Brown Honeyeater at Kurnell

To: Birding-Aus aus <>, Bruce Cox <>, alan morris <>
Subject: Brown Honeyeater at Kurnell
From: Ricki Coughlan <>
Date: Thu, 21 Dec 2006 18:47:58 +1100
G'day birders

I was standing on the observation platform at Quibray Bay today (adjacent to Towra Point on Botany Bay), when I became aware of a call coming from a Grey Mangrove in front of the platform. It was a call which I felt was so familiar and yet I couldn't place it. This went on for several minutes as I attempted to pish the bird into showing itself and strained and craned and scoped and then decided to sit it out and wait for the thing to show itself. Soon enough it did and imagine my surprise when a Brown Honeyeater flew out of the mangrove and into the Casurinas near by. I know that last week after the Blue-faced Honeyeater observation at Warriewood I told everyone that nothing could surprise me now, but this really shocked me.

Interestingly, the calls continued to come from the tree so I broke the rules and climbed down onto the regeneration area (despite signs saying don't do it- however I was careful and it was almost in the name of science). I walked up to the bush and then it hit me, this was the call of a fledgeling Brown Honeyeater and sure enough, one was in the tree right in front of me. I only had a "snapshot camera" but I got close enough to get the images which I've posted here

I observed the juve bird for 20 minutes and at no time did I observe it take any prey or attempt to do so. It called constantly, though the adult (and I presume parent bird) did not show. The juve's tail was around as long as an adult bird but the gape was still very yellow (see pix) and plumage quite "downy" in appearance. The behaviour was also of a very young bird. Might this also suggest a breeding record (what do you think everyone?). My experience in Broome was that these birds had clutches of three, but I am certain that only one juve was present today.

All the diagnostic features are correct and those who know this bird (this species was in plague proportions in the scrub around my old home in the Broome Bird Observatory) will see that this is indeed a juve Brown Honeyeater.

The drought must be really biting!

Happy birding

Ricki Coughlan
Belrose, Sydney

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