The Pardalote and the lawnmower

How cute is this little guy. He’s a Spotted Pardalote, one of our favourite visitors to the garden.

A male Spotted Pardalote in our garden
A male Spotted Pardalote in our garden

The reason he’s visiting is so he can set up his nest in our compost heap, something that has happened for the past few years. Unfortunately when we first spotted him several weeks ago he was attempting to dig his nest into the pile of rubbish that was sitting next to where the compost heap should have been. We were rather embarrassed that we hadn’t got his heap ready so we set to, to rectify the matter.

Deconstructed compost heap.
Deconstructed compost heap.

When I was a newly recruited veggie gardener I was told that the best tool you could have for composting was a lawnmower. Strange but true. However it was good advice. If you want to build a good compost heap quickly a mower will help you shred all sots of dead grass runners (we are currently over-run with couch grass in the garden beds) and leaves into useful sized pieces.

Part way through the proceedings with a good bit of work ahead.
Part way through the proceedings with a good bit of work ahead.

TB raked the pile over the ground while I attacked it with the mower. It took just over an hour to shred all the heap and build up the pile, along with leaves and some compost we had pulled out from one of our other compost bins (you can see them at the back of the photo above). In the end we had a much tidier garden and a decent potential nesting site for our paradolte friend.

Compost heap composed!
Compost heap composed!

It must have turned out to meet the specifications as today we saw several pardalotes flying in and out of the heap and a tell-tale pile of dirt has appeared outside the heap, indicating that they are excavating their nesting chamber.

Another view of our Spotted Pardalote (thanks to my new camera).
Another view of our Spotted Pardalote (thanks to my new camera).

If you want to see what a Spotted Pardalote’s nest looks like you can see it here.