18 February, 2012

Spotting Pardalotes...

...is easier said than done!
About a week ago I noticed that there were a number of points around the Barwon through Geelong where I could hear Spotted Pardalotes. I think I had heard them previously but been unable to discover who was calling. This time I spotted them (excuse the pun) and have since seen them on several other occasions and in various places - always in gum trees where they like to hide.
So, I can hear them and - if I'm careful - I can see them, but photographing them? That's an entirely different matter. They are so small and so quick to flit about and usually high up in the trees that photos are rather tricky. However, I have persisted over the last several days (and clocked up quite a few extra kms on the bike in the process which is not a bad thing) and now have a few less than perfect photos to show for my efforts.
Spotted Pardalote grooming

In fact, were it not for one little bird who felt the need to spend at least five minutes sitting still and grooming itself, I would still have little more to show for my efforts than a variety of close up shots of gum leaves and a few blurry, vaguely bird-like images.
Spotted Pardalote at Breakwater
These successful shots were taken near the new Breakwater bridge on Thursday, but I have also seen them on the Highton side of the river in several places between the Princes Bridge and Queen's Park where in addition to the issues I mentioned above, lighting seems to be tricky too.
On this part of the river I seem to be attracting quite a bit of interest. One passerby knew exactly what I was up to and even asked if I'd seen the pardalotes. "As a matter of fact..." I said and took the opportunity for some shameless promotion of my blog!
Further upriver, I was asked several times if I had spotted a koala. No, and I must say, I have never seen one anywhere along the river, although I have heard them calling once or twice up at Lake Elizabeth.
Spotted Pardalote at Breakwater
So far, these are the best shots I've managed to grab. I am hoping to do a few more laps of the track and will hopefully find another obliging specimen who has the good grace to sit still on a suitably low branch with no obscuring leaves and no back lighting!


  1. Nice post.
    They can come down to the ground at breeding time, to dig tunnels into earth banks, beside roads and creeks.
    I believe your bird is a juvenile (slight yellow gape mark at base of beak).
    The male is a real stunner. Much clearer markings and yellow throat, and a red rump.
    Many more spots on head than your bird is showing, too.
    One day you will get lucky, so keep riding your bike out there, and if nothing else, you will get fitter.

  2. Thanks Denis!
    Yes, I will keep at it. Maybe I should invest in a kayak so Ican get a closer look at the riverbank to see if they are nesting there! It looks like I might be back on the bike again this afternoon before I play netball tonight. More exercise! Oh joy!!