Tue, 18 Nov 1997 10:05:46 +0800
A Grey-fronted Honeyeater began to construct a nest about two metres from
my office window this morning at the Argyle Diamond Mine in the north east
Kimberley of WA. Spider webs appear to be the main construction material
with some short (10 to 15cm) thin grass providing the backbone. By 9am the
main shape of the cup nest was apparent. I have watched the Grey-fronted
H/E bring in material regularly about every 5 to 10 minutes since about 8am
when I found the nest. Most construction is done with the bird sitting in
the nest. At 10am the nest appeared to be about a third to half completed.
At 9:20am I saw a bird fly in, and I realised that it was a Brown
Honeyeater. It began to rearrange the nest for about 5 minutes before the
Grey-fronted returned and chased it off. This seemed remarkable that
another (smaller) species would try to take over the nest.
So far I have only seen one Grey-fronted H/E this morning, but they are
common and I noticed a pair outside my office yesterday several times.
The Brown Honeyeaters nested about 5 metres away at the end of August and
fledged one young from two eggs in early October. I also found a
Grey-fronted nest about 20 metres away at the end of August but the nest
fell off the tree before any eggs were laid. I have found many
Grey-fronted Honeyeaters breeding over the years, but this is my first
record for November.
The nest is exposed in the dead thin twigs at the end of an acacia that was
blown over in a storm a couple of days ago and is resting against the roof
of the building. The nest is almost two metres off the ground and is just
underneath the eaves of the building which will give some protection from
future storms. Hopefully our gardening crew will leave the fallen tree
until the young have fledged. A Common Tree Snake was seen in the area
last week, and that could be another potential predator. The very common
'ta-ta' lizards can be predators, but the nest is far enough out in the
smaller twigs such that a ta-ta lizard would have trouble.
The last few days have brought a flurry of nesting activity. There are two
or three active Zebra Finch nests close by the building, and this morning a
pair of Crimson Finches chased away a pair of Zebra Finches from a nest
that the latter were building and checked it out for themselves. I don't
know whether they have taken it over.
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Frank . O'Connor <=
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