Last Sunday my wife decided it would be lovely for us to have a birding date as it was a beautiful Autumn day and we had not had much time during the week, so off we went west to Wianamatta Nature Reserve, a place we had not visited for many months. On arrival we had a cuppa and a bite as we sat in the shade and then proceeded to walk, hoping to find the many birds that left during the smoke of the fires early in the year, had returned, but it was very quiet with hardly a sound, until we heard this very high pitched chorus as 20 or more Double-barred Finches. These tiny birds moved in flock across our path and around us.

The strange cry you can hear with the high pitched call in the recording above, is that of the juveniles calling for food, which were sitting together in the shade, but well camouflaged.  It was lovely to see they were still here. Finches are the great survivors, as I explain in my new book release “Flight of a Fledgling”.

Tiny as thy are, this fact along with their flock arrangement contribute to Finches being the best surviving bird in the desert regions of Australia. In fact the Zebra Finch, which I have featured in previous desert locations, is one of the most studied birds, and is bred for scientific study of bird behaviour, for their amazing abilities.

Walking further we saw the only flowering gum in the reserve being frequented by both the New Holland Honeyeater, hidden in the blossom (above) and the Yellow-faced Honeyeater (below) which are the most common Honeyeaters as we move into the Winter months.

Other than the usual call of the Australian Raven, which is found everywhere, the sound of the Yellow-faced Honeyeater and that of the Rufous Whistler were the only birds heard. There was no Red-capped Robin family, they had not returned after the smoke. The Yellow-faced Honeyeater calling…

The male Rufous Whistler was being elusive as was his female partner, as usual, but he stopped evading when he caught an insect. The Rufous and Olive Whistler prefer the dry open woodlands of the west whereas the Golden Prefers the moister rainforest of the coast, though both birds are found together in many areas.

His call is similar to the Golden Whistler and often faster with more staccato, with less variation.

Having exhausted our search we headed off to our favorite fishnchip shop in the historic town of Windsor, which boasts of having the oldest Pub in Australia, the Macquarie Arms Hotel, of which a distant convict ancestor was involved with establishing, having a street named after her behind the hotel. If you would like to read of the intriguing history of this Pub click here.

Macquarie Arms Hotel

We sat having our lunching date in the park and watched the new bridge, which only a few weeks ago was under water as the Hawkesbury river was in one of its largest recorded floods. After an ice-cream and a look in at the markets, we decided to complete our birding date by driving to Bushell’s Lagoon nearby, which we have blogged on many occasions, but not much during Covid. We also realised after all the rain that the waterbirds would be reduced, and they were. We were told by a local that the water level rose 15 feet above the central road access during the flood. These immature Australian Black Swans, joined by a family of Masked Lapwing,  were resting in the warm Autumn sun as their parents went out into the lake.

These Australasian Grebe were out for a day on the water. The bird on the left displays breeding plumage and the one on the right non-breeding (possibly an immature youngster). Both parents normally show breeding plumage and are capable of having up to three broods a year.

The bright green speculum of the Pacific Black Duck caught my eye as they preened together in a little family cluster. Many species of dabbling duck have an iridescent  speculum on their upper-wing primaries, which changes colour depending on the angle of sunlight from green to purple.

So did this Eastern Great Egret alone on the lake, when usually there are many.

We watched for some time as this tiny White-plumed Honeyeater plunged repeatedly into the water and flew back into the thick reeds. We thought it may have been getting water for its young.

Sitting in the reeds nearby this Australian Reed-warbler was keeping it’s eye on us. It was in non breeding plumage.

This mother Grey Teal led here babies away when she saw us,

and this Willy Wagtail kept trying to get our attention as he did not want to miss being in Aussiebirder’s blog post.

This little Brown Thornbill got my attention with his little chirp.

So another lovely birding date, despite low bird numbers, and just to top the post off I will include some photos of our famous Rainbow Lorikeets feeding on the seed pods of our native Casuarina Trees in our local Nature Reserve.


Have a wonderful week and remember birding is healthy for body, mind and spirit as I mention in my Benefits of Birding page.

For those who have not explored my books yet, why not, it could not only be the perfect gift for a Birthday or just a gift to a loved one, or even for yourself, for I can assure you that you will not be disappointed. This book is selling in amazing numbers at present throughout and outside our state, and I have had several booksellers including National Parks and other visitor centres tell me it is their best selling product. Overseas visitors and bloggers were some of my best buyers pre Covid. The two book Special is still available here.


While I was walking alone quietly this week in my local reserve enjoying a mindful meditative moment, I was given the schema for my next book Australian Bird Reflections, Daily Meditations for Living. I was brought to realise the importance of this work and the need for a very simple but thought provoking daily meditation, being made aware that our busy Western society has lost the value and art of meditative reflection, which is an important feature for daily: personal emotional restoration; listening to God and responding to his thoughts; reevaluating our lives, relationships and behaviour; and regrouping our thoughts to make changes in our behaviour for success, This is practiced in many of the world’s cultures, and throughout the Bible. Again I would use the birds as a springboard. This work will have a practical spiritual approach, which will help to bring healing to various aspects to one’s busy anxious life. A non spiritual aspect of reflective assessment is discussed in my new book as a healthy life skill to adopt.

“If only you would be altogether silent! For you, that would be wisdom.” – Job 13:5 (NIV)

“Tremble and do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent.” – Psalm 4:4

“I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.” – Psalm 77:12

Meditation can bring to fruition events of blessing to our lives as it did to Isaac when God brought his future bride to him:

He went out to the field one evening to meditate,  and as he looked up, he saw camels approaching. Rebekah also looked up and saw Isaac.”  – Genesis 24:63,64


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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, 2021.

 

18 Comments »

  1. Hello Ash (and Mrs Ash!),
    What a wonderful birding date! Given the current (unfortunately worsening) situation in my country, my husband and I have not been able to get out and about nearly as much as we would like. I am in agreement, the Double-Barred Finch is beautiful and we look forward to learning more about finches when we receive your next book. (We continue to check our post each day!) Rainbow Lorikeets never cease to bring a smile to our faces, and as today is quite rainy and dreary in our town, their bright color is a ray of sunshine to our hearts.

    During my time away from the computer (and despite the ongoing pandemic) my husband and I were able to have 2 special bird trips. I look forward to telling you more about in more detail very soon. May you have a blessed evening ahead.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Takami, due to reduced flights to Japan, I am not sure that the books have left the country yet, as they say they are waiting for a flight. I am keeping track for you and will let you know when I know it is in your country. Yes the Rainbows are a delight to see and hear their excited chatter each day as they feed on the flowers in trees and gardens around us. We are both delighted you both have had time away from the monitor to enjoy a birding date out together, sounds exciting and look forward to your report. Enjoy your weekend my friend !

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much Monica for your kind comments it is greatly appreciated. Our birds continue to surprise and entertain us with their antics and I love sharing them with those from other countries as they share their birds with me. Thank you for coming along on our walk, and I hope visit again and Follow. Enjoy your week and stay safe 🙂

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    • Thanks Donna, we do enjoy our times out together it is a special bond we share, and we are blessed when we see different birds. The Covid has prevented us travelling these last two years so we are getting a bit overdue for a holiday and our next lifer.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think it’s wonderful that you continue to have your birding dates, spending quality time together and knowing you are doing something you both enjoy makes these moments special, and the sighting of your regular visitors and even a new bird sighting makes these occasions a special memory to share. And the new book idea sounds great too! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Sue, yes we do enjoy our days out, especially when we can mingle it with a meal and a look in the markets. The new book is doing well and many booksellers have taken it on board, as it is very unique similar to the previous but with more depth and self help counselling info for life outside the Nest.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m so glad Willy made it into your blog post!! What a very lovely outing you and your wife had…I love you birding dates that you share with the rest of us to enjoy! I look forward to reading about the pub as well. The green on the pacific black duck is truly stunning, I have never seen that color on any of our birds. I need to look into getting your latest book and I really like the title of your upcoming one! God bless and enjoy your beautiful autumn weather…just the word autumn brings happy thoughts.:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Jen, for your encouraging words. So glad you enjoy our birding dates. Your Green-winged Teal over there has a bright green speculum apparently, which is how it gets its name, as its wing is not green, only the speculum. Yes this book is more for teens and young adults, and help them navigate life using the birds and some of the latest scientific research to do so. While again I steer clear of God talk, it holds the heart of God for in its message, similar to the last, and deals with issues like faith hope and love in a non confronting manner. Identity and relationships as well as navigating the pitfalls and difficult seasons of life are important areas our youngsters need to be equipped to handle so as to make good choices and develop healthy attitudes to move forward for success in life. I have had one young adults already give me very positive feed back. It is a unique personal counseling book in a nutshell. So glad to have you back online again, you are always very encouraging and you are missed. It certainly has been most extraordinary two years for us all. Blessings and favour to you and your family, enjoy your weekend my friend 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. A great way to spend time with your special person. Simple things like a lunch together in a new location always seems to bring a special feel to the moment

    Double-barred are wonderful photos. We have to drive for hours to see them, and then its more luck than dependability.

    Keep enjoying those times of ‘stress-relief’.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks David, yes we do love our birding dates, especially when we do it impromptu, on a beautiful crisp clear Autumn day. Finches are amazing birds with a tight flock organisation, I admire their ability to survive and multiply, and their faithfulness to the flock. Ours thankfully have stayed put despite the drought, smoke and rain of the last two years whereas many other species have not returned to this reserve. Thanks again, and so glad you and your good lady are also enjoying being out and about again. Praying your wife has her knees repaired soon as it must be difficult for her. Enjoy your weekend my friend 🙂

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  5. What a wonderful idea, a birding date. My husband is getting into birds a lot more and will here one singing and stop and ask me what it is. Most of the time I know the answer. A wonderful way to get him out into the woods and watch for birds as well. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Sandra, yes making it a date makes it all that more special when there is other activities your hubby might like inter-meshed in the outing, especially a nice lunch and an ice-cream. That a good beginning for him that he is starting to recognize birds, some of our friends have started doing the same, and are now keen to come out with us when they can. This why my first book sold so well as it identified the birds but shared interesting characteristics about each bird. Most locals know very little and have no interest about their birds till they meet us or other birders, I would imagine it is the same for you also. 🙂

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  6. Thank you brother, for sharing your inspiring date with us! Your photos and videos are beautiful. I’m playing them while sitting with my kitten Starry Night – he’s anxiously looking for the birds all around!
    Your message on meditation moved my heart, it cannot be overstated at all. The wisdom of God speaks through our meditation upon His precious word and creation.
    Thank you Ashley for drawing our hearts to the Lord. I thank your wife too – surely such a helpmate and partner adds to your heart’s wealth!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Lisa Beth, I am delighted you enjoyed my post, and also for Starry Night 🙂 Thankfully these birds are safe from him. Yes we need to stop regularly and meditate on our Lord, his wonderful personal and character as well as his marvelous deeds which his Word amplifies. Yes my wife is a great encourager and supporter, and we are so blessed we share our love of birds together. I just arrived home to find she left me a note telling me she loves me and a picture she drew of her face with a big kiss. 🙂 Enjoy your week, richest blessings to you both dear sister.

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