I apologise for the poor quality of the above photo. I only had a few seconds to take it before the bird flew away, not to return. If it does, and I get a better shot, I’ll replace it.
This morning was very hot. It reached 45C (113F) just before lunch time, with a strong, hot northerly wind blowing up dust everywhere. Not a pleasant day by any measure.
New Home Block species
Despite the atrocious conditions I was able to add a new bird species to my home block list, a juvenile White-fronted Honeyeater. I had previously seen this species less than a kilometre away on several occasions, so it seemed inevitable that I’d record it here someday. Today was that day. It brings my home list to 110 species; adding new species doesn’t happen often these days.
Distribution of White-fronted Honeyeaters
This species is widespread throughout inland Australia west of the Great Dividing Range. It is absent throughout the northern parts of Western Australia, Northern Territory, Queensland as well as the south-western tip of western Australia, southern Victoria and Tasmania. Here in Murray Bridge is near the southern-most part of South Australia it can be found. It can occur in the Coorong area and once I saw one bird near Lucindale in the south east of the state.
Habitat and breeding
The White-fronted Honeyeater prefers dry inland scrubs, mallee and eucalypt woodlands. It usually breeds in the latter half of the year but will also respond to rain and breed at other times. The one I saw was an independent juvenile. It probably fledged sometime in the last two months.
Normally they lay 2-3 eggs in a cup shaped nest comprised of bark, grass, or spider’s web and is usually located low in a bush or even on the ground.
Pizzey, G and Knight, F, 1997, The field guide to the birds of Australia, Sydney, Angus and Robertson.
We are in the midst of a heatwave this week. On Monday it reached 40C (104F), yesterday 45C (113F) and it looks like another 40+ day today.
Our poor garden birds – along with birds everywhere, suffer greatly during such extreme temperatures. I try to keep the supply of water in the bird baths up during these times, something they much appreciate if the constant stream of birds is anything to go by.
During the worst of the heat yesterday I was working in my office. I was being kept cool by the gentle flow of cool air from our evaporative air conditioner. This type of cooler needs an open window to create a flow of cool air into a room. The window alongside of me was ajar a few centimetres.
I was suddenly aware of a Yellow-rumped Thornbill cooling itself in the flow of air escaping from my office. He twittered in appreciation for about five minutes, wings held out to catch the refreshing air, before flying off to catch afternoon tea.
It was a lovely interruption to my afternoon of writing.