Last Sunday afternoon was a beautiful Spring day and my wife said she needed a walk, a walk-walk not a bird-walk. So we walked a third of Lady Carrington Drive in the Royal National Park, Audley, 36km south of Sydney. This is a history road closed to cars but popular for walkers and cyclists. I have posted several times in the past on birds from this road. Spring brings the beautiful huge tall Gymea Lily to bloom.
You can see from this photo what I mean about tall. These bright flower heads can be seen blazing like fire in the green forest.
Along the walk is this historical spring where many a person and thirsty horse was watered. We saw all of the birds listed on the information plaque on our walk.
As we begin our walk from Audley the first sounds we encounter, other than the raucous Sulphur-crested Cockatoo and the squeeky chatter of the Rainbow Lorikeet which predominate the area (too common to include), is the strange zitting sound of the Satin Bowerbird usually seen in the trees by the huge fig, which they feed from. This one looks young and may be an immature which look like adult females but for their brown plumage and darker eye (which is normally bright blue for the female). The males are very elusive and avoid photo moments.
The wildflowers were beautiful and the butterfly we saw drawing the nectar eating birds which started to appear as our walk-walk turned into a bird-walk with my wife’s delight in discovering…
The Black Faced Monach. You may remember from 2 posts back in the rainforest we saw the Spectacled Monach but missed a photo of the Black faced. My wife was delighted. I have seen this guy here last year.
One of the most popular spring honeyeaters is the Eastern Spinebill which always looks impressive in the sunlight. This looks to be a male.
One bird which you will always hear before you see because of its continuous spring song (mainly during breeding season) is the ‘Eastern’ Golden Whistler male (race pectoralis). It is often heard exchanging calls with its female mate. This little guy was one of several we heard and saw on the track.
The Golden Whistler has several calls the above being most common while searching for food, which we heard continuously while on the walk. Th whistlers, in a similar way to Eastern Whipbird (which we did see briefly but escaped our stalking) uses its call to keep track of where its female partner is, as well as mark his territory so as not to encroach on a neighbor. You can hear the reply call in the background.
Not far away was the more easily photographed female Golden Whistler responding to her man. These birds are showcased in my book “What Birds Teach Us” for their joyous song, how they sing through every situation, even when food is scarce, which is an encouragement to us to not allow out situations to govern our well being.
Of course, we suddenly became quite excited when we saw the tail of the Rufous Fantail spread in the sunlight, always one of the most beautiful moments in birding. I managed a couple of shots, as this bird never stops moving and only fans for a second.
This White-browed Scrubwren was briefly sighted after making his call, and quickly flew off.
We were blessed with this brief view of this Large-billed Scrubwren which we had seen recently in the dark rainforest, this time in more light.
To our surprise the usually quite curious and present Eastern Yellow Robin played hard to get as it rested under a palm leaf, and did not want any human contact today, so I left it alone in its solitude.
Just before we decided to turn back as the sun moved towards the west, we heard the sound of the Superb Lyrebird calling down by the river on the cliff below the road. It was hidden from our view. A couple we met on the way saw it and called to us, but it had moved into the bush before we got a glimpse. Above is a recording of the lyrebird. Listen how accurately it makes the kookaburra call.
By the track on the return journey we saw this bright and beautiful male King Parrot feeding on the seed pods of a shrub. He did not seem to be a concerned, as he continued to feed while we watched. We had a gathering of cyclists and walkers after a few minutes, all watching him feed.
We were almost back to the start of the walk when my wife through her binoculars sighted these two unusual birds grazing in the distance across the other side of the Hacking River, which the track follows. She became more excited when she exclaimed they looked like Wonga Pigeons. The above photos were taken from great distance.
Wonga Pigeons are not commonly seen here, though they are rainforest pigeons. This is the first occasion we have seen them here, and a pair means breading possibilities.
So we hurried to our car and drove over to the other side in the now deserted picnic area by the other side of the river to get a close view.
God had blessed us so much on this little walk, and to delight us even further, not only with Wonga Pigeons but with the elusive and beautiful Azure Kingfisher. I took many shots but these birds are extremely man shy and took off across the river, but I got these above shots.
Nearby in the same area my wife excitedly again spotted a couple of Sacred Kingfisher in trees by the river bank. They appeared to be male and female. The female has the buff all the way to the chin but the male only half way up chest. What a wonderful conclusion for an afternoon walk. We were so thankful to God for this beautiful day and this wonderful walk we shared, as a refreshment for us both as we prepare for the new week ahead.
Of course, observing all this unusual human activity from a nearby tree, as he waited for the sun to set, and give his final ‘laugh’ for the day, was this Laughing Kookaburra (awaiting his time to laugh). Again this is showcased in my book.
To finish, I share the above photo which caught my eye on our walk. This angophora costata tree (Sydney Redgum) has grown in a most unusual way, and has managed to correct itself and recover a difficult situation. This resilience is a mark of true character and faith which believes better and bigger than what the naked eye can see. It does not worry or fear because of what it sees, but presses on through the difficulty to find a solution and a better place where faith, hope and love reside, where life is able to live with hope of a good and prosperous future. The tree lives on, because it adapted to the difficult situation and reached again for the sky to be what it was created to be and fulfill its God given purpose.
“But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.” – Hebrews 10:39
Check out my website for more of my birding info and tips, and of course my book. Have a wonderful week!