Looking back and recounting our Birding Blessings for 2016 my wife and I give thanks to our loving Father God for granting us the privilege of discovering the many new species we saw during the year. Each year, I set a goal to find a particular hard to spot bird, and this year it was the elusive Blue-billed Duck, which thanks to one of my younger birding blog followers, we finally got to see mid year on a cold winter morning of -2°C (28.4°F), in an unexpected place. Our second highlight was our Birding holiday in Tasmania where we saw the Yellow Wattlebird.
This completed the set of Australia’s Wattlebirds for us having the Red, Yellow and Little Wattlebirds.
We also we very privileged to see the rare Black-faced Cormorant in the wild waters of Bruny Island. Which completed the set of Australian Cormorants which I pictured in my last post.
Black-faced Cormorant (rarely seen)
The Hooded Plover a now very rare and greatly endangered bird on the mainland, was also seen on Bruny Island.
But the most raucous and most noticeable bird in our Tasmanian tour was the Black Currawong.
Black Currawong calling
You may remember its very loud trumpet like call.
Our Birding holiday in Broome Western Australia gave us also many new species but this Red-headed Honeyeater was one.
Red-headed Honeyeater male
and this Striated Pardalote coming and going from its nest hole building its nest at Cable Beach, was another.
Striated Pardalote he looks and checks, seeing us looking at him
Visiting the Broome Bird Observatory and doing guided tours with the their staff was also a highlight. Especially seeing the Yellow Chat.
Yellow Chat female
Talking about yellow, the Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo was certainly a feature of my year.
Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo
There were many other highlights, especially with raptors, which we all love the perfect blue sky opportunity to photograph.
Nankeen Kestrel in flight
Swamp Harrier (male)
Spotted Harrier taking flight
One of the birds we, like many other Australian birders, long to see in the wild, is the Regent Honeyeater, one of Australia’s most endangered and now rare species. This bird will constantly be our goal each year. So far my only sightings have been at the Taronga park Zoo, Sydney where they have a breeding program for release of birds to help save the species from extinction.
Speaking about endangered species, one thing that has come to my attention this year is that there is no one enforcing the Endangered Species Act or is there any policing of the river mudflats, wetlands and reserves that are designated sensitive bird feeding and nesting areas, particularly for migratory waders. This quote says it well:
“What is a fish without a river? What is a bird without a tree to nest in? What is an Endangered Species Act without any enforcement mechanism to ensure their habitat is protected? It is nothing.” a quote by Jay Inslee
Below is an example of a huge foreshare mudflat which has been a feeding area for many migratory waders during the summer months, but last week I only found one solitary very timid Eastern Curlew, who kept its distance.
a lone Eastern Curlew on a once extensive bird feeding area
People dig for bate on the mudflats at low tide, others run their dogs off the leash, often chasing the waders while they quietly feed, which the signs forbid, stating it is a sensitive bird reserve area. There are signs describing the area as a reserve, but the locals have driven most of the waders away, unconcerned with conservation of our threatened species.
This has been the case in several of the protected areas, where no one polices it, people walk their dogs off the leash and now the birds scarcely visit these feeding areas. When I remind these dog owners of the importance of the area the usual comment is “My dogs are not causing any trouble, look they are good dogs.” I have seen dogs pursue waders on reserve beaches and it does upset me, as they know full well what the signs say, and in one place the locals have actually scratched out the no dogs symbol from the sign.
Looking again at birds that are flourishing, you will remember this little Australian Wood Duck family from the Royal NP I posted last month.
Australian Wood Duck family Early November 2016
Australian Wood Duck chicks Nov16
Below you can see the growth over almost exactly one month, when I visited them again last week.
Wood Duck Family Dec2016
Wood Duck Family Dec2016
I did not see many birds this week when I went out, as we are tired and very busy getting ready for the end of year. So I will leave you with a few of the treasures from last Friday morning.
Dollarbird in same spot as last week
Superb Fairy-wren Famale
This bring me to my final quote for this post, an encouraging quote which a friend gave me years ago when I was going through a really hard time.
“Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark.” quoted from Rabindranath Tagore.
The Bible puts it like this:
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” – Hebrews 11:1
Faith gives us courage to move forward in life, even when appearances are disappointing and discouraging. Almost all great accomplishments and inventions that have improved our lives, have come through the perserverant faith and belief of courageous people who often were given a hard time for pursuing what others perceived as ridiculous and foolish. But faith pushed through on each occasion, silencing the mockers and discourages, as new trails are blazed into areas of discovery never before deemed possible. Faith, Hope and Love give life and encouragement, whereas, Doubt, Fear and Selfishness bring death and discouragement.
Great Crested Grebe doing courting love dance, another observation highlight of our year.
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But thegreatestofthese islove.” – 1 Corinthians 13:13
Check out the rest of my website and have a wonderful week birding!