Bonanza!

poplar gum flowers
Poplar gum flowers

Around this time every year our huge poplar gum bursts into flower, producing a bonanza for the birds which come from miles around to feast on its nectar. We delight in the display, too, even while we deal with the mess the tree and the birds make. Thousands of flowers pop their caps, which litter the lawn like miniature caltrops, then the rainbow lorikeets arrive to squawk and squabble, Continue reading “Bonanza!”

So many honeyeaters!

There is a bush block on Hervey’s Range which I visit regularly and often write about because its wildlife, large and small, continues to surprise me. (This link will take you to posts about previous visits.)

Last weekend’s special treat was a bottlebrush tree in full bloom, surrounded by enough honeyeaters to fill an aviary; all I had to do was stand nearby and point the camera at them Continue reading “So many honeyeaters!”

Blue-faced Honeyeater family

Blue-faced Honeyeater
Blue-faced Honeyeater family portrait

Young Blue-faced Honeyeaters, Entomyzon cyanotis, aren’t “blue-faced” at all: their cheeks change from brownish to yellow-green, and then to blue at maturity.

These three were part of a group of four or five moving around my garden in mid March – very likely a family group, in which case we’re looking at children perched above a parent.

Blue-faced Honeyeater
Immature Blue-faced Honeyeater

Fairy Gerygone and Lewin’s Honeyeater

I’m still finding creatures I can’t identify and having to call on my Friendly Local Experts for help. They are very generous with their time, and I thank them for their help, but I don’t want to embarrass them by getting anything wrong so they will remain Anonymous FLE’s (unless, of course, they read this and choose to be named). My latest call for help related to these little birds:

fairy gerygone
What’s smaller than a Brown Honeyeater?

Continue reading “Fairy Gerygone and Lewin’s Honeyeater”

Big ball of fluff – baby Blue-faced Honeyeater

Wandering around the garden a couple of days ago, I spotted a big ball of fluff high in the paperbark tree. I could see that it was bird with a lot of white on it, and it was big enough to make me wonder briefly whether a Torres Strait Pigeon had over-stayed its wet-season visit. The telephoto lens, however, revealed that it was a very young Blue-Faced Honeyeater, Entomyzon cyanotis. It still had its fluffy baby-feathers on its white belly, and it was looking awkward and unsettled in spite of the company of an older bird, perhaps a parent.
It was too high in the foliage for a good photo that time but I saw it (or a sibling?) again yesterday, low in the poplar gum:

Blue-faced Honeyeater
“Blue-faced” Honeyeater? Not when they are this young

The species is named for the patch of skin on its cheeks, which is bright blue in adults. Younger birds have green cheeks but this one is the first to make me notice that the green changes gradually as they grow up, from this yellow-olive green which nearly matches their feathers, to the leaf green I see more often, and then to the blue.

Blue-faced Honeyeater
Feeling a bit exposed?