In my last post we explored the leap of faith in small passerines, and as this summer has been so intense with heat and drought conditions it lends itself to compare Faith and Fear, the two motivating forces that influence our every action daily.
The above Little Black Cormorant at Sydney Park rests knowing that before him is both a good water and food source which it can trust, and so stay and last out the summer heat, while many both migratory and resident species have moved further south or into the mountains for cooler weather. Not a lot of breeding has taken place in our local park this year, though we did see some here. The rest of faith is a principle countering the restlessness of fear.
Early on a Saturday morning, my wife and I discovered a peaceful community of waterbirds and passerines who were braving the extreme heat and trusting that their needs would be met here. The peaceful community was noticeable at once as the White-faced Heron flew in to join the mixed species in what appeared to be a run on a school of fish.
Sydney Park is an amazing facility being reclaimed land from Sydney’s original brick works, and which the council transformed into a water park reserve which is fed by recycled storm water for the ponds of a man made nature reserve. This is very popular with city dwellers who walk their dogs here, as well as themselves. See how these birds rest together as they share in the spoils.
One factor which this place displayed more than some other sites around the city was that birds were breeding and this Dusky Moorhen family were keeping watch on what appeared to be one chick, normally their clutch would consist of several.
You can hear the juvenile call with that all too common chirp for food shared among many young species of bird. These birds look much healthier than the ones at Oatley Park I posted a couple of weeks ago. Those ponds are closed for maintenance at present.
In the reeds we were hoping to spot the Spotless Crake which had been reported here recently but it did not show. We had seen and posted the Buff-banded Rail seen here some weeks ago. Our gift of the day was this juvenile Australian Reed-Warbler, sitting alone but visible in the reeds, making the same hungry chirp as the juvenile Moorhen, likewise trusting that the parent will soon return with food.
The parent was busy, not making its usual clamorous call, but quietly hunting for food, and this mantis was in the process of being softened up for feeding the youngster. This bird is very shy of humans and often difficult to photograph, keeping itself hidden down in the reeds, though it allowed me to film from afar without taking flight.
I managed to get some lovely shots of the Reed-Warbker resting, which is a rarety.
Other shore birds searching peacefully among the reed grass were this pair of Australasian Swamphen (previously Purple Swamphen).
This Spotted Turtledove rested by the shore of the lake.
The Pacific Black Duck were well represented but I did not see any young, though one of these may have been early spring babies.
As usual in the centre of a freshwater pond one Australasian Grebe, this one non-breeding. These birds are frequently seen alone when not breeding, only coming together to have their young.
The other passerines in the surrounding trees included a female Figbird, a Red Wattlebird, a young Willy Wagtail and of course this Noisy Minor, also dispatching a freshly caught insect.
The illustrate how to identify male and female Magpie-larks (Peewee) I captured a pair at the park. Notice the direction of the facial black stripe.
Lastly, the true sign of a restful bushland and garden is the presence of the Superb Fairy-wren. These birds have suffered from the heat and though annual residents usually, many families have left their usual hunting grounds in parks surrounding the city, but this one is breeding well here in Sydney Park with several males spotted. Notice the eclipsing male, possibly starting to loose its breeding plumage. Fear of loss has possibly sent many bird species to other habitats, but these rest trusting that their needs will be met, as they see out the extreme summer months.
“Look at the birds of the air, for they do not sow, nor do they reap, nor gather into barns. Yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much better than they?” – Matthew 6:26 (NEV)
Above is the verse that inspired my book, the word ‘Look’ can be interpreted as ‘study or observe’ the birds, which is what we do as birders, and we learn so much from their interesting peculiar characteristics. Jesus noted the simple faith that birds have, and birds in a similar way to us humans, have a certain amount of faith mixed with fear in our decision making, also affecting how peaceful our lives are whether they are resting in faith or restless in fear.
When I apply faith in God when feeling anxious or afraid, I have peace and my soul rests trusting him to come through for me, and so far he has not let me down. God showed his disapproval of the Israel nation when they failed to trust him, even as he provided for them as they lived in the desert, many died there because they failed to trust his generous and loving provision, they never rested in the Promised Land. This land is type of what God has for those who put their trust in Him, believing in Jesus and receiving his salvation and friendship he offers freely.
“Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.” – Hebrews 4:1 (NIV)
“Call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.” -Psalm 50:15 (NIV)
Have a wonderful week, and if this is your first time to my website checkout my other pages and helpful birding tips, and special counselling features and bird findings.
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