Saturday, February 12, 2011

A tale of two eels.

I mentioned in an earlier post that I had been watching a kingfishers nest on a stream in a bush reserve on the North Shore. While patiently waiting and watching for the parents to approach the nest, which was in a hole in the bank on the far side of the stream, I noticed something moving in the water.

Gradually I could make out the shape of a long dark eel approximately 1 metre long. This eel continually patrolled below the nest site, swimming up and down stream just below the surface which was also below the noise of the chirping young in their nest.
On a my next visit I watched the kingfisher adults visiting the nest and the eel once more patrolling up and down stream as I had observed before.

It was a few days after Cyclone Wilma, when I made my next visit. I could sense that all was not well, no chirping from the nest and no sight or sound of adult kingfisher along the stream.

Unfortunately the flood of water that had raced down the stream from heavy rainfall, had flooded the nest. I could see plastic rubbish lodged in branches some two metres above the usual stream height. The nest was less than a metre above the waters surface. So no chirping from any young, anymore.

I did see a large dark eel again but it no longer patrolled up and down below the nest but seemed to have a more random route.
After watching for some time I saw another smaller eel, light olive-green in colour, searching below the surface on my side of the stream. This is the eel in the photo above. I saw no kingfisher on this visit.