Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater in Royal National Park

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Subject: Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater in Royal National Park
From: "Ricki Coughlan" <>
Date: Tue, 8 Jun 2004 17:27:16 +1000
Hi Birders

Has anyone out there spotted a Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater in the Royal
National Park before?

On Sunday just gone, I was on the Uloola falls trail (returning from the
falls at around 3:00pm). I came upon several Little Wattlebirds enjoying a
nectar feed on a Banksia ericafolia. As I approached all departed but for
one. I noticed that this "Little Wattlebird" appeared to be somewhat
dishevelled, smaller and not at all shy. The gape was pink and the eyes were
blue. The call was croaky/rattley. However, it was the blue eyes which
caused the penny to drop. This was a Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater. I had not
seen this species for some years, so I was quite caught out by it. It stuck
around for at least five minutes, so I had plenty of time to check it
against my field guide and it possessed every diagnostic feature.

Thus far, I can find no record for this species in the Royal National Park.
The distribution map in my field guide indicates that its presence is very
marginal on this part of the coast. Other species of Honeyeaters around this
spot were: Red Wattlebirds, Little Wattlebirds, Tawney-crowned Honeyeaters
(not seen them on this track before either), Eastern Spinebills, White-eared
Honeyeaters and New Holland Honeaters.

I'd be interested to kow what others experience of this bird around Sydney
is. Could this one be a vagrant or a refugee from the drought-stricken
inland perhaps? I've not walked this particular trail at this time of year
for 20 years, so this sighting may be nothing special. However, your input
would be appreciated.

Regards - Ricki

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