Monday, 14 September 2015

Robertson's Beach and the Striated Pardalote

Robertson's Beach is south of Yarram in a pretty part of the world with the green grass of dairy farms alongside the intricate waterways of the lakes and inlets fronting Bass Strait.

I understand that Striated Pardalotes have made the cliff at Robertson's Beach their nesting venue for many years now. Hundreds have been seen at various times. After my visit to Jack Smith Lake, I went on to check it out for myself. It was a beautiful day with hardly a breath of wind, a dead flat sea and a receding tide. Wilson Promontory is across the water, a fishing boat tugged gently at it's mooring, a Little Egret foraged in the mangrove roots alongside the swans, grey teal and white-faced herons and a Nankeen Night-heron flew overhead. Idyllic.

The Pardalote cliff is at the northern end of the beach and pretty easy to get too. I envisage a cliff as being many metres in height with lots of barriers [these days] and warning signs. This cliff is no more than six metres at it's highest point and runs for about two hundred metres falling away at each end to the dune area behind the beach or the seawall at the town end.

As I scanned the cliff with my binoculars I noticed one Striated Pardalote rear end poking out of a hole. Ah ha. Someone is home. I walked along the base of the cliff. There was evidence of recent erosion. I think that the entire cliff face had been "wiped clean" over winter as there were no old nest holes, about 15 holes that looked fresh to me and material from at least half of the length of the cliff edge was resting on the beach. A couple of large banksias had come down. Ideal pardalote perches for assessing the potential digging sites on the cliff face. So I sat just a few yards away and waited, listening for SP calls to indicate their presence. I counted no more than 6 individuals over an hour or so and saw only two birds active on the cliff face. Images follow.

Is the coast clear?
Just checking. Is the coast still clear?
You can never be too sure. Is the coast clear?
What about that guy over there with the camera? Is he a threat?
No. I'll get stuck straight in to excavation.
Cleaning my head of grains of sand
Magic. Just be there.

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