Sweet little honeys

Sweet little honeys this week because we all need a little bit of sweetness now and then. Glimpses of tiny birds in the bush is often all we see of exquisitely marked honeyeaters. I love the way bird photography lets me capture images of these little gems, enlarge them on the screen and marvel at (and share) their beauty.


Eastern Spinebill - Kim Wormald (2)

Eastern Spinebill (Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris) female
Canon 5DIII, 1/1250, f/6.3, ISO 800


Eastern Spinebills are about 16cm long and weigh just 11g. When you take their long bills and tails into consideration that doesn’t leave much ‘bird’ left in the middle. My handspan is 20cm, I find myself looking at it and realising that I could easily close my hand around the spinebill without hurting it. Eastern Spinebills feed on insects and nectar, and are specialists at obtaining nectar from tubular flowers. They are able to hover as well as perch, when taking nectar, which makes them the closest Australia has to a hummingbird.

The female  spinebill above has a greyish head rather than the blacker head of the male bird. These honeyeaters have a repetitious piping call that is faster and higher than the more familiar call of the Eastern Yellow Robin.


Yellow-faced Honeyeater - Kim Wormald

Yellow-faced Honeyeater (Lichenostomus chrysops)
Canon 5DIII, 1/800, f/5.6, ISO 800


Yellow-faced Honeyeaters are also about 16cm but they weigh in at 16g. I find their blue eyes quite striking and especially well set-off by the yellow on their faces. Their calls are described in many ways but a cheerful series of joyous chickups seems to sum up the variations. The calls of many birds, including this week’s honeyeaters, can be found at Birds in Backyards.

Last week’s post about Hooded Plover chicks (3, 2, 1, 0, sadness) received thousands of hits over the weekend and resulted in some beautiful offers and suggestions – many thanks to everyone who read, liked, commented here or elsewhere, shared and cared.

Happy birding, Kim


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