Spoonbills Rising

We both needed a walk and being it Sunday afternoon we made our way to our local Oatley Park Reserve, of course a little birding was included as always. As I have shared previously, this time of year we have the least bird numbers as we move into Winter months and the migrant birds fly north to warmer days.

Royal Spoonbill clan – Resting between tides

Numbers are down also as a result of the previous drought, fires, smoke and heavy rain to name a few. However, it was to our delight to see the return of the Royal Spoonbill clan of about eight birds as the breeding season has finished and they return from hiding, as they demand great secrecy when nesting. The sight and sound of a human may cause them to abandon their nest. Our first noted behaviour as we watched with interest was this interaction of a meddling Australian White Ibis disturbing one of the clan.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

As the tide was coming in on a creek, where these and several other waterbird species forage at low tide on the Mangrove mud flats, we spotted this little clan standing in rest mode (i.e.  on one leg with head turned and bill pressed below the back feathers with just eyes showing). I wish I could turn my head around like that. Here is a little story concocted from what we watched as the clan stood together in the centre of the creek on the highest point as the tide quickly came in.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Spoonbills use a sweeping action with their partially open spatulated bills to feed as they wade through the water. As small aquatic insects, brine shrimp and tiny fish touch the inside of their bill they snap it shut and swallow. This pair were working the water previously. The bill limits them to work water about 40 cm deep, so as the tide comes and goes out in they must stop at a certain point and this is when they rest.

This action is shared in my first book, where the Spoonbill is showcased as being Time-wise. Not to be outdone by the Spoonies this Australian Pelican was demonstrating his solo stalking action on fish as he pushes a small school toward the bank of the mud flat and then scoops them up. Normally they do this as a clan or family group, but this bird is very clever and has many ways to catch a fish, as shared again in my first book, where the Pelican is showcased as Resourceful.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This grand Eastern Great Egret was standing in the creek by the mud flat alongside some preening  Chestnut Teal.

Eastern Great Egret
Male Chestnut Teal

It was good to see our White Ibis actually feeding in the way they were meant on mud flats and wetlands instead of raiding garbage bins and messing in the suburbs of Sydney where they have become quite a problem being aptly named ‘Bin Chickens

Australian White Ibis ‘Bin Chicken’

As we walked along the track to the freshwater Ponds area we were amazed how quiet the trees were, with just the occasional Thornbill and the usual sound of the Grey Butcherbird and Noisy Miners making commotion in the eucalypt canopy. We did see several juvenile birds from last Summers clutches here in the park. This elusive juvenile Golden Whistler tried evading our view. It will resemble its mother until it adorns mature plumage in a year or two, as it could be male or female.

This juvenile Dusky Moorhen has been growing well each time we see it here. Again the earthy brown grey colours and the beak lacks the mature red and yellow markings.

We noticed this immature Kookaburra sitting quietly alone in the shade. Notice his lack of markings, lightly striped tail and the downy front feathers spreading over the branch, another past season product.

This lone Sulphur-crested Cockatoo was also a youngster from last season as it rests alone by its nesting hole. Note how he fluffs up his plumage around his beak, they do this when they feel content and cozy. If it was doing it being boisterous and moving its wings it would be feeling threatened and trying to make itself look larger in response.

Lastly, this pair of Rainbow Lorikeet appeared to be guarding their nesting hole, which is strange for this time of year, but with the seasons staying warmer longer anything is possible.

Before I finish I would like to share this photo of one of our local Crested Pigeons born in the Bottlebrush Tree which shades these birdbaths. This was an unexpected capture of the full wing spread.

Have a wonderful week everyone and stay safe. 

If this is your first visit to my blog and website, Welcome ! and check out my birding pages from my home page.

If you have not checked out my two books which are available here online click here

You may remember this quiet sleepy scene as the above Spoonbills rest between changing tides, but for the one keeping watch. In particular the one on the far left is soon disturbed from its slumber by a a very spacially unaware White Ibis who moves far to close to the Spoonbill on the left.


One increasing problem with young people today as well as an increasing number of adults, partly due to them being absorbed in their mobile phones and social media, blue tooth ear phones etc is an increasing lack of respect for them being spacially aware of others moving around them, In one store I remember an older woman berating a young women for colliding with her three times during the course of the time she was in the store, simply because there is this new idea that if I pretend that I am not mindfully present you will avoid colliding with me. People are killed and injured every year for the same reason when crossing roads. In the course of a year I have had six people collide with me because they were walking without watching where they were going. I see parents neglecting their children when their child desperately wants and needs them to play with them, absorbed and addicted lost in their cyber world. The solution of many parents is to occupy their children with digital media also, movies and games, with no parental interaction, which is so vital to their healthy development and relationship building. This is not a good sign for the future of parenting or for looking out for each other, which is the true Aussie Spirit. Like the Ibis above, we need to become more spacially aware of what is taking place in real time around us at all times. This is why our government has implemented Mobile Phone Detection Cameras over our motorways to catch out and fine those dangerously using their phones while driving. Sadly, despite advertising and fines many continue to do so and many continue to die and collide with the unsuspecting bystander unnecessarily for lack of consideration and respect for the safety of others.

“If you would be loved, love and be lovable.” – Benjamin Franklin.

“They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” –  Carl W. Buechner

“People are lonely because they build walls instead of bridges.” – Joseph F. Newton Men

“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” – Dale Carnegie.

“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” – Romans 12:18

<<< Back To Top of Page >>>

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.



  1. A great outing with some good sightings. I have seen a small flock of royal spoonbills at the local Wetlands, they aren’t always easy to spot, but when it’s low tide it’s fascinating to watch them feed. Have a lovely weekend. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello Ash,
    I am slowly starting to catch up on my favorite blogs, and it’s a real pleasure to start by viewing your beautiful local birds. You and your wife were indeed blessed with some wonderful views, despite the changing seasons! We completely agree with you – people are abnormally “absorbed” into their mobile devices and there is a lack of spatial awareness. On a “natural” level – this is also very dangerous, as it leaves the individual completely exposed! My husband and I noticed this phenomenon started many years ago (at least in my country). The addiction and unnatural stimulus, and unhealthy lifestyle resulting from it, is an unfortunate global phenomenon… I am sad that you are noticing this in your country too…

    I look forward to catching up on all your lovely posts over the next few days, and will send a detailed update soon. All our best to you and Mrs H – you’re in our daily thoughts and prayers as always.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Takami, for your appreciative comments you are always welcome. It is amazing how many people are controlled by their phones and the need to access data and news and be contactable. On the train coming home from the city today I noticed that almost every person under 40 had attachments in or over their ears, and their heads were bowed over and eyes absorbed into their small hand held devices. I couldn’t form a conversation with anyone like I use to years ago, because they are all in their own closed worlds. I do hope and pray your health is improving. Keep rested my friend, we pray you are getting enough sleep and rest in between your busy workload. You both also are in our prayers and thoughts. Enjoy your weekend and have some outside time together.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Mim, yes it is good to have a bird you do not have to pursue with great vigilance, and they are beautiful to see on the river flats at low tide sweeping the waters. It is quite comical when a flock are sweeping close to each other and they run into each other. They are even more comical when they deck their breeding plumage and get their fancy head dress. Enjoy your week, we will have to get down your way one day it is a little more south of Huskisson where my wife’s niece lives. 🙂


  3. Thank you brother for another fine post, I don’t recall seeing a Spoonbill before. I particularly appreciate your narratives. After pointing out the unchanging instinctive qualities of birds it is sad to see the growing self centeredness of man.
    By the way, I always appreciate the Kookaburra! For years as a child I sang about it (sorry, I have to share it) “Kookaburra sits on the old gum tree, merry merry king of the bush is he, laugh Kookaburra, laugh Kookaburra, how gay your life must be!”
    I never knew a Kookaburra was a bird!
    Thank you Ashley for blessing my NY morning with a view of Australia.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks dear Lisa Beth, I am always delighted by your appreciative comments. It is remarkable that the teacher never told you or showed you a picture of a Kookaburra and you said the poem which all Aussie school kid learn. They are a favorite of everyone and it is very rare for me not to see or hear them each time I go out for a walk. They are very docile and human friendly, and will sit on a fence or balcony rail right next to you without fear looking for food, especially if you are gardening, they will dive down in an instant and with their extremely keen eyesight snatch up a worm or insect and fly back to the fence. Enjoy your week and stay safe dear sister 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s