Birds drinking in the heat

To: "Birding Aus Mailing List" <>
Subject: Birds drinking in the heat
From: "Simon and Alex Starr" <>
Date: Sat, 3 Jan 2015 22:08:53 +1100
Today I stopped by at a waterhole in the central Victorian scrub near
Inglewood, a site I have visited for many years, for a spot of fishing, well
actually bird fishing, sit and wait and see what you catch. It reached a
peak of 43 degrees today in the area, I was watching between 3pm and 5 pm
and had many visitors drop in, including "waves" of birds at times all lined
up in mixed species flocks. The usual array of Honeyeaters were lining up,
Brown-headed were the commonest followed by Yellow-plumed, White-eared and
Yellow-tufted. All regular birds here whether it's 43 degrees or 33 degrees.

Also present was a Black-chinned, New Holland and Eastern Spinebill, all
drinking also.  Today no Pardalotes, Tawny-crowned Honeyeaters or
White-fronted Honeyeaters but I would normally expect them to visit.

I have found that the hotter it gets the bigger range of species I see, so I
love to visit in the extreme weather as you never quite know what bird will
decide it's time for a rare drink of H2O

As I have observed in previous years when its over 40, Superb Fairy-wren
came for a drink, in fact a whole family repeatedly drank, usually they show
little interest and I only remember them sipping occasionally in the past,
today they were thirsty, as were  Silvereye, Weebill, Rufous Whistler and
Grey Shrike-thrush.  A Collared Sparrowhawk dropped in, but did not drink,
probably because of my presence, I have observed Goshawk drink here before. 

Today however I scored a couple of new species imbibing the fluid of life!
A pair of Variegated Fairy Wren were around as they usually are but I had
never seen them drink before today. And then even more surprising a single
Inland Thornbill came down to the water and spent some time there, drinking
several times.  

Birds resident in the immediate vicinity that I have never observed to drink
include Shy Heathwren, Crested Bellbird, Yellow Thornbill, and
Chestnut-rumped Thornbill, however this list is gradually shrinking.

I am interested to know if there are many species that never drink even when
it's available to them in the most extreme weather. Can anyone share some
observations? Clearly there are some desert species surviving without water,

Simon Starr. 

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