Grey-fronted or Yellow-tinted HE, Cape York

To: birdingaus mailing list <>
Subject: Grey-fronted or Yellow-tinted HE, Cape York
From: Chris Gregory <>
Date: Thu, 22 Oct 2009 13:26:44 +1100
Tim Dolby mentioned in his extensive trip report of Cape York and a
sighting around Musgrave

"I also had brief views of honeyeater that looked like a Grey-fronted
Honeyeater, a rare bird this far north (this would be a major extension of
its range). The nearest I've seen them was Georgetown, 500km south. The more
likely sp. would be Yellow-tinted Honeyeater, with an isolated population
found in this part of Cape York. Any thoughts or other sightings?'

My wife and I were in the  vicinity of Musgrave RH last week. Probably about
30km from Tim's sighting. At the end of a very long, hot and what until then
had been a successful birding day, we were walking down a bush track at
sundown. We had entered a bird free zone. Not a bird in sight or sound for
almost an hour. So now well past beer o'clock we were about to drive
off when a small (3 or 4) group of unidentifiable yellow Honeyeaters were
heard in a tree. I took a few shots out of sheer habit but the sun had set
and the camera protested at the light settings. These were photos destined
for digital oblivion.

Still on the road and only now have I looked at the photos and caught up
with Internet access. They are very ordinary photos and I am rather loathe
to post them. But - what the heck - in the interest of science here they are
- including habitat shot. Taken Friday 16th Oct 2009. For the technical
minded the photos, apart from cropping, are not enhanced. ISO 1600 and white
balance unfortunately still on full sun which probably has affected colour.

This is all rather on the run but I reckon it must be either a juvenile
Grey-fronted Honeyeater or Yellow-tinted. I plump for Grey-fronted based on
my trusty S&D (my only reference) which says the juv. Grey-fronted has "base
of bill, gape yellowish" (Yellow-tinted juv. "brownish"). Either way they
are both out of range in my field guide. Anyone else want to throw in their
two bobs worth?

Chris Gregory

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