We are moving through our state’s driest and warmest Spring on record, with out of control bushfires raging already, water shortages due to extended drought conditions and gale force winds in the last few days with no rain relief in sight. Massive seas have beaten the coast as can be seen below.
With the return of Spring comes the yearly return of my favorite waders, the Bar-tailed Godwit. Yesterday I set off to the George’s River mudflats to see if they had made an early return, but the small flock had not yet returned. They are probably in the air doing their amazing 8 days non stop flight across the Pacific Ocean directly from Alaska to Australia and New Zealand.
It was interesting also that this year no immature Godwits stayed behind, they all flew north. Braving the very cold strong winds yesterday I found a lone Pied Oystercatcher on the mudflats.
It is also interesting that a few Eastern Curlew, which are also migratory birds have stayed the Winter here, usually one per beach. These our largest waders, are extremely shy of humans, as many have been killed for their meat as they travel the Asian coast when migrating. I always find this guy grazing no matter what the weather conditions.
Seeing no Godwits, I made my way to the mudflats on the other side of the bay where again I saw one lone Eastern Curlew foraging, and catching a crab. The light was not in a good place and was diffusing significantly reducing colour. You can see from this clip how their long curved beaks are ideal for extracting crabs from the mudflats, though it can be a drama trying to swallow them as they have no teeth and swallow their prey whole.
Moving to my next stop, which is hidden behind mangroves, and often gives me choice views as very few birders ever go there, again I find one lone Eastern Curlew, but this one is a younger one.
Also on the mudlats as per usual in their usual spot is a small family of Australian Pelicans resting. You will notice the classic sleeping position of birds, resting the weight of their head on their back, and tucking their bill under their back feathers with just their eyes visible. Many birds, unlike us, can turn their heads 270°. Waders will often stand on one leg to rest the other, and change at intervals as they spend most of their lives on their feet and may never sit with their long legs, usually only when sick or nesting.
While I was making my way to the mangroves I passed this beautiful Red Wattlebird with wattles glowing in the sun. It posed for me and allowed me to take several excellent shots. These are our largest honeyeaters and are quite aggressive to other birds when the nectar is on. The Banksia tree in which it sits is one major source of nectar on the coast most of the year, particularity when in Winter most native trees rest from flowering. As you can see this tree has finished flowering and has produced seed cones, which provide food for the seed eating birds such as the Cockatoos.
This male and female Australian ‘black backed’ Magpie were having a quiet time together on the grass. This is the window where we see the male and female together, just before Spring nesting. This is because the female will remain on the nest the entire nesting period while the male feeds her and the relatives protect the nest. When the nestlings fledge it is the male Magpies that watch over and train the young, leaving the female to have a break on her own. The male has the pure white rear neck where as the female’s is more dirty looking.
This Galah was grazing on clover on the grass nearby, as the wind blew up his beautiful head comb.
Finally, I would like to share a series of shots taken during the high seas whipped up by the strong winds. A lone Pelican for some unknown reason, thought it wise to sit in front of the huge waves breaking onto Cape Banks (see photo above to view how huge they were). This Pelican almost got pounded and could have drowned if it had not acted as fast as it did. But the question remains, why did it choose to sit in such a dangerous place when it could see where the waves were breaking? View this slideshow and see how narrow its escape was, at one stage it was lost from view under the wave.
The interesting muse concerning this Pelican was that soon after it had escaped with its life it went back and landed in the same place again, with facing away from the wave and in front of it.
I figured we are all a bit like this Pelican at times, especially when we try to get our own way and go against what we have been told and know to be best for us. The Pelican knew it was a dangerous place but in the moment when it landed (the quiet break between waves) it appeared alright to sit and watch the coastline. We warn our children to be careful when going out at night or participating in risky practices because we are aware of the dangers that lurk there. They may not be there all the time, but can appear when least expected, especially if one chooses to not be on the lookout, but just goes along with the group or just ignores parents warnings. This was reported on the news of a young girl going to school recently, her parents told her to wait and they would take her, but she refused and went on her own and was abducted. For us older ones it is more like ‘we know what is good for our physical, emotional and spiritual health, we have been around long enough to know, but we sometimes choose to ignore the warnings and sit in front of the looming wave. This is of particular importance as we try to make sense out of life itself.
“For since the creation of the world his invisible attributes—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, because they are understood through what has been made. So people are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not glorify him as God or give him thanks, but they became futile in their thoughts and their senseless hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for an image resembling mortal human beings or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles.” – Romans 1:21-23 (NET)
Jesus replied, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. – John 14:6 (NET)
“Today I invoke heaven and earth as a witness against you that I have set life and death, blessing and curse, before you. Therefore choose life so that you and your descendants may live!” – Deuteronomy 30:19 (NET)
If you have managed to read this far, you will remember from last weeks post that I mentioned that I am writing a Second Edition of my first book release, while my second book is in the editing process. This may be your last opportunity to purchase a copy of my first book ‘What Birds Teach Us’ as the book is almost out of print and the last 10 copies for sale online are up for grabs. If you have not purchased yet ( though many of you have) or you want a gift for Birthday or Christmas that will keep on giving, this is your opportunity to purchase here online, as other outlets dry up their supplies.
Go to my BirdBook page here to view more info and reviews. This is a unique book which is non religious and is a family counseling book targeting 8 years and older, using the birds as a teaching tool.
Have a wonderful week despite the wild weather and unseasonal conditions! Our great need for rain is not just for us with our dwindling water supply, but also for the many birds, animals and trees suffering, including many blazing forests. Many native birds are not nesting in their normal places due to the drought, and native animals withholding giving birth. We all need to pray for rain and a breaking of this extreme drought here in Australia, despite many having turned away from acknowledging our Creator as our provider.
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, 2019.