On our Australia Day holiday yesterday, my wife and I went for a pre-sunset date in our local reserve, catching the view across the river as we enjoy some dip and bickies and a pre-celebratory drink together to mark her last day of work the following day, which is today.

A view from Oatley Park to Como Bridge on the George’s River

Before we sat and shared this time together, as well as conversing with the many who came to see the view at the lookout as we sat on the park seat beholding the view, we had our usual exercise walk down to the ponds and back. We were amazed to fins that every second person we met had either had Covid or was just over it, as it is rampant in our city at present. One feature of our very bird depleted Summer here was the number of juvenile birds out and about having now fully fledged. Our first was this juvenile Grey Butcherbird, which is still to gain its grey plumage and is brown, as the juvenile birds of many species are, being a provision of intelligent design for the bird’s protection from predators, so they blend into the dark tree canopy.

Juvenile Grey Butcherbird

Nearby this Brown Thornbill was busily checking the native Casuarina tree, which is one of our native pines. Thornbills love to check these trees for insects, as they are insectivorous, and birds from the Cockie and Parrot families love them for the seed cones, which seen in the photo. This bird is always a challenge to photograph as it is constantly moving, and is often obscured by the branches. Thee trees make a beautiful eerie sound when the wind blows through them.

Its melodic purring call is so sweet to hear. They have several calls which are all lovely.

Our next find was this juvenile Olive-backed Oriole, freshly fledged, and already eating native berries. It has not gained its adult olive plumage or it’s red eye yet, and like most immature birds of most species will retain its dark eye till it approaches maturity.

While walking this track we often meet other local birders, and Chris is one of them. She showed us the Oriole nest, which is probably that of this juvenile, considering it is now vacant. Notice how intricately the strands of grass and bark are wound around it with amazing precision and skill.

As we walked we noted this Water Dragon sunning itself on a rock, as they do. We have many varieties of Dragon, all with beautiful body markings.

This Yellow-faced Honeyeater was the only other bird that drew our attention while there, as even the waterbirds were gone from the ponds.

Meanwhile, back in our backyard we see our recent juvenile Kookaburra being quickly fed by its parent, usually worms and small reptiles. You will hear the warding off territorial call of the adult as it sees me there, as it departs in search of more food while the other parent comes in. Notice the juvenile’s attempt at calling, as it is still learning. This is a feature when walking through our forests at present, hearing these young birds constantly doing this, which may also be its way of saying ‘I’m hungry’.


To finish my short story I will share a portion of the daily routine of our resident Magpie pair. Each morning at around the same time, our birds share our birdbaths, appearing to have booked time schedules similar to ours. Each time the Magpie’s come, the female will sit on the edge of the bath, or on a chair back nearby and sing (warble) sweetly while the alpha male washes. Sometimes when she becomes quite intense, he will join with her in a territorial call. After he has finished and preens in the Frangipani tree, she then has her turn before they depart, and the Miners return for their turn.

We regard these birds and around five other species that frequent our baths as our pets, as we also do our Blue-tongued Lizard, which lives in our yard also. The Crested Pigeon family nest in our Bottlebrush tree, and frequently return to the nest for comfort. We do not feed our wild birds, as we do not want them to become dependent. Many of our Australian birds are very different in behaviour to their northern counterparts, and feeding them is greatly discouraged. If you want some inspiration for attracting birds into your garden, read my special feature here.


Enjoy your week and stay safe. Remember to make time for the one and ones you love and Be Present for them.


Be Present is a small posted note next to my desk, and is a reminder in my busy life with so many more distractions from my technology devices, to stop and enjoy and appreciate the present moment, take a breath, listen, and tune into the needs of those around me. The Eastern Yellow Robin, pictured above, is a bird that is always very in the present as it checks you out, follows and tracks you as you pass through its territory.

Birding is a hobby that teaches us to be mindful of the present and be more aware of our current surroundings, which is a great asset to us today. Taking in the sights, sounds, touch and smells of the bush. It is always sad for me when I see young adults walking through streets and parks with these white plastic things constantly stuck in their ears, or headphones, as if being programmed by someone and missing the beauty that can de stress and heal them to assist them to maintain their lifestyle. They can not hear the surrounding birds and breeze through the trees, or even hear you greet them. How sad, for these ones may also not be inclined to see the value of conserving our remaining wildlife and their habitat as it does not personally affect their lives.

I have been enjoying re reading the words and life of Jesus using the New Living Translation (NLT), Easy to Understand, Relevant for Today. as it gives an accurate reading of the Bible in our current modern idiom. It is like reading the news paper but has accuracy in translation, and I recommend it to the many guys who have poor reading ability.

I recently noted three things that Jesus warned us not be occupied with in our time during these last days before his return, which require us to be always mindfully alert and present:

“Watch out! Don’t let me find you living in careless ease and drunkenness, and filled with the worries of this life. Don’t let that day catch you unaware, as in a trap. For that day will come upon everyone living on the earth. Keep alert [constant watch] at all times. And pray that you might be strong enough to escape these coming horrors and stand before the Son of Man.” – Luke 21: 34-36 (please note: the translation has had minor changes over the years to accommodate the changes in our language).

“So be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and be clearheaded.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:6

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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.


11 Comments »

  1. So happy to hear your wife’ retirement day has arrived! Best wishes and blessings to you both as you begin your next chapter. I so hope you can take your March trip west!! Just loved all those young birds and the lovely Yellow-faced Honeyeater captured here. Your backyard birds are just awesome, the juvenile Kookaburra is so adorable, and I love the magpie pair’s bathing rituals. A wonderful post that made me smile, thank you, Ashley! 🙂 Enjoy your weekend!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Donna, for your kind well wishes. My wife is already feeling the relief from not having to face the stress of work. It is now a long process of tiding up loose and legal ends to ensure a smooth transition.So glad you loved our local ‘wild pets’, they make us laugh sometimes at their antics 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Deborah,
      Yes the Golden Years 🙂 My wife had an amazing career and the many gifts and letters cards, engraved bronze plaque etc certainly confirm this. Tomorrow night her daughter has booked a very expensive restaurant to celebrate her retirement, and thank her for being such a great mum. She now has a few weeks of tidying up loose ends and vacating her surgery. We are hoping to do a road trip out west in March but we will wait and see how life goes till then. We just found out my son-in-law has Covid but not badly so my grandson told me. As I was replying to your comment our local Butcherbird was sitting in the tree by the window singing to me as he does. They love our birdbaths and several of the birds will come and give thanks for them. Have a wonderful weekend my friend 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Sandra, yes this camera is very different when you look through the view finder, and gives much clearer shots. I guess my the old one failing was a motivation from God to finally bite the bullet and update. My largest problem now with my photography is my failing eyesight due to a rare eye problem. I am amazed with every clear photo I get, as most are done on Manual focus, due to the nature of our forests etc, which is a challenge. My wife’s keen eye with binoculars is a great asset.

      Like

  2. Looks like an excellent day to be out and about.
    There is so much enjoy when the birds are still young enough to not be so fussed by human presence.

    The numbers that keep being reported seem to make mockery of all the days that we were locked down.
    Finding a RAT test here is close to impossible, the only available seem to be handed out at testing sites.
    Mindfulness is so confused these days for most people I think, the numbers of ‘courses’ or retreats or counsellors have taken a simple process and given it a status that makes people think they are getting in touch. When really a simple quiet walk in a park would do them the world of good.
    I love the Japanese “Forest Bathing” concept.

    Remain safe

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks David,
      It was a lovely prelude to my wife’s retirement day, which has now passed and went well for her, having received many gifts, cards, tears, and accolades of appreciation for her years of service. Tomorrow night the celebratory dinner. She will be greatly missed, but it is her time to leave. We will now have to navigate a new normal for us both, as we now become freer to go out birding and do our road trips we so love to do, hopefully going west in March. We wanted to go south down your way but the Covid down there is a concern, as it is here, and leaving our state is now always a concern.
      Yes I agree the therapists have made more out of Mindfulness than needed to be made. The early Biblical and Meditative forms were very simple as they are meant to be. Your early morning times out doing your mindful exercises are good examples of the simplicity and soothing tranquility it brings to ones mind and emotions. Those who pay money to do these courses become stressed just trying to follow the rules to achieve their goal, which can be counter productive, when all they often need
      is to change their lifestyle and incorporate times of rest. We each find ways of mindful meditation which meet our needs, and yes a simple walk in a park, in a lunch break for a busy city worker could make a world of difference to their day and well being, as it does for us all, which highlights the healthy aspect of birding, which I recommend in my website pages from the research already completed on this subject. New labels for age old remedies.
      Enjoy your weekend my friend and stay 🙂

      Like

  3. Nice post. I love hearing your birds! One of our loudest birds here is our woodpeckers! I hear them every morning when I go out walking (along with some others). Although we really have no restrictions here, we know several people who have recently caught COVID. Most are minor cases, some so mild they weren’t sure it was COVID. I did have a cousin and husband get it pretty bad though. We do our best to be careful and move on through life. I don’t know if it will ever go away.

    So, I like your parting thoughts: be alert and mindful, pray for strength. Good words. Blessings! 🙏

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Lisa for sharing about your birds, I have always wondered what a Woodpecker would sound like, having been brought up with Woody the Woodpecker 🙂 Yes many people are having such mild infections due to Omicron now, it is mainly Delta putting people into hospitals here. Also people test too soon with the RAT and think it is not Covid. but they need to check a day or two later, as they have not had enough time for the virus to phase into sufficient volumes for the test to work. Thanks again and richest blessings to you and your family 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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