Last weekend we had the privilege of having my grandson Joel stay with us. One of the enjoyable experiences with him was taking out to explore our beautiful local birds. An even greater plus was that he said he actually enjoyed the outdoor experience or adventure as he called it, and was soon standing alongside my wife and myself with a pair of binoculars aimed at our friends the waders, down on the Georges River mudflats. A Budding Birder: Like Grandfather, Like Grandson, you might say!
Thankfully on the day most birds were on cue and appeared in their usual areas. Of course my little friends the Bar-tailed Godwit were patrolling the waters edge and made a great start for the session. Especially watching how when they find/extract a tiny mudcrab from the sand they run off with it, as they are aware the others around them are watching.
Their fast and sometimes humorous movement is highlighted in this short clip using Henri Mancini’s “Baby Elephant Walk” music from the 1962 movie Hatari which in Swahili means ‘Danger’.
As we approach slowly closer there is this sudden move to the water, as we begin to enter their safe buffer zone.
In some of the males a tiny remnant of their orange breeding colour could be seen on their under body.
The occasional submerged head technique is quite interesting, that’s a long way down into the sand, it must be a sure thing…
Also sharing the beach was this small flock of Australian White Ibis, actually feeding in their natural habitat. I say this because in recent years this bird has become a pest in Sydney, where it has become known as the ‘Bin Chicken’ because it has learnt to find food in garbage bins, making a mess everywhere.
My grandson was also intrigued by the many Light-blue Soldier Crabs marching on the mudflats, and scuttling away from our approach.
Also on the beach the Pied Oystercatcher was also checking out the crabs.
We drove to our next viewing spot on the other side of the river, hoping to find the Eastern Curlew, and yes it was exactly where we expected to find it. My grandson was able to see out largest and most shy wader.
A recently improved walk along the river included these art form images of birds seen here…
This Australian Black-backed Magpie was collecting several Caterpillar in its beak, possibly to take to its nest to feed its wife and/or young ones. Thankfully it saw me as a friend, as I frequently walk quite close to him, like 1 foot away.
Lastly, my wife thought there might be just the off chance that the tiny Red-capped Plover previously seen at Bonna Point Reserve, way over on the other side of Botany Bay at Kurnell, near where Cook first landed, might be walking the shoreline, and to our delight he and two others were doing just that. Of course we sat and had our ice-cream first, watching the jets coming and going from the airport, as they passed overhead. The Red-capped Plover is one of our smallest waders, and is found all over Australia and Tasmania, even in the hot inland, but usually near water. So Joel saw both the biggest and smallest waders all in one afternoon. The amazing thing about this little bird is that if you are not looking for it, you will probably not notice it, as like other plovers, it moves quickly and stops, moves quickly and stops, blending in with the weed and dross on the shoreline. Its like blink and you might miss it.
This the major problem we are experiencing with our wildlife in our state as the Government allows the big companies to come in and totally destroy our old forests, calling it selective clearing. As they are not interested in, or even looking for the wildlife, it does not exist to them. Koala habitat is disappearing at an alarming rate and there is a call to upgrade them to endangered or by 2050 they may be extinct. Read about it here.
One of the responsibilities God handed man when he entrusted him with the privilege of having dominance over his other creatures was to care for his planet and its creatures. Greed and selfish ambition have become more the case as we see mankind move away from a recognition of God and his loving and caring agenda. We were intended to be his representatives on the earth, being made like him i.e. in his likeness
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,[a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” Genesis 1:26
After the world flood which destroyed most of the earth as it was known in pre-history, and from which our fossils and many rock formations were formed, God reasserted Noah’s authority over the creation, handing him as mankind’s representative to be a responsible carer for his creation, however now there would be fear in the hearts of the creatures, as they may now become food for mankind. This is what we birders experience, as do many of us when approaching our wildlife creatures.
Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth. The fear and dread of you will fall on all the beasts of the earth, and on all the birds in the sky, on every creature that moves along the ground, and on all the fish in the sea; they are given into your hands. Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.
It is great when we can re establish a peaceful trust relationship with our birds and animals. Some of us have bird feeders to assist them through cold winters, and some like myself have bird baths to assist washing and watering the birds. The even greater experience comes now that the birds have come to know we care for them and mean them no harm, is that they will provide entertainment for my wife and I as we sit only a couple of feet away eating lunch as they dive, wash and shake. We have a smaller bath for small birds such as Noisy Miner and Grey Butcherbird and a large one next to it for larger birds such as Magpie and Currawong.
Have a wonderful week and enjoy the change of seasons. We remain in drought, and pray for rain, as many farm communities run out of water, and we head into possibly the worse bushfire season on record. This has a huge impact on our trees and wildlife, where for the first time in Australia our rainforests are actually burning.
If this is your first visit to my blog and your interested in birding as a recreational pursuit, why not check out the rest of my birding website, starting with my Homepage. You may be looking for the perfect Christmas gift for your grandchild or child or nephew or nice. Why not check out my book What Birds Teach Us and purchase it securely here online. Ideal for children 7 to 12 years of age, and it will continue to encourage them to make good life choices throughout their lives.
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.