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Things come to those who wait

September 30, 2020

When cycling through the district I keep an eye on any water body I pass in the hope of seeing an elusive rakali or platypus. Ripples on the water surface could indicate the presence of either. And so whilst riding I saw some tell-tale ripples. The trick then is to be still and wait to see what caused them.

Whilst waiting, two Spotted Pardalotes (Pardalotus punctatus) slowly made their way down a nearby tree, branch by branch, chirping loudly as they went. These are exquisitely coloured birds (pictured left) not often seen because they feed on lerp, the honeydew/wax houses that the nymphs of psyllid insects construct to live in. Psyllid nymphs are generally found on young eucalypt leaves i.e. at the top of a tree hence this is where pardalotes hang out.

The two birds I was watching dropped to the ground and scurried to the nearby road bank and started digging into the side of the bank (pictured right). Spotted Pardalotes nest in horizontal oval chambers usually connected to the outside world by a tunnel up to 1.5 metres long. The nests are usually built in riverbanks and embankments but have been found excavated in piles of builders sand on housing sites. The nest is lined with shredded bark. A neighbour of mine built a successful nest box from agricultural poly-pipe leading to a wooden box.

After half an hour of industrious work the pair flew off…and the water ripples were caused by ducks. Watch this space for further developments.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Susan permalink
    October 1, 2020 11:10 am

    Lovely story and great observations…

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