The hottest Summer on record is now giving way to the wettest Autumn, as the rain unceasingly pelts down, and rivers and paddocks flood. Not much birding to be done. Though during a break in the rain my wife and I while visiting Kiama, the home of that famous blowhole, stumbled upon a surprising and most welcome finding. A small flock of Long-billed Corella had come to the east coast, a most unexpected find. Birdlife Australia had previously reported that due to the prolonged hot summer temperatures, many bird species had moved hundreds of miles coastward, to escape the heat. It has been reported in past years that many thousands of Cockatoo, Budgerigar and Parrot die of heat exhaustion when particular temperatures are reached. The concern is that the endangered Carnaby’s (White-tailed Black) Cockatoo is included.
One good thing about the wind at least was that it drove the surf into the blowhole and put on a good show as you saw above. As we climbed out of the car we to behold this natural wonder, our idstraction was toward these birds digging with their extra long beaks in the grass by the cliff.
Many birds have moved temporarily from their usual habitats to similar ones in other parts of Australia, something which has not been seen on this scale for some time. The Long-billed Corella is historically found in a small area in south eastern South Australia and south western Victoria, but in recent years has migrated to Perth, inland Tasmania and now New South Wales. We have seen them in each of the above new locations. Click on photos to enlarge them.
As you know from my previous posts, the Little Corella is commonly found around Sydney and looks similar to the Long-billed but has three major differences in appearance. The Little Corella lacks the reddish chest and crest markings, lacks the extra long bill (the Little Corella does not normally dig but eats surface grass seed and cone seed) and is slightly smaller in size. A pair of Litlle Corella flew in to join the flock, and you can almost see the surprise of both species, but they were accepted as brothers, as they joined the flock.
As almost 30 to 40km winds suddenly blew in off the ocean I could hardly steady my camera and stand upright at times. Children chased the flock and it flew into a pine tree nearby, and we watched as they faced into the wind holding on to the branches. The Little Corella joined them.
Sorry folks, that is all I have for you this week as I have not done much birding due to weather and training for my new job. We are looking forward to our road trip next month, it has been a while since the sighting of our last lifer.
My meditative thought for week comes from viewing this female Sulphur-crested Cockatoo sitting patiently on her nest, viewing me from a distance high up in this beautiful Angophora coastata tree (the main nesting tree variety of this bird). No one would know she was there, she is well out of sight and safe. This tree has provided a safe haven for her to have her babies. It would be good to be like that tree, to be a place of peace, safety, shelter and growth to the vulnerable, but there is One who cares for us like this if we let Him.
“Rescue me from my enemies, Lord, for I hide myself in you.” – Psalm 143:9
Only a week before this above photo I saw the male guarding this hole, but did not see the female nesting, as his wings covered the hole. In another tree I saw the male cover the hole with his wings, protecting it from a marauding Kookaburra.
“Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings.” – Psalm 17:8