One of our favorite birding walks is in the Royal National Park on Lady Carrington Drive. We always get a nice surprise, and with this perfectly beautiful pre winter weather, it is pure delight. Interestingly enough, the birds were rather quiet, though moving through the tree tops. Many of the song birds are most vocal in Spring when breeding, and can become quieter during winter months. Many over hanging trees shade most of the walk, which basically travels through the centre of the park. If you want to see a Superb Lyrebird, your chances are fairly good on this walk.
The Royal is the second National Park in the world, it was called National Park but later called the Royal because the queen came past in a train carriage in 1954. It is only 20 minutes from home, and has a lovely cafe and shop (which sells my book). On most walks the first bird I hear is the Golden Whistler, though on this day he and his partner were rather quiet. The males are often pictured looking up into the canopy. Here is another example of a small bird leaping before opening its wings.
A surprise find on the day was a small flock of Noisy Friarbirds. They sound similar to a red wattlebird, but I noticed the difference and started filming.
The Red Wattlebird was also around sporting his beautiful red wattle in the bright autumn sunlight.
Bush Fuchsia is still out in flower as many of the wildflowers have finished, various types of Banksia are still in flower.
These provide nectar for the honeyeaters, especially the Eastern Spinebill which is commonly seen along the track inserting its ling curved beak deep into flowers.
Another honeyeater found here this time of year is the Yellow-faced Honeyeater.
The elusive Scarlet Honeyeater moves high up among the canopy, and is always difficult to photograph. I never seem to see the female much at all. He is easy to spot, with his bright red head, and is quite stunning in the sunlight, even high up in the eucalypt canopy.
The Lewins Honeyeater is also common this time of year here, and is marked by its loud chattery call which you can hear in the background of the movie clip of the Striated Thornbill I posted last week. As you can see Australia is the land of the honeaters, and we have sooo many different varieties.
Of course there is always an Eastern Yellow Robin, the classic rainforest bird following you along the track quite curiously, somewhere.
We always hear and sometimes see the Eastern Whipbird in one particular place along the track. Similar to the robin these birds are territorial and can be found in the same local area all year round. The male whip call signals to the female but also warns other Whipbirds to keep in their territory. If I use the Whipbird sound in the bush it will drive them away, rather than attract the bird.We were blessed to see an adult and a juvenile on this occasion. Notice the juvenile has less white under chin. The male usually rises a foot or two up out of the foliage to make his call.
One of the greatest blessings when walking this track, as I mentioned earlier, is to see and hear the Superb Lyrebird, and that we did, a couple of times. This male saw me coming on the track and made his getaway. The males tend to be more shy than the females. Notice the beautiful elaborate tail feathers used to court the female with the mating dance. One of the most exciting experiences as a birder is to see the male perform the mating dance, and to hear it mimic the calls of many birds.
The noisy chatter of the Yellow-throated Scrubwren can not go unnoticed, as he tells me in no uncertain words to leave the area, possibly because of a nest nearby. I had to correct my identification of this bird as I had it wrongly labelled a White-browed, though he does have a white brow, he also has a yellow-throat and not the white throat that goes with the white-browed Scrubwren. Thanks Malt from the Gap Year and Beyond blog for informing me of my error, as I do not normally see this bird this far south.
One tree that always draws my attention on this walk is this Angothora, growing out over this sandstone rock. It reminds me of life, how we start so keen to move forward and get ahead, shooting upwards. We have times however, in our life, when due to poor choices or difficult circumstances, we may move horizontally away from our goals. After a time we realize our shortcoming and come back online to move forward again. Similar to the tree below, we are not necessarily moving forward from the same place we left off, but have grown in wisdom and life experience from our detour, which has shaped our life differently to what would have been expected at the onset. These diversions can occur at any time in our lives due to unforeseen events and challenges. We grow as we rise above adversity and continue upward reaching to the heavens. The getting of wisdom in this way, makes us more empathetic and understanding of the pain and difficulty others encounter on their journey, so we can be an encouragement and comfort to them. Wisdom is found in our Creator God who wants us to know him as Father.
“Blessed are those who find wisdom,
those who gain understanding,
for she is more profitable than silver
and yields better returns than gold.
She is more precious than rubies;
nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand;
in her left hand are riches and honor.
Her ways are pleasant ways,
and all her paths are peace.
She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her;
those who hold her fast will be blessed.” – Proverbs 3:13-18
“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” – James 1:5
Have a great week, and check out my website for more birding info.
As I mentioned last week, the latest and most comprehensive Australian Bird Field Guide is now published for you to purchase.