We bloggers are guilty of posting about the rare and the exotic, and overlooking the mundane.
In the centre of Robertson there is a park, Hampden Park, which has playing fields, and a creek "Caalang Creek", which runs through it. The combination of fresh green grass, and water is perfect for Australian Wood Ducks (Chenonetta jubata). These birds are dry country grazers, as distinct from "dabbling ducks" which often up-end themselves, when feeding (when swimming), to feed on water weeds. The phrase: "Dry country" is relative. I should say grass eaters. The grass of Robertson is pretty lush and green, as you can tell from the background colours. But they also hang out in mobs around "farm dams" in genuinely dry land areas.
Wood Ducks (or "Maned Geese" as I grew up calling them), are good walkers, even capable of getting up a pretty good pace on land, as opposed to Black Ducks, which are adapted to swimming, and have their legs positioned further down the body. Black Ducks are not good runners on dry land.
The male has a darker head, and very fine markings (which look uniformly grey) on his flanks and lower chest. The female has large spots on her chest, which markings tend to extend down the breast. She has a slight pale ring around her eye. His posture is nearly always more upright than hers, making him look taller, but it is probably his posture, rather than his size.
Although the male (on the left) has turned his head away, you can actually see the shape of the head, and the way the skull of these birds is shaped in such a way as to allow close to 300 degree vision - perfect for birds which are subject to predation, because they spend so much time on the ground. Although his head is facing away, he could still see me taking his photograph.
These photos are displayed in the same sequence as they were taken, to show the body language of these birds.
The males are always very watchful, especially when they have chicks. But when that happens, it is the females who do the "guarding", and the male does the "watching out". I saw the first "chicks" (ducklings) on 8 September last year - a mere 6 weeks away from this time. So, I would expect this pair to be actively breeding shortly.
Here the female walks back to the male, perhaps for protection, or reassurance.Seen below is a clear "bonding" posture. She has to be saying something privately to him - whether in words, or gesture. There is a definite communication going on here.
Now they set off together, walking back towards me, trying to get past my parked car.The female is making a quick move, now.I expect to see ducklings in 2 months.