As we move into Autumn and the summer migrants, which are mostly waders, have taken flight north, we are left with our winter birds, and a period of not so many birds. However there are many waders and water birds that stay all year round and breed here in Australia. It had been a while since I was able to get time in Olympic Park, Sydney, to see how the resident waterbirds and waders are, so on Wednesday I took a look, and found this pair of Australian Black Swan alone in a pool among the mangroves. Note the male is the larger of the two. How beautiful and graceful they are when seen up close. These symbols previously peculiar to the state of Western Australia (found in its coat of arms), have been breeding well all over Australia and its surrounding islands now for many years. Click on photo to enlarge it.
It was good to see nests of Australasian Darter and Pied Cormorant in the usual breeding trees, however numbers were drastically reduced, possibly due to the extreme heat of the passing summer and prevailing drought conditions.
The commonly seen waterbirds that are more often seen grazing on grassy areas by water are the Australian Swamphen and the Masked Lapwing.
It has always humoured me when I hear the sound of the Masked Lapwing call in Australian movies, as a representative of Australia’s birds. I think what about Kookaburra, Currawong or Magpie? However, in many movies it is this bird call that is used.
As I walked to the larger lake I came across a most delightful experience where a family of Superb Fairy-wren came out from under small shrubbery to give me an excellent photo moment. What a beautiful gift! The adult male was in non-breeding plumage retaining just a bright blue tail and dark beak. This is called the eclipse stage of the male Fairy-wren. He may transform several times a year to breed, while the female and immature retain their brown tail and light orange beak and lores, only the mature males eclipse. Here is a comparison.
So this what the little family looked like as they moved about on this small bush together. You can distinguish the males from the females by the tail colour and beak and lores.
The resident waders were in various stages of activity. Some slept, some preened, but most were foraging. Over the water a large flock of swallow were constantly circling.
The Chestnut Teal are in large number on the lake as usual.
But the birds I wanted to see were the three remaining waders who do not migrate. The Black-winged Stilt, Red-necked Avocet and Black-fronted Dotterel. I especially love the reflections these birds generate from the shallow water. The Black-winged Stilt is one of my favourite. Notice the immature Stilts also pictured below.
It is interesting to see the scythe action of the Red-necked Avocet sweeping their uniquely curved bill through the water to sift for tiny brine shrimp. They sweep their bill slightly open just above the muddy bottom of the lake. It is also interesting to watch some Stilts copy this action which is not normally their own. The younger ones having grown up with the Avocets, being companion waders, copy the action.
The Red-necked Avocet, a friend to the Stilt, is also a bird seen in flock here.
It was interesting to see this collision of the Avocet and Stilt foraging, it shows how serious food foraging is.
The tiny Black-fronted Dotterel was also on the shore foraging.
Of course the best place to view birds without disturbing them is the ‘Bird Hide’. However, this hide is some distance from the water, but it does give a good overall view of the lake, but you need a powerful lens to get good captures.
Lastly, this Noisy Miner was attracted to my car rear vision mirrors, moving from one to the other he tries to find and make contact with the bird he is looking at. Finally, not being able to solve the conundrum he eventually leaves.
This bird’s quest is like our own, we often don’t know ourselves enough to appreciate who we are. We compare and impair the image we have of ourselves and so never really appreciate the beauty of the unique and wonderful creation we are. There is no one in the whole universe who will ever be you. Your DNA is uniquely yours, and so you bring a uniquely beautiful asset into the world in the place where God has placed you, as he has done also for me. How we understand and appreciate this gift will directly influence the way we live our lives and boldly love and accept the person we are. It is this person we must look at in the mirror and realize, we are God’s beautiful child and we are loved dearly by him our Heavenly Father. How we see ourselves affects how we enjoy life, giving confidence and acceptance to achieve great things.
“For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.” – Psalm 139: 13-18. (NIV)
Some of you my dear followers know that I am currently considering leaving my full time work as a Senior Scientist to go into part time work as a Eco Tourism Bird Guide. I was recently approached by a person following my blog to operate bird tours and introductory bird courses with Farm Club Australia, situated in the Southern Highlands, south of Sydney. I am currently considering this option and how this will look for my future. I know many of my followers, will be visiting Australia and the Sydney region in the coming years. I hope to put together birding packages which will hopefully make the Sydney region leg of the journey much easier. I meet birders from all over the world, especially from USA, Canada, New Zealand and Britain doing full on birding tours of Australia, and they are often looking for birders with local knowledge to guide them to the birds on their list, as many only have limited time in each city.
NOTE: All photos, videos and music used on this website are photographed, composed, performed by the site owner and remains his copyrighted property, unless otherwise stated. The use of any material that is not original material of the site owner is duly acknowledged as such. © W. A. Hewson 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018