Having returned this week from a one week birding and book marketing tour of some the western cities and towns of our state, our first holiday for the year, being unable to holiday interstate due to closed borders, we are very thankful and grateful, considering many are in lock down or suffering much greater restrictions. It was so lovely to visit the places where my book is sold and to be warmly greeted and sometimes excitedly received. It was great to see how the Covid has been a blessing to the sale of my book, as many who would normally holiday outside our state, are making the most of touring it, many for the first time. The feed back has been wonderfully encouraging. Here are just a few of the places we visited where my book is selling well:
After the long initial drive up the east coast to the Mid North Coast NSW, near where I use to live, my wife and I spent the night in a quiet Golf Course Motor Inn at Wingham. We love staying at this place as it is very quiet and off the highway on a golf course, where we always find many birds, as we dodge the occasional stray golf ball. You can see from the photo below, the view from our room is beautiful. The afternoon light shone into the tall trees exposing clearly the birds which were busily getting their last feed for the day in, joining the Evening Chorus, as they prepare for their approaching sleep.
We kept hearing a high pitched ringing call from several birds, which sounded a lot like the Willy Wagtail. As we both looked into the trees I became a little exasperated as I could not see the bird anywhere. Willy usually boldly makes himself known to you, as you shall see in further posts, especially during nesting time, which is now. Then my wife recalled the sound we had recently heard in the local Nasho (The Royal NP), a bird we only had a brief glimpse of and photo of, the Scarlet Honeyeater, which had been a bit like chasing the Scarlet Pimpernel, as we had only heard it but it eluded us during the Winter months. The afternoon Nor-Easter was blowing at the time, so wind noise was present.
Sure enough, as we started looking in the flowering native bushes nearby we were blessed with a multiplicity of male and females in amazing afternoon light. They are so fast moving, and very shy of humans that they tend to keep well away. They also camouflage well in the red flowers they feed from. Spring is the most active time for Honeyeaters as they gorge the nectar rich blossoms of our native plants. The interesting fact to the converse of our most nectar producing native flowers, is that they grow best in the poorest of soils.
We were so glad for perfect conditions, as we believed this was a gift to us, making up for the absence of these birds in our local area. We looked forward to the evening and coming day when we would spend catch up time with friends and family, who I have not seen now for a year, due to Covid. Here are some shots of the male feeding.
The female Scarlet, as with many species, has much less colouring, keeping her safer from predatorial attack when nesting, as explained in my YouTube Channel video. We did not get a glimpse of a female Scarlet, which is basically brown with a small amount of orange/red on the face only. She may have been nesting already, as many birds are now (Spring). However we did see a couple of immature males having outings with their dad, which is typical of many Australian species, where the male is responsible for the training and feeding of the youngsters.
I noticed that several adult males were flying together with their young males, in a similar way to Magpies.
An interesting observation from studying our bird behaviours are the identifiable behavioural characteristics peculiar to each specific species. For example the Whistlers tend to tilt their head and look upwards a lot, whereas the Scarlet Honeyeater tends to look downwards a lot.
This was a lovely start to our whirlwind western tour. We enjoyed a lovely meal with friends and set off the next day further inland to a friend’s 50th party. As we visited each town along the way I would drop in to meet and greet the various sellers of my book, which was being sold in most of the towns and cities we visited. One aspect we observed the whole time away, was the aggressive behaviour between particular bird species, from which I collected data for my next YouTube video on Why Are Australian Birds So Aggressive ?
I will let you know when it is posted. You can purchase my book from one of many stores throughout NSW and various other cities throughout Australia, as well as online here on my website. This easy to read and beautifully illustrated book is the perfect introduction to the peculiar characteristics of our most popular Australian birds, from which helpful life lessons are gleaned.
The perfect Christmas or Birthday gift for any age, but especially for Primary School aged children, where it may spark an interest in bird observing, a healthy outdoor recreation. Thank you for the many blog followers who have purchased one or more copies of my book, now in its larger and improved Second Edition, and thank you to those who are supportive in prayer and encouragement for the publication of my second book.
Visiting the country town of Gunnedah, which was once known as the Koala capital before the drought, we saw the statue in honour of Dorothea Mackellar, one of Australia’s famous poets, who resided in that area. She is known most of all for her poem My Country (full version originally written as The Core of My Heart). I learnt at school to recite the excerpt of the poem below, which beautifully depicts our unique country:
I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror
The wide brown land for me!
As I was returning to the country which I love, as a country boy, I was reminded of the similar feelings I shared with Dorothea, who wrote her poem while living some years in England as a home sick young woman who had grown to love Australia’s outback and yearned to return, which she later did. Part of my birding experience is the land and its rugged beauty, as I do not like living in a crowded, noisy, polluted city.
We all experience yearnings, for a better place or better circumstances, often wanting to relive enjoyable times on our lives, especially at present with the virus lock-downs and the many losses and curtailment of civil privileges. The truth is we can not go back only forward. Disappointment is the outcome of unfulfilled expectations, which if unresolved may eventually result in Depression. I knew when I returned to towns I lived in or near for many years, things would not be the same, and that I needed a fresh new view of things as they really are. Too many people get stuck in their past, romanticizing past experiences, but we will now be faced with a new normal, post Covid. It is not healthy to live in the past, on our past feelings and experiences, but only to learn from them. It is important to stay connected to the present, looking into the future with hope.
The wonderful truth about our Creator is that he is always in the present. When Moses asked for the name of the One who sent him, he was told: Tell them I am, who I am has sent me to you. We live and grow in a time and space confined universe, but there is hope of a timeless always present experience offered by that same One, which has been made available to each of us, to escape the decay and declension of our current world, which scientists can concur, reluctantly to their conflicting philosophies, that the world is in fact breaking down and not building up or evolving into a better place. Ask the Koalas what they think. If you want to explore what I believe as a scientist who believes in a Creator, you can explore my Bird Sanctuary page, where you will find hope, help and peace for the present. Be aware that much of modern counselling is based on Judeo-Christian Biblical principles.
Have a wonderful week as best you can and keep safe and be at peace. Our prayers are daily for you, especially those we know that are in lock-down and suffering loss at this time. Next week I will continue our road trip out west. If you have a quiet moment in which to self reflect, read Psalm 139 verses 1 to 18 and consider we are in this together not just with each other.
W. A. Hewson (Adv. Dip. Counselling & Family Therapy).
‘To introduce people to our unique Australian birds,
So we can learn from them how to live a healthy and happy life.’
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.