Spotting a pardalote

Male Spotted Pardalote

In the Brisbane Ranges National Park on Sunday, I noticed a Spotted Pardalote busy on the ground. They are one of our smallest birds and the male is brightly coloured and as they spend most of their time high up in the tree canopy searching for insects we don’t often get a good look at them.

Female Spotted Pardalote and the male is in the hole

Next there were 2 birds and they were busy excavating for a nest. It was very strange to see a small bid disappear into the ground and then see a lot of soil coming out of a hole. They build a nest at the end of a horizontal tunnel dug into soil, in places such as creek banks or a quarry wall. Some people also find them nesting in a pile of sand left over from a building project. They will also nest in a specially made nest box if it has a pipe leading into the entrance.

Pardalote hole that may be a decoy nest site

Both birds share the nest excavation, the incubation of the eggs and the feeding of the young.

Look out for Phascogales

Phascogale photo by Bianca Fammartino

Recently Wombat Forestcare hosted a talk about Brush-tailed Phascogales, Phascogale tapoatafa tapoatafa, at Trentham. by La Trobe University student Jess Lawton. Jess is conducting research on this threatened arboreal mammal, which inhabits dry eucalypt forests and woodlands.

They are secretive animals but easy to identify due their small size and big brush like tail. Continue reading

Another stage in the life of a tree friend

We have a very large tree on our property and even though it isĀ  dead, it was there when we purchased the property and is almost like a friend. It provided a place to attach a bat box and for birds and bats to roost. The trunk even without bark, has an interesting texture and the size of the tree makes it a dominant feature in our bit of bush.

This tree probably has a story to tell. Someone ring-barked it but it never was felled, and it has been through a fire. In the gold era nearly all the trees were harvested within a ‘5 mile’ radius of the town, for use in mines and to fuel furnaces. This tree is probably a messmate, Eucalyptus obliqua.

A few weeks ago in one of the storms, there was a big crash and half the tree fell to the ground. The bat box survived to be reattached elsewhere.

An opportunity for firewood you may think, but after such a long life it will be left to rot down and disappear back into the soil. We still have half a habitat tree which for us, is a valuable asset.

A bat in a bottle

A few weeks ago I discovered a bat in a bottle. This was upsetting as we don’t like to think one of our actions has injured wildlife. The bottle was on an outside table and used for decoration. Who knows why the bat went into the bottle but it was still alive.

I know you are supposed to wear gloves but I warmed the bat in my hand and then relocated it to underneath a piece of bark on a tree.

It wasn’t there when I checked the next day. I have places a top on the bottle

 

Habitat for echidnas

echidna habitat

echidna habitat

When you clear up around your property for fire prevention, do you ever think about echidnas? Heaps of bark and leaves raked up from around the house make an ideal place for short-beaked echidnas to hide their young.

If you want to make some echidna habitat then make sure the heaps are well away from your house. Echidnas also hide their young in heaps of branches that you may have put aside for a fire heap. They also take advantage of a pile of mulch. Continue reading

To feed on not to feed

A citizen science survey conducted this month will lead to the development of bird feeding and watering guidelines. Is feeding birds a good idea? This survey will help to provide some science behind the recommendations. If you take part in this survey you will be able to access the results. Here is the link to the survey.