who is this little gem?

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tweetee
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who is this little gem?

hi all, snapped this lil beauty building a nest in my yard this morning. someone said it was a yellow robin, but i don't think so. maybe you guys can help me out. i ended up here after looking all over the net ;-) cheers!

Woko
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Knowing your location might help with identification, tweetee, but so far I’d say that’s a Yellow-rumpled Thornbill. However, at this stage of its construction it’s hard to tell if it’s a Yellow-rumpled Thornbill’s nest. 

tweetee
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hi woko, yeh i'm a noob, can you tell? i'm in ashford nsw, between inverell nsw and texas qld, west of tenterfield nsw. i'll keep you posted on the nest as it goes, looks like it is going to be a hooded nest if they keep going. do the yellow rumpled thornbills usually make a hood nest? they are great lil guys, i was watering a tree about 2mts from their nest and they came for a shower. sweet whistle too, i whistle back, not sure what i am saying though, lol!

AJ Anderson
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Agree with Woko, Yellow-Rumped Thornbill aka Butterbum! (It’s the only thornbill with a distinctive white supercilium [stripe above the eye]).

"The nest is a rather unusual structure, not typical of a thornbill, roughly the size and shape of a football with a hooded entrance low down on one side and cup-shaped on the top.'

http://www.graemechapman.com.au/library/viewphotos.php?c=527

tweetee
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aj, thanks for confirming and also the link. glad the lil guys decided to use my place, very cute and friendly, not skittish like some small birds. cheers!

Woko
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Location, hooded nest, photo, call, behaviour. It all points in the direction of a Yellow-rumpled Thornbill.

Lightuningbird
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Iv never seen a yellow rumpled thorn bill nest befor, although there is an increasing population of 10 that are in the back paddock every summer.

Wimmera mally region, Vic.

tweetee
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woko and lightuningbird, the nest is taking shape, ill get a pic and post it once it seems completed. pretty cool lil birds!

tweetee
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hi guys, thought you would be interested in the latest pic of the nest, it is looking much different now, little hooded entry and false nest on top. they are still active adding here and there. cheers.

Woko
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Looking good.

I’m very wary of getting up too close & personal with nests as many species will abandon their breeding attempts if they sense nearby threats. 

tweetee
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woko, thanks advice. ive got a 50x zoom so i can be back a fair way and not hassle them, the flash is also very good when i remember to use it. the thornbills were also not at the nest when i took the pic. as they are quite close to the house, it's easy to monitor them, i can even see the nest outside the main bed window. they have added a bit more hood over the entrance now. both have been active flying around this morning, still bringing in material for the nest. cheers.

Woko
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Way to go, tweetee. And thanks for the updates. A nice evolving story.

Lightuningbird
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I’m going to keep a look out for thornbill nest....plenty of bushes and thornbills here.

Wimmera mally region, Vic.

tweetee
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lightuningbird and woko, i have noticed my lil thornbill friends have completely hooded the nest entrance now, it is really concealed. i will get a pic for you guys when they are not around to be disturbed. lightuningbird, hope you can find a nest and if you do, could you please post some pix, i'd love to see as well. cheers.

tweetee
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hi guys n gals,

time for a follow up. the thornies are still at it, adding to the nest both outside and inside. here are a couple pix to update today.

1. thornie working on the hood for their nest.

2. thornie entering the nest at the hood.

cheers!

Woko
Woko's picture

Terrific! The drought here in much of SA seems to have put a dampener on bird breeding over the last 18 months or so. Now that we’ve had reasonable rain this month there may be insect breeding, plant flowering & bug presence near the soil surface to encourage breeding to start soon. The importance of water presence cannot be over estimated. Where you live, tweetee, has had reasonable recent rain, I imagine. 

tweetee
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@ woko - oh, we have drought here too, for 2.5 years now. our local water supply dam is at 5.5% and they stopped letting water out at 6%, so maybe i am lucky the thornies chose my place to nest ;-) i have a small water container in the tree, not visible from the nest, just put it there this afternoon, so i'll see if the thornies or any other birds here take advantage of it.

tweetee
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Hi folks,

A couple more pix for you to check out.

1. YRT singing away.

2. YRT under the nest.

3. YRT attending to fake cup nest on top - notice how well camouflaged it is.

4. Unknown bird checking out the YRT nest. Anyone have an idea what this one is?

Cheers ;-)

Woko
Woko's picture

White-plumed Honeyeater, tweetee. I shouldn’t think it would pose a risk to the Yellow-rumped Thornbills - unless it sees the Thornbill nest as a source of material for its own nest! 

That’s most interesting that the Yellow-rumped Thornbills seem to sense that, in spite of the drought in your area, there are sufficient resources to justify their breeding. 

If the Yellow-rumped Thornbills in your area are anything like those where I live they’ll welcome the water you’ve provided, especially if it’s in a shallow container. 

And I’m really enjoying the story!

Lightuningbird
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I had a singing honeyeater nest in a bush a wile back. Whit plumed honeyeaters came around a lot, they didn’t pose any harm, I think they where just wondering what was going on.

Wimmera mally region, Vic.

tweetee
tweetee's picture

hi folks, had a bit more action today, with varied visitors checking out the thornies work of art.

1. woko, the white plumed honeyeater was indeed raiding the nest for various tasty morsels from the thornies hard work. i can only assume it was taking it back to it's own nest. it actually has a small white feather in it's beak in the photo, but hard to see from the backlight.

2. yrt with soft nest lining material.

3. unknown came to check out the action. anyone know who this one is?

4. willie also came to see that all the fuss was about.

5. unknowns who dropped in. i managed to capture three of them preening. anyone know these cute lil guys?

6. i saw 2 magpies try to chase one of the thornies, it just out maneovred them, haha!

cheers, till next time ;-)

Lightuningbird
Lightuningbird's picture

1st unknown is a rufous whistler.

2nd unknown, don’t know but I love the way the 3 bird is looking at the camera!

Wimmera mally region, Vic.

tweetee
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lightuningbird,

here's a couple more pics of the unknown celeb's.

Steven.McBride
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Your 2nd unknown visitors are Varied Sittella.

tweetee
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hi steven, thanks for your update to the thread. quite nice lil guys those varied sittella.

Lightuningbird
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There so cute!

Wimmera mally region, Vic.

tweetee
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These guys are still at the nest building stage, must be getting close now. A few pics for you guys.

Does the male have the small white wing feathers?

Cheers

AJ Anderson
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Not sexually dimorphic. Those are the flank feathers over the wing.

Only difference is juveniles have darker eyes.

Nice work, keep it up!

tweetee
tweetee's picture

hi guys, been a while since an update.

drought is biting hard here. the thornies had a drama with their nest, some strong wind came through about a month ago, and whipped the branches holding the nest over an extended time. the nest was damaged and some other birds took advantage of it, and raided it. however, the industrious little guys didn't let that set them back. they got back to it and there's another nest above where the last one was. they secured it to a thicker branch this time. the wind still can whip the branches around, with no damage to date.

and how's this? yesterday, i noticed a broken egg under their nest. so they are obviously having some breeding success. as we can't see into the nest, we have no idea what is going on, or how many chicks they have. there was another half egg i noticed this morning, that must have been blown by wind, about 5 meters away. so they could have 2 little ones they are caring for in there.

pics of the new nest location and also the broken egg in my hand. cheers.

tweetee
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pic showing nest position in relation to the street and home.

Alex Rogers
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Love this kind of ongoing story tweetee, thanks for posting. Looking forward to seeing the chicks :-) 

tweetee
tweetee's picture

hi folks, here's a 1.5 minute video of the nest with mum and dad on duty. for whatever reasons, youtube won't embed it here. so here's the url https://youtu.be/jzv2PRmecz8 

the thorny chicks are now getting more vocal for their share of the food booty.

can't see inside the nest, so no idea what is going on in there.

also, had some magpies and a crow getting up too close and personal with the nest, had to chase them off. we don't want our baby thornies to be on the lunch menu for them if we have anything to do about it, and especially not after such an extended effort by the parents to rebuiild and start over. but we can't watch the nest 24/7, so let's hope that nothing decides to trash their nest for a feed.

i came up with an idea to use some shadecloth on the side where they are most vulnerable. seems to be working so far, and the thornies are still attending the chicks, even though something a bit strange is there now. it's like a protective shield for them and here's hoping that it is successful. 

cheers, tweet

tweetee
tweetee's picture

update -  last thursday morning could still hear the thorny chicks in the nest. on friday noticed no sound at all. either one of 2 things happened, something took the chick/s, or they fledged without us knowing. left the nest alone until saturday afternoon and stuck a finger in to test and found a dead thorny chick, been dead quite a while, no flesh or smell. something happened to the chick/s, but it's still not clear, as we haven't noticed any young thornies around squeaking for a feed. i did notice one come up to me while watering the garden in the backyard, but it was silent. i'm hoping it was one of the chicks.

on another tangent, either the same or other couple have started to make another nest, on another branch in the same tree. 

magpies and crow not been hanging around.

unknown nectar eater had a bath at his local watering hole. very loud vocals these guys.

redwings have been hanging around quite a bit and noticed some juvenile king parrots here as well as some grass parrot couples. so the drought is providing us with some bird viewing pleasure, cheers.

Woko
Woko's picture

Hi tweetee. Thanks for the update, notwithstanding the apperent demise of at least one young Yellow-rumped Thornbill. And you've shown that if you have the habitat many native birds will find refuge in it during a drought.

I've noticed over the last week or so a sudden increase in the number of Yellow-rumped Thornbills at my place. I imagine that some of them are fledgelings. I'll have pay closer attention to them.

dwatsonbb
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Nice work tweetee, love the updates thanks.

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

Adele_1
Adele_1's picture

Interesting diary of events, thanks.

tweetee
tweetee's picture

update for those following the thread.

1. have witnessed potential mum and dad breeding, so looks like they are quite serious about things here ;-)

2. new nest has really started to take shape now.

3. crow has given up visiting here, hope it got the message. we still see it flying around though.

4. magpies aren't as aggressive, so maybe their young have fledged.

we still have a decent range of other birds visiting, really like the grass parrot couples, but they are super shy and take flight at any movement or noise. we have to be already sitting outside, usually without my camera, and they may come for a feed and drink, but if a door or window opens, they are outta here. cheers.

 and @UrbanBirdsOz  @birdsinbackyards
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