While we continue in lock-down and the 5 km radius rule, we recently realized it also included our favorite local park Oatley Park Reserve. On previous walks here in the past few weeks there was hardly anything worth reporting, however, on our walks last weekend we were surprised to find a hive of activity, as my post will uncover.

Painted Button-quail

To start with, as I walked along the track where usually we would see many birds, it was very quiet, for many migrating birds had not returned this Spring, possibly due to the millions of birds lost in the fire storms down south last Summer which normally migrate here for the warmer weather. As I walked along I said to God, ‘it looks like we lost a lot, and now it looks as if we are going to have a sad Summer with very few birds.’ Just then I looked down to the leaf litter right beside the track, because I detected some movement out of the corner of my eye, and there to my surprise was a Painted Button-quail, a tiny bird I had never seen in this park all the years I have walked it. It did not flee, but just kept digging down, like a Logrunner, pecking up insects it uncovered, and eventually covering itself as if to camouflage itself, as it saw me standing and watching.

This bird is a resident of eastern and northern Australia and mainly a ground dweller, and rarely flies. They are endemic to the 122 Houtman Abrolhos islands, some 80 km west of Geraldton in WA. Its numbers are thought to be in decline in Australia due to predication from ferule cats and foxes. Its uniquely attractive plumage assists it in hiding. Look at the following photo and see if you can locate where it is hiding. I will show you the answer at the end of the post.

I managed to get some video footage of it turning about:

Painted Button-quail

Walking on toward the Ponds I saw the resident Currawong, which is currently nesting in the thick bush nearby, where it nests each year, catching a feed for its young, a large skink, which had already had part of its tail removed

As we walked we noticed some of the Spring wildflowers blooming beautifully:

Everyone knows it is Spring again here when they start to hear the haunting ascending call of the Eastern Koel, a member of the Cuckoo family who migrates here from Asia to breed and wait while other birds raise its young:

Spring is nesting season for many birds in the park, though this year the absence of waterbirds breeding is notable, though passerines are in full swing, these include Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Rainbow Lorikeet, Noisy Miner, Butcherbird, Currawong. Australian Raven and the Fairy-wrens to name a few. Two Noisy Miner nests were sighted along the track not far from each other, One adult was on the nest and in the other, the adult was guarding and feeding its noisy baby of which it’s visible mouth is encircled:

If you listen carefully and look at the position in the nest circles above you will just see the chick calling for food:

It takes a lot of work for a male Cockatoo to bite out a hole for a nest with its powerful beak, as the female watches on (seen in previous posts of mine). Here is what it looks like at the foot of the tree:

wood chip residue from hollowing out the nest

The Kookaburra had already had his youngster and was watching his lone juvenile with fatherly concern when we approached.

Yes it was unusually quiet at the Ponds for this time of year with just these sightings, and the usual Pacific Black Duck and Chestnut Teal pair without young at this stage (not shown). Of concern, the recent emergence of blue green algae plumes visible on the Pond surface, which may be deterring the birds:

the bird-less Pond

Walking back past where the Button-quail was seen, which was now gone, we noticed this Red Wattlebird hunting:

Not far away his cousin the Little Wattlebird, as it is known here (having no visible wattle), was hunting from a much higher position:

Little Wattlebird

We could here this very noisy sound coming from further up the track, it was the sound of Currawongs loudly carolling , as about twenty Pied Currawongs were calling to each other as they fed on the abundance of native berries on the side of the track. Some refer to this gathering of Currawongs as a slaughter, similar to a murder of crows, as it often has to do with predation. On one occasion they attacked a Cockatoo making a racket as it protected its nest from this marauding pack.I managed to capture some shots as they kept moving from tree to tree calling. This bird has so many unique calls, which are quite melodic and beautiful, including whistles and whines and is often the first and last call heard of the day. Here is what it sounded like, some also call it a cacophony of Currawongs as they share their enjoyment, you will also hear in the background the Rainbow Lorikeets noisily enjoying the blossom on the tops of the trees:

We were so delighted and thankful to be back in the bush again enjoying the birds that were there, hoping more will soon return, as well as our waders which would have returned but are outside out 5 km zone. Oh, I almost forgot ! here is the photo I promised early where the Painted Button-quail was trying to hide itself. People with dogs continually walked past only a foot or two away unnoticed:

where the Painted Button-quail is hiding

Enjoy your week birding ! Stay safe and keep fit, whatever that means for you so that you stay healthy and well.

Welcome to those visiting my blog and website for the first time. Have a look around the pages and check out my birding tips. This is a weekly blog which introduces the reader to our Australian birds in a simple enjoyable format. If you are just starting to enjoy this as a hobby in your retirement or transition there, check our my Birding for Beginners for more info. I also feature how birding can become a healthy and helpful means of curing the empty nest syndrome, in my book release Flight of a Fledgling, available here online.


Springtime means fresh nectar for our native Honeyeaters:

Noisy Miner feeding from an Endeavour Bottlebrush tree

As I have shared on previous occasions, if you want to attract and feed Australian native birds the only ethical way is to plant native trees they feed from. As the saying goes: If you build it, they will come. During the last winter months this tree lay bare of blossom, as the new stems formed, and only a few birds would inspect the tree after having had a bath and a drink in the baths below the tree. This was to the advantage of our resident Crested Pigeon family who had accomplished two nestings deep inside this tree, within the period of 5 months raising 3 fledglings followed by 2 soon after. Simply quite amazing. We enjoy viewing the birds from our large sunroom windows, and believe this is how birds are meant to be enjoyed, and not confined to cages. Here a Rainbow Lorikeet is feeding, you will hear the Butcherbird calling in the background:

Rainbow Lorikeet feeding on Bottlebrush nectar

In a similar way to the Bottlebrush flowers, bright, red and full of nectar, which replenishes daily, we can be attractive to friends, family and strangers. We all shine differently to those that meet us. If we emit a joyful, positive, kind, respectful, caring vibe we will attract people to us in genuine friendship. However, if just our wealth, status, achievements or fame is our shining light, it may attract but in a more shallow way. The difference is that the former focuses more on the illuminating the life of the receiver, where as the latter more often about illuminating themselves. We all have a need to be needed, respected and acknowledged for who we are. When you give this gift to a person you give life’s nectar to them and your shine is attracting to them as a true friend. I am not suggesting flattery, but speaking positively into the lives of our friends, family and those we meet. I have known of instances in my lifetime where this has saved lives and helped restore them.

“Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” – Ephesians 4:29 (NLT)

“So encourage each other and build each other up.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

“Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” – Ephesians 4:32


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‘To introduce people to our unique Australian birds,

To 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.

15 Comments »

  1. Hello Ash,
    Catching up on last week’s post, I am delighted to hear you were blessed with the presence of the Painted Button-quail. What a beautiful bird and it blends in perfectly with its surroundings! The look on the father Kookaburra’s face is priceless and speaks volumes.

    I am sorry it was a quiet visit with few shorebirds / waders. I have noticed that the shorebirds migrating past here have also been sparse this autumn in particular. Autumn seems to be a bit late in my country, and my husband and I eagerly wait the arrival of our “winter birds” as the leaves turn color and weather cools.

    We continue to keep you and your wife in our daily prayers and I plan to send a detailed update by the end of this week.

    Thank you as always, for sharing joy and hope through your blog articles.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Takami, yes it appears the days are getting warmer for longer and the birds are breeding more often here, somewhat confused with the seasons, as we are at times. Our beautiful Spring weather has been a week of cold winter rain and wind in which has been violent storms, with more later today. Sadly my wife was a close contact with a positive Covid client a couple of days ago and we are both plunged into isolation for 2 weeks, just a couple of days into freedom from 3 months lock-down. This is very sad as we had booked and planned several family and friend get togethers after some time which are cancelled now. We are still hoping we will get away in a couple of weeks for our much needed holiday. We pray and trust the Lord keeps us safe through this time, and are able to visit our family and friends up north. Thanks again for your faithful prayers dear friends, we continue to pray you will both find new beginnings in enjoyable employment soon, and be kept safe through these uncertain times. Blessings 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What a sharp observer you are to be able to have discovered the Quail hidden away in his cozy little spot. I always enjoy seeing the unique and special birds you share, AB, and the video and audio clips make it almost feel like being there! Very special to see the two different species feeding on the bottlebrush. Although I’ve never seen which birds enjoy them here in Florida, I have watched with delight as the Palestinian Sunbirds in Israel feed on bright pink bottlebrush.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A very cool find to see the quail, and how hard it was to uncover its disguise! It was good to hear the calls of the pied currawongs, one of my favourites, and one that I miss here in Tassie as the local currawongs sound completely different. Glad that you are able to find a little haven close to home to help get you through the lockdowns.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Sue, yes your Currawongs have quite a unique trumpet like sound, we were quite taken by it when we first heard them, they are so loud. We are all hanging out for next week when the lock-down ceases and we start to navigate our new normal. It will cause some trouble as the anti-vaxers will be refused service and entry to places until December, people are already concerned about having to confront these usually abusive selfish people. We are hoping to have a week up north when the regions open the following week, just all depends on how the virus spreads with the relaxed conditions, its all a bit risky here, Tassie is a good place to be at present. Enjoy the Spring sunshine, I am sure you really appreciate it down there.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Good luck with it up there, hope the anti vaxers don’t cause too much trouble. It’s Show Day holiday here today and it’s turning out to be a lovely sunny spring day so heading off for a drive to the north west before the rain returns on the weekend.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. So glad you visited Oakley Park, what fabulous sightings, Ashley! How beautiful for our Lord to present you with the Painted Button-quail at just the right time. What a cutie!! It is heartbreaking for the loss of species from the fires, and then it is enlightening to see visitors that were displaced from elsewhere, trying to find new habitat. Looking forward for your returns here in coming weeks to see what else you find, I like it being close to home for you during your lockdown.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Donna, it has been a tough time, and most of us in our city are over it and waiting for next Monday when we start coming out of lock-down and living in our new normal with Covid, which could be a little scary for us older ones. It has been at least encouraging for us to be able to walk our local park again as are many trying to exercise in their 5 km confine. The birds are all trying to adjust to their new normal with changes to climate and habitat reduced by fire. The Button-quail was a little encouragement blessing from the Lord at a time when I needed it. I could have so easily have missed it, as many people and their dogs walked within 2 feet of it and never saw it. Enjoy your Fall colors and changing season as many of your birds escape for the winter.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Sandra, our Currawong is a very unique Corvid and has many beautiful sounds and tunes, quite different to other Crow-like birds. In my book it is used as an example of opportunism as it is so sneaky and often mobbed by smaller birds as it raids their nests. Yes, we await the return of more of our migrant birds that have not yet returned, as they would normally be all here now.

      Like

  5. It is an interesting observation that things are changed because of the fires. Birds that might be well expected are missing, while some birds that normally would be occasional visitors are on display.
    The Button-Quail is a beaut find indeed. I think I’ve only ever seen one in all the years I’ve been looking.

    The thing I’ve notes with cockies and lorikeets is while it might be hard work, how quickly they get the job done. One pair of Loris had refurbished a tatty small hole into a Lorikeet mansion in about two days.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks David, yes it was an interesting find, which as you suggested could be due to displacement, the birds seem to be working out their new normal as we are with Covid, so the whole world is in disarray. Now we have a new Premier and most continue to grieve the loss of Gladys, though her successor appears to be popular with most, so we all wait to see what transpires, as the Nationals have a very poor conservation record in our state, and this has been very disappointing, we are hoping for a better one when they elect the assistant today.
      True it is amazing how quickly they carve out their little hideouts. It was interesting when we were walking the other day watching all these heads pop out of holes in the Angophora trees, like the trees were alive with Cockie and Rainbow heads popping out as you walk along. It is nice to hear the excited sound of the Lorris coming to our flowering old Bottlebrush again, and hanging from the flowers as they feed, you do not realize how much you miss them till all the flowers are gone and it is so much more quieter.
      We hope you are out of lock-down soon, we are concerned how this is going to work on the 11th, and how our new normal will look, living with Covid, many are already choosing to not mask in public, it is all a bit of a concern for us older ones. Putting the responsibility on the shop owners to enforce the double vaccination only entry is a real concern for many, as the anti-vaxers will become violent and abusive as expected, and people do not want to loose business, especially after being out for so long.

      Like

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