Last Sunday afternoon my wife and I went on another birding date to our local Royal National Park, the world’s second declared National Park and later became the Royal in […]
Last Sunday afternoon my wife and I went on another birding date to our local Royal National Park, the world’s second declared National Park and later became the Royal in 1955 to honour of the queen’s 1954 visit to Sydney when she passed through it by train. As we walked along our usual walking trail, we noticed how quiet it was, very few birds were calling or even visible, it was already a changed season when birds are fewer and call less. Most birds like warmth and usually call more in the breeding season, both of which are months away. As we walked I suddenly stopped and my wife drew back as right in front of us on the track was the usual Red-bellied Black Snake innocently sunning itself in the Autumn sun, as the air is much cooler here in the mountains.
While these snakes are venomous and their bite poisonous, they are not usually aggressive and will try to retreat and only attack if threatened or with their young. They are the better snake to have around, as they kill the more aggressive and more deadly Brown Snake. I am well acquainted with them as years ago I had a family of large ones living in tall grass on my property near the dam and I hardly ever saw them. So I quietly said to my wife “Come on love, just quietly walk around it”. I reassured a young couple who were following us that it was safe to walk past, though the snake had raised its head and was watching us. I also reassured them that their eyesight is not that good, and they rely on vibrations in the ground and air which their thousands of body sensors pick up. So they followed me safely around the snake which laid across much of the track and we made our way as I chatted with the couple, as I do.
It was good to see the new blooms of Banksia ericafolia out on many trees, being one of the few sources of winter nectar to the honeyeaters, apart from any of the few flowering eucalypts. The Eastern Spinebill in particular love to draw from these nectar filled treats.
So far our long walk had given little birding pleasure, though we rejoiced in that it was such a beautiful perfect still Autumn day which we enjoyed sharing together. Finally we came to a spot on the edge of the rainforest where we could hear many Scarlet Honeyeaters chiming in the trees above, and large mixed feeding flock of very small honeyeaters were moving rapidly around this vine which overhung the track. The sound of both the Yellow-faced and Lewins Honeyeater joined the chorus as they busily fed. The very tiny Scarlets, as you know, usually do not come near the ground, but dine high in the eucalypt canopy.
But then we shared an amazing moment when a male Scarlet Honeyeater came down to feed from the overhanging vine and we captured several rare flight shots of this bird.
To see how tiny this bird is to see, especially from a 30 to 40 meter tree top this was from a distance, as the bird is extremely human shy.
Not to mention the shots of him feeding. Please be aware that some enhancement of the lighting was required as in some instances there either was too much or not enough, which is one of the difficulties with rainforest photography. I was unable to capture the female as she kept well hidden in the foliage.
Here is what this little guy sounds like.
We made our way back to the park Cafe for a lovely lunch. As we were finishing lunch after chatting with a young couple nearby and having checked the park’s shop to see how my books were selling, we heard the sound of Noisy Friarbirds, a winter bird we seldom see here, eating from the fruit of the introduced trees near the river, so I hurried over, and so did the waitress some minutes later with the bill. These birds are rated as one of our noisiest birds and their classic call draws a birders attention. They are actually another large honeyeater.
Here’s what they sound like, it is similar to the Red Wattlebird’s call, but more monotonous. You will also detect in the middle of the recording the brief sounds of the Rainbow Lorikeet and Sulphur-crested Cockatoo.
Have a wonderful week and stay warm and safe.
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It is good that my opportunities to speak at schools and do book signing mornings are beginning to return again as Covid outbreaks have been paused in our state, after a year and half of only working from home.
The greatest challenge to a person entering a dense rainforest is coping with the reduced light, which can give an eerie feeling. Some become quite afraid and very cautious, especially overseas tourists whom I have led through them. Their fear is already conjured of deadly snakes, spiders and birds, not to mention blood sucking leeches and the fear of loosing your way, which I have done on occasions walking alone in unfamiliar forests, it can be very scary. It gets very dark, very quickly when the sun is not shining over its canopy. I soon reassure them that our rainforests in NSW are very safe places to walk, apart from leeches in the wet season when you always carry some salt or a box of matches. Most of the deadly creatures live in the dry woodland areas or in the forests of Far North Queensland. Where the light does break through it can be very beautiful
Much of our fear comes from perceived threats, either from misconceptions or erroneous information, which may never be realized. When we have a guide or someone who is familiar with the forest we feel safe and can enjoy the experience. Fear is our biggest enemy in life as much as it is our greatest protection from choosing to endanger ourselves. As I am quoted saying Fear Freezes and Faith Forwards. To navigate life safely and wisely we need the best kind of advice, encouragement and assistance we can get. The best is from our manufacturer, the Author of Life himself in the Bible. Also my published books, which though they never mention God at all, contain the wisdom and help needed to navigate a healthy and happy life: – emotionally, physically, socially and mentally. When it is all said, the proof is in the pudding.
“ The honor of good people will lead them, but those who hurt others will be destroyed by their own false ways.” – Proverbs 11:3
“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” – Galations 6:7
or… ‘What goes around, comes around.’ which is highlighted and explained in my book “What Birds Teach Us” with the behaviour of the Pied Currawong.
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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.