On Friday I drove out early in the morning to Capertee National Park, a conservation park kept behind a locked gate for the preservation and protection of the critically endangered Regent Honeyeater. Even in this protected area among the flowering Mugga Ironbark trees, nesting numbers have been reducing each year.
The Capertee River was dry in the park, which would affect nesting, as the bird, as do other birds, normally nests near water and food source for commonsense reasons. But water is not there, but the beautiful pink blossom is in full bloom on the mature Ironbark trees behind Port Macquarie Homestead ( large accommodation buildings within the national park) on Port Macquarie Road.
It was here as I watched for over an hour without any success, as the Noisy Friarbirds fed on the blossom with a raucous cacophony of sounds.
The Friarbird is a honeyeater of unusual appearance, usually found in flocks. You always hear them before seeing them. Click on photo to enlarge it.
These birds are quite aggressive to one another and like miners and cockatoos will over take a tree by shear noise and number.
I searched and searched the several flowering Ironbarks for over an hour in the hot sun, as I started to burn on my face. But no Regent. I did however hear this unusual call coming from a small tree nearby where I found this immature Noisy Friarbird alone in the centre of the tree, possibly waiting to be fed.
I stood there quite disappointed, so I prayed a simple but earnest prayer to my loving Heavenly Father “Lord, Please let me see this Regent Honeyeater before I leave, that my faith might be renewed.” I immediately looked up into the blossom and there it was as plain as day, a Regent Honeyeater feeding from the blossom right in front of me. As I worshipped with thankfulness I clicked the shutter numerous times. However many of my photos are not crisp due to the constant movement of this bird and the poor lighting.
Regent Honeyeater feeding on Ironbark blossom
Many of my blog followers know how my wife and I have pursued The Regent Honeyeater over the past few years, and how to view it in the wild has been on my bucket list. As you know from my posts, Taronga Park Zoo has been the only place I have seen the live bird, till now. I was given the privilege to actually see an unbanded bird in the wild feeding on its favorite food blossom the Ironbark. Most of these trees were cut down to make railway sleepers due to its extremely hard and durable qualities. The bird flew off down near the river in the valley below, so I followed it and found it and another Regent (possibly its mate) playing in the Casuarina trees.
Other wildlife appeared while I was there including large Grey Kangaroo and Common Wambat. The very large male Roo kept his eyes on me the whole time I was there, making sure I did not go near his concubine. You can see the Wambat hole nearby the Wambat in one photo.
Another seen bird here were small flocks of White-winged Chough, a bird commonly seen west of the range. They are mainly ground dwellers scavenging and turning leaf litter for insects and worms. They have a distinct red eye and white on their wings which is only seen when they fly.
See here how the small flock move together and display their white wings in flight.
Very satisfied that my long journey was worth the effort, after thanking the caretaker I made my way back to the locked gate. I passed by this loud noise of many birds which I could not recognise. I stopped and after looking into the white blossom of the eucalypt trees near the road finally spotted small groups of small green birds with bright red faces, hidden inside the foliage. I later identified them as Little Lorikeets, another bird that I had only previously seen in cages at zoos. Another wild lifer. It was sooo difficult getting photos, but finally one came onto the blossom in the sunlight for a short time. The noise was amazing, considering these birds were so well camouflaged.
As I continued to leave the park I passed a dam where I suddenly stopped because I heard a loud zitt zitting sound which sounded like a flycatcher, and to my surprise I spotted two Restless Flycatcher drinking from the dam and playing together. The female has the light buff breast. It was a beautiful sight watching these love birds playing together. The dam would provide a good water and insect source for a nest nearby.
To round off a perfect day of special birds, yet an absence of many usually found in the Capertee Valley, I stopped suddenly just before leaving the valley when I saw this unusual bird walking off the road into the bush up the hillside by the road. I looked for it and found a bird I have never seen before walking quickly far up the hill taking shelter from my view behind a small bush. I managed two quick photos, slightly blurred due to the distance and not having time to adjust focus. To my surprise I later identified a male Spotted Quail-thrush a lifer for sure, as I had never seen this bird before. This is another ground forager of insects, seeds etc, seldom flies, found in eucalypt scrub and bushland and grassy arid areas in south eastern Australia, including Tasmania. It is not a commonly seen bird, in fact one subspecies recently became extinct. What a gift! What a generous loving God!
The message was The King of the Universe has renewed in us the Regal position we had before the fall of man, through his Regent, Jesus, his kingly representative who has granted us his authority through faith in him. I eventually arrived home around 5pm that afternoon my faith renewed. My mission with God had been accomplished. May this Christmas bring to you personally as you stop and be still during these holidays, an epiphany of Jesus bringing renewed faith, hope and love in a loving kind and generous Father God. This has been my experience. A Joyous and Blessed Christmas celebration to you and your family as we remember the birthday of the God’s Regent, Jesus, who’s coming changed the world forever to restore us and our relationship with him through the renewal of our life, drawing from his love, faith and hope.
“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” – John 1:14
This Christmas maybe God is speaking to you, as he did to me, when I was in my late teens. One Christmas night walking home under the stars, I asked God to show me if he is real. I started reading the New Testament account of Jesus, in modern English, each night before bed. During the following months he became my closest friend, took away my failure and depression, and gave me a joyful purposeful future, which has been my delight ever since.