Silvereye feeding behaviour

Subject: Silvereye feeding behaviour
From: brian fleming <>
Date: Tue, 05 Aug 2014 16:15:17 +1000
Sunday 3rd August was a freezing morning - literally so; I had to break a sheet of ice on the garden bird-bath, before I went to Banyule Flats Reserve. At 9.30 am there was still a lot of frost on long grass everywhere in the shade. Common Bronzewings were feeding beside the Main Trail, as many as 6 or 7 at once. After a walk to the power-lines and back, in bright sunshine with no wind at all, I was surprised to see a great deal of movement in a flowering wattle beside the dry billabong. This wattle may be a Sydney Green Wattle - similar but darker leaf to a Silver Wattle, and darker yellow flower. The tree was covered with masses of blossom and all the blossom clumps were positively twitching and vibrating - an extraordinary effect on such a still day. My binoculars showed that the cause was a large flock of Silvereyes, presumably feeding in the wattle and shaking the flowers. But what were they eating? The birds did not seem to be on the stems where the nectar-glands are sited, instead they were diving right into the blossom. Were they finding tiny insects (seemed perhaps unlikely in such cold conditions) or were they perhaps eating the pollen? I was reluctant to disturb the birds -they really needed their food that day - so I didn't check it closely but took photos from a distance. I shall put at least one up on the Birdlife Photography site as soon as possible. I should be glad of comments.

Anthea Fleming
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