Tag Archives: Spotted Pardalote

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

Spring at Greens’ Bush

For various reasons I have not taken many/any photos on recent visits to Greens Bush. The weather has been cold and wet, it has been quite dark in the forest and most importantly not many birds have sat still long enough to take a decent image. I no longer blast away at any bird and hope that there is a shot in there somewhere. The hours post processing are not worth the result. I try to take only a few shots and get the setup right while stalking the target. This often results in failures and no shots but does save time at the computer. On Saturday I was determined to shoot something rather than just carry the heavy gear around. While the birdlife was abundant and the forest was quite noisy there were not many birds near enough to shoot. What I did find was three different species’ nests all within a few meters of where I had stopped for a breather. For nearly 30 mins I watched as a Golden Whistler returned to a particular bush with more nesting material. The female seemed to be doing all the collecting and building with the colourful male inspecting now and again and standing guard in the next tree. While just standing there I saw a pair of Spotted Pardalotes on a branch just above my head. It took a few moments to realise that they were not being friendly but getting a bit stressed because I was standing next to their burrow. I moved away and straight away they flew down and into the burrow. Turning around at a new bird call I saw a pair of Striated Thornbills flying into their nest, a tennis ball size clump of soft material and spider webs. Spring has started and nesting season is in full swing. I will re-visit in the coming weeks and hopefully see more progress and take a few pics.

Spotted Pardalote near nest entrance, Greens Bush, Vic

Spotted Pardalote near nest entrance

Spotted Pardalote nest entrance, Greens Bush, Vic

Spotted Pardalote nest entrance – a burrow

Striated Thornbill nest, Greens Bush, Vic

Striated Thornbill nest camouflaged inside an over-hanging Eucalyptus branch

Golden Whistler nest (just starting), Greens Bush, Vic

Golden Whistler nest (just starting) – will be more of a traditional cup type nest.

Silicon mine Spotted Pardalote

Along one of the fence lines of the Adams Creek Nature Conservation Reserve are several silicon sand mines used to produce silicon for glass manufacturing. The reserve is surrounded by large pits that are in use or have been filled by rainwater and are reverting to a more natural state. While counting waterbirds I heard the call of a small Spotted Pardalote that was so loud that it felt like it was on my head (or next to my ear). It turned out to be a male pardalote on a low branch several feet away from the cliff edge that I was standing on. The light was bright but the photos had an odd feel about them. When I moved away, the pardalote flew down to its cliff face burrow and kept watch. When it sounded its territorial call it made a 3 note call, a soft note followed by a louder higher two note call. When calling they extend their neck upwards and the call seems to come from the throat, I hardly saw it open its beak…

Spotted Pardalote, Adams Creek Reserve, Nyora, Victoria, 4 Dec 2016

Spotted Pardalote, Adams Creek Reserve, Nyora, Victoria, 4 Dec 2016

Spotted Pardalote, Adams Creek Reserve, Nyora, Victoria, 4 Dec 2016

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Spotted Pardalote, Adams Creek Reserve, Nyora, Victoria, 4 Dec 2016

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Spotted Pardalote, Adams Creek Reserve, Nyora, Victoria, 4 Dec 2016

Spotted Pardalote on watch near its cliff face burrow

Spotted Pardalote

Joining in the bird chorus at the Wilson Botanic Park in Berwick, was a loud Spotted Pardalote. He was hard to find at first as we expected him to be high in a gum but the sound was coming from close by. We finally found the little bird on a branch in lower section of the tree. We were able to sit close and try and shoot the Pardalote through the foliage while he made his 3 tone territorial call.

Spotted Pardalote, Wilson Botanic Park, Berwick, 30 Oct 2016

Spotted Pardalote, Wilson Botanic Park, Berwick, 30 Oct 2016

Spotted Pardalote, Wilson Botanic Park, Berwick, 30 Oct 2016

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Spotted Pardalote, Wilson Botanic Park, Berwick, 30 Oct 2016

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Spotted Pardalote, Wilson Botanic Park, Berwick, 30 Oct 2016

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Spotted Pardalote, Wilson Botanic Park, Berwick, 30 Oct 2016

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Spotted Pardalote, Wilson Botanic Park, Berwick, 30 Oct 2016

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A sunny Winter’s Day at Willowind Farm

I dropped by the folks’ farm in Moorooduc yesterday. They live on a 10 acre block with large pine trees down one side and a Eucalyptus woodlot along another edge. The long driveway is bordered by rows of Willow Trees. Next door is a free range egg farm guarded by several Mareema Sheepdogs that have been trained to guard the chickens from foxes. Given the number of chickens we find in the sheep yards they do miss a few visits by the local foxes. A few raptors also tend to regularly stop by and watch for chicken stragglers. I have counted 24 bird species so far at the farm. The property has a nice mix of native and introduced mature trees as well as some native bushes for the smaller birds. I  photographed a few below, along with some nicely coloured fungi.

Brown Thornbill, Willowind Farm, Moorooduc, Victoria

Brown Thornbill, Willowind Farm, Moorooduc, Victoria

Brown Thornbill, Willowind Farm, Moorooduc, Victoria

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Brown Thornbill, Willowind Farm, Moorooduc, Victoria

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Brown Thornbill, Willowind Farm, Moorooduc, Victoria

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Spotted Pardalote, Willowind Farm, Moorooduc, Victoria

Female Spotted Pardalote, Willowind Farm

Grey Shrikethrush, Willowind Farm, Moorooduc, Victoria

Grey Shrikethrush, Willowind Farm

Dusky Woodswallow, Willowind Farm, Moorooduc, Victoria

One of four Dusky Woodswallows roosting in a local tree in the late afternoon sun.

Large Fungi, Willowind Farm, Moorooduc, Victoria

Large Fungi, Willowind Farm, Moorooduc, Victoria

Apricot tree Fungi, Willowind Farm, Moorooduc, Victoria

Apricot tree Fungi, Willowind Farm, Moorooduc, Victoria

Spotted a Pardalote or two

Spotted Pardalotes are tiny colourful birds that mostly feed in the tree canopy. They have quite a distinctive call but are not often seen. During the breeding season they come down from the trees and rather than build a nest in the branches they dig a small tunnel in a sandy bank – the tunnel has a small mouse sized opening but can be a metre long. I found this little family trying out a bank near where I happened to be photographing a family of nesting Yellow Robins. They had dug a few test holes and were looking at each others work. For such a shy bird they were very focussed on the potential nest holes and ignored my presence.

Female Pardalote, Moorooduc Quarry

Female Pardalote, Moorooduc Quarry

Female Pardalote, Moorooduc Quarry

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Male Pardalote, Moorooduc Quarry

Male Pardalote, Moorooduc Quarry

Male Pardalote, Moorooduc Quarry

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Male Pardalote, Moorooduc Quarry

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Male Pardalote, Moorooduc Quarry

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Above the Pardalotes were three White-naped Honeyeaters chasing each other. This one stopped and watched the Pardalotes for a while. The White-nape has a interesting call and bright Orange eye marking.

White Naped Honeyeater,  Moorooduc Quarry

White Naped Honeyeater, Moorooduc Quarry

“Birds are the magicians of the nature! They are here, they are there and they are everywhere!”

“Birds are the magicians of the nature! They are here, they are there and they are everywhere!” – Mehmet Murat Ildan
An overcast and at times drizzly morning was my initial reward for an early start exploring a new site on the Mornington Peninsula. I was down the coast for the weekend and decided to have a look at a Flora and Fauna Reserve that I had always driven past to get to Green Bush but had never visited. Behind a two car carpark, an ordinary gate and piles of dumped rubbish was a pretty good native bushland reserve and a great display of small birds, along with the local regulars.  I knew I was in for a treat by the shear number of birds especially the smaller ones that I could hear and eventually found as I walked around the reserve. They moved in early morning feeding flocks and were not too bothered by me, at times coming down quite close to check me out.
Golden Whistler, Peninsula Gardens, Rosebud South, Victoria 12 April, 2015

Golden Whistler, Peninsula Gardens, Rosebud South, Victoria,  April, 2015

Golden Whistler, Peninsula Gardens, Rosebud South, Victoria 12 April, 2015

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Golden Whistler, Peninsula Gardens, Rosebud South, Victoria 12 April, 2015

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Golden Whistler, Peninsula Gardens, Rosebud South, Victoria 12 April, 2015

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Spotted Pardalote, Peninsula Gardens, Rosebud South, Victoria 12 April, 2015

Spotted Pardalote, Peninsula Gardens, Rosebud South, Victoria

Spotted Pardalote, Peninsula Gardens, Rosebud South, Victoria 12 April, 2015

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Spotted Pardalote, Peninsula Gardens, Rosebud South, Victoria 12 April, 2015

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Spotted Pardalote, Peninsula Gardens, Rosebud South, Victoria 12 April, 2015

Spotted Pardalotes gathering nesting material even though it is very late in the season, Peninsula Gardens, Rosebud South, Victoria 

Grey Shrike Thrush,  Peninsula Gardens, Rosebud South, Victoria 12 April, 2015

Grey Shrike Thrush, Peninsula Gardens

Grey Shrike Thrush,  Peninsula Gardens, Rosebud South, Victoria 12 April, 2015

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The large number of birds was I think due to a lack of visitors and a good variety of low and mid canopy native vegetation, much of it flowering like the banksia below. There were many tall Grasstrees in the reserve and a number of these were flowering as well.

Banksia,  Peninsula Gardens

Banksia, Peninsula Gardens – many of the smaller honeyeaters were squabbling over these large nectar rich flowers 

Grass Trees,  Peninsula Gardens, Rosebud South, Victoria 12 April, 2015

Grass Trees, Peninsula Gardens