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Inspiring and Supporting Photographers of Australian Birds

Blue-faced Honeyeater

Blue-faced Honeyeater (Image ID 43784)
Photographed byMichael Hamel-Green on Fri 27th Nov, 2020 and uploaded on Tue 8th Dec, 2020 .
Resolution932x1400
Viewed68
ID43784
CommentWe may not have sighted the elusive endangered Regent Honeyeater in one of its last remaining breeding habitats in Chiltern Mt Pilot National Park but we did at least glimpse this Blue-faced Honeyeater, together with other honeyeaters that we don’t often see in our Melbourne home base. In this case, the Blue-faced Honeyeater was sighted right in the middle of Chiltern, on Wills St near Alexander Lake. We were visiting Henry Handel Richardson’s 1870 childhood home in Wills St (now fortunately preserved by the National Trust after a local campaign to save it from “development”, the convenient euphemism invariably used to justify heritage obliteration). Standing amidst the shade of the old house’s beautiful Victorian style garden on a very hot day, I caught a flash of blue out of the corner of my eye. I walked in the bird’s flight direction along Wills St and discovered the Blue-faced Honeyeater high up in a huge River Red Gum towards the end of the street. One of the largest and most aggressive of honeyeater species, this one was in fine form, as the photo shows, with it loud queet-queet calls, and much expanding and contracting of its olive green wings as it gave voice. The characteristic blue eye patch and white eye are very visible, while the upward sweep of the surrounding tree limbs seem to amplify its vocal efforts. Henry Handel Richardson described what was probably this Chiltern Garden in her “The Getting of Wisdom”. As she and her brothers and a sister lay back on the grass, some parrots appeared, “Four pairs of eyes went up to the bright green flock that was passing over the garden”. I like to think that they would have also been seeing these same Blue-faced Honeyeaters around their garden over a century ago. Perhaps at that time we would have been seeing them around cities like Sydney and Melbourne too. As Tim Low notes, “A century ago small birds dominated around Sydney (fairy wrens, small honeyeaters, yellow robins), not the large birds of today (magpies, currawongs, noisy miners)…Sydney residents cannot be expected to know that much from the past is missing: regent honeyeaters, swift parrots, red goshawks and diamond firetails, to mention a few…the IUCN ranks Australia thirteenth out of more than 170 nations for the number of threatened bird species, but most Australians notice not the declines but the large songbirds and parrots that are flourishing” (“Where Song Began”, p.317).
EquipmentNikon Z7 with Nikon 300mm PF f/4 telephoto
ISO 800
1/3200th f5.6
LocationWills St, Chiltern, Victoria
Keywordsadult
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