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 […]
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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