A winter special

by Patrick Kavanagh

The heavy and somewhat early flowering of Grevilleas and Hardenbergias in our front yard has attracted a couple of very frenetic Eastern Spinebills Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris. They have spent a lot of time gorging themselves on nectar and squabbling with each other and some Yellow-faced Honeyeaters Lichenostomus chrysops over the rights to our yard. The Spinebills are very comfortable with the presence of a photographer, but utterly uncooperative – staying for the most part deep within the bushes, keeping in shadows and resting only briefly. I was greatly relieved when after some hours standing around camera in hand, they decided to briefly visit the well-lit upper reaches of the Hardenbergia violacea. The honeyeater was a little easier as it paused to cool down after chasing the Spinebills.


Male Eastern Spinebill, Strangways, 14th July 2014.


Enjoying the nectar of the Purple Coral-pea.


Yellow-faced Honeyeater cooling down.


Eastern Spinebills can be almost frenetic when feeding.

4 responses to “A winter special

  1. These are spectacular photos, and the eastern spinebill looks like a very cool bird. 🙂

  2. Well done Patrick, very long wait but lovely results and a great subject!

  3. spectacular shots! The Happy Wanderer blossoms contrast perfectly with the hues of the Spinebill’s plumage 🙂

  4. I love the Eastern Spine-bills. At specific times of the year we see them feeding on flowers in the garden and they are just gorgeous. Beautiful photos you have taken which show the true colours. Thanks!

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