It is always a delight to visit Oatley Park Reserve during the Spring months to see the new arrivals of the waterbirds, as well as passerines. Though there are less than the usual numbers of species breeding here this year. The added feature this year is a family of Australasian Grebe that many have been returning daily to view the growth and development of their Grebe chicks. Note the breeding plumage on face and neck.

here nest is a mound of reeds beside a reed bed our in the main pond. Both parents busily care for and feed the now two remaining chicks, as the weaker third appears to have either perished or been taken by a predator, such as the Sacred Kingfisher which I witnessed swooping on it. Sadly, a couple of days later the third weaker straggling chick was not present and each parent adopted the principle of feeding and protecting one chick each.

Below is live footage of a Kingfisher attack on the young Grebes. Notic how quickly they duck under the water when the Kingfisher swoops down on them. Thankfully on thi occasion they all escaped.

Similar to other Grebe and Swan species, the parents carry their babies on their backs tucked under their wings for protection, as they are very vulnerable to predation on the open lake.

Initially father Grebe will bring to the nest small fish and aquatic food to feed the hungry youngsters

As the Grebes get older they venture out onto the water where they wait for their parent to dive and emerge with food for them.

Below is a photo of a non breeding and breeding Australasian Grebe for comparison. Both sexes display the same breeding plumage:

This little Pacific Black Duck baby was cruising the pond continuously without its family, being quite vulnerable to predation. We found its family hidden in the wetlands some 50 metres away.

In the same pond this juvenile Dusky Moorhen was chirping, awaiting a feed.

Waterbirds have a high predation rate, as they are literally sitting ducks exposed on open water, which is why large broods of young assist in their survival as a species. They may start with a dozen chicks and end up with only one or two reaching maturity. This depends on the number of predators, and how skilled the parent is in protecting them. Predators include raptors, Currawongs, Kingfishers, Kookaburras, and sometimes other large omnivorous birds.

Another non avian creature we saw in the park on this day was the Short-nosed Echidna, which is a unique species of monotreme or prototherian mammal. The Platipus is the other. This little guy is occasionally seen in the park and has his own little hideaway. These are very shy and spend their day poking their long snout down ant nests, since ants, termites and other insects are its main diet. It is commonly known as the Spiny Anteater.

This tiny Hyacinth orchid (Dipodium punctatus) is in flower again this year for a very short time in Spring. The petals are very small and are covered in tiny dots. Notice the blade of grass in background of the photo.

I love the way the Parrot family peer at you as they feed. Often all you will see is an eye. This lone Eastern Crimson Rosella was feeding away in a rocky corner of the park.


Have a most enjoyable week birding and stay safe. We have been enjoying a little more freedom here, but now this South African variant has hit our city from overseas travellers. So the whole Covid thing starts over again, with a new chapter and a new normal, this virus just won’t go away.

Last Saturday on a cold Canberra day, we visited the National Library Bookshop in Parkes, Canberra, where my books are sold. While I was there speaking with the shop assistant several people heard my conversation came up to me and bought books. They sold out of stock so I had to go to the car and bring more in. Book signing was the order of the day.

Remember the perfect Christmas gift is but a click away here.


As parents we love our children and grandchildren. We love seeing them develop and grow and feed into their life not only food , protection and provisions but also encouragement and wisdom to become the very best they possibly can.

Passing on a solid platform of faith, trust and integrity of character is just as important, if not more. Our world view will be passed on to our children, in our language, behaviour and values also, without us even realizing. It may be wise to ask am I mainly a Balcony or Basement person. Am I basically happy or depressed, encouraging or discouraging, positive or negative, faithful or fearful, hopeful or pessimistic, gracious or judgmental, always giving or always on the take, always thankful or always complaining in both language and actions. This will have a marked affect on those around us including family and friends. Taking stock of our relationships and those of our children to ensure that the number of Balcony people outnumbers those of the Basement variety, can be helpful to maintain our emotional, mental and spiritual health. Needy people attract needy people as do hurt people hurt people.

“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” – Proverbs 17:22

“The father of a righteous child has great joy; a man who fathers a wise son rejoices in him.” – Proverbs 23:24

“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” – Proverbs 22:6

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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.

14 Comments »

  1. Hello Ash,
    Once again, I do apologize for being “backlogged” with your wonderful blog articles… As you have mentioned, it continues to be a challenging time with this new variant, and it continues to be stop-go on many levels.

    Despite my time away from the computer, I was glad to return and view the new Spring arrivals in your beautiful country. The Australaisan grebe family (including the reality of nature as one of the chicks is no longer there) especially touched us, as we had a bittersweet experience with our local Little grebe family that gave birth in winter (and well out of season) – I’ll save that story for an email 🙂 Seeing the parents nurture their babies with such love and devotion lifted our spirits.

    The lone Pacific Black Duck baby – I do hope the little guy made it back to his family, as you say, the little babies are all quite literally “sitting ducks” and easy prey.

    I continue to be amazed and delighted how some water birds (like the grebes and moorhens etc) are so similar in appearance to Japanese birds, while others (such as the Kingfisher family) look quite different. Our avian friends never fail to delight us when they grace us with their presence 🙂

    The book shoppe selling your books seems radiates a warm atmosphere – I can imagine spending hours there browsing books and discovering treasures. I am so happy your books were selling well, and there was an opportunity for a book-signing session – a welcome surprise for everyone.

    Thank you for brightening our evening, and for the reminder to keep faith at all times. I look forward to updating you soon, and wishing you and your wife a blessed and safe week.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Takami,
      We really appreciate your kind and thoughtful comments they delightful. I am glad you are able to continue keeping up with my blogs, as we pray daily for you both and for your future. Christmas is my best selling time for my books and have been pray that people will see the value of my books as gifts for their loved ones. I love that booksellers love me visiting their stores because they always sell more books when I am there, just from customers overhearing me talking to the staff. Have a wonderful week my friend 🙂

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  2. I love the ‘ducklings’ video and pics! I have always lived ducks and swans, even as a child. My 2nd grade teacher once gave an assignment, “pick your favorite animal and least favorite and write a story about them”. Haha…I wrote about a duck and a spider! They got married and had children. I still have the story with my illustrations as well! 😃
    The best pic here though is YOU brother, so good to see you in the store with your chock-full-of-goodness books.
    “Our world view will be passed on to our children, in our language, behaviour and values also, without us even realizing.” Thank you for wise words to meditate upon, may many see and grasp ahold of them.
    Will be praying for you and your lovely wife, thanks again Ashley.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Lisa Beth, yes it would be a remarkable union between a duck and spider the only thing in common would be web feet on the duck and the spider weaving its web. Thanks for your encouraging comment sister, it was an amazing time visiting this major shop and causing the sale of so many books by just being there and talking to customers quite randomly, it was the Lord’s favor. Thanks again for your wise reception of my spiritual messages also, I appreciate it greatly. Enjoy the rest of your week 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love spring time with birding, it is amazing to watch them. Their whole intent on life is raising their family even though the odds are against the little ones like you said. I did not know kingfishers would attack anything but fish.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Sandra, several of us birders have seen Kingfishers here in Australia feed on numerous reptiles and even mice, and feed them to their babies. The Kookaburra is the largest in the Kingfisher family and it eats mainly small animals, birds and reptiles. Some species of kingfisher such as the much smaller Azure which lives on the rivers will eat mainly small fish.

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  4. High marks for this post! The grebe is one of my very favorite birds! Your’s has different coloring than ours, but oh my! oh my! What cute baby photos and videos! And as a bonus, I enjoyed seeing the Echidna 😊 PS: I was able to see the Moorhen babies here in the spring (we also call them Gallinules). I was able to see them in several stages as they grew. A real treat!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Lisa, it has truly been a delight to watch these Grebe parents at work caring for their young. We were concerned about about one baby that seemed a bit behind the others and always missed out on the feed because it was too slow, and it was not found the following day with the family. We always love seeing the babies riding on the backs of their parents.
      The Moorhen is just another name for the Aussie subspecies of your Gallinules, and are so cute to watch also. They have suffered predation also leaving only one baby, as the parent seems to not stay close. Enjoy your week my friend 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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