Last week I shared the first part of our time in the Mid North Coast NSW area around Forster. On the last couple of days we drove further north to Port Macquarie where we stayed with my old school friend and his wife. We went right through school together and remained good friends. We stayed at their place which is not far from coastal rainforest, and as a result they had many species of birds visit their gardens, and those of their neighbours. Several Palm trees were fruiting in backyard of the house next door and were causing much interest to the birds, which were mostly fruit eaters. The sound of the Australasian Figbird could be heard constantly throughout the day.

Australasian Figbird calling

These birds are mainly fruit eaters, and move around the over 100 species of ficus that grow in our country as they come into fruit. God’s wonderful provision for our many fruit eaters is that the figs, similar to the blossoming trees, are constantly providing, as each species fruits and blooms at different times of the year, and the birds follow the trees. Our southern race of Figbird has a much more intensely coloured eye ring in the male than that of the northern race.

Another fruit eating bird notorious for invading back yard fruit trees and finding ways to sneak in and out of tree covers is the Satin Bowerbird. My friend’s garden was frequently visited daily by these birds. The male is more elusive than the female, and will flee when noticed, hence it did not allow me time to get clear shots, but its beautiful features can be appreciated.

Bowerbirds are great mimics, and like the Lyrebird make many unique and different sounds which often incorporate those of other birds. You usually hear them but not see them. Here is an example:

Bowerbirds calling

The Collared Dove, a ferule resident from Asia is quite attractive, and found in large numbers here.

The highlight of our stay was to see close up two of the most elusive Cuckoo (a brood parasite), which migrate to Australia to breed each Spring, returning to countries north of Australia in Autumn. This bird often known as the Rain Bird, has one of the most annoying calls of any bird, often waking sleepers very early in the morning by its loud repetitive cries as the male and female locate each other, and their babies, which are being raised by other Aussie birds, such as Red Wattlebirds, Magpie-larks, Friarbirds and Figbirds. Both birds are fruit eaters with bright red eyes. The male is sometimes mistaken for the male Satin Bowerbird which is also dark, elusive and has a white beak, but the red eye distinguishes it, as the beautiful purple eye of the Bowerbird is quite definitive. We managed to capture footage of the male calling. You will notice him regurgitating the palm fruit and swallowing it, as it interferes with his call :

Male Eastern Koel calling as he regurgitates and swallows Palm berries

The female unlike other birds in the Aussie bird world is the attractive one of the pair, and looks quite splendid in the afternoon sun, a rare sight for this elusive bird. However these berries are like candy to these birds, as they are to many rainforest birds, including the Top-knot Pigeon in last weeks post.

feeding time

Even the common birds were surprised to see this beautiful but strange bird out in the open, as was this Spotted Dove, which was quite curious for some time watching the female preen and feed. I love this photo…

“What is this strange creature ?”
Eastern Koel calling

The other brood parasite commonly seen and heard with its loud raucous call is the Channel-billed Cuckoo, which is always being chased away by other birds who are wise to its intentions. This is the world largest cuckoo and also migrates here in Spring to lay its eggs, which resemble those of the Pied Currawong, which is its prime host target, as it often leaves its nest unattended. We have often seen Pied Currawongs feeding Cuckoo offspring, as seen below.

We later went for a drive and came across this juvenile Masked Lapwing (previously known as the Spur-winged Plover) with both parents carefully guarding it as it explored the front yard of a home. Masked Lapwing are known for laying their eggs in open mowed grassed areas, parks and gold-courses, where the male guards the nest, verbally and physically attacking intruders. There call is a classic sound used in many Australian movies.

Their wing spurs become visible when they stand upright in attack mode.

Masked Lapwing giving warning call

Enjoy your week and stay safe, this Covid season is not over yet.

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In our local Oatley Park the other day my wife and I discovered the Tawny Frogmouth with its two nestlings. Although we had scanned the area previously we could not find them, and needed the help of a another to locate them, as they were not easily seen from the trail. We were told one of the babies fell from the branch and WIRES (Australian Wildlife Rescue) were called and after checking it out, hired a cherry picker and placed it back on the branch where baby was safe once again, giving a happy ending for a much loved resident of the park.

It was encouraging to know that someone cared enough to seek help to restore it to the family.

In another case this week a White-faced Heron was sighted with its foot tangled in fishing line. A lady brought to my attention this White-faced Heron while I was photographing waders. She had previously contacted WIRES and was concerned that they did not come to help, as they said if it could fly and walk it was OK. It was making progress but limping as the line remained on its foot. The bird was able to fend for itself regardless of the limp, and was learning to adapt to it, though it appeared a little under weight. To attempt to intervene may cause further stress and injury to the bird.

White-faced Heron with tangled foot

It is wise to discern between the times in life when we need to intervene to help the helpless while at other times allow one to bravely adapt to changes in one’s life. Too often people stress over situations which the sufferer needs to adjust to. Instead of encouraging them and constructively assisting in their adjustment to their new normal, they try to ‘save’ them and mollycoddle them which is counterproductive, and may even add insult to one who is struggling to adapt. I have found this particularly true for many disabled people, when they are excessively fussed over by those meaning well which may embarrass and even emotionally insult the one receiving the attention as they are well aware that the more independent they feel they are, the better they feel about themselves.

In Galatians 6:1- 5, Paul the apostle makes an interesting assessment which many struggle to understand and raises the question: What does it mean that one is to carry [bear] each others burdens, and yet carry [bear] their own load ? He includes that: each one must test [discern] their own actions. While we can sympathize with, assist and emotionally support one who is struggling for whatever reason in life, each individual is ultimately personally responsible for their outcome before God, and what they do with what they have and have been given in life, even in their new normal, whatever that may look like. This is the difference between one person in one part of the world smiling, thankful and happy to receive one small bowl of plain rice for the day, and another in another place, complaining and ungrateful that his steak is overcooked as part of his three large meals a day.

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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.

9 Comments »

  1. Hello Ash,
    I have been catching up on blog articles as we settle back in after a few days away from the internet 🙂 Seeing more of your beautiful Australian birds is the perfect way to get back into our daily rhythm. The Lapwing chicks brought a smile to our faces – they look so fluffy and full of curiosity.

    Reading that there are concerned people who went out of their way to contact the wildlife authorities to return the Tawny Frogmouth nestling back to the tree heartwarming. The advice on “knowing” when is the right time to intervene and when it is best to quietly watch by is very important too!

    I have just learned that a Little Grebe family at one of my favorite parks gave birth to at least 1 chick yesterday. Considering we are almost into Winter here, this is very unusual and very “out of season.” The local birders continue to “cheer on” the little guy from afar with a prayer in heart that the little one will thrive despite the oncoming winter.

    Wishing you and your wife a blessed second half to the week, and will update soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Takami, we have been praying that you both have a relaxing time away, to unwind and recoil yourselves. The Grebes are a delight to us both and it is a concern that they have had a chick so late, as it will be getting cold there soon, though maybe as the temps are getting warmer worldwide, they figure they can get one more clutch in.. You also enjoy your week, and we continue to pray for suitable employment also.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Another beautiful outing with birds and nature! The female Eastern Koel is stunning, I especially love her on the strands of berries with tail splayed. The juvenile Masked Lapwing is adorable! The shot of the parent with the wing spurs showing, WOW!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. An excellent time among the birds.
    The Channel-bill is not one I see at all, but apparently there is one in a park just outside the Melbourne CBD that is causing some attention for birdos

    It is really a hard thing to draw a line between providing help to a distressed bird or to let nature take its course.

    The Peregrine Falcons on 367 Collins street this year are a case in point.
    4 hatched, 3 fledged, one suffered sickness and was abandoned by the parents. Much social media concentrated on why something was not done to assist the sick one. Given they are vicious birds at defending the nest, and it was many stories up on the building, i don’t know anyone other than James Bond would have been game to take the risk of attending to it.

    We work with birds all the time, and must be continually aware we are NOT making pets.
    It is somewhat the human condition to attach wild animals to ourselves as “Our” and that makes letting go a difficult prospect.

    We seem to have lost a Hobby nest this year, perhaps it was the weather, or lack of food, but the adults have now moved on. Hopefully they will be back next season to try again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks David, it is possible that the weather is just that little bit colder for the migrating Cuckoos, as they spend winter in New Guinea, and the highest number appear north of us here in Sydney, as with the Bee-eaters.
      It is difficult for humans, especially city dwellers of generation Y to understand the way of nature due to the different way they relate everything, which differs from us who have come before in a different world. I figure a similar thing happened a weaker Aussie Grebe chick yesterday in our park, as to the falcon chick, possibly was taken or died as it was a straggler and left itself open to predication. The resident Kingfisher had swooped unsuccessfully on them even while we were there.
      I do hope the Hobby’s get their nursery operational for you this year. I have noticed a decline in many species breeding, not sure if it is the wet weather putting them off, or they are just late getting started. Enjoy your week my friend !

      Like

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