Botanical Buzz | Birds of a feather

This world would just not be the same without the song of many birds such as the Brown Honeyeater (Lichmera indistincta). Photo: CONTIBUTED

This world would just not be the same without the song of many birds such as the Brown Honeyeater (Lichmera indistincta). Photo: CONTIBUTED

Have you ever had that moment, you know, a frustrating pause to reflect about a bird alighting on your clothesline or shrubbery who tantalizes you with his birdsong, and you just wish you knew what it was?

Of course people who live in Avian Estate have no excuse do they?

Every day they consider Kookaburras, Plovers, Wrens, Kingfishers, Swans, Kestrels, Quail, Teal, Cormorants, and Corellas. Did I miss any?

Even I know what a Kingfisher looks like but I didn’t know the bird that has been in Elizabeth Park, Dubbo Regional Botanic Garden for the past two years until the other day.

This little guy has a mixture of song, thin metallic, chirpy, varied, and most captivating.

You didn’t see him straight away as he is so small, being 110 to 160 mm  long, dusky brown, with a curved beak, yellow-green tail feathers, and underparts fawn to cream.

Anyhow the Dubbo Field Naturalist Group was in our park recently and I asked. They knew straight away too.

That’s the Brown Honeyeater (Lichmera indistincta).

I don’t know about the ‘Lichy’ bit but his body is certainly indistinct.

Can take ages to locate him before he gets wind of you and takes evasive action and swoops off.

I’ve started to suspect he plays games with me and is a big tease.

Ha, Ha, now you see me, now you don’t.

He lives free and easy, and is a big cheer-up for the day.

What a chatter-box he is. Being such a dull colour will ensure he’ll always be free.

That is, if the Chinese proverb is true; ‘It is the beautiful bird which gets caged.’ While he doesn’t win the excitingly pretty vote his song is truly remarkable.

We have perhaps the most southern extant of his range for the east of our country, while he does go down into the south of W.A.

So far he has stayed put in our garden which is kind of cute because he could migrate north.

He is compared to the Clamorous Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus stentoreus), (noisy guy), which also has an indistinct brown colour and similar length.

As well, this chappy is hard to locate despite the clamour. He lives in our pond reeds.

The Brown Honeyeater likes woodland, riverine forest and mangroves. He makes a nest from Melaleuca bark and we have a grove of these.

From June to January he calls his mate.

I’ve seen them both foraging for insects and nectar. As I say, I get the feeling he is teasing me to get attention.

Glad I don’t have to move to Avian Estate to be in the know. Call the Field Nats for bird identification, wealth of local knowledge there.