Thursday, 22 April 2010

A good day for birds and Banksia

Banksia is a fascinating plant.  Almost endemic to Australia, there are 76 species found all around the perimeter of this vast country.  However, species you find in the East you don't find in the West, and vice versus.  You can find banksia bushes everywhere in the gardens and many of them are flowering at the moment.  The most incredible thing about them though is that they actually propagate by fire.  Most species of these plants need the heat of fire to open their seed follicles! 

Recently I've noticed a lot of New Holland Honeyeaters Phylidonyris novaehollandiae in the garden, which seem to have quite newly arrived (I haven't seen them before).  According to wikipedia, it was the first bird to be scientifically described in Australia. They love to feed on the Banksia nectar.  I tried to get a photo of one as they were feeding on a Silver Banksia Banksia marginata, incidentally the only species of Banksia that occurs naturally in the Canberra region.  However, like the Eastern Spinebill, they are quick movers so a bit elusive, although they are not shy at all and don't seem to worry about me trying to take their picture.  A couple of 'headless' pictures below!

Finally he moved to a tree branch where I had a clear shot,  it was against the light but at least he has a head!

Other species of Banksia were equally favoured by the honeyeaters, I got some nice shots of Hairpin Banksia Banksia spinulosa and another one I  forgot to look at the label on... will update with a name the next time I visit!

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