Yellow-tinted and Grey-fronted Honeyeaters on Cape York Peninsula

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Subject: Yellow-tinted and Grey-fronted Honeyeaters on Cape York Peninsula
From: Peter Ewin <>
Date: Sun, 1 Nov 2009 20:56:20 +1100
Thanks for the comments on Mangrove/Large-billed Gerygone on Cape York. In 2002 
Paul Mahoney and myself identified what we thought was a Mangrove Gerygone in 
mangroves at Saltwater Creek camping area in Lakefield NP. We recognised at the 
time that it was outside known distribution but possibly didn't consider 
Large-billed Gerygone. I can't recall whether we picked it up on call - which I 
would have thought may have helped our identification (I will have to check 
with Paul if he has any notes or recollection).
Going on distribution the bird probably was a Large-billed (though we 
definitely picked up Mangrove in the Gulf on the same trip).

> Date: Sat, 24 Oct 2009 08:59:50 +1000
> From: 
> To: 
> Subject: [Birding-Aus] Yellow-tinted and Grey-fronted Honeyeaters on Cape     
> York Peninsula
> Tim and Chris,
> Great report Tim - very helpful for future travellers to this
> fascinating area. Those honeyeaters would be Yellow-tinted. There are
> quite a number throughout middle Cape York Peninsula. Some populations
> are probably quite isolated, probably because of habitat preference.
> Southern range seems to be about the Musgrave-Lilyvale area though I
> have often tried to find them around Laura where there seems to be
> suitable habitat - without success. They range north at least to
> Piccaninny Plains and Weipa and again, I have tried to find them further
> north than that, again without success. They are mostly associated with
> the tall Eucalypt woodland - Darwin Stringybark (Eucalyptus tetrodonta)
> & Bloodwood (Corymbia  spp.) - which is common over much of the
> Peninsula. They spend nearly all of their time in the high canopy and
> can be quite difficult to observe. Their call is a bit different from
> the Yellow-tinted further south and inland - e.g. Georgetown.
> Grey-fronted Honeyeater would be way out of range. The nearest I have
> seen them is down around Charters Towers-Torrens Creek which would be
> about 800 km S. There are records from the SE Gulf of Carpentaria though
> I have never seen them there. This would be about 400 km to the SW.
> There are a couple of others in your list Tim which caught my eye. The
> Zitting Cisticola at Iron Range - could have been that species though I
> have never seen them in denser grassy habitat on the Peninsula. It is
> mostly a bird of the more saline areas in NE Qld - e.g. Couch Grass
> (Sporobolus sp.) rather than grassland, often just behind mangroves
> though it does occur away from those areas at times. It has been
> recorded from Nifold Plain in Lakefield NP and there is a population at
> Marina Plains, east of Musgrave though I have never checked this out. It
> only occurs in a small number of areas throughout the entire area. This
> race (laveryi) is difficult to distinguish from Golden-headed in
> non-breeding plumage - song is the best guide.
> The other is Mangrove Gerygone - your record from the Alice River. There
> is a considerable break in range up the N Qld coast. It occurs fairly
> commonly to as far north as Townsville on the E coast but then drops off
> and is quite rare by about Ingham. From there north, right up and around
> the tip of Cape York it seems to be absent. It extends north on the west
> coast probably to as far as about Weipa - much of the western side of
> the Peninsula is difficult to access. I regularly assist Klaus Uhlenhut
> with his annual Bird Week at Bamaga at the Tip each year and we have
> never recorded it there - Large-billed is common though. In fact
> Large-billed is the common gerygone of the mangrove habitat north from
> about Ingham and right around the Peninsula.
> There are a few older records of Mangrove Gerygone from the northern Wet
> Tropics and I chased all of these up when I was researching for my Birds
> of Queensland's Wet Tropics. There was nothing convincing about any of
> the records and it seemed highly likely that they were all juvenile
> Large-billed (which is easily confused with adult Mangrove). Certainly
> none of us who live here, at that stage, had any records of Mangrove on
> the E side of the Peninsula north of about Ingham. I am unaware of any
> sightings since then.
> Anyway, thanks for reporting all of that - keeps some of us who
> regularly visit the Cape on our toes.
> Best wishes,
> Lloyd Nielsen
> Mt Molloy  Nth Qld
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