Continuing from last week’s Birding Date, my wife and I took the opportunity to get another a couple of days later. Again we pursued freshwater birds, in particular the ever elusive and shy Blue-billed Duck, at Bushell’s Lagoon, a well known birding place I have shared many times before, nestled in the more rural northern side of Sydney surrounded by market gardens. We were surprised to find so few birds, even though the lagoon (lake) was quite full after recent rains. On arrival the above Whistling Kite was attempting to circle over the lagoon, which it does daily.
A Masked Lapwing was noisily pursuing it. This Kite is often chased by smaller waterbirds, especially when they have young to protect, as these can easily become food for it, as well as, the four other species of raptor that cruise over this often bird filled lagoon. People ask, how come these large raptors which normally kill and eat such birds, do not turn on their pursuers and make a meal of them? The smaller more agile bird has the edge on the larger less maneuverable bird, which usually plucks its prey from the ground. I have observed one Noisy Miner chasing a Whistling Kite back and forth, for over twenty minutes, and trying to bite its back (as they do).
This little family of Black-winged Stilt were feeding on the waters edge. You will note that junior has a black patch over its eye.
We saw several groups of Australasian Grebe, and this parent displaying breeding plumage had an immature with it.
One of the Grebe couples was continually calling, which enabled a recording of their unique sound.
This Eastern Great Egret is always seen standing on this mound as if it owns the lagoon. I have not ascertained why it spends so much tine there.
Then there were the more normal Great Egrets, grazing and flying about. When Egret stretch their neck tall, after sighting you, it is because this is their defence mechanism to ward off threats. The psychology is that by making oneself appear taller, appearing larger, it will deter confrontation.
This pair of Pacific Black Duck are often left out by birders due to their common appearance, but I did like this photo.
Our eyes were turned to the sky again as this Nankeen Kestrel hovered about, the second and smaller raptor for the day. The Sea-Eagle and Swamp Harrier did not appear.
About the same time this small flock of Straw-necked Ibis flying in formation flew over. In large flocks they can take ten and more minutes to work out the formation before they move off. Sometimes circling for ages constantly changing positions in the formation, till finally the leader flies off and the V shape is formed. They can fly great distances once they have worked it out. This means of conserving energy and changing position allows the weaker younger flyers to fly in the slip-stream of the others.
The bird that marked our day was a passerine which we have never seen in so great number here. Several pairs of Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike were present, looking for opportunities, with some immature from last season. The black face is often a challenge to photograph, and the light has to be just in the right place to catch their face. Here are three images where post production has given different outcomes.
We were delighted as we enjoyed seeing so many of this bird which often fleet away from us. The younger birds have less black on their face.
We were surprised to hear the call of an Olive-backed Oriole in a tree, calling in a most unusual manner. Normally this bird would have migrated north for Winter. We have noticed several birds which normally migrate, staying in Sydney for the winter. Of course he had choose the darkest tree covering, so it is light enhanced.
We were curious as to why this Yellow-rumped Thornbill was out and about alone, as it is usually a flock bird found further inland. This unlike other Thornbill species, is more of a ground grazer.
Lastly this Silvereye caught our eye. After failing to get a photo of a very shy Golden Whistler we made our way to Windsor for our usual FishnChip lunch in the park observing the new bridge across the Hawkesbury River, after which we made our way home.
You may be interested to see this interaction between a mature White-bellied Sea-Eagle and an immature. It is difficult to understand what the adult is trying to do, but some have interpreted that the adult is displeased with the kind of prey the immature has lifted from the ocean, as we would be also. Here is the link to Daniel’s post. Click on the first photo and arrow through.
If this is your first visit to my blog why not check out my birding website HomePage for more helpful information.
If you have purchased my book “What Birds Teach Us” and would like to share it with a friend who may like birds, or have a child between 7 and 12 years why not direct them to: https://aussiebirder.com/birdbook/
Most specie of Duck nest on the ground or in reeds over water, but the Australian Wood Duck nest high up in eucalypt trees, especially in the natural holes of the Angophora costata tree, and usually over or beside water. I have on previous occasions described this as the perfect nesting tree for the Sulphur-crested Cockatoo and Rainbow Lorikeet which we also have in abundance around Sydney. This is why these ducks nest and thrive along the river in the Royal National Park. It does seem interesting and somewhat out of place to find a non passerine waterbird, which does not have the clasping claws for perching, standing on a branch high in a tree. These very faithful partners and parents are always found together as they pair for life.
If I did not know the Aussie Wood Duck nested in trees I could interpret their presence there as trying to escape danger below, which is often the case for the Lyrebird, another ground grazer. This teaches us how easy it can be to misinterpret people and their actions without finding out the full and true story. This is what the Australian Raven teaches in my book “What Birds Teach Us”. We need to remind ourselves and others about the danger of making ‘Global Statements’
A Global Statement is one which says: “You always…” or “… all of the time.” “They all…”, when what we really mean to say, more accurately, removing the emotion, the need to justify oneself and any anger, is: “You have on occasions…” or “Sometimes you…” “I have noticed that recently many/some…”. This will help to defuse any argument that may arise, taking the blame away and helping to identify the problem in a fairer and more honest light. This helps the other person to identify and own their problem, because when we put a label on someone we have judged them, rather than their misdeed.
For example, a person who tells a lie, yes that is wrong, but to call them a liar is to label them as one who perpetually lies, denigrating them and their character, when it may have been a one off event. “You have lied to me.” or ” You have told a lie.” is more accurate, and focuses on the wrong deed and not the person. Of course if they frequently lie. “This person’s word may not be trustworthy, as they have been known to frequently lie.” Thus focusing on their word (action) and removing the character destroying global comment is a healthy, loving and honest way to navigate improving relationships. We all need positive encouragement to do life better, rather than judgmental accusations which tear apart one’s character and cause a person to go on the defensive to protect themselves. Both win when love has prevailed to bring correction and healing.
“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly [is impetuous or rash].” – Proverbs 15:1
“Whoever heeds discipline shows the way to life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray.” – Proverbs 10:17
If you have not already gone to my new aussiebirder YouTube channel click here.
Why not subscribe to my channel. New material will be added from time to time.
Have a wonderful week and stay safe !
W. A. Hewson (Adv. Dip. Counselling & Family Therapy).
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, 2020.