My wife and I spent New Years Eve and the following days in the country city of Wagga Wagga, NSW (pronounced: Wogga Wogga) which means the place of many Crows (Ravens). When you repeat a word in our indigenous languages it means a great number of, or very large, or very deep. We visited my wife’s family there and stayed in her sister’s home by Lake Albert, an inland lake which is surrounded by eucalypt trees resounding in the sounds of many birds, with a large reedy wetland in one corner. We enjoyed some really magnificent fireworks over the lake on New Years Eve, which we viewed from the front porch.

A view of the lake wetlands with a small flock of Masked Lapwing in foreground.

Early New Years Day 2022, we set out exploring the bird life around the lake. Our first bird was a quite elusive Blue-faced Honeyeater. However, it actually had a much reduced green marking around the eye instead of the shiny blue face which meant it was an immature.

Here is a comparative photo of a mature Blue-faced Honeyeater parent that I later saw here:

We went to the tree where over the past 4 years we had seen the Dusky Woodswallow with its young, and were not disappointed as they glided about capturing insects for their youngsters, which were now fledged.

I managed to catch a very lovely moment with this small group of youngsters busily preening each themselves as well as each other snuggled on a branch in true Woodswallow style.

The mature adult watched the group from a nearby tree:

One very tiny bird seen in large numbers here out west is the White-plumed Honeyeater, which was feeding high in the tree canopy on lerps, insects and flower nectar. The white plume is the small white line on either side of the bird’s neck. I managed to capture this shot while it was feeding lower down on Bottlebrush flowers.

White-plumed Honeyeater on Bottlebrush tree

As we walked around the wetland portion on the corner of the lake we heard the call of the Australian Reed-Warbler, as it called to ward off intruders to its nest deep in the reeds. I only managed to catch it in flight as it flew to escape my view.

Australian Reed-Warbler in flight

This is what it sounded like:

This Australasian Swamphen had several juvenile youngsters which she guarded carefully. Notice they lack their mature colour markings.

A surprise find, spotted by my wife, far out in the centre of wetland was this Great Crested Grebe with two chicks:

Several pair of Pacific Black Duck, a commonly seen duck, graced the wetland area also, but many of the birds previously seen here were not here now:

This beautiful Eastern Rosella rested from the morning heat, watching me carefully, as these birds are very shy of humans.

Australia has one of the greatest varieties of colourful birds from the Parrot family, which are mainly found in the more arid, regions west of the ranges inland in the country, and are mainly seed feeders. This colourful Red-rumped Parrot pair were still nesting in a hole in one of the river gums.

While a small flock of Red-rumped Parrot pairs were grazing, (most of our Parrot family pair for life), they allowed me to get close and quietly capture these images. Now the male is the multi colourd bird with the red rump and the female more green with a green rump.

Praying you each have a happy and healthy year ahead, amid the challenges of Covid among other things. Have a most enjoyable week birding and discovering more of the wonders of Creation. So much variety, beauty and diversity in the world around us, to be enjoyed and discovered.

Welcome to those who are new to my blog, and I hope you will Follow my weekly posts and check out my birding tips and interesting information on the pages of my website accessible from my Home Page.

Check out my books which can also be purchased securely here online, they make great gifts and have some very helpful information. Click the photo below to explore:

Many people in the past have been in the habit of making New Years Resolutions, which after only a week or two of implementation usually revert back to their old habits and unhealthy lifestyles, discouraged and giving in to failure. They begin with good intentions but often lack the ability and perseverance of will to continue till they see results. Results are always a means of encouraging us to continue. Too often we expect results before we have put much effort in. It usually takes several weeks and months to restore healthy habits and lifestyles, as they have to be hardwired into our brains by honest and regular repetition, in the same way the unhealthy habits were created. Don’t be put off by the occasional divergence from the objective when it occurs, but in determination faithfully continue. Don’t give up, because you have not failed, you are a work in progress not giving up but pressing on with determination till the goal is reached and the prize of success is rewarded. The only failure comes to those who fail to try. Patient perseverance reaps the reward of character growth yielding a character which is is able to later achieve even greater things. From little things big things grow. Hope for change encourages us to achieve, so never lose hope, or take your eyes off your goal. If you have faith in God you have the added bonus that if you pray for help to accomplish your goal you will reach your goal, as Jesus promises, and I have found his promise true myself, when rewiring my own life for change:

“You can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive it.” – Matthew 21:22 (NLT)

“Love…It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” – 1 Corinthians 13:7 (NIV)

“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;  perseverance, character; and character, hope.” – Romans 5:3,4

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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. That in flight shot of the Dusky Warbler is wonderful, as are the fledglings preening and huddled on a branch. What a sweet sighting that was!

    This looks like a wonderful way to start the New Year! I hope you have many wonderful birding adventures this year, Ashley!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Deborah, yes it was a wonderful start, and early on new years morning too. The Duskies were such a delight to watch, and they did not seem at all concerned that I was watching them, which is the innocence of the very young. To capture the Reed-warbler in flight was very special as this bird flies so fast and is so unpredictable, this was an added blessing for beginning the new year. Enjoy your week my friend 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Donna,
      So glad I could share my new year birds with you. Hoping you and the family have a wonderful year and stay safe as best you can, as we move into the third and more infectious phase of this virus. Blessings 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Stay safe too, Ashley! We are trying to stay as safe as we can. I just found out today my Dad and his wife have covid. They’ve had symptoms for couple days, was tested today. I saw him last on Dec 20 and knew then that that was probably going to be my last time seeing him as the surge with covid was just starting to climb rapidly then. So far they are doing okay, but Dad’s still very weak and has a stomach feeding tube. He’s not out of the woods yet. 🙏


      • That is sad and very concerning Donna, we will remember him and your mum in our prayers. This is crazy time for everyone worldwide as so many like never before are becoming will become infected, unless the Lord permits otherwise. We have several family members of my wife’s infected or recovered, our numbers of infected are shooting in the thousands daily, and I am getting alerts of contacts. We rest in the peace and rest of our Lord, praying that this will be an opportunity for many will call out to him during this time and be saved.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello Ash,
    A very Happy New Year to you and your wife. It appears that your New Year holidays were blessed both with the presence of family, and welcome appearances by many of the beautiful birds of your country. We are glad that you were able to spend time with your wife’s family – a real blessing especially during the ongoing uncertainty.

    Your wife has wonderful sharp eyes, what a treat is must have been to spot the Great Crested Grebe and two chicks. As already mentioned, capturing a Reed Warbler in flight is also an amazing achievement! Our reed warblers look and sound quite similar to yours, and we eagerly await Spring and Summer, where they usually delight us with their songs and “warbling.”

    The juvenile Dusky Woodswallows brought a smile to our faces – you can really see the personality differences between siblings. And the parent continues to faithfully watch over them and make sure they are safe. What a delight.

    Thank you for the reminder that all of us are a work in progress, and to not be discouraged even when we inevitably stumble on our journey. May 2022 be full of blessings for you, your wife and your families.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Takami,
      Yes the Crested Grebe was an unexpected surprise on our walk, and thankfully my wife is a great ‘spotter’ with her very good binocs she bought at the London Wetlands centre some years ago. We love seeing the Duskies there each time we visit Lake Albert, it is always a delight to see the youngsters each summer.
      Praying richest blessings to you both and for a much better year, and for enjoyable employment for you both.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Ashley.
    Getting a Reed Warbler inflight. Impressive to say the least. Just seeing them is often a full time experience. 🙂

    Interesting to see the country around Wagga, that open wide plain of the back country.
    Just up the road, (well in bushies terms, is Hay, and then its a step to Booligal on the Lachlan, Dorothry’s family worked in that area for many years.
    Always brings to mind the Banjo’s poem’
    “Oh, send us to our just reward
    In Hay or Hell, but, gracious Lord,
    Deliver us from Booligal!”
    — A. B. ‘Banjo’ Paterson, Hay and Hell and Booligal

    We normally get good numbers of Dusky and often White-browed, but this year its been very quiet. Perhaps the food is better elsewhere.

    My resolution this year is to “Plod On”. “It may be well that I’m going slowly as I might be going in the wrong direction.” (Ashley Brilliant)

    Best for 2022 and may your new book bring you the success you deserve.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks David,
      I was surprised myself to catch the Warbler flying with reasonable clarity. I am still learning to adjust to the Mirrorless concept, especially looking through the view finder which looks at the image and not the subject. It is very different. It is a struggle for my eyes at times but, I am impressed also at times with the better quality of images.
      Wagga was very hot, but at least a dry manageable heat, and not the horrible humid coastal heat we endure which saps your strength. My wife’s sister has a good pool which we all enjoyed.
      Interesting that poem by Banjo, as it is said there is no record of him ever visiting the town of Booligal or Hay, but he wrote truthfully at least from the extremes town experiences. I know whenever I crossed the Hay plain in summer it was very hot and insects were very friendly 🙂
      To plod on is wise as it allows us time to be careful and thoughtful, especially in our latter years. I am realizing this myself as I am making myself slow down, which has been difficult excepting retirement, so this year I hope to take my time rather than let time take me. Having my heart repaired has allowed me to be more active again and able to do longer walks again, which is great, but some things I still need to be careful so I don’t injure myself.
      Hope you both enjoy a wonderful new year, and stay safe, this new virus is rampant here in Sydney and already people we know have had it. or having it, which was not the case in the two previous waves.


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