As time unrelentingly drives us into 2021 we all hope for a better year, but for many it is already appearing to look a lot like the last, as new spikes and clusters occur and restrictions are again enforced.  The lone Royal Spoonbill stands high on a dead tree overlooking Lake Albert in Wagga Wagga pondering the New Year on its first day, as the wind blows through its breeding plumage.

The Australian Pelican joined the Spoonbill possibly curious as to what it was seeing up there, and then a pair came to also see, finally one left for the water, having failed to catch the Spoonbills vision.

What unknown events and experiences lie before each of us in this new age of uncertainty and rapidly changing circumstances, only time will tell ? Our year started with the morning chorus of the Australian eastern Magpie calling to another magpie from a nearby clan. This little guy is still immature and about 2 years old. Listen to the changes in vocal content communicated between the birds as these highly intelligent birds converse.

An older and younger Magpie greet us on New Years Morning

Later my wife’s niece showed us a walk along the Murrumbidgee River in Wagga Wagga where we saw beautiful old River Gums and a very large flock of Long-billed Corella grazing on the grassy horse paddocks nearby. These birds have become more frequent in eastern Australia in recent years and vary from the Little Corella (which we have at home) in that they have a longer beak, bright red lores and a red neck line marking. Similar to others of the Parrot family they pair for life.

This one caused me to consider on this first day as he scratched his head pensively while looking at me.

Young Nikki, my wife’s niece, has been confined to a wheel chair for several years and she said she would love to see a Sacred Kingfisher by the river. I sent up a silent prayer for one to appear, as we could hear one calling but could not see it, and one appeared to me on a branch just then on a nearby tree in the horse paddock, which was an instant delight to us all, as she viewed it through my wife’s binocs.

The local council had developed lovely walks and wetlands access to a portion of the river where we saw this small brood of juvenile Australasian Grebe with parent displaying breeding plumage.

My wife sighted a black snake swimming rapidly in the water nearby, but I was not able to capture a shot of it as it approached the grassy bank. Later returning to the lake we saw a pair of Galah, a bird commonly found in large flocks out west, another member of the Parrot family that pairs for life.

But the bird I wanted to see again was the Dusky Woodswallow which was nesting last time we visited and now has a couple of juvenile offspring which the parent guarded relentlessly, attacking approaching birds and even myself at times.

It was good also to review the PeeWee  (Magpie-lark) family as we saw the mother with her hungry child. Notice the face markings, as these determine both sex and maturity.

Another bird we love seeing here are the Red-rumped Parrot pairs, and yes they were here by the river feeding on grass seed and resting in the shade with their young. The female is green with a green rump and the male has a beautiful iridescent turquoise head with a red rump. I was delighted to see a juvenile sitting with its mother in the shade, as well as an unusual view of an immature male sitting near a Little Friarbird in the shade..

The tiny White-plumed Honeyeater, another bird we see inland here had a youngster also she was feeding.

We saw a lone Little Friarbird, which is another honeyeater also quietly foraging.

Lastly the other bird we love to see here which is only found inland south, the Yellow Rosella which is strangely classified as the Yellow Crimson Rosella.

A wonderful New Years Day birding gift to start the year, for which we were truly thankful. There were of course other birds, but it just all gets to big to include them.

Have a lovely first week of 2021 as best you can considering the current circumstances. 

If this is your first visit to my blog, you will find lots more interesting info on birding and bird behaviour in my web site pages and at my Home Page.

I will let you know more about my new book as we move through the publishing process in the month ahead.

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One of the topics covered in my new book is about flying with purpose and the importance of using our time wisely by having good achievable life goals for each year. The adult Dusky Woodswallow below is flying with purpose to protect its offspring from intruders and possible predators. It is wise for me to have a sense of purpose and direction for this year, even though some areas are closed to me, such as school talks due to the continuing Covid. I seek the Lord’s guidance, since the manufacturer knows whats best for the product he has made, and it is wise to follow his instructions for a enjoyable and fulfilling life. Below are some words from one of the world’s wisest and wealthiest kings, Solomon, to take us into the new year: 


In their hearts humans plan their course,  but the Lord establishes their steps.” – Proverbs 16:9

Trust in the Lord with all your heart  and lean not on your own understanding;  in all your ways submit to him,   and he will make your paths straight.  Do not be wise in your own eyes;  fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.” – Proverbs 3: 5-8 (NIV)

Sadly, James the Just, brother to Jesus, wrote these words to people who had lost focus on their primary life goal and become selfish, self focused and distracted:

You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” – James 4:2-3

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.




  1. Hello Ash!
    First and foremost a very Happy New Year to you and Mrs H!
    Thank you very much for your messages (we received them safely!) and I’m sorry for the long silence. As you have already observed, the ongoing pandemic continues to affect the world including our country. It has been a manic couple of weeks but we are doing well and staying safe. I will write a detailed update soon, so please look forward to it 🙂

    What a treat to “start off” the year with more views and insight into your beautiful Australian birds! I am so happy your prayer was answered, and your niece was blessed with views of the Sacred Kingfisher! Seeing the Australasian Grebes (I think our Little Grebes are the same subspecies!) raising their young brought a ray of hope to my day.

    With our continued best wishes and prayers to you and Mrs H – I’ll be in touch soon!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Takami, so pleased you are both doing well. We prayed an additional prayer for you both before we went to sleep last night, and I read this message the next morning. We likewise have had renewed concerns which have made Sydney a hot spot and masks are mandatory or fines ensure. It has been a concern for my wife especially when people with symptoms present untested having to send them away. The Lord gave us a lovely New Years day away sharing it with my wife’s family. Yes the Australasian Grebe was reclassified from the name Australian Little Grebe and may be known by people overseas as the Australasian Little Grebe, so yes they are virtually the same with very minor differences but in a different location. Many of our birds were reclassified into new subspecies for geographical correctness, I mention this in my next book. The Purple Swamphen is now the Australasian Swamphen etc. The amazing thing about these birds is that they spend their whole life on the water and almost never come to land. Enjoy your week my friend. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Hans, it is always wonderful start to the day to hear the morning chorus, especially the Magpie with its very unique dual sounding notes. I guess winter must be a very quiet time for your birds in the snow if they have not migrated they would be trying to find food or access their food stashes..


      • Yes, it’s starting to get quiet in the woods. Those who overwinter are busy finding something edible, even though the winters have become significantly milder in the last 20 years. But the other day I could get close to a flock of four different tit’s just by imitating a small sparrow owl. They do not like it.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, I have never seen a pelican in a tree. That would be quite the sight. And the magpies are so cool looking. There is a post where they put photos of the spoonbills down in Florida and they are pink there. So pretty all of them. I love the scripture, lean not on your own understanding. Those are such powerful words in these trying times. I lean on the One who knows all. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Sandra, so true it is such peace to know we have One so big and also so loving to lean on in these uncertain and dangerous times, it is a great comfort. We love seeing Spoonies, especially in their breeding plumage with their amazing hair dos. Yes those pink ones that your folk have posted recently are so bright and beautiful, almost like flamingos in colour.


  3. Sounds, and looks, like a great start to the year.
    I remember this time last year we were leaving a fire zone and the air was thick with a rich yellow smoke.
    Fortunately none of our family were directly impacted, but it was a stange way to spend the start of the year at a fire refuge saftey area. Little did we know then as we all sat around in close groups that such an activitiy was going to be just about impossible this year.
    Best of luck with your planning.

    We currently have a nesting Sacred Kingfisher on the go. Dorothy (EE to the blog readers) found it about 3 weeks back, and the young will be on the wing before we know it.

    Duskys always are a pleasure to find and the calls of the young have a distinct sound all their own.
    Most seasons we get remarkable numbers, but so far its been more a handful here and there.
    Bee-eaters are the same, despite much searching we have not had a good influx in our normal areas.
    Perhaps the action is further inland this season.
    Been watching the ABC series Australia Remastered narrated by Aaron Pederson. The insight into the seasons as the original peoples saw it, has bene fascinating and caused us to ponder quite a bit.

    Looking forward to seeing your vision of the world around you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks David, yes quite a different start to the year, free of smoke, but not free of virus. I was speaking with my publisher this morning and we laughed at how things virus wise are repeating like this time last year, when I was in the throws of publishing also at this time. Love the Kingfishers, yes our wives are great spotters, and we have been witnessing several arboreal ant nests raising youngsters. We have grown accustomed to their yappy calls. We also have grown fond of Duskys they are good parents. I love the way they glide. We never see Bee-eaters here, have to go inland and north, hope numbers pick up, we are concerned that many were incinerated down south and have not appeared here this summer. We were delighted to see one Rufous Fantail a week ago, but that was all, as we missed seeing them in Winter when we normally do. Yes the seasons of our original inhabitants make more sense, especially in the top end. I did see a doco on that in a bus when touring up there many years ago. It is very interesting as their weather patterns are different to the northern hemisphere. Have you seen any Red Capped around down there, we have lost our only family during the smoke last year and never returned. Thanks for your encouraging words, and all the best to you and Dorothy for the new year. One day when all this clears we hope to finally do a road trip through your area to the Ocean Road again, but two years have passed and we have not been able. Not even sure now whether my grand son can come next week or we can visit my other grandies and friends ina couple more, it is day by day here as we now are learning to live with compulsory masks for the first time. Hope the weather fines up for some birding, at least we are getting rain, and some classic Victorian winter weather in the midst of Summer, which I love, as I hate the humidity, and love the cool southerlies and noreasters. Enjoy your week and stay safe my friend 🙂


  4. I am always delighted when you share your corellas and parrots, I so wish we had these colorful birds here in the U.S. (besides at the zoo!). Your captures of the lone pelican on the crooked branch with the blue sky and clouds are marvelous! I am so glad 2020 is over with, but I do worry whether we will reach any normalcy before the end of 2021. You’re right, time will tell.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Donna, yes we are blessed with a wonderful selection of beautiful Parrots, many with various names, and all very capable of learning speech and becoming multi lingual. Yes we are currently experiencing a resurgence after an amazing period free of virus and we are so pleased our government are so pro active in tracking down suspects. They even trace the sewerage each day to find traces of the virus in areas. We have to wear masks now and may not get to see our grandies as planned these summer holidays so it is day by day for us, praying that it might still take place. Keep safe my friend and enjoy the week.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. You get to see so many nice birds, Ashley. We are in winter and most of birds have migrated from my area. I have only the locals. You’re lucky to have such variety at hand. Good post, my friend. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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