It has been a long time since I’ve added a new bird to our species list, so I am very happy to share these photographs of a Grey Fantail and the nest the pair of Fantails are building. It is in a position where we can peek inside without disturbing the birds and so far the nest is empty.
On the first visit to the tree, I didn’t see the nest. I saw a bird sitting on a branch and attempted to photograph it, but unsuccessfully – these little birds flit about and are so fast. Loading the photos onto the computer – just to see if it was in frame or not – I noticed the nest. Luckily I knew where I was standing when I took that first photograph, so Richard and I went back to see if we could find the nest. It is just above our head height from one side, but there is higher ground on the other side of the tree. If we stand on the highest part of this ground, it is possible to see into the nest without touching the tree. However, the arrangement of leaves and branches makes it difficult to photograph the inside of the nest.
I’m very bad at spotting bird nests, so I was very pleased to have discovered this one.
There are three races of Grey Fantail, with minor differences in the colour of the underside (white, buff or fawn) and the amount of white on the trail feathers (edged in white, large white tips or all white). The photograph we have of the Grey Fantail makes it difficult to be sure as there is just a hint of fawn on the underside, but also white. The fawn could just be a reflection of the bark or leaves. This is enough to eliminate the Albiscapa and the Albicauda races, which leaves us with the Keasti or Alisteri race. If we can get a clearer photograph without disturbing the birds too much, I will be able to clarify this in a later post.
Reading more about this species in a field guide it seems that the Keosti race is found in Queensland, and the Alisteri race is found East to South East Australia, so that means our bird is an Alisteri race Grey Fantail.