Monday, April 19, 2010

Galgabba Point

Bell Miner
Sunday was one of those brilliant crisp autumn mornings that Newcastle seems to specialise in, so Maureen and I went looking for honeyeaters at Galgabba Point on Lake Macquarie. The eucalypts were just starting to flower, and the lorikeets were out in force at the top of the trees, Little, Musk, Scaly Breasted and Rainbow. Not a lot of honeyeaters, Yellow-faced mainly, with Little Wattlebirds and Noisy Miners.
Bell Miners were in abundance, they’ve taken up a territory around the middle of the point. They are hard to miss as the whole colony keeps up their musical, bell-like 'tink' all day, with calls starting just before sunrise and finishing just after sunset.

They are on the official list of “Birds Behaving Badly” as they are deemed responsible for the devastation of eucalypt woodlands. Bell Miner Associated Dieback (BMAD) is the form of canopy decline observed in eucalypt crowns occupied by feeding bell miners. Bell miner colonies feed on the excretions of psyllids without killing the insects. They require high insect densities and they defend the area of the colony to prevent insect predation by other birds.

But they are cute!