I’ve been a little quiet here over the last seven weeks. I’ve been overseas on a wonderful holiday. Stay tuned for plenty of wonderful photos of the birds of Ethiopia, Morocco and Spain in the coming months. In each country I saw about 30 species that I’d never seen before. The actual number is a bit rubbery as I’ve yet to identify some of the birds I photographed. Some long hours of interesting research ahead for me.
After a direct and very tedious journey home via Madrid, Dubai, Kuala Lumpur and Melbourne, we arrived at Adelaide Airport at 8am on Wednesday. Due to the blurriness of jet lag the rest of day was basically survival mode.
Thursday morning (yesterday) was a different matter. At breakfast time we had two Superb Fairy-wrens feeding in our garden, a male as shown in the photos, and a female. This species is widespread and common in our district here in South Australia, but this is the first time we’ve seen it in our garden in nearly 30 years living here. (On 5 occasions we have had Variegated Fairy-wrens visit over the same time period, the last being over 10 years ago.)
So, not only were we greeted with these lovely birds on our first day home, I was able to add a new species to our “home list”. Very nice.
Even better: they were around again this morning. I hope they find our garden enticing and decide to take up residence.
I managed only 2 photos of the male; the female was a little on the shy side and wouldn’t sit still long enough in the open for a shot.
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.