Rainbow Bee-eaters had nested in a cricket ground.
Rainbow Bee-eaters had nested in a cricket ground. Keith Ireland

Bee-eater birds nest found in wicket hole

IN my younger days, which seems about a hundred years ago now, I loved Sport and cricket was one of my favourites. I played in the local competition, travelled to play against other districts and also joined in the Sunday social competition going to places in the bush which was a great experience in itself. A concrete wicket in an open paddock in a country town or simply surrounded by the bush itself, still brings back great memories for me.

One evening I received a phone call from one of the bush cricketers I had played against. 'You're the Bird Man that takes the photos?' he asked

I agreed and he went on. ' There's parrots nesting in a hole in the ground on our wicket if you're interested.' I told him I was, even though I was surprised because parrots normally nest in hollows in trees and asked him where on the grounds was the nest. 'At Square Leg, half way between the wicket and the boundary. Just go out when you want to.' Bushmen are often men of few words and this chap was no exception.

I found the nest the next day but the birds were the beautiful Rainbow Bee-eaters, not Parrots. However, for me to be able to take photos, I needed to set up a hide for cover. This meant four star pickets surrounded by bags on the sides and roof, not something that cricketers would like to have in the middle of their outfield.

Contacting my friend again, I was pleased to hear that were to be no Home Matches on that ground for the following three weekends. So it was that I set the hide up and firstly watched from a distance to see that the bee-eaters weren't frightened by my construction. The birds just continued their trips to the nest as previously so I took my photos from the hide and was really pleased with the results.

As it turned out, although the birds showed no concerns about the hide and went on with their feeding of the young, the local residents however, had the district phones running hot for a few days till everyone had got the message that the hide would be gone before the next match was to be played.



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