[Tweeters] Off topic: Australian Honeyeaters

Byers byers345 at comcast.net
Mon Nov 21 20:52:26 PST 2016

Hi Tweeters,

Bill and I spent October down under birding in Australia.
We spent time in the Sydney area, visiting Royal National Park, we birded
between Melbourne and Adelaide, visiting Little Desert, Wyperfield, and
Hattah-Kulkyne National Parks , spent a few days in the Alice Springs area,
flew to Perth and traveled south from there to bird around Albany, Augusta,
near the Stirling Range, and Margaret River. That was Part I of the trip.
We then flew north to Darwin, moved on to Cairns and the Atherton Plateau,
Georgetown and other hot, dusty towns west of the Great Dividing Range, and
finished Part II of the trip in the Brisbane area. Even though we spent a
month in Australia, we barely scratched the surface of the birding
possibilities. Australia is about 2/3 the size of the US. Imagine even
spending 2 months here and thinking you’d seen everything!

Everyone knows, I guess, that because it is so remote,
Australia is home to a huge number of plants and animals. I didn’t count
them, but perhaps ¾ of the birds we saw were endemics, maybe more. As I
began to study for the trip, I noticed that perhaps 30 pages of the Field
Guide were devoted to just one type of bird: Honeyeaters. There are 70
Honeyeaters in all of Australia. They are birds with extendible tongues
that have little bristles on the end so they can easily eat flowers and
nectar. Honeyeaters are responsible for pollinating many trees and bushes
in Australia.

On our trip we managed to see 45 species of Honeyeater and
of those got usable photographs of 29. I have included a Flickr link here,
if you are interested in the honeyeater pictures. If you look at the
pictures, you will notice that there is a lot of variety in the birds, but
many birds have a little gold-yellow wash on their wings. Many have
interesting facial markings to help distinguish them. The miners,
friarbirds, and chats are also types of honeyeaters, so I’ve included them
here as well.


I’ll be posting more of our Australian bird pictures as I
get them arranged. Happy birding, Charlotte Byers, Seattle

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