I’ve often observed Weebills gleaning lerp from eucalyptus leaves, but until last weekend had never been able to snap one in the act.
Lerp is the sugary secretion produced by sap-sucking psyllid insects – an extraordinarily important element of many Australian ecosystems. Honeyeaters, lorikeets, thornbills and a host of other birds depend on lerp for energy. The sugary casing can assume a range of configurations, often looking like ‘fairy floss’.
I was reclining on the front veranda to take this image – as usual a bevy of birds were visiting the bird bath – Yellow-faced Honeyeaters are a common visitor at this time of year, the Willie Wagtail I suspect was just passing through.