Re: birding-aus from lerps to manna

To: <>, <>
Subject: Re: birding-aus from lerps to manna
From: "Kathy Watkins" <>
Date: Sun, 23 May 1999 14:58:05 +1000
While undertaking on-ground field work on a property at Ben Lomond
(approx.45kms north of Armidale, New England Tablelands, New South Wales) 
over 2 years ago, I had the small pleasure of sampling some manna that had
fallen from the Eucalyptus viminalis (sometimes locally known as "Manna
Gum") that our
plots stood under.  It was white, a very light and sweet tasting substance.
The event occured only once or twice during the period whilst working there
that I can remember!  It was very tasty and the main consumers appeared to
the local Noisy Miners.  I remember discussing at the time whether the
exudate was actually from the tree or from insects!?  Still not completely
sure, can
anyone else clarify??


Kathy W
> From: 
> To: 
> Subject: Re: birding-aus from lerps to manna
> Date: Sunday, 23 May 1999 10:43
> Observations here in Bayside support Lawrie Conole's suggestion that
> sugary exudates from plants can be significant sources of food for
> honeyeaters.
> In autumn and winter days a white froth appears on the bark of some
> older coast wattles (Accacia sophorae or longifolia - the taxonomy's
> still under debate!) where there are wounds. Our guess that these are
> the result of insect activity but they could be produced by wind damage
> or mammals (ring-tailed possums?). It's very sweet so I guess it is
> 'phloem sap'. The affected trees always(?) die within a year. 
> Often there is a queue of honeyeaters trying to feed on the substance,
> although some sites are dominated by red wattlebirds which exclude other
> species.  Birds recorded feeding include little and red wattlebirds,
> spiny-cheeked and white-plumed HEs and silvereyes.  Since they sometimes
> fed on the trunk of a dying coast wattle I'm pretty sure that a
> white-eared and a yellow-tufted HE seen in 1994 (before we were aware of
> the exudate) were also feeding on this substance.  
> In the most recent Australian Bird Watcher (I've mislaid my copy) there
> was an article on the food of various honeyeaters which included
> analysis of stomach contents.  Where these were liquid the author stated
> that the food was presumably nectar. But, from this thread, it could
> well in some cases have been phloem sap.
> I'm glad Sean started this thread so that I now know what lerps and kino
> are. According to my dictionary 'manna" can now mean various sweet
> substances obtained from plant. The original manna (Exodus, 16) appeared
> on the ground and melted in the sun so perhaps it would be better to
> just say 'sap' (if that's what it is!).
> Michael Norris
> Friends of Native Wildlife
> Hampton, Bayside, Vic.
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