This Spring, due to Covid restrictions and wet windy weather, I had not been checking our migratory waders as regular as usual. Some weeks ago I managed to check out our returning migrant birds, now here enjoying our unusually wet wintry summer weather. So I drove down to the river flats at low tide to our local shorebird reserve, and scanned the beach for the small flock of Bar-tailed Godwit, which normally return from Alaska, having made their legendary 6 to 8 day non stop journey across the Pacific Ocean. Some 16,000 km.

As many of you know who have purchased my books, these birds are honored for their amazing endurance, from which we can learn to employ in our own lives. Click on the image below to find out more about this book.

page from ‘What Birds Teach Us’

They can be easily missed from the road as the tide goes out as they are not large birds being slightly smaller than a Silver Gull. Eventually I spotted the little flock of about seven foraging along the shore, driving their slightly up-curved beaks down into the wet sand in search of tiny crustaceans.

A pair of Pied Oystercatcher were also foraging on the sand, though these are usually rock foragers. These birds are now classified as Endangered in our state, due to destruction of their breeding grounds on the beaches in the now heavily populated areas around Sydney, as well as our National Parks authority allowing vehicles to drive on reserve beaches.

The following video shows the flock preening together, as in flock style, they tend to do everything at the same time together. Notice how they use the brackish water to condition their primary feathers as well as their preening oil from their rear gland. Note how they run the feathers through their beak. Many passerines also do this immediately after bathing.

My wife and I needed a walk after being inside because of the previous week of inclement weather, so we went further around the river to Taren Point Shorebird Reserve. As we walked along the recently upgraded path we noted a lone Whimbrel on the mud flats, which was also here last year. Sorry for the dull photos, the clouds help to decolour them.

The largest member of the Curlew family, the Eastern Curlew is also seen nearby, but being more timid than the Striated Heron, as usual evaded us on first glimpse.

Further on, this Bar-tailed Godwit shared a foraging area with this lone Grey-tailed Tattler, which was also seen here last year., as they tend to return to the same beach each year, which is is the result of the remarkable navigation system that their Creator equipped these birds with. It is not uncommon for lone birds to strike up a companionship with other bird species that share similar characteristics and food types, as birds may suffer loneliness and insecurity similar to us humans.

When my wife noticed these birds looking curiously across the water, she noticed another bird on the shore stalking in its classic style, an extremely human shy bird and often a challenge to photograph, the Striated Heron ( also previously known as Mangrove Heron as it is often found around Mangroves as this one was). Then the Bar-tailed Godwit flew over and landed next to it.

The Striated Heron noticed us photographing it and slowly walked into the nearby Mangroves. This was a plus for us as it gave us less diffused lighting, making the beautiful features of this bird more visible. Eventually it climbed a Mangrove tree and sat in it for some time.

The more commonly seen White-faced Heron was also seen foraging further on.

White-faced Heron

Further on a pair of Godwit were foraging and eventually relocated further along the beach..

As I mentioned earlier, the conservation status of the Pied Oystercatcher is now classed as Endangered in NSW, so the local council have built a nesting island a safe distance off shore for these birds, as well as for Pelicans and gulls to safely nest and rest.

shorebird nesting island

As we walked we usually pass a small family of Superb Fairy-wren on the opposite side of the pathway, and they were again in exactly the same location, on the same fence wire, and the male was in full breeding plumage. It kept moving suddenly, as they do, so clarity was a problem.

Finally this juvenile Red Wattlebird, at present wattless, was calling for food as its parent was trying to avoid its constant begging.

Juvenile Red Wattlebird

We were delighted to see the Summer locals return to position themselves for another season with us, though numbers are lower than last year, which always is a concern as many migratory waders continue to suffering reduction in their numbers due habitat and feeding ground destruction by humans as well as predation by humans for meat in Asian countries. Birdlife International is attempting to reduce this by giving training and incentives to fowlers to farm domestic fowls for meat and preserve the shorebirds, as well as petitioning foreign governments to be more proactive in migrating shorebird preservation. Once these birds are gone, and stop coming to our beaches each year, they are gone forever.

Australasian Grebe juvenile

Some good news – the last Australasian Grebe baby we thought eaten is alive and well and thriving on the pond at Oatley Park Reserve under the watch of one parent.

Have a wonderful week and enjoy the birds in your area. Praying you are all keeping safe and well. Check out my /birdbook page for the perfect Christmas gift if you have not done so already, just click on the image below to go there now. These books can be purchased here online and sent worldwide in less than 10 days, by Australia Post. Many of my overseas blog Followers have purchased these books and can testify to this.

As our country prepares for Christmas celebrations, this year more than ever before the true meaning has been removed and replaced to become no more of just a family celebration, a reason to a party, give gifts and have a few days off work. Many children growing up now have no idea who Jesus is, what his coming into the world was for, or even who the true historical Santa Claus, Nicholas was. They are taught by parents and society to believe a lie from a young age, which is not good if you want your child to grow up trusting you and your values (i.e. Santa Claus is real) rather than to believe in the true historical Jesus who said: ” I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, no one comes to God the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) and his amazing accomplishments on our behalf, of which no human alive can dispute or refute as history records his life more accurately than any other person who has lived.

Modern secular Australia being influenced by current media and anti-faith constituents has produced an imitation celebration. Jesus has always been the reason for the season, however, the move away from Jesus and the true meaning was to embrace all people, including non believing, agnostic, anti-Christian as well as all cultures and religions to comply with our current multi-cultural society concept. So Christmas became an empty shell, with more attention paid to the wrapping paper tinsel and ribbon, to avoid exploring the gift inside.

I can remember when one of my children was very young and we gave him a gift beautifully wrapped in colourful paper. We were surprised when he removed the wrapping paper and started playing with it and the ribbon, completely disregarding the gift altogether. We had some trouble trying to get him interested in the toy which he later appreciated. It was disappointing in those first moments, as like all parents, you wait for the joyous excitement, as they behold the unwrapped and revealed gift.

Not only is this disrespectful and insulting to those who hold Jesus and this celebration as sacred, it also highlights the irrational fear that many have confronting anything to do with God and Jesus Christ. It was a Christmas long ago in my late teens that I was confronted by God with the person of Jesus, and even then I saw my family and friends celebrating a Christless Christmas of just gluttonous eating and meeting. That Christmas night walking home I became very curious about Jesus and started checking him out. Having discovered him as real in my own life, I have since completed much reading, study and research, even personally visiting Israel and the places where he lived, performed miracles and taught, and can honestly say, as can my wife, that truly Jesus is The Answer.

 He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right [privilege] to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a [spiritual] birth that comes from God.” – John 1:10-13 (NLT)

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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.


    • Thanks Takami, yes I am always fascinated by the endurance and abilities that the Lord has granted birds, they are so amazing in their abilities to adapt and achieve even against great odds, which is truly inspiring to me.


  1. Thank you brother for another marvelous post. I can hardly keep up with the new species I see! Their every detail is fascinating.
    I had to reopen my book and read the whole entry again, “”Endure”.
    “It is this hope that drives them on, and keeps them flying, even when it hurts”. How I want that living hope of Christ to drive me on and keep me flying! Yes, in dark days, even when it hurts.
    Thank you Ashley for glorifying our Savior and speaking to hearts in so many ways.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Lisa Beth, for your always encouraging words. I am always greatly encouraged by your inspiring comments, they make my day 🙂
      The Godwits have a special place in my heart among birds, and I never grow tired of seeing and photographing them, knowing their commitment to their migratory routine. They do inspire us as you said dear sister to persevere, as Paul reminds us: “…we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope, which does not disappoint…” – Rom 5:3,4 Have a wonderful week as we you prepare to celebrate our wonderful Lord Jesus who persevered on our behalf: “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” – Heb 12:2

      Liked by 1 person

  2. So many new birds to see today. It is hard for me to figure out the shore birds on the beaches. All the different pipers, like the Godwit and Tattler. They look similar here as your photos. I know the Sanderlings, they are tiny but fast shore birds. Fun to watch.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Sandra, yes shorebirds can be difficult especially sandpipers, which we do not see much down here and Sanderlings are mostly found far north of our country. We are thankful for few varieties we do get here, considering the human population which share the same beaches.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. So happy about the Grebe! …and love the little fairy-wren ❤ I hope you do have a wonderful Christmas with family. I don’t know if you are aware of The Chosen series. They created a beautiful Christmas movie with a lot of amazing music and a great reenactment of the birth of Jesus. We watched it on Facebook last night (It is still playing in a few theaters). It was so amazing and very well done.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Lisa, yes we have enjoyed the first 2 series of the Chosen and waiting for the third to be released which was held up due to Covid, but was unaware of a movie, so we will look it up..Thanks again Lisa. I love the simple message thread through your posts, we are on a similar page. Blessings !

      Liked by 1 person

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