A family of wagtails nesting on a shark diving boat

Written on August 20, 2016

I used to live in the town of Gansbaai, South Africa where I worked with the Dyer Island Conservation Trust and also Marine Dynamics Shark Tours/Dyer Island Cruises.

One day I was told about a nest that was found in the compartment where the spare anchor for the cage diving boat was kept.
The cage diving boat left for sea several times a day and would be out for around 4 hours at a time. It turned out that the wagtail ma and pa would wait in the harbour for the boat to return, wait for the tourists and crew to leave the boat and then fly to the bow and feed the chick.
The chick was allowed to remain in its nest until it was old enough to fly away on its own accord.

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Slashfin coming in to the harbour

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Wagtail waiting on another boat in the harbour to feed its chick

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Removing the fecal sack from the nest

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Wagtail chick snug and warm in its nest