Dr Jeff Lim’s encounter with an inexperienced pair of breeding Paddyfield Pipit (Anthus rufulus) in May 2010 ended in tragedy. Jeff needed some persuasion to post his observation, as he would have preferred a story with a happy ending. However, he has been convinced that this is an interesting behaviour that has not been reported by most observers.
The pair of pipits built their nest well camouflaged in a bushy plant and laid three eggs (above left). Unfortunately the plant was right in the middle of a garden. And into the third week of nesting, an egg was lost when the gardener exposed the straw colored dome by trimming, leaving the contents perfectly exposed to the elements (above centre).
The brooding parent took pains to shelter their exposed eggs from rain and fought hard with the pair of nesting Long-Tailed Shrikes (Lanius schach) raiding their nest. The pipits lost and the nest was abandoned, leaving behind two spotty eggs with one broken (above right). As Jeff puts it, “Notice the nest transformation from one of order to the current disarray.”