We were walking along a vehicle track in an area of mallee and an Emu flushed from just a few metres away. It made strong guttural noises towards us and then fled through the scrub.
Looking towards where the bird had flushed from, we could see nine large green eggs on the ground on a platform of twigs. We quickly took a couple of photographs of this Emu's nest without disturbing it and then moved on, hoping that the Emu would soon return and continue sitting. It was late in the afternoon and the weather was mild so the eggs were unlikely to suffer from being exposed for a limited period.
Exactly a week later I returned and quietly approached the location of the nest hoping to see dad on the nest incubating the eggs. I was pleased to see that there were no new vehicle tracks or human footprints more recent than ours from our previous visit.
Normally the male Emu remains on the nest for the full period of incubation and does not leave, even to eat. Unfortunately, there was no sign that he had returned at all. The nest material was undisturbed and the eggs had not been turned.
There had been several freezing nights during the week so the abandoned eggs were no longer potential Emus. I took more photographs with a matchbox included for scale and moved on.
It seems that Emus after being disturbed from their nests may not subsequently return. I was disappointed that I would not be able to periodically monitor progress at the nest and saddened that I had been inadvertently responsible for these eggs being abandoned.
I'm interested in what fate befalls the eggs now so I will continue to check the nest when I'm in this area.