Ever since the first COVID lockdown, I’ve noticed a greater number of people walking my usual paths around North Sydney, often with a dog in tow. There’s also been a corresponding decrease in the number of birds—apart from those birds who don’t mind human proximity, such as Brush Turkeys! So as last Friday was forecast to be the last sunny day before a period of wet weather, I decided to go somewhere I hadn’t been to for a while – the Chiltern Trail at Ingleside. Bird-wise, it wasn’t a great success – a bit early in the season perhaps - but it was still a very pleasant visit.
Walking down the track, I heard Spotted Pardalotes (Pardalotus punctatus) calling from the surrounding trees, and eventually I saw a male low down on some bracken.
He flicked over to a small Banksia shrub, shook his wings and raised his left leg.
Then he raised his left leg further and tried a couple of neck-stretching exercises while scratching under his chin. He finished with a vigorous wiping of his stubby beak:
At the end, the bird looked as if he were going to sneeze – maybe a bit of bark had got up his nostrils!
When another pardalote flew from the edge of the track in front of me to some shrubs on the other side, I wondered if there was a pardalote nest tunnel there. (I’d seen a pair nesting nearby a few years ago.) To avoid getting too close, I crossed to the other side of the track whereupon the female (for that’s what she was) flew back and surveyed me. First, I got the full suspicious stare:
Then it was a more relaxed watchful gaze with her right eye.
She then turned to face the other way before flying off, probably to get more food.
Meanwhile the male had spotted something by the track side:
So he looked over to his left at another possibility:
But I didn’t see if he had more luck this time as I was distracted by the arrival of one of my favourite birds. An Eastern Yellow Robin (Eopsaltria australis) had just flown across the track to perch on the other side:
It then showed me its other profile with that typically calm, rather confiding air that robins have, before flying off:
I went on down the track, and what I saw next is a story for another day! However, the experience of watching those three birds without anyone disturbing them (or me) was a wonderful “iso” cure for the week.
Footnote: I've written about pardalotes before, a short post here, and another with photos taken close to where this week's were.