Finally, after several postponed holidays, due to Covid lock-downs, my wife and I made our way up the mid north coast for one precious week’s holiday, to an area where I used to live about ten years ago, where several of my family and friends live. We were so happy to finally embrace the grandchildren and see how they have grown and matured in the last two years. We stayed in a quiet resort out of town near a very long beautiful beach in the Booti Booti NP, where for the third year now we found the pair of Rainbow Bee-eaters on the same tree on the beach. Firstly, here is a panoramic of the beach.
They were elusive as they saw us coming but made a return after some time, as they prefer to grace the same tree.
We managed to catch some aerial shots, though the sun was not in our favour at the time, and these birds are fast, but beautiful in flight. These birds swiftly fly from the branch, often a dead one, and catch insects on the fly, returning to the same branch to kill and eat them. The can eat bees and wasps without any adverse affect from their sting, where as our Magpies have to remove the sting before consumption.
At the entrance to the beach this male Superb Fairy-wren put on an extended show for us looking bright and important up on top of this bush as he spun around with great agility to check a 360° radius of safety while his female was nesting somewhere below the bush.
At our resort villa we were visited by several birds. Though the weather was not good for birding at times. A pair of young Kookaburras visited us each day, and one wet windy day a flock of Top-knot Pigeons landed on a tree near our balcony, though the poor diffused lighting made photography difficult. The young Grey Butcherbird came each day also, and suffered some disheveling from the rain.
We both enjoyed watching the strong winds blow up the head feathers of this young Kooka:
What do you do when you have this little face looking at you so expectantly ?
On one of the days we went out on a dolphin watch cruise, as we missed the whales by a week, as they had already passed down the coast back to Antarctica for the Summer with their new young calves. Of course we saw many waterbirds.
We always see the White-bellied Sea-Eagle on this cruise on the lakes at Forster, and today was no exception.
You may also want to explore my latest page addition to my website called: Australian Raptors – Kings of the Sky. This has much informative information and photos to assist in understanding the unique characteristics of these birds. Click image below to find page:
It was great watching the Sooty Oystercatcher chisel with a jack-hammer action at the concealed shellfish.
While we visited my daughter and grandchildren they took us for our usual bird walk down through the coastal rainforest to the beach nearby. On the way we saw this juvenile Tawny Frogmouth sleeping alone. It’s nest was empty above in the tree, and its parents were gone. We were told that the parents return at night for it to take it out hunting with them. If you want to know more about these unique and fascinating birds, often misidentified as an owl, check out the end section of my new Australian Raptors page on my website. See how well they blend in with the tree environment.
Also nearby the Frogmouth was this Australian Eastern Magpie nest in full operation and loaded with a few young nestlings. A non-breeding male Brush Turkey (possibly a youngster, as most males would have a full breeding wattle at this time of year), took to tree when it saw my grandson’s dog.
The Dollarbird was present also near our accommodation but was seen only in the evening while we walked to out dinner destination, but the aggressive Noisy MIners drove them away, I managed to catch this flight shot on my phone, which depicts the so called dollar markings, as well as a beautiful sun through the clouds shot from the restaurant.
One place full of birds we love to visit while here is Seal Rocks in the Myall Lakes NP at Sugarloaf Point Lighthouse. The climb up to the lighthouse is invigorating, and is accompanied by the calls of many birds. The lighting was against us a little on the day but we managed to catch a few great moments.
The male and female Satin Flycatcher were nesting nearby in the tall trees in the car park, while the Scaly-breasted Lorakeet fed noisily on the top canopy.
A lone Wonga Pigeon was sighted in the distance through the trees.
The sound of the Golden Whistler was continuous the whole time we were there in one part of the walk, as was the elusive Eastern Whipbird of which I managed to catch a glimpse. Both the White-cheeked and New Holland Honeyeaters were present.
One bird that attracted our attention as we arrived at the car park was this Grey Shrike-thrush. It does not have the classic white lores of this bird, so I am wondering if it is a youngster or even a Little Shrike-thrush that has moved further south. It had the beautiful loud shrike-thrush call, but was very elusive, which these birds are not usually.
Finally we noticed this family of Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo feeding on the seed pods of the tall Banksia tree. The male has the pink eye ring and the female’s is dark. The youngster was hidden in the tree.
This was a lovely day out, and an enjoyable and refreshing part to our much needed time away. Next week’s post will feature some amazing birds from further north in the Port Macquarie area, all seen from the back yard of my old school friend’s home.
Have a wonderful week birding, and continue to stay safe. My wife and I continue to pray daily that you are all kept well and safe as you navigate this most unusual time in history.
If this is your first visit to my blog, welcome ! Please check out the interesting pages on birding and how you can benefit from learning how the birds do life.
Don’t forget the most colourful and helpful Christmas gift is found here and it will arrive before Christmas if you order HERE online now.
Coming out of several months lock-down reminded us how wonderful our freedom really is, and how much we depend on one another for a successful outcome to this pandemic. The challenges afforded each of us have brought out new qualities and growth in our characters, and for some even improvements in their lifestyle and employment situations, such as my son, able to work from home and see more of his family and do less travelling each day, whereas his son has missed a proper start to his special college hands on experience. Many others are grieving great loss and are having to rise up above it all to move forward once again, to face the new normal and a new beginning.
Grief is a normal process meant for our good, which is meant to pull us aside and give us time to assist us in taking time to reassess the changes in our life and step back into life with a fresh perspective, adjusting to one’s new normal. This is process is discussed in my second book “Flight of a Fledgling” using the Australian Black Swan to illustrate. This book will be helpful for those younger adults giving them tools to better cope and work through those difficult emotional experiences of life which we all have to face and then deal with from time to time. Those unexpected events. Be aware that the book is written as a non judgmental, non religious self counselling tool and may be the most helpful book you may give, and even find valuable to yourself, as it is written to adults and covers the whole life experience.
These are Solomon’s words of instruction to his son in Proverbs 2:
“My child, listen to what I say,
and treasure my instructions.
Tune your ears to wisdom,
and concentrate on understanding.
Cry out for insight,
and ask for understanding.
Search for them as you would for silver;
seek them like hidden treasures.“