The prevailing drought conditions in the Sydney region, have contributed to a reduction in the number of passerines and breeding waterbirds during summer and also as winter approaches, there are some water birds that have stayed because their habitat has not been so cruelly affected. Again I visited Sydney’s Olympic Park with my wife to have a Sunday picnic and capture some more stunning reflections of of one of my favourite waders, the Black-winged Stilt.
A friend asked me why I noted in a previous post that other waterbirds such as the Masked Lapwing, and even on occasion the Red-necked Avocet seen above. The answer is the long slender legs and open stick-like feet. These assist in moving through the water without disturbing it much. The other waterbirds are shorter and have thicker legs and tend to disturb the water more. It is always good to see the Stilt and Avocet together, as I have described in my book. Note the difference in the reflections.
It was also a delight to see a juvenile Stilt foraging alongside its parent. The Welcome Swallow managed to get into some of my photos and movie footage as they flew over the water.
Many of the Red-necked Avocet flock were sleeping safely in the centre of the shallow lake.
One of my favourite photos is this one, how the legs appear to cross over.
Other waterbirds include this White-faced Heron, probably our most commonly found wader.
We were hoping, as we peered from the Bird Hide, to spot the tiny Dotterels running along the shoreline, but on this occasion they were in the distance together in a small flock. These birds are usually timid toward human approach.
It has been interesting to find the presence of Magpie Lark (PeeWee) foraging by lakes and waterways in recent months. It is something new, possibly the drought may have brought it on. This one even joined in reflecting for me.
As we sat by the lake enjoying our Turkey sandwiches this Australasian Grebe (non-breeding) floated past, so I took some shots in the bright winter sunlight, as my wife noted it looked different. On viewing my photos as home it was found that the head had the striped of a juvenile Grebe remaining, as it is coming to maturity. Immature Grebes have black stripes on a white body, the head is the last part to loose the stripes.
Of course we had to check out the nesting area on the island where on my last post from this area we saw quite immature Pied Cormorant chicks being constantly fed by busy parents. These babies have become immature birds which now look very much like their parents, but are even more hungry and demanding than before, since they are much larger and fill the nest. This parent is so flustered trying to satisfy their appetite that he had to leave the nest and take solitude, peacefully cruising the lake.
This Masked lapwing was caught flying by…
As on the last visit the non-breeding Superb Fairy-wren were out and about, in the usual places. It is usually easy to find these birds as they are territorial and are found in the same area most of the year. Like many insectivorous birds they circumvent their small territory many times a day in search of insects on small shrubs and trees. The non-breeding male retains the dark blue tail, dark beak and turquoise wing coverts, which can be seen below. The female remains brown with rufous facial mask and lighter beak. The male will begin eclipsing again into his beautiful breeding plumage as Spring approaches, but for now, Winter is at the door.
May I leave you with this beautiful footage of the Black-winged Stilt foraging peacefully together in the lake shallows.
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This last four weeks of full time work as a scientist are dragging, as I look forward to part-time work or semi-retirement (whatever God grants) allowing me to expand the more creative aspects to my life. I hope to begin assessing the possibility of setting up a small business as a Tour Guide for Bird Tours. I will be checking out the possibility of running Introduction to Birding (Bird Watching) Tour packages in conjunction with Farm Club Australia in the Southern Highlands.
In the above photo one can observe most of the different stages of development of the Black-winged Stilt, from a brown chick to an adult stilt. As different as they each look to the other, they are all the same species, and will all look similar on maturity. I am challenged by the fact that I need the grace to realize that we are all at different levels and phases of maturity as people, and that despite all our differences and short comings, we are God the Father’s beloved children whom Christ died to redeem and restore. The most beautiful thought is that long before we ever came to know God, he already knew and loved us, long before we were born. This is why love, acceptance and forgiveness in our relationships is so essential, as we all experience the various aspects of life with its struggles and lessons. We each seek to be understood and accepted for who we are.
“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 being.” – Psalm 139:13-16 (NIV)
“And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.” – Thes 5:15 (NIV)
Have a wonderful weekend!
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