Category Archives: Honeyeater

Red Wattlebird nesting in a tree fern

Red Wattlebirds are the second largest honeyeaters in Australia. They’re noisy, aggressive, and sleekly pretty. And now we have a couple nesting in our garden.

I’d noticed recently that a Red Wattlebird was more aggressive than usual. It started swooping at me when I was hanging up washing. At the best of times, hanging the washing is a precarious activity in my backyard. It involves a bit of rock climbing and a skilled balancing act. Add a fierce bird, and things get interesting.

A few days later, I noticed the bird land on a high branch, take a careful look around while trying to appear nonchalant, then duck quickly into the top cover of a tree fern. Interesting. So I got out my zoom lens to take a look.

The nest is in the right-most tree fern in this photo. I’ve put up my washing line on the left, for local colour:

(In case you’re wondering: the house up above belongs to the neighbours. Mine is below, not in the picture)

A closer view of the tree fern:

Even closer, you can see the nest with a bird’s tail pointing out to the right:

Occasionally the parents leave the nest unattended. I haven’t spotted any movement, so I think the eggs haven’t hatched yet:

The birds have picked up some of the Spanish Moss from our garden, and used it to decorate the nest. This is our supply, handily positioned just a few metres from the tree fern:

Sitting on a nest is demanding work. One of the parents emerged for a good stretch:

And a bit of grooming:

Then dived down to sip some nectar from a Banksia tree, which we’ve also positioned just a handy few metres from the fern tree. In this picture you can see the two red wattles below the beak that give the bird its name:

Here’s a picture of one of the local Red Wattlebirds on a nearby tree a few days earlier. It’s likely to be one of the nesting birds, though I don’t know for sure:

Common name: Red Wattlebird

Scientific name: Anthochaera carunculata

Approximate length: 35 cm

Date spotted: 22 December 2017 (Summer)

Location: Allambie Heights, near Sydney, Australia

Advertisements

New Holland Honeyeater enjoying a foretaste of spring

New Holland Honeyeaters are attractive in their neat black and white stripes, with yellow flares on their wings and tail feathers. This one darts from flower to flower, enjoying a foretaste of spring in the closing weeks of winter.

Common name: New Holland Honeyeater

Scientific name: Phylidonyris novaehollandiae

Approximate length: 17-19 cm

Date spotted: 22 August 2016

Season: Late winter

Location: Manly Dam Reserve, New South Wales, Australia

Approximate latitude/longitude: -33.772336, 151.249022

New Holland Honeyeater at Wineglass Bay Lookout

Not in Sydney this time, I was at Wineglass Bay Lookout in Tasmania when I saw a bush full of New Holland Honeyeaters. This video focuses on one of them, then draws back to show the gorgeous location it’s chosen for its foraging.

Here’s a still picture. Click on it to open it in a new window where you can zoom into the detail.

New Holland Honeyeaters at Wineglass Bay Lookout

Common name: New Holland Honeyeater

Scientific name: Phylidonyris novaehollandiae

Approximate length: 17-19 cm

Date spotted: Sunday 9 November 2014

Season: Spring

Location: Wineglass Bay Lookout, Tasmania

Approximate latitude/longitude: 42°08’60.0″S 148°17’20.2″E

New Holland Honeyeater at Manly Dam

This pretty little bird is a New Holland Honeyeater, chirping happily amongst the spring flowers at Manly Dam Reserve.

Common name: New Holland Honeyeater

Scientific name: Phylidonyris novaehollandiae

Approximate length: 17-19 cm

Date spotted: Sunday 6 October 2013

Season: Spring

Location: Manly Dam Reserve, New South Wales, Australia

Approximate latitude/longitude: -33.77294,151.249416