Last Sunday my wife and had breakfast at our favorite National Park cafe with a friend my wife calls her laughing friend, which is how she first introduced us. As per usual while we were awaiting for our meals we received a visit from the resident Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, always on the scrounge, getting up close and friendly, though I had to make it keep its distance as it continually wanted to come onto our table.

on the scrounge

After breakfast we drove to a picnic table at the bend in the river where we had a lovely view up two sections, and the Aquatic Water Poppy were flowering in all their glory.

aquatic water poppy

While the ladies chatted and enjoyed the lovely view of the angophora trees over the rive and water poppies in flower I scanned this elbow of the river for the Azure Kingfisher, which in previous years had its nest in the bank just across from this point. We had not seen much of it in the last few months.

angophora costata (Sydney Red Gum)

One of the precepts of good birding is if you wait, they will come. Many insert the words sit and wait, and wait long enough which is why many carry fold-up chairs in their cars. Birds tend to move around the same geographical areas during a day, as many of our birds are territorial and live in a community similar to us. The Azure Kingfisher however is a loner, and keeps to itself, being extremely timid of humans. It is very fast flying, and being a very small bird, is often gone before you can click a shot if it catches a glimpse of you. It often requires stealth and shooting from afar. This Kingfisher, unlike the Sacred, which is more omnivorous, it only fishes on the river, spending all its life moving up and down the river, nesting in a burrow dug just above the water line. At first the bank was controlled by a pair of Masked Lapwing, who promptly left as we approached the river bank.

Masked Lapwing

I continued checking the branches of overhanging trees, for sign of the tiny bright blue and orange bird. The large stick that usually stuck out of the centre of the river, which was the Kingfisher’s favorite landing spot, had been washed away when the river flooded a few days ago in torrential rain we have been having this summer. It was meant to be pouring rain at present but thankfully it held off.

Just then my wife signaled to me to come as she and her friend (who is not a birder) were viewing a bird on the river which I could not see from my vantage point. On arrival I was told the Azure was sitting on a small reed very low and just above the river, which made it difficult to see, especially as it was facing us. The bright blue wings and back of the bird make it more easily detectable. Being so small and some distance away it was a challenge to get a focused shot, even with my new mirrorless camera.

Azure Kingfisher

It sat for a minute looking around to see if it was being approached by a group of people not far along the bank.

and then at rapid speed left to fly further up the river, away from us.

rapid exit

This what the bird looks like from the rear when fishing:

Here is a selection of shots to give you more appreciation of this beautiful but tiny bird.


Have a wonderful week and stay safe, as the Covid threat level moves to the next level word wide.

Many of us for the first time now, in this 3rd wave, know friends and family who have/had the virus, and we continue to receive notifications from almost every shop and business we visit as it engulfs our city.

The Beautiful Bird Books are available for a two book special here.


During my recent mindful meditations over Jesus’ words in the Gospel accounts, which I enjoy reading now from the New Living Translation, I have been seeing the thread of Humility, which gives sense to much of his instruction including his parables. In the original Greek the word tapeinos meaning low lying or not far from the ground which was where we unexpectedly found the Azure Kingfisher, not far from the water surface on the reed bed among the water poppy. The key meaning being of having a modest or unassuming, non pretentious opinion of oneself in relation to others and especially to God, to the point of placing others and their needs above one’s own.

The word was not a virtue of the then Greeko-Roman world which associated it with debasement, shame and failure, thus making it quite revolutionary and controversial for Jesus to be teaching this lower way to blessing and success in life. Jesus taught that true authority and leadership comes when one serves rather than dominates the other, which I term ‘God’s Opposites’ to mankind’s selfish thinking. Hence such terms as: ‘many who are first will be last and the last first.’ (Mark 10:31). When all said and done, this is the proven path to true peace and love in all of our relationships.

If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover up the truth with boasting and lying.  For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind.

But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere.” – James 3:13-17 (NLT)

“Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” – Matthew 11:29 (Jesus depicted true humility in all his life and most of all in his submission to death).

“But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” – Matthew 23:12

“Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.” – Philippians 2:3


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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.

20 Comments »

  1. Hello Ash,
    What wonderful “birding eyes” your wife has!
    As you say, “if you wait, they will come” and I am so happy you were blessed with a visit from the beautiful Azure Kingfisher. The size and some of the coloring look similar to our “common kingfisher” but the brilliant blue coloring on the Azure is really unique and lovely. In Japan kingfishers are often referred to as “flying jewels” because they certainly appear that way when they streak past us and the sunlight hits the back feathers 🙂

    Not surprisingly COVID infections have surged (again) at alarming rates in my country as well, with many regions breaking new records. As you say, it is a challenging time and we all struggle to “live with” the situation… The lessons you share from the scripture – including the real meaning of humility – were much needed and provided much encouragement.

    Thank you for your most recent message, I will be sure to reply later this week, and you and all your family remain in our daily prayers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Takami,
      Have been enjoying finally having two of my grandsons stay a few days and they enjoyed bird watching with us, which was a great plus for us. as previously they were not so keen. We are getting Covid notifications almost everywhere we go now, so we just trust the Lord to keep us safe. Yes your Kingfisher is beautiful. We tried to find our Azure for the boys but were unsuccessful these last few days. Enjoy your week.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow the blue back of the kingfisher is incredible! Such a rich color. At least as good as the White-throated Kingfisher we had in Sri Lanka 😉
    Those angophora trees also look impressive, almost surreal with their bright bark.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Luca, these tiny Kingfisher are so bright in flight, and so fast flying it is a beautiful moment to see them fly past. The angophora costa (Sydney red gum) trees are very unique and beautiful trees, they are an artists delight. They have just shed their bark, as they do each year and have a very bright orange pink colour at present which will change through the year. They are very popular trees providing nesting holes for our Cockies, others of the Parrot family and owls. Thanks for sharing. Enjoy your week.

      Like

  3. A nice reminder of the one we saw during our visit to Sale, Victoria in 2019 – we were on a boat trip down the river and I spotted it some way further on an overhanging branch – as I told the others, it came flying past the boat and disappeared in a flash of colour up the river

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for sharing Don. On the river in a boat is often the best way to see Kingfishers, especially Azures and Little Kingfishers which are only found only on rivers. The flash of colour is so beautiful, and a challenge to catch with the camera.

      Like

  4. Thank you for such stunning finds! Your first pic stirs my only fond pandemic memory. Surviving NYC restaurants all went to outdoor dining, as did our favorite Indian restaurant. So loved in the neighborhood, patrons would bring their pets and dine outside…we ate our Tiki Marsala next to a Cockatoo – I have a pic of him perched at the table! 😃 Birdwatching at Kismat, who knew!
    Really appreciate Biblical encouragement, and isn’t the patience needed for “waiting” make us “humble”? We’re not in charge, I find that humbling!
    Thank you Ashley for stirring my heart towards our Father’s creation and His precious word.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Lisa Beth, How lovely to have a Cockie next to you at a restaurant, I wonder if it liked Ticki Marsala I certainly do. One of the challenges the workers at the Park cafe is keeping the native birds from stealing food from patrons. Many a person has had the meat stolen from their burgers by Kookaburras, or food removed from their plates by Miners and Cockies, while the ducks and water foul walk around your legs looking for any dropped morels. So true sister patience is needed for waiting, and that is an area I am always being challenged in, and God is working in me as a work in progress, though the more I heal from my previous stressful working life, the closer toward the goal. It is humbling and also brings great peace to know his ultimately in control and not us, even with this raging pandemic, we rest in the Lord and not stress. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Always an encouragement to hear from you brother! I just asked Bob how he would feel about Kookaburras ‘stealing’ our food…that would be fabulous! What a visitation!
        May the Lord guide us all, step by step, through this year and onward toward His Kingdom.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Sandra, these little guys are always a challenge, especially when they fly and land so fast. They will often take off to way down the river. It really is the blessing of the right moment to catch them, as you said it is not necessarily about the camera quality.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Ruth, that is good news, they are still breeding around there then, most likely in a different part of the river now, as they attracted too much attention on the river bend. We have not been down there as much till recently, because of Covid restrictions etc, but are seeing both species again more now, we saw it again today. Thanks for sharing 🙂

      Like

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