White-browed and Yellow-throated Scrubwren

Last week I needed a walk so I went into the darker part of the rainforest beneath the thick tall tree canopy of the Royal National Park, or Nasho to us.  I was hoping to complete my walk before the the cloudy windy weather set in, but it came earlier than predicted, and suddenly dark the forest became. I did not see many birds on this occasion, and the photos I have featured here have all been light enhanced, so evidence of image noise will be apparent. With rainforest photos it is often unavoidable, especially when the sun is hiding. The one delightful find was to see several active White-browed Scrubwrens jumping, flitting and chattering loudly around about me, as if I was invisible. The icing on the cake was to find among them a different species we seldom see, the Yellow-throated Scrubwren (both pictured above). One little guy had an insect and was wanting to take it to its nest but would not move till I turned away, so as to keep the nest location secret.

Many of Australia’s rainforest birds spend their time foraging among the dense damp leaf litter on the dark forest floor. I would not have seen the Yellow-throated Scrubwren, and easily mistaken it for is cousin, had I not due to poor light, just taken images willy-nilly, as it was not till after post production at home that I detected the difference.

One of the features of the rainforest are the Bird’s Nest Fern, epiphytes found high up in the ancient tall straight rainforest trees, which some birds, have been known to nest in.

One of the most commonly seen birds in rainforests, the Eastern Yellow Robin will always make its presence known along the track, due to its curious nature, and the hope that as you walk you will turn up and disturb insects on the ground. I saw this guy for several minutes, but he sat in darkness, so most of my photos are of very poor quality. This Robin feeds primarily from the ground, diving on insects and worms, then returning with them to the same branch. This guy watched me from a distance, which was unusual.

 

This is how we usually like to see it, up close and personal. Notice its curious look…

Many of the tall rainforest trees here produce native fruits which provide food which is why most of the canopy dwelling birds, such as Top-knot Pigeon, Brown Cuckoo-dove, Green Catbird and Satin Bowerbird are fruit eaters.

They follow the fruiting trees feeding high out of sight above the canopy, and are seldom seen, just the sounds of falling fruit is heard. While these birds fly frequently, most of the forest floor foragers seldom need to fly. These include the Eastern Whipbird, Bassian Thrush, Australian Logrunner and Superb Lyrebird, all of which are found in the area I was walking. Here are photos from previous walk sightings here. Note the beautiful camouflage plumage of the Bassian Thrush and Logrunner. Both these birds stand perfectly still when they sense being observed, and so blend in well with their surroundings.  Data from research on rainforests has stated that the foraging of Lyrebirds and other forest floor dwellers contributes to prevention of bushfires in forests they inhabit.

The Wonga Pigeon is an exception to the other fruit eating pigeons in that it tends to forage on the forest floor similar to the other floor foragers, eating insects and fallen fruit. If you listened to my Avian Aria last week, this bird was the very first bird calling.

There are other birds that feed above rain forest canopy which include the Sulphur-crested and Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo, but do not live in the forest, which is why they are not included. The featured birds above are the most common residents I see on my walks. The only way they can be noticed is usually by their call. If they remain silent you could walk through the forest and easily miss them as they are all good at camouflage and remaining still when observed. One unique bird which is heard loudly calling here, as it ascends the tree, and inhabits both lower and upper canopy areas, is the White-throated Treecreeper. Most untrained observers can never detect it, as it blends into the bark of the dark tree, and usually climbs on the dark side of the tree. This is a female, noted because of the orange ear marking.

Of the lower canopy feeders the Lewins Honeyeater (also a fruit and nectar eater) is the most common, along with the Scrubwrens (featured earlier) and the Brown Gerygone (featured last post).


 

For those who listened to my Avian Aria last post and tried guessing the bird calls click here for the answers.

I congratulate Sue from My Wild Australia blog for getting closest to the answer, well done Sue ! Check out Sue’s blog where she has recently been featuring beautiful and interesting birds and places in Tasmania.


Have a wonderful week and remember the perfect gift for your loved ones, to encourage them in birdwatching is only a few clicks away.

The encouraging news is that my next book is now with the publisher and on course for an early 2021 release. 

A Big Thank You to the many loyal blog followers who have already purchased the book, and shared how they have enjoyed it. You can also read some of their reviews at the foot of the purchase page.


As mentioned above, one of the challenges of birding in rainforests is poor light, and the way birds either hide on the forest floor beneath bushes and palms or high up in and above the canopy, both very dark places for observation, even more so on an overcast day. Birds tend to move about more and call frequently when the weather is crisp, warm and sunny, with no more than a slight breeze. This enables the birds to see the colour of blossom and source their food more easily, communicating their whereabouts as they go. Birds tend to be much quieter and less detectable in very hot, windy or rainy weather. This is why we see less bird activity in the middle of the day during Summer months. Singing and moving about burns energy which creates heat, so many birds rest in shade and are quieter in the heat of the day, as was featured in my recent post.  It is wise to conserve one’s energy and work with the current conditions or circumstances rather than angrily react against them, because they do not fulfill our immediate expectations.

Wedge-tailed Eagle soaring on the thermals.

Peace and contentment come from being able to appreciate and adjust to changing circumstances, just as the birds do and demonstrate so well. Character growth comes with challenges in life. A CEO of a very large successful company had a sign above his head, which said: “There is no such thing as problems or failures, only challenges and opportunities.” This immediately resets our attitude, re framing our mindset and placing us on a positive path to accept and work with the difficult aspects of our lives, presenting opportunities to learn and invent new ways and skills to adapt and achieve our goals.

 I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” – Philippins 4:11-13 (NIV)

Do not be angry and frustrated.  Do not fret. That only leads to trouble.” – Psalms 37:8 (NET)


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.

 

19 Comments »

  1. Hello again Ash,
    I am finally just about caught up on your beautiful bird posts!
    What a blessing it is, to have such views, especially during those moments when one really needs to take a walk and be closer to nature. Once again, our heartfelt congratulations on your new book. We’ll be among the very first to purchase some copies when they become officially available.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Hans, for your appreciative comments, and for following my blog. I like to make my blog different in that it shares more about bird behaviour and peculiarities rather than juts photos. I did enjoy viewing your blog and some of the beautiful vistas you showcase there. Enjoy your weekend !

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  2. Thanks Ashley! 😀 Some nice photos again in this post too, but I did especially like your last few paragraphs, in particular the bit about working with the current conditions. A few weeks ago I was forced to transfer to another office location and I am being retrained in something new. It has been much more difficult than I expected, in many ways, and there are a lot of challenges to overcome, and it has been very tiring and draining. And it does seem easier to go with the flow, even if it’s not what you want, so you can focus your energy on getting through what’s happening now, rather than focusing on the past. It’s hard now, but it won’t be like this forever, so I’m looking forward to the Christmas break to have a rest and hope to start the new year with some renewed energy. Have a good weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Sue, and so glad that my meditatory words encouraged you, I like to elude interesting life skills from the birds, it makes their study all the more interesting for us, which is behind my desire to write helpful books. I do pray you settle well in your job location change. I remember you sharing that you were concerned some weeks ago while you were having time away that change was possibly coming for you in your job situation. May you have a wonderful new year and a much brighter one, as we all desire after this amazing unexpected 2020 experience, from which we have all grown through. May you also enjoy the remainder of your weekend, as we are now on another Covid alert due to a recent Sydney outbreak, which has caused us to cancel a reunion dinner with friends tonight. Now the state authorities are concerned about the 200 recent travels from our northern beaches area who have just flown to Tassie, so stay safe my friend, and hopefully it will not spread there.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks Ashley, and stay alert up there with the new outbreak. All good here so far. I hope this new strain gets contained quickly and doesn’t spoil Christmas and New Year celebrations for everyone.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Ashley, would be good to have a real rainforest within easy travelling distance. I miss out on a lot because of that.
    We used to work in a very dry Grey Box forest, and for many years there were several families of Eastern Yellow Robins, which I always thought unusual. But we then found more in several other locations.
    Not sure why, but the last couple of years, most of them have disappeared.

    I found them to become quite confiding birds and a delight to work with. Hopefully seasons will change and we can again see some.

    The dreadful fires must have had an effect on the feeding and travel of many birds as some unusual characters have been turning up recently.
    We also had a single White-throated Treecreeper female in one of the areas for many years. Never heard or saw a mate. Yet she was so vocal though the forest.

    You really had a most impressive day out with such a wide range of birds. Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks David, the Robins are always an expected delight every time we go for a walk in the Nasho and are surprised when we do not see them as they are so present and in your face at times. It is sad that particular birds have disappeared during the fires, such as the one family of Red-capped Robin out west and the flock of Rufous Fantails never appeared last winter. It is sad when a lone bird is seen without a mate, and always begs the question why. It is sad when you hear a lonely bird calling for a mate which never appears, as I heard a few weeks ago from a Dollarbird. It is great you are enjoying being out and about again, it has been so hot and humid here again that it has not been good out, and now there is new Covid outbreak to contend with which has everyone in Sydney concerned. Enjoy your weekend my friend.

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  4. It never ceases to amaze me what a rich and vibrant variety of birds you share in each post, AB! I love the little videos and I think the Scrub Wrens are my favorite species. This probably sounds very ignorant, but I always tend to think of other places as “rainforest“, and not Australia, though I understand that the variation in your ecosystems is immense.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks BJ so delighted our rainforest birds delight you, and there are more that are not currently seen in our local forest. Yes we have very diverse habits as you identified, which makes birding all the more wonderful. Every state has subspecies variations and different birds, as well as birds common to all states. Sadly though this year and last year were the first recordings of major dense rainforest burning, this was something never heard of here, which goes to shoe how severe our long hot drought was. We may have lost several species to extinction. Enjoy your week my friend 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • What a very sad about the possible impact on birds! My daughter-in-law previously worked with a company with connections in Australia so I had heard from her about how terrible the fires were this past year. My apologies for not contacting you about the situation – I was away from the blog world for many months. Hope you are all safe and sound! And Covid free!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for your kind concern BJ, I have missed seeing your blogs and comments and wondered how you were going. Thankfully our country has almost eradicated the virus due to good government and co operative citizens, though today we heard of two people testing positive in northern Sydney which raises a concern all over Australia, as our internal borders only just re opened. This could be an ongoing trend with this very extraordinary virus, which has given us a very extraordinary year. Thanks for your kind words and praying for your safety also my friend.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Cindy, yes they are so essential to sustaining our ecosystems and life itself for us humans, they are sure blessing and gift. I love hearing my local bird friends each morning and watching them enjoy our bird baths and feed on on our native flowers. They have learned to trust me and protect our area from vagrant pests.

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  5. Thanks so much Donna for your kind words, I will look into why you were unable to comment. Thanks also for encouragement for my next book, it has been an amazing journey getting this far so fast. Enjoy your week. 🙂

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  6. Hi Ashley, first congratulations on completing your book! I was able to catch up with your posts but couldn’t leave comments, but know I was so happy to read your last post. What a celebratory walk you accomplished, so many beautiful birds in it and this post. You were rewarded wonderfully!

    Liked by 1 person

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