Tuesday, June 26, 2012


This gorgeous little person was sitting on the terrace this morning facing the big glass doors and that's not a good place to stay when there's a kelpie around. I was expecting a flash of wings as I slowly approached but no, all was stillness as I gathered him (I think) up, the bright red eye looking right at me. He was probably stunned from flying into the glass, flying into the reflection of the valley, with a little ruffled feather on his neck the only clue to some disturbance.

He's an Eastern spinebill (Acanthorhynchus tennuirostris), one of the smallest honeyeaters at just 150 cm of which 25 to 30 are that perfectly curved black bill. He feeds on nectar and insects and at the moment there are lots around the house where I've planted Banskias and Grevilleas, flowering now. He's the one who can hover with his bill down tubular flowers.

The back is a grey-brown topped by a cinnamon collar with the cute angled head half black to below the eye then white to the upper chest with a chestnut brown centre. Not even the iphone I slide from my pocket for this snap worried him. Minutes passed, eye to eye, before he suddenly took off, wobbling through the air till he made it to the rough barked gum nearby where he steadied himself, took stock of things, then off again in a broad low arc into the nearby scrub.

The Readers Digest Complete Book of Australian Birds, which Dad gave me so many years ago, well before I could appreciate it and much more, is invaluable and unbeatable in my experience.


Susan Scheid said...

What a lovely little bird, and how good that you were able to offer shelter until it was able to fly off again.

Susan Scheid said...

So wanderer, in case you haven't popped by since the original In C post at Prufrock's, your comment seems to have sparked quite an interesting discussion--not only my comment back, but an entirely new "guest post" by Dylan Mattingly on the subject. No obligation, but you might find it fun, who knows?

Susan Scheid said...

Just writing this Over Here (as David Nice would say--how I miss him!), in case you don't see it Over There: "NOT your bad, for look what you inspired! A lively discussion, and all to the good." I hope, though, you will have a chance to come back over some time to see what Dylan Mattingly has said. I thought it tremendously joyful and moving. Perhaps you will too (but no obligation, and I really do mean that).

June 30, 2012 9:07 AM