It has been delightful to walk through our local Oatley Park, hearing and seeing the returning migrant birds of the Summer months. Some of these are featured here below.

The return of the Dollarbird is one example, and is easy to find as it always returns to the same dead tree tops every year, and its almost frog like classic croaking call is very definitive of this bird. Thee birds feed mostly on insects they catch on the fly, returning to the same branch to eat them.

Dollarbird calling

I managed to catch a glimpse of its wings in flight to illustrate the so called dollar coin which is quite misleading. It appears nothing like a dollar but is similar to the white circles on the Common Miner wings.

We did wonder if the other bird with it, which remained while the larger went hunting, may have been a youngster.

It has been delightful to see that some of the waterbirds are breeding again. We did not see these birds much during the past month while they nested, but now they have their young and are out and about teaching them. This family of Australian Wood Duck (minus the male), I shared last post. This brood already have a stronger swimming leader to the group.

The Chestnut Teal pair in the ponds were out feeding in the mud with their two remaining young learning to imitate their parents as they foraged along with them. The brood would have been around 6 or more chicks, but they may have lost some to predators, most likely the resident Pied Currawong.

The resident Pied Currawong who was also nesting was on the prowl for that opportune moment, as it checks for unprotected nests and fruiting trees.

These Australian White Ibis were grazing on the mud flats at low-tide and a few immatures are among them, having lighter head colouring.

We caught a glimpse of this immature Eastern Crimson Rosella. You will notice it looks quite patchy as it looses its dark juvenile plumage to gain its beautiful crimson appearance.

Many mistake the call of this bird for a Bell Miner, and often tell me they heard a Bellbird when asked what they saw, to which I reply: ‘If you only heard one bird it was not a Bell Miner, as they are definitively a flock bird. What you heard was an Eastern Crimson Rosella chiming its contact call.’

Eastern Crimson Rosella chiming

This Red Wattlebird is busily feeding its hungry juvenile, which is relentlessly begging for insects. You will notice the classic posture of the adult in the last photo of trying to look away and ignore the cries of the youngster.

The feature of this walk was again sighting the resident Variegated Fairy-wrens, of which there are several families along the track, and are easily identified by their faint high pitched clicking calls (see below), as they can be a real challenge to see them, though the bright blue plumage of the breeding male makes it very visible against the dark green shrubbery.

Variegated Fairy-wren call

The blue of the Variegated is much brighter and more vibrant than that of the Superb Fairy-wren which is also found alongside it in the park. I have given many different aspects of the bird here to illustrate its many different poses and how it uses its tail. This bird does have features of the Purple-backed subspecies of the Variegated found widely over the Australian mainland. This bird is rapid in movement, flight and basically insectivorous.

Here is an example of how difficult it can be to see this tiny bird as it easily moves benath thick vegetation.

This Little Wattlebird was also being hassled by Noisy Miners, but was just minding its own business. This bird lacks the visible red wattle on its cheeks and is often called the Western Wattlebird but rather in the eastern states, rather than call it the Wattlebirdwithoutawattle it was appropriate to call it the Little Wattlebird.

As I was walking along the track there was a Wattle tree overhanging the track laden in wattle bean seeds which many of our species of Parrots are currently feeding from, as these local Wattles only seed this time of year. A family of immature Australian King Parrots were feeding quite happily as I watched.

As these birds are still young and perfecting their seed extraction skills they are making hard work of it, and dropping many pods that they have not been successful with.

The more experienced Sulphur-crested Cockatoo was also joining in the feast.

At the foot of the bush are the remains of the wasted pods.

Other features in the park were the numerous Flannel Flowers which bloom in the poorest of soils. This has been their best year marking the long drought breaking, after good rains. many other wildflowers are in bloom also.

Some interesting fungi

Of course there is always the elusive tiny insectivorous Brown Thornbill, on the move and usually deep inside the tree foraging as it gives its beautiful call.

Brown Thornbill
Brown Thornbill calling

Lastly there is our beautiful Rainbow Lorikeet, also breeding at present sharing trees alongside the Sulphur-crested Cockatoo.

Have a wonderful week and enjoy the birds, and the fresh air and exercise, which are also vital to our health. It is good to know that birding lowers blood pressure, reduces the symptoms of depression and anxiety, sharpens one’s hearing, is emotionally healing through its mindfulness aspects and assists in longevity.

Remember the perfect Christmas gift is still available here.

Overseas purchasers of my book have been receiving delivery from 1 to 2 weeks, as the postal service from Australia is very efficient, and has been even during Covid.

Angophora costata tree with hole from fused branches

The coastal Sydney Red Gum (Angophora costata) is a beautiful tree and has many great attributes. It recovers from bushfires, and totally renews its bark without a sign of burning, it gives off a lovely scent, it is an artists delight to paint and draw, due to its colours and unusually shaped branches. It is an ideal home for nesting birds and many species may nest in the one tree at the same time, as the branches leave a hole when they drop off which parrots chew out for nesting accommodation. The trees can grow to great size and yet can grow on bare rock, extending their roots down through the hardest of earth, being able to lean from the side of cliffs without a worry.

large Angophora growing on rock leaning over river

This tree continues to inspire me to be the best I can in who I am and with what I have. The apostle Paul put it well in a phrase: ‘I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.’ (1 Corinthians 9:22). While this undoubtedly has a spiritual aspect intended, it also applies to ones life in general, as everything in life actually is spiritual and affects all of our being, having bearing on the direction of our life journey, as opposed to the modern compartmentalization of our being. Body, mind, soul and spirit while they are components, yet all work together to form one person.

Similar to this amazing tree, I am inspired to find many different ways to be a blessing and make a positive difference, by encouraging and building into the lives of others, including family and friends. This tree holds firmly to the rock on which it is based and upon which it has grown, being able to lean and support its weight even in raging storms, thus preserving the lives of the many birds that nest therein.

Jesus gave the illustration in Matthews gospel chapter 7 where he compares the foundation of one’s life with sand or rock. I have grown to appreciate personally the difference as I continue to learn and grow on the firm and time proven foundation of the Rock and leave the fearful ever changing uncertainty of the sand.

[ Jesus says:] “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” – Matthew 7:24 (NIV)

“The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” – Psalm 18:2

“He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.” – Psalm 40:2

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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.


  1. Good to see you getting out and about again Ashley, it must have felt a joyful relief to go birding once again. Great photos as always and love the spring flowers, especially the flannel flower. Enjoy your weekend! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Sue, yes we are enjoying being out and about again with no restrictions. However the weather in recent days has been very unsuitable for birding. We have recently been away for a week and it was a wonderful few days away from Sydney, especially to see family and friends we had not seen for a couple of years, due to Covid. The regions are having to deal with Covid now and the ant-vaxers there are starting to feel the pinch as they rebel and hopefully will relent and get vaccinated when they discover the truth, as many in Sydney have done.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello Ash,

    Welcome back!
    How wonderful to see that you are able to go out birding more – and some special views. Seeing the Dollarbird must have been exciting, and I know that you and your wife deeply appreciate all views from our avian friends. Seeing the Australian Wood Duck family is also heartwarming and I glad to see that summer is on its way over in your lovely city.

    You must be very busy settling back in – may you and your wife have a blessed and restful weekend ahead, and we’ll be in touch again soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Takami, yes we always get a buzz when the Dollarbird returns to our parks, and is another sign of Summer being near. They return to exactly the same dead trees every year, which makes them very predictable to find. I have been trying to catch up on everything, having so much material to process from our lovely time away. We so enjoyed catching up with family and friends, especially getting to hug my two youngest grandies. My daughter shared that he cried after we left, he turns 13 next week. My wife has been catching up with her own health and work issues, so it has been busy. Praying you are both keeping well, and that that special job is coming soon to you both. Enjoy your weekend. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Fabulous shots, Ashley! Love the Dollarbird’s bright beak! It is always a delight to see your Fairy Wrens and the last shot of the Lorikeet in flight is stunning!! Glad to see you’re out and about, getting to stretch your legs for some serious birding. So happy to hear you’ve had awesome family time too, finally!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Donna, it was a wonderful time seeing my grandies finally and hugging them. My daughter told me my grandson had tears when I left which really touched me as he is becoming a teen next week. We enjoyed our short week away but it needed to be longer to make up for all the cancelled holidays. We are now home and busy again. I will have some pics in a later post. Enjoy your week my friend 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Certainly have such a wonderful variety of birds in the local area. Thanks for sharing.

    Locally it is thought that the fusion of branches on trees of significance was done by the early First Nations people as a landmark of meetings and the like.

    Must be good to be about and about without the dreadful restrictions that we’ve all had to endure.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks David, it is interesting what you shared about the tree hole and the fused branches, I had not heard that before. We have several corroboree sites around Sydney area, usually on rock platforms, this tree was on a track by the bay where we find the Sacred Kingfishers. We have enjoyed our precious week away and have caught up with family and friends. The highlight was hugging my grandchildren which I have been prevented from doing for 2 years. Enjoy your week, and freedoms it must be wonderful for you and your wife also, to get back to serious bird observing.


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