Category Archives: Honeyeaters

Balancing act

At present Yellow Gums are still flowering quite well, especially where veteran trees are concerned. This is a providing a vital source of nectar over winter for our local honeyeaters. These White-naped Honeyeaters had just descended to a strategically placed bird bath to drink in between bouts of sipping nectar from the foliage up above.

White-naped Honeyeater, Green Gully, 19th July 2018

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Common bird … not so common views

If there is one bird that epitomises our garden it’s the New Holland Honeyeater.

This noisy, bold and aggressive honeyeater can be found year-round dominating the foliage in search of insects and nectar. I’ve even see it attempt to chase off Red Wattlebirds – no mean feat.

Typical views of this bird will be familiar to readers of the blog … this set of images capture some different perspectives.

New Holland Honeyeater, Newstead, 12th July 2018

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On show at the ‘shine’

‘Twas a ‘fineish’ afternoon at the Rise and Shine. Brief bursts of sunshine were interrupted by misty rain and overcast conditions. The birds were undeterred. The highlight was a flock of ~ 15 Diamond Firetails. Other notable sightings included Scarlet Robin, Varied Sittella, Little Eagle, Golden Whistler and various honeyeaters – New Holland, Brown-headed, White-naped and Yellow-tufted.

Diamond Firetail, Rise and Shine, 30th June 2018

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Jacky Winter perched in Tree Violet

Fencing wire is a favourite perch

Eastern Yellow Robin

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A riot of colour …

… in the garden this morning!

Eastern Spinebill feeding on Correa pulchella, Wyndham Street Newstead, 22nd June 2018

Eastern x Crimson Rosella hybrid

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Crimson Rosella with Eastern x Crimson Rosella hybrid @ the bird bath

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It pays to check the data!

On my Sunday outing, with a blisteringly cold southerly howling over the plains, I decided to stop at a small plantation just north of Frogmore Swamp. Despite passing this spot dozens of times in the past this is the first time I’ve ever stopped. I’m glad I did.

A feature of the site is a large Lemon-scented Gum that is flowering profusely at present. As I endeavoured to identify the birds feeding amongst the flowers – Rainbow Lorikeets, White-plumed Honeyeaters and Red Wattlebirds – another honeyeater nearby caught my eye … it was a Singing Honeyeater. Over the following 15 minutes I spotted a number of them, perhaps half a dozen in all. This is only the second time I’ve observed this species on the Moolort Plains, although I suspect this is largely due to me not actually looking hard enough!

Singing Honeyeater, Moolort Plains, 17th June 2018

Looking at the Birdata website revealed a scattering of sightings in the general area (shown by the red circles on the images below – click to see a larger view), but with a total of 12 observations made at this plantation alone! The stronghold for Singing Honeyeaters is further north – in fact it’s one of Australia’s most widespread birds, inhabiting a range of habitats across the continent, favouring semi-arid shrublands, especially where there are small copses of trees. I think this plantation was probably established in the mid 1980s by Project Branchout, one of the pioneering revegetation initiatives that pre-dated Landcare.

Observations of Singing Honeyeater in central Victoria from Birdata

12 sightings of Singing Honeyeater have been made at this small plantation, with another sighting just to the north near Baringhup.

Honeyeaters up close

Nice views this afternoon of two honeyeaters … the Eastern Spinebills (at least three different individuals) are paying regular visits to the Grevilleas in the front yard.

Again, late this afternoon, a Blue-faced Honeyeater arrived in our street, its calls drawing instant attention. I’m pleased to have got my best local shots of this bird.

Blue-faced Honeyeater, Wyndham Street Newstead, 16th June 2018

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Eastern Spinebill (adult female)

Eastern Spinebill (adult male)

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Look at me … I’m here to stay!

Late this afternoon I was distracted from the keyboard for a few minutes by the incessant squawking of a Blue-faced Honeyeater, sheltering from the drizzle in an ironbark near our driveway.

This sound is becoming a ‘feature’ of the evolving soundscapes of many towns in southern Australia where certain highly adaptable bird species, largely from northern climes, are moving in. The Blue-faced Honeyeater is an aggressive and competitive species, but it’s a relative newcomer to the district, having arrived in small numbers a couple of years ago. I suspect they are here to stay, so we might as well get used to their noisy vocalisations and enjoy their distinctive character.

Blue-faced Honeyeater, Wyndham Street Newstead, 13th June 2018