A visit to the waterhole on Mia Mia track today was notable for the profusion of honeyeaters – Fuscous, Yellow-faced, White-naped, Black-chinned, and of course, Yellow-tufted bossing all others about.
The highlight was spotting a White-eared Honeyeater Lichenostomus leucotis. Another altitudinal migrant that graces our woodlands during the cooler months, this species tends to be quite solitary, visiting the local area from about May through August. They feed largely on insects, using their strong bill to prise under strips of bark in search of prey.
Although of similar size and bulk to the Yellow-tufted Honeyeater, they are less aggressive and this individual was chased from the waterhole a number of times during my visit.
Postscript: A number of local correspondents have contacted me to note that White-eared Honeyeaters are either breeding residents, or at least seen throughout the year in the Castlemaine district. While my own local observations suggest they are only seen in the autumn and winter, I’ll now keep a closer note on future sightings. I’d be interested in further thoughts on movement patterns and seasonal occurrences of the White-eared Honeyeater.