White-browed Scrubwren looking concerned  but not worried.

During the current lock-down we are entitled to a one hour walk each day. The problem is that people who normally do not grace our reserve came in large numbers in order to escape being inside all week, especially those with school children, as one more week of school holidays at home comes around the corner. This made it difficult at times for my wife and I to adequately distance ourselves on the bush tracks. However, with low bird numbers and very few birds calling, being out of the breeding season for many, we did manage to quickly catch a shot or two as we made our way along our favourite local walking trail.

This little White-browed Scrubwren jumped around on the shrubs beside the track in very close range, unperturbed by our presence. These insectivorous active little birds usually can be heard moving beneath shrubs and bushes and make occasional appearances on top to move to new locations in their territories.  Here is some previous footage to give an idea of how it moves, sounds and forages.

As it was almost low tide we did see the small flock of resident Royal Spoonbill working the shallows on the other side of the creek. They were in a difficult position for us to capture a quick shot, but here they are on a previous occasion near the footbridge.

This male Chestnut Teal caught my eye there also and had to catch this one.

Nest preparation and guarding was well under way for some Rainbow Lorikeets, found occasionally disappearing down nesting holes in Angophora trees.

As I showed last week the wattle is in full bloom as is now is the native eggs and bacon flower of the Pultenaea villosa plant

Another small insectivorous bird we nearly always hear and seldom manage to get good photos of on any bush walk is the Brown Thornbill, which I also features in last weeks post. This all-season- all-weather little trooper, similar to the scrubwren, is very fast moving and makes a beautiful high pitched purring sound, which varies on different occasions. Similar to the Scrubwren the males repeatedly call to indicate their presence and movements to their partner and young. I did not manage to catch the pair together due to them meeting in the dark Mangrove foliage near the bridge.

Here is recorded footage of the sound this bird was making as it merrily eluded us deep in the Mangroves, hence the photos have been enlightened.

Another family we always see or hear calling when we visit is the Laughing Kookaburra. This one had come to ground to capture a worm and then took off. This giant Kingfisher is a unique Aussie icon, and one of the most placid of birds, easily befriending humans with food.

This Grey Butcherbird gave me opportunity to catch it flying from a dead tree. Refer to last weeks post to hear its amazing call.

Sadly, that was all we managed to catch, except for the two brothers, as I call them, who always came close when they see us, as Magpies have amazing memories and ability to recognize and remember faces, and can pass this information onto their young. I have watched these Maggies grow from juvenile to maturity over the last few years. They have been in previous posts also.


Enjoy your week birding and stay safe. Things are not yet improving here in Sydney as we remain in lock-down, as many scramble for vaccination. I just stay at home writing my next book.


The video below was filmed while I was finishing this blog post, being disturbed by the prolonged noisy call of a lone Australian Raven that was hanging around our house. This bird species normally keeps well away from our home and birdbaths, which are  heavily guarded by the local Noisy Miner coalition.

Territorial birds often gather together to remove a common enemy or a perceived threat from other intruding birds or from birds of their own species. The best example is our small extremely bold and aggressive honeyeater, the Noisy Miner. By calling together their coalition (the designated fighters and guarders of their territory) this small bird becomes a force to be reckoned with, having no fear and showing no mercy. They can take on every manner of bird, animal and even humans on rare occasions.

When their is a perceived threat the mobbing call goes out by a Miner calling in the coalition, as you can hear above causing the Kookaburra pair to be quite concerned, but trying to remain. Kookas are one of the few birds that Miners have trouble moving on as they are so tolerant and placid. Eventually, if  they do not leave, the Miners employ back biting if their first mode of attack fails.

This small bird has learnt that their is strength in numbers and that working together for the common good, achieves the best results, offering security and protection to their females and young. Their mobbing call will often also summon other local birds to assist, of different species who also share their territory, such as  the Grey Butcherbird seen in the above video, as they all rallied to protect our vulnerable nesting Crested Pigeons, in the tree above our birdbaths, from the sneaky marauding Pied Currawong which has been attacking the nest and the parents on it. They drove it far away, and I now know they have done this several times now for the pigeons, how cool is that !

They will even attack on their own image as they are unable to identify it as a bird in their clan, when they see their own face in a car rear vision mirror.

In times of disaster and common threat, it is also interesting how we humans will ally with those whom we would not normally associate, to achieve a common good for the benefit of both parties. This has been the theme this last couple of years regarding the Covid situation, where the slogan we are in this together rings true. Taking this to the next level we can see that our acceptance of people, unlike the birds, is often based on our perception and bias rather than on any immediate threat or active cause.

The current suffering and plight of street people experiencing our coldest winter, those poorer families struggling to survive due to the effects of the Covid, the many affected by previous bushfires, floods, drought and storms, and now mouse plagues who have not received any financial assistance to recover, reminds me of how really blessed we are, and that we each stand together on an equal platform, we all hurt, we all have needs, and we all matter, but some have been blessed with more favorable circumstances and better means than others to assist those that don’t.

“A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” – Proverbs 11:25

“Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely, who conduct their affairs with justice.” – Psalm  112:5

Give generously to [those in need] and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your fellow [citizens] who are poor and needy in your land.”-Deuteronomy 15:10,11

“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” – 2 Corinthians 9:6


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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. ยฉ W. A. Hewson 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021.

 

21 Comments »

  1. I am always fascinated by those magpies and their ability to remember and imprint into future generations! So glad you and your wife were able to get out and enjoy a bird walk and I so agree with your thoughts on helping the less fortunate… we are blessed to be a blessing! Take care and God bless!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Jen, yes they are remarkable birds. I was talking to a friend on the phone today and his local Magpies were singing (warbling) beautifully as they waited for him to feed them. So true is your blessing statement, what a privilege to be able to give and help others. This lock-down has been the most serious yet and the Delta strain is very close to home now, so I am staying inside and just writing my 3rd book, which I am enjoying. Blessings in abundance to you and the family dear sister:-)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Lovely photos of the scrub wren, and a great pic of the butcherbird in flight. I saw on the news the covid situation isn’t looking good up there and your lock down has been extended. If everyone would just do the right thing it wouldn’t be so bad. Good luck and take care!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Sue, yes the Covid is getting worse here with this Delta strain. We are getting our second vax today. Not sure how we will feel after it. You are in the right place down there so stay safe and keep warm, as I know you would be doing. We are having some our coldest mornings and days for this time of years here. There aren’t a lot of birds about less than usual for this time of year. I think the fires had their toll on many of the southern birds that move up here. Enjoy your week my friend ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s been quite chilly down here, some nights below zero, the frosts are great, looks like a winter wonderland, but the icy roads are not so good. Stay safe and warm up there. Have a great weekend!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. You’re so lucky to have so many birds by you, here, you need to travel many miles to find the birds; That takes a lot of time and money. Great post and photos, Ashley. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks HJ, we want to travel again to get some more lifers, as we have missed that during the Covid years and this might be thwarted again if the extended lock-down does not work. We are blessed as there are many different species and subspecies in every part of our nation and its islands. Yes it is expensive to travel and our country is one of the most expensive to travel in for us. Enjoy the rest of your week my friend. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Another wonderful post, enjoyed the videos very much. The Miners mobbing is so impressive- what an inspiration, as you described, to gather together in times of need.
    I pray too that Gods people will unite and love each other, esp as this world darkens and increasingly opposes them.
    Just an odd aside, I had a dream the other night, in it I had two (uncaged) beautiful white birds. They had pink heads and pink splotches. I said in my dream, “I must write to the Aussie birder, describe them and ask him, what are these birds!”
    Maybe you’ll see them on your next outing ๐Ÿ™‚.
    Have a good week and thank you again brother!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Lisa Beth, I am always encouraged by your most welcome comments. So glad you enjoyed the videos, they do give more of an idea about the bird than just a photo. Yes we remain in lock-down and possibly another week added as things are not yet improving here and the Delta Cov-19 virus is in our local town now, up to now we were one of the safe towns. My wife is so hoping that our long awaited holiday next month will not be cancelled again, as she heeds a break from her stressful work. As for your dream bird, depending on its size and shape, the Flamingo comes to mind, as a very graceful pink bird nearly fitting that description. As for Aussie birds I can only think of the Long-billed Corella having pink on face and neck and Major Mitchell Cockatoo, they are white and has a very pink around head and crest. Otherwise the Brolga a large crane has a pink face but no blotches as such on any of them. Interesting dream, maybe it has its own message to be revealed. I will keep a lookout for this bird and let you know if I see it. Enjoy your week dear sister and I hope Starry Night continues to enjoy the videos also.:-)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Wow, those are extraordinary birds – I wish they did land in my dreams! Thank you for pointing me to them, enjoyed seeing them online!
        Thank you Ashley, you surely know the Lord’s birds- and I’m so glad you do!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Ashely, We noted the same behaviour last year during out 4 month lockdown.
    We had been walking some tracks and trails near home pretty much people free, and especially if we chose earlier in the day, our preferred time
    However banned from their usual shopping mall environment, it was interesting to see the hoards of people that were out on the tracks, with their usual collection of dogs, small kids, pushers, mobile phones and ungrouped groups. ๐Ÿ™‚ Motorised scooters, walking aids and of course lots of talking.

    Not complaining, just as soon as the lockdown ceased, a minimum kept it up for awhile, then, we had the tracks back to ourselves except for a few other dedicateds who’d just kept their usual patterning.

    We too, had the problem of wrong time of season, but managed to work out some possible territories and like nesting areas. As our lockdown went on into early spring it was good to see the small bush birds ignore the passing parade and get on with what they are designed for.

    Looks like you had a great ‘hour’ in the sun, and I trust that your lockdown comes to a rapid close.

    Good luck

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks David, yes it it is an interesting observation, and I wonder how many of the many that are on the trails during lock-down actually ever go out for a walk. Thankfully for most it is temporary flight from boredom. It is not looking good here ate the moment as the virus has now hit our suburb and others around which is very threatening, and I am doing more online shopping trying to avoid germ city. I think they may extend lock-down tomorrow if the cases keep going up overnight. Now they have people in ICU wards. I was concerned I may not have had enough for a post, but somehow it all came together. Witnessed interesting Miner behaviour today in my back yard bird haven, how their mighty coalition rallied to drive the Currawong away from our nesting Crested Pigeons in our Bottlebrush. The Currawong had a go at the Pigeon on the nest and cried out to me for help so I raced out and chased it off, as small feathers floated down. Later the Miners alerted me as the coalition protested at the Currawong attacking the nesting Crested. I came out again and chased it with about 12 Miners in noisy mobbing pursuit, and boy they just kept at it till it flew away from the mango tree, where it hides and does surveillance. I now know what has been going on. The Grey Butcherbird family called out as they all watched the event perched together watching to see if they were needed from a nearby TV aerial also. The male had helped the Miners dispatch the Currawong yesterday as shown in my videos in this post. It has been an eventful day here in lock-down, if it were not for my birds it would just be me writing my book, so it does give some distraction, as well as learning more about inter species bird communication and territorial co operation. Enjoy your week my friend and stay safe ๐Ÿ™‚

      Like

  6. A lot of really pretty and handsome birds, Ashley, much enjoyed! Glad you could get out for an hour, and for sure with everyone else doing same thing same place, it makes it more difficult to see birds. People forget to be quiet most times, chatting away while walking. Bugs me, lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Donna, yes noisy people talking, running and on bikes is a birder’s battle to try and stay focused on the bird, which usually flies just as it gets close enough to capture. All the best in your travels, you have shared some pretty awesome experiences. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

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