Tag Archives: Moorooduc Quarry

Ruffled Feathers

On the way back down the hill from the quarry and watching the Falcons I walked along the Pardalote Path to look for any new nesting activity. On an overhanging branch above the path I found a Kookaburra staring intently into the nearby bushes. He ignored me as I walked up and under the branch and as I turned around to see what he was looking at he was dive bombed by a pair of Red Wattlebirds. Maybe the Kookaburra was a bit too close to their nest and they were trying  to get him to move along. As they attacked, the Kookaburra would fluff up its feathers to appear larger and more fearsome. It didn’t really work with the Wattlebirds but did make for an interesting photo.

Kookaburra, Moorooduc Quarry, Mt Eliza, Vic

Kookaburra, Moorooduc Quarry, Mt Eliza, Vic

Kookaburra, Moorooduc Quarry, Mt Eliza, Vic

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Family Falco Peregrinus

On my last visit to Moorooduc Quarry I watched as the Peregrines flew across the water and retrieved cached food. One of the falcons flew to a ledge where I suspected it had chicks. I returned to the quarry on Tuesday afternoon and immediately spotted two good size Falcons standing on the ledge watching me. At first I thought they were adults due to their size but on viewing with my binocs I saw the mottled colouring and realised that they were juvenile falcons. I spent some time watching them and then thought about where the parents might be. I turned around to look up at the quarry cliffs and the tall trees and behind me found an adult just staring at me. It soon lost interest as I was too far away to be a threat to it or its chicks. Looking further around the rim I found the other parent high up on a tall gum keeping guard. Four Peregrines in one site visit! – you can’t get much better than that…I am looking forward to dropping in again soon to watch their progress and early flights.

Juvenile Peregrine Falcons, Moorooduc Quarry, Mt Eliza, Vic

Juvenile Peregrine Falcons, Moorooduc Quarry, Mt Eliza, Vic

Juvenile Peregrine Falcons, Moorooduc Quarry, Mt Eliza, Vic

Juvenile Peregrine Falcons, Moorooduc Quarry, Mt Eliza, Vic

Peregrine Falcon, Moorooduc Quarry, Mt Eliza, Vic

Peregrine Falcon, Moorooduc Quarry, Mt Eliza, Vic

Peregrine Falcon, Moorooduc Quarry, Mt Eliza, Vic

Peregrine Falcon, Moorooduc Quarry, Mt Eliza, Vic

Murder mystery at Moorooduc

Its not everyday that you stumble onto a fight to the death between birds. I have seen many squabbles between ducks, coots and honeyeaters and of course one sided battles between birds of prey and their victims. But I have not seen a fight to the death between small beautiful songbirds.

I often hear Spotted Pardalotes in the various forests that I explore.  I even get the occasional visitor in my inner city suburb. They have a distinctive call and I more often record them in my logs as heard rather than seen. During spring when they are building their nesting burrows and attending eggs and chicks they become much more visible at the lower levels of the forest. I have a good spot at Moorooduc Quarry  where I can find, observe and photograph the Pardalotes. On a recent visit I walked along my regular burrow track and found a two male pardalotes fighting on the ground. I couldn’t tell which one was the intruder or the burrow owner. The fight resulted in the death of one of them and the other continued to attack until I removed the pardalote when the victor had flown to a nearby branch. I wanted to check the dead bird for the injuries. There was no blood or obvious wounds except both eyes were missing. Once I removed the dead male pardalote and stood back I waited to see whether the other would return – I was still trying to figure who owned the burrow. Probably 5 min later the male returned to the area with a female closely behind. They moved around the area and finally the female ducked into the burrow. My guess is that the victor was the intruder and he brought his mate to inspect this prime position. I had no idea that this beautiful tiny bird had such ferocious fights to the death.

Spotted Pardalote, Moorooduc Quarry, Mt Eliza, Vic

Spotted Pardalote, Moorooduc Quarry, Mt Eliza, Vic

Spotted Pardalote, Moorooduc Quarry, Mt Eliza, Vic

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Spotted Pardalote, Moorooduc Quarry, Mt Eliza, Vic

Spotted Pardalote battle

Spotted Pardalote, Moorooduc Quarry, Mt Eliza, Vic

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Spotted Pardalote, Moorooduc Quarry, Mt Eliza, Vic

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Spotted Pardalote, Moorooduc Quarry, Mt Eliza, Vic

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Spotted Pardalote, Moorooduc Quarry, Mt Eliza, Vic

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Spotted Pardalote, Moorooduc Quarry, Mt Eliza, Vic

The victor looking at me like I was next on his hit list…

Pardalote nest, Moorooduc Quarry, Mt Eliza, Vic

Pardalote nest burrow

Pardalote nest track, Moorooduc Quarry, Mt Eliza, Vic

Pardalote nest track, Moorooduc Quarry Reserve, Mt Eliza, Vic

A late breakfast at the quarry

After the Peregrine Falcon took off from the cliff I watched it circle the quarry a few times and then land at the top of the cliff, under a bush on another side of the quarry. It came out a few seconds later with the remains of a kill in its beak, flew halfway across the quarry and while flying transferred the kill to its talons. It then  landed on a large tree branch for a late breakfast. This is the second time I have seen the falcons at this site retrieve cached food. The previous time the adult falcon used the cached food to entice a fledging to fly up to the branch for a feed.

Peregrine Falcon, Moorooduc Quarry, Mt Eliza, Vic

Peregrine Falcon, Moorooduc Quarry, Mt Eliza, Vic

Peregrine Falcon, Moorooduc Quarry, Mt Eliza, Vic

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Peregrine Falcon, Moorooduc Quarry, Mt Eliza, Vic

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Peregrine Falcon, Moorooduc Quarry, Mt Eliza, Vic

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I got a lizard for lunch…

When visiting Ma and Pa Kettle at the family estate in Moorooduc,  I often stop by Moorooduc Quarry to check out a few of my favourite locals. At the moment the Eastern Yellow Robins, the Spotted Pardalotes and the Peregrine Falcons are nesting. On the way to the Pardalote spot where I like to watch the to’ing and fro’ing of the pair I found this Kookaburra softening up his lunch by giving it a few whacks on the branch. He was not concerned by me walking by and stopping to take a few shots. He just watched me for a bit and then continued to soften lunch.

Kookaburra, Moorooduc Quarry, Mt Eliza, Vic

Kookaburra, Moorooduc Quarry, Mt Eliza, Vic

Kookaburra, Moorooduc Quarry, Mt Eliza, Vic

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A very muddy quarry

A drop in visit to the Moorooduc Quarry Flora and Fauna reserve after all the rain lately meant a slog through the mud and water along the paths to the Quarry. It was fairly quiet as the birds seemed to be in a bit of shell-shock only making a bit more noise and becoming more mobile when the sun made an appearance every now and again. I walked along a path where I regularly see Eastern Yellow Robins and while trying to photograph a pair hunting I noticed a young Kookaburra watching me with interest. He did not seem bothered at all by how close I was…

Kookaburra, Moorooduc Quarry, Victoria

Kookaburra, Moorooduc Quarry, Victoria

Kookaburra, Moorooduc Quarry, Victoria

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Kookaburra, Moorooduc Quarry, Victoria

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Peregrine Falcon, Moorooduc Quarry, Victoria

One of the resident Peregrine Falcons at the Quarry, keeping warm by puffing up the feathers with trapped air. 

Kookaburra on the hunt

I followed the sound of the Kookaburras hoping to get a clear shot of one. In the forests they don’t tend to let you get too close. I found this one enjoying some late afternoon sun. After a few moments he noticed something behind me and took off and flew straight at me, swerving at the last second and down onto the path 10 or so meters behind me, pouncing onto some prey and then flying back up into the trees.

Kookaburra, Moorooduc Quarry

Kookaburra, Moorooduc Quarry

Kookaburra, Moorooduc Quarry

Kookaburra spotting prey (or my hat)

Kookaburra, Moorooduc Quarry

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