Category Archives: Honeyeaters

Welcome rain … again!

Following last evening’s thunderstorm (8mm) I’m keen to get out to the Rise and Shine over the weekend to see what effect it might have had on the birds.

Here is a selection from about a week ago, captured around one of the temporary pools at the “Shine”. A party of Varied Sittellas was the highlight.

Peaceful Dove, Rise and Shine, 27th January 2020

Varied Sittella

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Varied Sittellas … two up!

Willie Wagtail

White-plumed Honeyeater

Yellow-tufted Honeyeater

Yellow-plumed Honeyeater … or is it?

This last image has me a little baffled … could it be a hybrid Fuscous x Yellow-plumed Honeyeater?

Another flashback

A Red Wattlebird feeding on Red Ironbark in the home garden …New Year’s Day 2020.

Red Wattlebird (adult), Wyndham Street Newstead, 1st January 2020

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Babblers by the river

We’ve been ‘overseas’ for the past week, enjoying sightings of birds such as Cape Barren Geese, Green Rosellas, Yellow Wattlebirds and Black-headed Honeyeaters. Consequently this post is a bird dated!

Before we headed off I took a short walk along the Loddon near Punt Road. The usual birds were about – Superb Fairy-wrens, White-browed Scrubwrens and White-plumed Honeyeaters. The surprise was a party of White-browed Babblers, foraging in a planted area established by the Newstead Landcare Group some years ago. This is the first time I can recall this species at this spot, perhaps a sign that they are wandering in search of hospitable habitat over summer.

White-browed Scrubwren, Loddon River @ Newstead, 7th January 2020

Immature White-plumed Honeyeater

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Male Superb Fairy-wren

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White-browed Babbler in planted Wirilda Wattle

Honeyeater visitations

Two things, neither that remarkable, but worth a note nonetheless.

First, a new visitor to the home garden – an immature White-eared Honeyeater. This species is relatively common in the local bush, more so during the cooler months, but this is the first time I can recall one in the garden. Secondly, a Blue-faced Honeyeater skulking with intent around the top bar beehive next door. Whilst I didn’t actually observe the honeyeater foraging on the hive it was showing a lot of interest, perhaps attracted by the ‘bearding’ bees congregating on the outside of the hive*. After I disturbed it the bird flew into the flowering ironbark on our block where is started feeding in a more traditional manner.

A small group of Blue-faced Honeyeaters are now well established in town and I hear their distinctive harsh calls most days.

Blue-faced Honeyeater, Wyndham Street Newstead, 30th December 2019

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The lemon wash on the ear coverts and olive crown signify that this bird is an immature. Adult White-eared Honeyeaters have a steel grey crown and the ear patch is completely white.

White-eared Honeyeater (immature)

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Note: The original version of this post incorrectly suggested that the honeyeater was attracted to honeycomb on the outside of the hive … it wasn’t honeycomb (I should have got closer to confirm!) but was in fact the occupants exhibiting a behaviour known as ‘bearding’ in an effort to cool down the hive. Click here for more information … thanks Janet!

Peerless songster

We’ve had some interesting birds around the garden in recent days.

A Shining Bronze-cuckoo has been calling regularly, plus we’ve enjoyed Mistletoebirds, Striated and Spotted Pardalotes, Musk Lorikeets and Fuscous Honeyeaters. A Square-tailed Kite has sailed over regularly in search of wattlebird nests and Black Kites are ever present.

This male Rufous Whistler has been around since early spring, but has just started calling again recently. I suspect its first breeding efforts have concluded and he’s thinking of a second effort. The song is extraordinarily beautiful, typically starting before dawn and reaching a crescendo by mid-morning, with another burst late in the day.

Male Rufous Whistler, Wyndham Street Newstead, 14th December 2019

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Getting busy!

The next few weeks will be an exciting time in the local bush. This Brown-headed Honeyeater provided a brief cameo of what’s in store.

Brown-headed Honeyeater collecting nesting material, Rise and Shine, 18th August 2019

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Action stations

I’ve always been somewhat surprised at the lack of interest shown by birds when Golden Wattle comes into bloom each winter.

Last weekend I witnessed a remarkable burst of honeyeater activity amongst a small copse of flowering wattle at the Rise and Shine. It was a cold day, with sunshine ‘in and out’, as a mixed flock of honeyeaters descended on the blooms with great enthusiasm. The White-naped Honeyeaters dominated the scene, with smaller numbers of the other species. Once again this observation shows that humans only glimpse a fraction of nature’s rich tapestry!

Brown-headed Honeyeater feeding on Golden Wattle, Rise and Shine, 18th August 2019

White-naped Honeyeater

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Yellow-faced Honeyeater

Yellow-tufted Honeyeater