Scientists confronted the crime scene before them with disbelief. There was no mistaking it. Precious lives had been lost here in Queensland's vast, isolated desert. But what or who was behind this outback murder-mystery?
Days earlier ecologist Steve Murphy had knelt down and peered through a scrubby spinifex tunnel to a nursery stocked with two eggs.
Ecologists from Bush Heritage Australia are working to create a safe place for the one-of-a-kind parrot found in Queensland.
This was the first time since the 1880s that anyone had seen an active nest belonging to a night parrot, one of the world's most elusive birds.
It was a big deal. The eggs promised new life. And new life promised a boost to the prospects of the endangered night parrot, which until 2013 hadn't been recorded for 75 years and was believed extinct.
But the promise would never be fulfilled. Six days later Dr Murphy discovered the nest had been raided; the contents of both porcelain-white eggs plundered.