Last week I told you of the amazing birding at Ellendale dam and you may have noticed I shared a lot of colourful birds, but only mentioned the huge variety of honeyeaters that were present. There was a good reason for this and that was mainly due to the fact that I had taken so many photographs that I did not want to overload the post! The first thing that we noticed when we sat ourselves in the shade that hot afternoon with temperatures around 41c (106f) was the large number of Rufous-throated Honeyeaters. Rufous-throated Honeyeaters are a species that will dive into water to drink, but they also like to get out into the water on a branch if there is one available and so do many other bird species. We often add a branch to a water body to help birds get to water and on this occasion it was no different. Grant collected a suitable dead tree branch with lots of small twigs attached to maximise the area the birds could use. He positioned it close to a tree that the birds were using and we waited. Well, I am not sure that nine minutes is really waiting! That is how long it took from when Grant stood up and walked back to our shady spot until the branch was covered in birds!
There were over 250 Little Friarbirds at the dam and it did not take them long to move in and take advantage of the addition to the edge of the dam.
Little Friarbirds drinking from the branch
Rufous-throated Honeyeaters and Zebra Finch were soon onto the twigs and drinking greedily from the dam.
Rufous-throated Honeyeaters and Zebra Finch move in
Yellow-tinted Honeyeaters soon joined the commotion on the twigs.
Yellow-tinted Honeyeaters and Rufous-throated Honeyeaters
The most cautious of all of the honeyeaters present were the Banded Honeyeaters, but they soon joined in trying to find room on the twigs to get a drink.
Little Friarbird, Banded Honeyeaters, Zebra Finch and Rufous-throated Honeyeaters
Banded Honeyeaters, Rufous-throated Honeyeaters and Zebra Finch
We had thought we would have a quiet afternoon in the shade writing up “neat” (yes, we have a “field” note book and a “neat” note book!) bird lists from the previous day, but this failed to eventuate due to the huge numbers of birds using the dam and then with the addition of the branch we were kept occupied until sunset! I can inform you that the four Australian Pelicans decided to feed after the sunset!
If you come across a remote body of water that you think could do with an addition in the form of a dead tree branch with lots of twigs on it, then go ahead and add it! You will be duly rewarded for your efforts and the birds will be grateful!
In fact birds anywhere prefer to be able to judge the water by the addition of rocks or a few twigs even to a bird bath. So, if you have a bird bath that appears to not being used then consider adding something to it.