Last weekend my wife and I celebrated the birthday of a dear friend in the Blue Mountains, and of course, we checked out the birds while we were there on one of the coldest mornings so far seeing our first frost at 0°C. Above is Echo Point with cloud in the Jamison Valley giving a beautiful backdrop to the Three Sisters, named after the aborigine legend of the three sisters who were turned to stone. While we were there this beautiful little White-browed Scrubwren came in and out of bushes beside a very busy path that led to the lower lookout. He moved so fast I slowed him down a tad, but I only had my movie camera on me, so this is all I captured before the next passing person came.
At the party we had a very curious guest this lovely Grey Shrike-thrush. I have always found these birds friendly and curious, coming quite close without fear.
In fact he came onto the veranda and gate-crashed the party, looking for a hand out. They also have a lovely song. The rufous back indicates it is of the nominate race harmonica which is in our south eastern region of Australia. Click on photo to enlarge it.
One bird that is prolific during winter both here and in the mountains, is the Eastern Spinebill, a beautiful honeyeater which feeds on the nectar from the Banksia, Bottlebrush, Grevilea and Mountain Devil flowers of the bush. Its beak is especially designed to reach deep into the recesses of tubular flowers other honeyeaters find difficult to access.
The loud abrupt, almost choking sound of the Red Wattlebird could be heard throughout the bush.
However, our greatest finds were down in the Megalong Valley, where my wife wanted to have Devonshire Tea at the Megalong Valley Tearooms. As the many people present dines outside under the trees an interesting selection of birds appeared. A small flock of resident White-winged Chough were making a nuisance of themselves helping clear the tables, after the diners have left. Quite a few people thought they were unusual crows, but I soon put them right. I said to one frustrated waiter who was trying to shoo the birds off the table ” You don’t look very chuffed with the choughs?” he laughed and thanked me for the light humor. Notice the distinctive red eye. The white wings can only be seen in flight, or while preening underside of wing. These birds are mainly ground dwelling scavengers.
On the grassy farm paddocks nearby several kinds of Thornbill fed on grass seed. The Striated and the Buff-rumped Thornbill were both seen and the occasional Yellow-rumped Thornbill. These tiny birds are always difficult to focus at ground level, and much easier on a branch.
However, the highlight for us was seen climbing up the sides of many trees in the rainforest nearby. We were amazed at just how many Treecreepers we saw. At first we saw the White-throated Treecreeper which we commonly see around Sydney, but to our delight and excitement we saw for the very first time several Red-browed Treecreeper, a lifer for us both. They look similar to the White-throated species, but have a distinctive red brow. The females also have a rufous upper chest, and the juveniles lack the red brow. These birds are found in south eastern Australian mainland but not extending out as far west as the more common White-throated. It was difficult getting clear shots as it climbed in the dark forest, and was climbing in very high eucalypt trees.
These were the only birds we managed to capture, that were in focus, these White-throated shots were not remarkable due to low light and distance. Treecreepers usually work below the tree canopy starting from the lower third of the tree and slowly climbing up the side of the trunk looking for insects and prying beneath loose bark. They have a characteristic call they usually, but not always, make as they climb the tree.
Though we did not see a multiplicity of birds we were pleased with our finds especially the gift of the Red-browed. My closing thoughts arise from these two very different images that were shot seconds apart in the morning. A half moon and a partially lit Thornbill. What do they both share in common?
One could easily mistaken the Thornbill as a leaf high up in a rainforest eucalypt, most would never even find it, let alone take a photo. The little ray of light identify it, revealing the true identity. The half moon could be considered representative of the true nature of this celestial body, but we know it is round and much larger, because the sun is only illuminating a portion of its entirety. Truth can be like that, and therefore we need to be careful with it, that we do not misrepresent it with our partial knowledge of it, and call our limited knowledge the whole of it. Some things are only revealed partially, which means it is not wise to fill the gaps with our own hypothesis and then pass it off as truth. Sadly many so called ‘experts’ of our day have done this and continue to do this, knowingly deluding the masses, including the governments of our time. In the end they believe their lie.
“The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.
Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.25 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 1:18-25
I have entered art works again in the Oatley West Art Show to be held 25th – 27th August 2017. Last year I sold six of my works and many books. If you are interested to see what I am entering this year click here. These will be featured online on the Community Festival website for purchase after the end of this month.
Have a wonderful week and keep warm.
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