Last weekend my wife and I traveled to Canberra to visit family and enjoy a 16 course degustation dinner at an exclusive restaurant, by a hatted chef. On our way we stopped for lunch at Kiki’s in the Grove. This beautifully located cafe/restaurant is situated on a hill overlooking an olive grove on the Federal Highway, at Collector on te way to Canberra. Unexpectedly (the unexpected is normal when I am around) I found a new market for my book and all of 10 travelling copies were immediately consigned, as this shop has a large throughput due to its location and wonderful food and coffee, and best of all the owners loved my book. We were both delighted with this blessing, which would later be followed bu another.
While in Canberra we took a walk briefly through their Botanic Gardens, which we had visited some years ago. It was very busy as the locals were making the most of the Spring sunshine. On arrival, before alighting our car, we were greeted by a pair of chorusing Australian Magpie (‘eastern black-backed’ race tibicen), as they communicated to nearby clans. The Australian Magpie is unique in it has two separate sets of muscle in the syrinx allowing it to produce two separate sounds at the same time one to two octaves apart, which gives it the chorus effect. When a family of Magpies do this together as a chorus it can be threatening to other Magpies and birds as they mark their territory against impending intruders. The Magpie is not a bird to take lightly, it is not only very intelligent but very powerful, fast and with a beak that can inflict deep wounds.
As we toured the various types of gardens we noticed this male Satin Bowerbird moving about in the trees around us, watching our movements. I knew that there must be a bower nearby, so I tested my theory by pursuing it with my camera, and each time it would move.
After a few minutes I was able to roughly triangulate where I thought the bower would be located, of course it would be hidden out of sight beneath a bush.
Sadly it was a very poorly kept bower, quite pathetic to say the least, which would explain why the many females touring around were not entertained there. We could hear him practicing his repertoire inside the bush. Not long after we saw several females moving about, as there were several bowers in the gardens.
As we walked through the rainforest section we were greeted by the noisy incessant chatter of a family of White-browed Scrubwren, a tiny bird that spends most its time foraging under small bushes as it chatters along. This family had several young ones, all chattering to one another as they foraged quickly.
Another rainforest bird the Eastern Yellow Robin was sitting quietly alone in the dark shade of some thick trees. I was hoping for a flight shot, but not today.
As I watched the Robin I looked in the distance through a hole in the trees to detect a male Australian King Parrot feeding overexposed in the brilliant sunlight.
A White-throated Treecreeper was climbing nearby. Then I noticed they were a pair.
This Eastern Water Dragon caught the attention of a group of visitors.
But this heavily banded male Superb Fairy-wren took the cake. Have you ever seen so many bands on such a tiny delicate bird ? How on earth did they get them on it, surely it must be uncomforable.
Which leaves us with this series on the Eastern Spinebill, a small honeyeater.
The next morning I heard the loud raucous call of several Channel-billed Cuckoo being pursued relentlessly by my own local Noisy Miner coalition being headed up of course by ‘Noisy’ himself. They had been called in by the nesting Pied Currawong to mob these sneaking birds, as they attempted to do a switch on their eggs. Almost every morning this process takes place, with the alpha male Magpie often included. Here’s what I got, sadly it was a bright diffused cloudy sky, so much work had to be done to master the photos from the silhouette. It may be an adult and immature, the smaller certainly did not look like a juvenile.
One of the three, possibly the father Cuckoo confronted the angry Miner who was left to stand guard, as the others had left. If they try to leave the tree they were driven into, the Miner wil give a mobbing alarm and in seconds the other coalition members and resident Currawongs and possibly Magpies will be there like rockets to drive them out of their territory.
Recent research into bird behaviour, where birds learn the alarm and mobbing calls of other birds, to enlist their assistance to remove a common enemy, shows that many species that normally dwell in a given geographical area or territory, actually work together, as we do in our local towns and communities. I have noticed that even at the bird baths there order and respect for each local bird species that use it, is being maintained in recent months. We see daily on news reports the unsung heroes of people who step in to help people being attacked or robbed. They respond with no thought of the danger they could face, as these offenders are often armed and desperate. This is very inspiring to us and to our children, as love places itself selflessly between the victim and the perpetrator, with no other reason than to help a fellow human in their moment of distress.
“He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me.
They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the Lord was my support.” – Psalm 18:18
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” – 1 John 4:18
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Have a wonderful week and stay safe. If this is your first visit to my blog, why not check out the rest of my birding website from my Home Page.
There is still a week for you to purchase the unique and beautifulbirdbook “What Birds Teach Us”, the perfect inexpensive Christmas gift, that will continue to give to its reader.
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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.