The hot humid days and nights have been unrelenting these week, and cooler temperatures and much more rain are rolling in as I write this post. Birders here are trying to work out if the smoke and devastating bushfires of the last two years of hot days and the very wet violent weather of this year have discouraged or destroyed many of the birds thus reducing their breeding numbers. Thankfully we have been able to occasionally catch a glimpse of this seasons new offspring in the Royal National Park, as quiet as it has been.

The recent migration of several Rufous Fantail families to our national Park during our Summer months is a welcome addition to our birders, as we only see these birds briefly in Winter as they move up the coast for warmer weather, however thousands of these birds were incinerated a couple of years ago, while nesting, when their habitat south of here was lost in a Summer firestorm that lasted weeks.

Rainbow Lorikeet pair complaining

My wife and I set out for an early morning walk in the Nasho and hopefully miss many of the bikes and joggers. Now she is moving into retirement mode this has become more doable for us. The sound of noisy Rainbow Lorikeets and Sulphur-crested Cockatoo are the two most heard sounds on arrival, which are almost constant in our park. The above two birds were making a racket as we passed beneath them as they overhung the track, not sure what that was about but they appeared to have just had an altercation with another pair of Rainbows. Surprisingly, these beautiful cheerfully sounding birds have a reputation for brutality and injury to birds that attempt to cause them trouble, which is why Noisy Miners leave them in peace. As we walked we noticed this shy juvenile Satin Bowerbird. These birds partially resemble their mother and their sex will not become apparent for some years when breeding maturity is reached and the appropriate plumage adorned.

It will eventually become one of the below:

The immature Kookaburras could be heard practicing all over the park, as the Royal hosts many Kookaburra families and has many newborns each year. Here are a couple of the ones we saw, similar to the ones in last weeks post.

Kookaburra practicing his call

We were surprised how few birds we saw though seeing the Rufous Fantail each visit now and the Black-faced Monach, while it is here breeding is our greatest mid Summer treat. We were blessed to see a parent Black-faced Monach feeding its juvenile. Notice in the photo below, taken beneath a dark canopy of tree, that the juvenile has not yet developed its black face.

Adult (left) watching juvenile Black-faced Monach (right)

While the juvenile went deeper into the tree, the adult came into the sunlight, which is rare, to be a distraction, which suited us admirably. These insectivorous birds often catch flying insects on the fly.

The Superb Lyrebird has been quiet over the Spring/Summer months as the males have a rest from their performances. As Summer advances the young males are already heard practicing their song and dance routines, perfecting them for the coming Autumn performances they will present for the females they desire to mate with. The mating game is very competitive and only the best mimic and dancer will successfully allure the female to mate. Listen to this one call as he puts together several seconds each of many of te forest birds it hears each day:

Young male Lyrebird practicing his repertoire

We found this young male of several years, but still bearing the orange neck of immaturity, which it will lose at maturity, though he boasts a almost complete male tail plumage. It takes four to six years for the male to mature and all that time he practices. The male is only about mating performance and nothing else. After mating, the female immediately goes off builds the nest by herself, lays her eggs and raises her young on her own, the male has no involvement. This is the same for Bowerbirds. This one was some distance away on a rock shelf and took several minutes to locate, others who passed bye had trouble seeing it also.

He continued for some time and eventually went behind the rock and started his dancing beat. Lyrebirds dance to their own beat, which is like a drum beat they make in their amazing throats.

As we did not see many other birds we decided as a now retired couple to get out our fold-up chairs and seat ourselves by the river in the shade by the river and catch the cool breeze and just admire the beauty as we had coffee and enjoyed my celebrated Date and Walnut Loaf together. This is the view we looked out on. The Angophora costata (Sydney Redgum) trees have just renewed their bark and look stunning orange-pink in the bright sunlight.

Angophora tree overhanging the Hacking River

AS we sat and enjoyed this time together, this Common Blue-tail Dragonfly landed on a blade of grass in front of us, so I tested my new camera on it:

Finally, as I sat and rested beneath the hanging rock, this young Eastern Water Dragon came and watched me carefully from a log as it absorbed the hot Summer sun:


May you have a wonderful week and stay safe as you can. I was surprised to find my daughter and family are currently suffering Covid, though my grandson thus far is testing negative and without symptoms. I have heard similar reports in families where one child avoids becoming positive and shows no symptoms. As our schools resume for the year after the Summer vacation, many children are keen to see their friends and get back to normal as home lessons and lock-down has lost its attraction, and parents can no longer afford to stay home for them, though the unrelenting virus continues to be rampant among us. Click on the add below to discover my unique book which may help you and your family better navigate and understand how to deal with these uncertain circumstances and enjoy a happy healthy life:


As I was about to leave the park, I could hear this unusual continuous joyful calling from under a tree in the shade from the hot sun. It was a juvenile Grey Butcherbird practicing its repertoire. These birds are one of our most musical songbirds and a favorite of mine, as I have a family that frequents and sings in our backyard. Eventually the Noisy Miner coalition came in to silence this bird and attempted to drive it away, which only made it sing all the more while being pursued. These birds appear to change their tunes seasonally, singing their most during breeding season.

juvenile Grey Butcherbird in the Nasho

What inspired me about this youngster was that it was not perturbed by the Miners who tried to silence and chase it away, he continues singing despite their attempts, as several of them pursued it. This reminded me of the health benefit of a joyful heart (spirit) and how even in the face of adversity and difficulty, if I maintain a joyful thankful attitude I am more likely to have a much calmer and positive outcome, knowing that the Lord will bring me through it, no matter what happens, he has my best interests at heart.

cheerful look brings joy to the heart; good news makes for good health. – Proverbs 15:30 (NLT)

“But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; Let them sing joyful praises forever.
Spread your protection over them, that all who love your name may be filled with joy.
” – Psalm 5:11

“I will be filled with joy because of you.  I will sing praises to your name, O Most High.” – Psalm 9:2

One of the wonderful daily experiences in my life of trusting and resting in our Lord Jesus is the great joy I experience which wells up within me. This does not mean that I don’t experience times of sadness or grief, but that I am better able to cope with these, and keep the positive always above the negative attitudes, which can so easily come to mind. A Joyful, attitude of gratitude, has been shown to be an important attitude for healthy living in all aspects of life.

“Jesus said: Anyone who is thirsty may come to me!  Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, Rivers of living water will flow [gush out] from their heart.’” – John 7:37

Here is my mature wild pet Grey Butcherbird I call Butch that frequents our birdbaths and sings to us daily. This bird cheers my heart and calls me to give thanks and be joyful in spirit every time I hear his call, which is many times through the day.

This amazing little bird is very melodic and its call can be heard all over the neighborhood, similar to the Kookaburra. It is an extremely successful hunter for its size.

Here are a couple of examples:


11 Comments »

  1. Hello Ash,
    Apologies for my absence, but I wanted to say I have been silently reading and enjoying your uplifting blog articles. We are delighted that you and your wife could enjoy birding more leisurely and how despite the small number of birds, you were both blessed with some wonderful views. We continue to keep you and all your family in our daily thoughts and prayers, and hope to be in touch very soon.

    Like

  2. Wonderful post Ashley, really appreciate the videos and audios. Your new camera is fabulous, I could see all the webbing in the dragon fly wings!
    Thanks for sharing Butch’s bath time!
    Will remember you and your family in prayer brother.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Lisa Beth, so glad you enjoyed the post, yes the new camera has improved the quality somewhat, and is easier for me to use, and the lens much lighter to carry, as the previous one has given me injury to my left thumb joint. Glod also you enjoyed Butch, he delights us every day with his calls, and today he called by to sing for me and caused me to have a joyous chuckle to myself as I call out to my wife “There he is !”
      He often sings after drinking or washing in the birdbath, as do the Magpies. Thanking God that my daughter and family are coming through Covid well, and my grandson is experiencing only very mild symptoms so far, but he is prevented from starting school with the others till his isolation period is ended.
      Praying you are all keeping safe and well dear sister, have a wonderful weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Gorgeous Rufous Fantails, Ashley! Very much enjoyed your immature Kookaburras, one of my favorites to go see when we ‘d visit the Baltimore Zoo. Loved all the videos and audios, especially Butch. Good fella, he is!

    Oh no, so sorry to hear about your daughter and family. Prayers everyone is recovering well.

    When I read your first words to this post, Ashley, I giggled. Your hot and humid days and I’m in below freezing. 😉 Stay cool, my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Donna, yes Butch and the young Kookas give us all a giggle at times we love our birds and their individual characters. My son-in-law has gone back to work now and is over it, and now my daughter has it and granddaughter is going through it. Thanks for your prayers my friend. Believe it or not when I posted this post we had a hot humid day and night where we hardly slept and yesterday a cold wet windy day and night which was like winter and we got cold during the night and had a disturbed sleep for the opposite reason. Our Summer is so mixed up, we are getting winter and summer on alternate days.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Your morning birding looks delightful and the birds you did see and listen too are marvelous! I got a chuckle listening to the young Kookaburra, and oh, that Lyrebird’s tail is fantastic.

    Your view for coffee and sweet cake looks wonderful. That tree is amazing and beautiful.

    Have a lovely week!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Deborah, Yes the young Kookas always gives us a chuckle as they try to emulate their parents. The male Lyrebird tail is one of the most beautiful formations, especially when he fans and shakes it over his head like a veil when performing. They are always a treat to see and hear in the forest. Enjoy your week also my friend 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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