Ian’s Bird of the Week – Striped Honeyeater – by Ian Montgomery
I’ve been slow to produce this week’s bird as I’ve been burning the midnight oil rewriting the home page of the website – more about that later.
Last week we had the Southern Bookbook from a rewarding evening of spotlighting at Trafalgar Station south of Charters Towers. Daytime birding there produced some interesting birds, notably a Pictorella Mannikin among some Plum-headed Finches and pair of Striped Honeyeaters. this is an uncommon Honeyeater with some unusual features and, being in its genus, is not closely related to other Honeyeaters.
One such feature is a very un-honeyeater-like call that first attracted our attention. The field guides agree that it is mellow, rollicking or rolling, and rising and falling. To me it sounded like a loud gerygone, the rusty bicycle wheel of a Mangrove or Large-billed maybe, but I’m a bit deaf and you mightn’t agree. In appearance it is rather dapper, and seems formally dressed for the drier, fairly casual areas of eastern Australia in which it occurs, from the Spencer Gulf in South Australia to Cooktown in NE Queensland.
It shows its affinity with honeyeaters by having a brush tongue for nectar, but the narrow, pointed bill, shown in the second photo is in fact adapted to supplementing a sugary diet by probing for insects and orther invertebrates as illustrated by the bird in the third photo, which has just found a spider in some mistletoe. The trees are mulga, a dry country acacia, and typical habitat for Striped Honeyeaters, I included the second photo, as it isn’t often one gets to photograph birds from above, a bird’s eye view so to speak, unless they are acrobatic like these in search of food.
I’ve redone the home page to make it easier to find photos of the more than 1,200 species in the 142 families now represented. The main change is the inclusion of a set of 142 family thumbnails – called Instant Links to Bird Families – in taxonomic sequence to take you directly to the species thumbnails for each family. The family thumbnails have been selected to show a typical member of the family, and each one has a list of the included species which will appear if you hold the cursor over the thumbnail. If you know or can guess in which family to look, you can find out, without leaving the home page, whether a particular species is present in the website.
Having clicked on a family thumbnail, the species thumbnails then allow you to go directly to view the first photo of a particular species and the thumbnails of other photos of that species. You can therefore find and view any of the now more than 5,000 photos in just three clicks. All the 5,000 photos have both family thumbnail button(s) for global and regional thumbnails and home page buttons, so you can then move back up to the family level or return directly to the home page to repeat the process for an unrelated species.
To make room for the new Instant Links, I’ve moved the ‘Recent Additions’ to a horizontal, scrollable row of (currently more than 70) thumbnails. The most recent additions are visible on the left, older ones are revealed by scrolling to the right. Future thumbnails will include a message – viewable in the same way as the family thumbnail list by holding the cursor over the thumbnail – about the date of the addition and the number of new photos; current ones just have a message to the effect ‘Click here to go to the gallery of . . ‘.
Instant Links to Bird Families http://www.birdway.com.au/#families
Recent Additions http://www.birdway.com.au/#updates
Southern Boobook http://www.birdway.com.au/strigidae/southern_boobook/index.htm
Pictorella Mannikin http://www.birdway.com.au/estrildidae/pictorella_mannikin/index.htm
Plum-headed Finch http://www.birdway.com.au/estrildidae/plum_headed_finch/index.htm
Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Phone: +61-7 4751 3115
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