to hide.
Their spotted feathers are outstanding on light sand.
Their parent’s plumage is an ideal, flexible solution. This is by far the safest survival tactic.
The screeching pitches alarm the chicks to come in and shelter.
And so they do. One by one.
Apart from Manfred.
He is still hungry and oblivious to the world around him.
He makes it just in time.
He is the first one to leave safety again too. An ambitious youngster.
Like father, like son. Happy Father’s Day!
It turned into quite an amusing spectacle. I watched this ongoing several times.
Chicks left their cover.
Only to seek shelter at the other parent’s wings.
And others returned. I do admire their parent’s patience.
Some chicks appeared to slip under the doona for comfort and warmth. Just like we do.
Nothing like a nice huddle and cuddle. This alone is so cute to watch.
I am not sure if this masked wingman knows how many extra feet are under his body. It was an interesting view photographically.
Eventually, all chicks have fled this mobile home and the adult can move on. All under watchful eyes.
If all defensive tactics fail and the threat continues, lap-wings switch to the offensive. Smaller intruders, who unintentionally cross safety boundaries, are easily chased off.
But size doesn’t matter for these brave birds. Swooping by and intimidating with loud shrieking sounds, they literally lap-wing their opponents. It is incredibly hard to capture this assault by a camera.
I watched one of the parents courageously flying a long distance over Deception Bay to confront and chase a soaring fish eagle high in the sky.
Standing only a foot tall, masked lap-wings do mean business.
One needs to hurry to get around.
Even when thirsty.
This shallow waterhole invited for a welcoming change of pace.
No alarm call from his partner was raised.
This adult had a bit of time on his wings to take of his shoes. A welcoming change of pace, at least for a few minutes.
There is another sting to their defence. Masked lap-wings contain a spike on each of their wings in a seemingly awkward position.
They are hardly noticeable to the naked eye, as photos reveal the stinger’s location. Only a certain wing position reveals them. Otherwise, they are hidden.
They do look impressive once spotted. Imagine yellow-masked ninjas chasing you around the paddock. These barbs are sharp too and do inflict a painful, sharp sting. If the tips have broken off, they will regrow with time.
A chasing reflex reaction automatically kicks in, even with a full house. This could leave the brut exposed to other dangers, but this intruder needs to be dealt with.
The aim is clear and the stingers are set.
The little ones are left exposed and wander off in all directions like pilgrims.
It all starts over again.
Scratching and cleaning is part of any chick’s daily routine. So divine.
I followed this brave family for a few days here at Deception Bay and have grown quite fond of them.
We had breakfast together most mornings and enjoyed the view over the bay.
They kept a good eye out for me too. I doubt that they fully trusted me around their chicks, but a mutual agreement between us is my conclusion.
Adult and baby chicks ventured close-by and around me. No aggression was noted from either side.
I couldn’t resist taking a few photos of these fluff balls whenever I had the chance.
They just are simply adorable and opportunities to capture them don’t come around often.
By the time I left Deception Bay, only one of the chicks was still alive.
I hope that this youngster will walk on to have chicks of it’s own and become another brave musketeer. Just like his parents are.