Last Friday my wife and I went for a birding date in the Royal National Park, it was a beautiful winter’s day, the only problem was as we walked along the track was the absence of different bird calls. The main call was the prolific Yellow-faced Honeyeater as small flocks scoured the tree canopy for lerps and blossom, constantly calling to each other and occasionally playing chasings.
As we scoured the river bank for Kingfishers, but found none we noticed this Little Corella popping its head out of a very tight nesting hole, as this is the beginning of the breeding season for several of the Parrot species, and the competition is on between Corellas, Lorikeets, and Cockatoos for nesting holes in the smooth barked Angophora costata trees known as Sydney Red Gums.
This Corella has chosen the smooth barked Scribbly Gum tree due to the high Ccocky population in the park, where most holes are taken. I have arrowed some of the scribble patterns made by a small insect in the bark which gives this tree its name,
Here are a couple of Rainbow Lorikeet guarding the nesting hole as the female sits on the eggs inside. Note one is the traditional hole in the tree and the other a termite nest which was originally holed and also used each spring for nesting by the local Kookaburras and Kingfisher. The greenery used inside is an interesting addition for comfort. The hole on the left comes with a covered porch, quite salubrious.
Along the track we were watched by this young Kookaburra as it sat quietly, as they do watching and waiting for a food moment with its very keen binocular eyesight. They don’t appear to be looking for food, but they are, on the ground below, ready to dive down and pounce on worms, lizards, snakes, large insects and mice. I classify the Kookaburra as our most placid bird.
Not far away the opportunistic Pied Currawong can be heard calling, also in search of an easy food moment.
I would like to share my resident Pied Currawong bathing, something I seldom see as this bird is so secretive and very conscious of being watched, considering it secretly watches opportunistically to take advantage of others. He just happened along as I was writing this post. I held the camera while keeping myself out of view, notice how he looks around cautiously.
One of the most difficult birds to photograph due to their fast non stop movement and love of dark under canopy protection is the Brown Gerygone (pronounced Ger-ig-on-ee which is its identifying call). These little guys are such a challenge.
On the river nearby this Australasian Grebe was spending time with a Dusky Moorhen having a quiet moment together. I have included a pair captured cruising a few days earlier in our nearby park, with remaining breeding plumage from the previous breeding season to distinguish non-breeding from breeding plumage, note particularly under the Grebe’s chin, and ear area. You only see Grebes together when breeding or with young, for the rest of the year they tend remain alone, often being found in the most unexpected places, but usually in the middle of a pond or lake, and never on land. They are excellent divers, and dive to escape danger as well as forage underwater for small fish and aquatic insects.
It was quite unusual and premature for this local species of Wattle to be flowering this early, in the middle of Winter, as it normally is the first flower traditionally marking Spring in our country, usually late August-September.
Lastly, the only other bird we saw long enough to photograph was this adult female Variegated Fairy-wren. Notice the orange eye and beak markings and the light blue tail, the non breeding male lacks the eye rings and lores and has a dark beak, and a much darker richer blue tail with light blue wing flanking. I enjoyed capturing the different tail postures of this little lady as she jumped around
Enjoy your week and stay safe and warm. We are masking up again as another recent Covid outbreak looms in our city causing concern and possibly affecting our plans for the weekend and a visit from two of my grandsons in two weeks who have missed four opportunities over the last two years to have time with us. If this is your first visit check out the rest of my website for more helpful birding info.
Meanwhile here is an interesting video about this bird with the big inquisitive yellow eye, unique to our country, and how he features in the 2nd edition of “What Birds Teach Us” – the perfect gift for your child and grandchild. You will also hear some of the many amazing sounds these birds make.
Click on the cover below to find out more about The Beautiful Bird Book:
It is an interesting observation that those who practice a particular behaviour often suffer from the fear of the same occurring to them, and this fear may be later be actually realized, self fulfilling ‘what goes around comes around’ or ‘what one sows so they shall reap’, which is a universal principal taught in most cultures and belief systems.
I have used the Currawong from among many other birds to highlight this characteristic and highlight how it is much more peaceful and helpful to look out for the needs of others rather than trying to take advantage of them in an opportunistic manner, whether devious or not. Repeated behaviours become a label which may stick even after one has corrected an unhealthy or selfish behaviour. We see how devastating the media can be to a person’s reputation, even when allegations are proved to be untrue, the mud sticks. They also are very opportunistic, similar to the Currawong, gaining an advantage at someone elses expense. So it is, this principle works itself out in our lives, the guilt and fear of being caught or found out runs strong in our mind and emotions affecting the peace and harmony our lives and relationships. If unresolved may result ultimately in emotional and physical illnesses.
Pied Currawongs arguing over their spoils
One thing I have observed throughout my lifetime, is that it is often those who make the loudest noise and react to the wrong or inappropriate behaviour of others, that blindly are guilty of doing the very same or similar themselves. We need to extend more grace and forgiveness to each other as we appreciate, that each one of us, are or may be damaged stock or fragile, hurting beings or even walking wounded. We are affected and shaped by our imperfect past, we are people who err occasionally, and possible of making unwise judgments and assessments of ourselves and others. This is why Jesus said these hated words we all cringe at: “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” – Matthew 7:2. No this is not a just some religious principle, but a universal life principle, and one which I have had to learn myself the hard way, and the more I see and understand God’s kindness and mercy to me, the more I realize how much I need to extend grace and forgiveness to others, and uncover my own blind spots so as to be a more authentic person.
In the light of the above discussion, many churches and people have misunderstood the implied meaning of Jesus’ words in the Lord’s Prayer, “Forgive us our wrongs in the same way that we have forgiven those who have wronged us.” – Matthew 6:12 Considering he never did wrong to anyone but loved them, and forgave all who did and said wrong against him, he was not asking for forgiveness, as many imply, as forgiveness came as a complete and finished work through his death on the cross for all who believe and receive him. He was calling us to account daily and keep short lists, to realize the gravity and cost of this amazing grace and forgiveness he gave to us as a free undeserved gift, so that we would likewise experience his love and peace as we forgive with the same loving and humble spirit. This is always a reminder to me that we can only give out of the abundance of that which we have already received, and…