For the first time in months I had a Tablelands weekend. By months I mean since the beginning of the year. With me working every second weekend and Mr Spark doing occasional on call it just hasn't been working out this year and I've missed my weekends away from the city.
Our plan was to head back on Sunday afternoon but on dropping in to visit one of Mr Sparky's mates (the one that is currently digging potatoes and also grows corn) we found it a little hard to tear ourselves away. Good thing is this meant I got to get photos of the Brolgas that were not far from the house. The bad thing was that we had to make it back in time for me to work on Monday morning which we did, just.
So, back to Brolgas. I love them but they are not the corn farmer's friend. I am pretty sure they aren't into anything important in these photos but they always know when corn has been sewn and when it is ready. Actually it came up in discussion that they don't think they even migrate anymore. After a bit of reading I found out that they never did but can be nomadic in response to seasons, or not if where they are has food and water. They tend to inhabit open wetlands, grassy plains, coastal mudflats and irrigated crop lands. No wonder they like Mr Sparky's mate's farm.
Brolgas are well known for their mating dance which involves dancing, wing flapping and trumpeting. They are thought to mate for life. Breeding season in the north is during the beginning of the year. It makes sense at this is the wet time and perfect for making sure there is plenty of food. During breeding season Brolgas usually just stay with their family unit in an isolated territory. They will usually lay two eggs. Outside of breeding season Brolgas form huge family groups that can have numbers of up to 100 birds. Often they can be seen staying with their own family unit within this group though.
Something else I have found out is that the Brolga is the official bird of Queensland. This is something I honestly didn't know which is very sad considering I am a Queenslander, for the most part.
I try to stop whenever I see these beautiful birds. They are a link between my outback life and my life in the Far North. There used to be a family of them during the good seasons on the station I worked on. I also just love watching them moving around and calling to each other, always hoping I'll see them dance. I luckily got to see a few short half hearted attempts or maybe practices this time.
For some more Brolgaishness check out here (which actually might be Sarus Crane not Brolga) and here (the last pic) and here and also more recently here (also a naming mistake I think as they have pink legs, so maybe they are also Sarus Crane).
As an added bonus I can see that I can add a game to this post. It is called spot the Sarus Crane. They look similar to the Brolga but have pink legs and the red is not just a cap but goes partially down their neck. A bit hard to spot from in these pics but I swear I can see one.