The extremely hot Summer weather has been replaced by the cooler now extremely wet weather to announce the change of seasons here in Sydney, Australia. With this change we see our migratory waders once again preparing for their 16,000 km journey back to Alaska and Siberia to feed and have their young. Many will return next Spring, but many will not make it, dying at sea for lack of food, due to human interference and reclamation of their feeding areas for industry. Notice the male Bar-tailed Godwit’s plumage becoming increasing orange as the Godwit’s feed with fury to prepare for their journey in the next week or two. Notice also the female is slightly larger than the male, and may already be pregnant. Click on photos to enlarge.
Realizing I may not see these guys till next Summer, I took a trip down south to Lake Woollumboola, a significant wader and shorebird conservation spot, a birders paradise. I like to visit here at least once a year, but to my surprise after the heavy rains…
The migratory waders had left for dryer places to graze. The beach areas and breeding sands were overtaken by swishing waves of ocean water rushing into the lake by the high seas. Only small groups of Terns, Silver Gulls and Pelicans remained. I visited Shoalhaven Heads nearby, another wader paradise, and there I found many Bar-tailed Godwits filling up ready for their flight out. There were many family flocks, mostly some distance away, so they are not shown here.
Also along the Shoalhaven Heads shoreline were signs warning of breeding areas for the Enndangered Pied Oystercatcher. I managed to see one grazing near the Godwits.
I was not disappointed at Lake Woollumboola as the bushland near the lake gave me the following lovely passerines.
Back home on my favourite local wader beaches I enjoyed watching this Eastern Curlew feeding alone at low tide. These birds are listed as Critically Endangered and are extremely shy of humans, but this guy allowed me more grace than usual to observe him. Many are killed by Asian fowlers and sold in markets for food.
They are netted and clubbed to death as they graze on their journey back and forth to Australia along the mudlats of the Asian coastline. Birdlife International is trying to create Safe Flyways for migratory birds. One strategy is to assist and encourage the Asian fowlers to breeding their own birds for sale with information on farming birds and with monetary incentives.
To my surprise, on returning home from the beach I discovered an interesting addition I did not realise at the time I was madly photographing the beach birds…
My Bird of the Week – The Whimbrel
The Whimbrel is a wader not commonly seen in our region, and not in any numbers, such as this lone specimen. The Whimbrel is found all around the coastline of mainland Australia and the east coast of Tasmania during the Summer months, and like the Curlew and Godwits, breeds in Alaska, Canada and Siberia during our Winter. This bird is found on the coastlines of many countries of the world during the Arctic Winter. Note the comparison with the Eastern Curlew: shorter bill, shorter legs, smaller body, otherwise very similar and may be mistaken for a young Eastern Curlew or Little Curlew, which have a shorter bills also. See the comparison in size with the Silver Gull below, much smaller than a Curlew. They feed on the tidal mudflats and mangrove areas along the coast, mainly on crustaceans.
Other shorebirds seen on the day are below.
So I will not be in search of waders for several months now, as it is like loosing good friends when you visit deserted mudflats at low tide, and the waders are gone. Though, some young ones from last season do not make the flight back and will be found as winter birds here in Australia. These I may see on beaches next month. I finish this post with a an insight from viewing the two photos below.
Looking at the above photo of a headless Pelican could make you think I had Photo-shopped the picture, but it is what it is. An Important Observation: During our life journey we have each of us, made judgments on what we see, often without understanding the facts. As a result we may be mistaken, and gain, and possibly pass on to others a false representation of a person, event or observation. It is important to avoid making judgments without knowing the facts. True Science becomes only personal philosophy and hypothesis when one has only an idea about something, and it is espoused as if it were truth, for the sake of giving an answer to something they do not understand, and for something there is no clear evidence of. The Evolution hypothesis is currently being termed fact by secular humanists, and now is even suggested to be science. This is completely false, as much as it is to say, science proves the Bible true. Science can only observe experiment and examine observable facts and systems in the here and now. What we do with these facts, and how they measure up to our belief system or philosophy for life is our own doing. You see, when we can not go back and observe what actually happened, we postulate possibilities and opinions, or, we believe the Bible, or the accounts of other cultures. As a scientist, and like many other scientists in recent years, I see the evidence leaning more in favour of the Bible account than the hypothesis of an Evolution without Intelligent Design. The hard truth is that many would rather believe a lie and continue to live a Godless life than come into loving relationship with the Gracious Loving One who created them. My wife and I know the joy and peace of living each day with Jesus, knowing God as Father. We owe our many birding discoveries to his loving kindness towards us.
“For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” – Matthew 7:2
“They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.” – Romans 1:25
Have a Wonderful Week! Thank you if you have read this far, for what I shared above is important for each of us to consider. Please check out my website menu for the various information pages.
I am delighted how well my book is selling in the National Parks Centres in NSW, below is a picture of a display in Minnamurra Rainforest Centre in Jambaroo, where I visited last weekend. A great place to visit. They sold two of my books while I was there, I will be sharing more on next weeks post on when I visit the rainforest in the rain.