Breeders and feeders at Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Breeders of all kinds @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

To breed and feed in close proximity is a hectic liaison within all participants.

Posing @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

I could hardly keep up with my camera in hand.

Fishing skills @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

To many objects in different colours, sizes and noises engulfed my mind.

Numerous nests @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

It wasn’t only the sheer quantity of breeding birds that baffled me.

Surprise visitor @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Just as surprising was the variety of feathered nesters as well.

In their environment @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Purple Swamphens curiously stalk through the high grass.

Perfect evolution @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

They breed in reeds around the lake, giving them multiple options to hide and seek their young.

Safety in numbers @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

If possible danger approaches, swamphen chicks are hidden amongst the high grass, whilst adult birds indicate a distraction manoeuvre.

Almost grown-up chick @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Swamphen chicks are rarely spotted.

Interception @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

All I could see was a despicable parent, who kept a sharp watch.

Perfect purple @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Their plumage exposes a bright colour spectrum in radiant sunlight.

Duck family @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Cute ducklings are never far away.

So cute @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Being the only duckling alive, parents never let her out of their sight.

Minority @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

A few black cormorants dared to mingle within the nesting jungle but were outnumbered by black dots in the treetops.

Black spoon @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

For the majority, white-feathered birds took the silver spoon.

I’m coming @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Spoonbills are very selective within their breeding grounds and only roost if conditions are ideal.

Spoon at noon @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Spoons of all sizes gathered around me, a spoon-nami unfolded in front of my lens.

Under cousins @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Roosting tablespoons develop long white plumes behind their head, which is also marked with a colourful spot just above the eyes.

Green disguise @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

These spots do look like eyes from a distance.

Small spoons @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Teaspoons mingle within the colony and had only one thing on their mind.

Stick and spoon @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Feeding on fish, crustaceans and insects, the spoon-shaped bill is swept from left to right and back again in shallow waters. The beak is opened a few centimetres and potential prey is snapped by a reflex.

Straight liner @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Spoonbills keep their neck straight whilst flying.

Ibis chickens @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Ibis are in the same family to spoonbills to mix and match.

Ibis gala @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

They too probe for prey with their beak in a more straight forward kinda way. Examining the wetlands and grasslands, they eat almost anything that gets in their beak.

Hungry offspring @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Ibis prefer to stalk prey on solid ground and are just as opportunistic. Nicknamed the ‘rubbish bird’, ibis are drawn to human junk.Because they can.

Beaking @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Great White Egrets and Intermediate Egrets form monogamous reproductive pairs during each breeding season.

Ornamental @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

In breeding plumage, delicate ornamental feathers are borne on their backs.

Bridal gown @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Like a bridal gown, they signal their commitment to reproduce.

Cattle egret escape @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

A few Cattle Egrets mingled with their larger cousins.

Cattle love @ Bellingen, Northern New South Wales, Australia

As the name suggests, Cattle Egrets stalk larger herbivores in close circuit.

Stalking cattle @ Bellingen, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Picking up any prey that may get out of the hay.

Thanks for the coffee! @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

They are the mischievous egret and are also known to visit their neighbour’s bride while she is incubating her eggs.

Ooops! @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

This illustrates different sized chicks in their nest.

Pretty in orange @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Cattle Egrets create an orange buff-plume on their back, breast and crown during the breeding period.

S.O.S. @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

They appeared like orange safety beacons in trees up high. 

On the prowl @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

No matter what size or colourful plumage, all these breeders had a monumental task to fulfil. 

Need to build a nest @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Strategies are similar to all nesting birds here at Dawkins Lake.

Where is she? @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Wanna-be fathers build a nest to attract the opposite sex.

Here I am. @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

It becomes a waiting game for potential mates to show interest.

Freshly cut @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Some renovations may improve their success. Stick by stick.

Not much choice, bro! @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Finding the right stick is more difficult than it may appear in this woodland. Most seizable sticks are already taken by other nesters.

Mhh? Where does this one fit in? @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

And size does matter in this case. Smaller limbs are easier to carry but aren’t very useful.

It’s a biggie @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Transportation of long sticks creates logistical obstacles.

Need to impress the miss @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Several birds were preoccupied with refurbishing their nesting site, which turned into a treasure hunt.

Will this do? @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

One needs to dig a bit deeper. This one may be a bit overachieving, though it’s better than nothing.

Let the brute begin @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

The ability to build a stable and suitable nest is a major accomplishment for any bird.

Up high @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

It takes dedication and ingenuity to marvel in these treetops safely.

Let’s dance @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Though on occasion, this flooded forest turns into a dance arena. Breeding couples often re-encourage their commitments.

Romeo, oh Romeo @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

A flamboyant performance of ‘Romeo and Juliet’. For a minute or so.

Do not call me! @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Maybe she wasn’t the right one after all.

Another one gone @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

What’s a man gotta do?

What was that? @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

That’s right, fishing!

Ibis cuties @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

All parents had their beaks full to cater for demanding chicks.

Frightening @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

It was a vicious frenzy all around.

It’s that time again @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Feeders hesitantly entered the feeding coliseum for good reasons.

Food! @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Adult birds returning with a belly full of smelly jelly landed on a nearby branch and prepared themselves.

Good luck @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

The babysitter moves aside at the very same moment. He knows what’s to come.

Where’s your brother? @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Meanwhile, all chicks hastily gathered around the nesting area for the feeding ritual.

Flick me, pick me! @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Screaming out for food whilst flapping their wings vigorously, signalled their parents how hungry they are.

We’re here @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

As it wasn’t obvious enough.

Dinner table @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

In doing so, all chicks received the same amount of Omega-3. It was a wild feeding frenzy to say the least and rivalled a game of dodgeball.

Dodge, duck, dive, duck and dodge @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

The five D’s of ‘Dodgeball’ sure came in handy.

Beaked @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Beaks from all sides and angles vigorously locked onto their target.

Textbook exit @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Once the adults had shared their fill with their bill, it was best to get out of the nest for their own sake.

Come back @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Leaving the chicks a little dumb-founded, screaming and flapping.

We’re still hungry! @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

They won’t stop begging for food either.

Waiting patiently @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

All alone, one had no other option than to wait patiently for the next meal.

Double trouble @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Or to hang out with siblings.

Bird gym @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Meanwhile, some wing flapping strengthens vital flight muscles.

Gotta get out @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Some couldn’t wait to leave the nest.

Frizzled @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

But until then, they are left for leafs.

We’re eating out today @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

If the hatchlings gained the ability to fly, parents served fly-away food for the brute. If they wanted to be fed, come and get a tasty snack. This urges the youngsters to leave their nests and explore their environment.

Hanging out @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

It also encourages them to perfect basic aerial skills and eventually be independent and weened.

Cooling off @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Until then, a resting spa in the sun was a welcoming change of pace. 

I am new here @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Teenagers, which already fled the nest were kept in the loop.

Underwood hood @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

They ganged up in the hood of the underwood.

Who’s in charge? @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

A pecking order has already been established.

Back to back @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

This was the perfect lookout. Not only for them but for my lens too.

Who goes there? @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

It is just a perfect setting in colours and patterns.

The precious @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

The background forest leaves imaginary ghouls freeze.

Look at my hook @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

A perfect hook for the unsuspecting victim.

Brothers in da wood @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

They looked a bit sassed nevertheless. 

Another year done @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Under watchful eyes.

Bronze lining @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Fauna and flora shine brightly here at Dawkins Lake. Fabulous.

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