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.
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.
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.’
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