This is the final part to our NSW Outback birds series where we will showcase some of the waterbirds and raptors that we saw on our roadtrip. The river systems are vital to the survival of these outback towns, and many birds inhabit the many freshwater lakes, swamps and river systems. One particular bird which we never see on the coast is the White-necked Heron.

While cruising the Darling River in Bourke we saw this group of young White-faced Heron.

When a Heron feels threatened it will extend its neck to make itself look taller than its opponent.

These are very graceful birds when flying.

While on the river we saw this immature Rufous Night-Heron in flight.

We also saw a juvenile at the Leeton Wetlands.

The Yellow-billed Spoonbill was seen also in small numbers at Narrabri Lake Wetlands, a bird that is usually not seen on the coast.

We also saw the Royal Spoonbill at Narrabri Lake Wetlands. The youngster on the left is begging from the parent which is trying to ignore it.

This wetland is alive with many species of waterbird including Magpie Goose with its juveniles.

The Magpie Goose was present with its juveniles from last season’s brood.

The Great Crested Grebe was feeding its two juveniles on Lake Cargelligo. We had a lovely studio apartment right on the edge of the lake and were able to watch the waterbirds from our porch.

The Eastern Great Egret was a common bird out here.

The male and female Australasian Shelduck also made an appearance. The male has the white eye ring.

Male and female Australasian Shelduck

We had distant shots of the Australasian Bittern.

The Straw-necked Ibis is another western wader.

We almost missed the tiny Black-fronted Dotterel, a small plover, walking along the shoreline of the lake.

The Whiskered Tern were scanning the lake for fish.

The most amazing sighting was to watch the flock of Australian Pelican in formation, in their hundreds cross over the Lake Cargelligo as they relocated to other feeding grounds.

While we did see many raptors on the road trip, we were often unable to stop and fim them, and often they would glide off when we stopped, but while on the Darling Riverboat cruise we saw this Little Eagle resting in a river gum. This is our third eagle, as we only have three species in Australia.

The Black-shouldered Kite was seen near the My Kaputar NP where the unusual Sawn Rocks are a feature. The photo is reasonable considering it was taken so very far away.

Black-shouldered Kite

The Sawn Rocks is a natural phenomena near Narrabri.

The Sawn Rocks of Mt Kaputar NP

The Australian Hobby in the Warrambungles was chased away by Apostlebirds. These raptors feed mostly on small birds.

The most common raptor out west is the Black Kite.

The other is the Whistling Kite. We did see a couple of Wedge-tailed Eagles but they had moved off by the time we stopped to view them.

We are most thankful we had such good weather for most of the journey, for the people we met and for the several lifers we saw. We are also thankful we were able to visit places which sell my books and also blessed to establish new markets for my books in several new towns along the way as shown by the map below:

Our journey marking new points of sale

With Mother’s Day just around the corner, why not give her a very different and unique gift of the Beautiful Bird Book. Several have bought them for this purpose:


Have a wonderful week birding ! Thankfully the rain stopped for a few days and the sun came out for a change while many are cleaning up, draining basements and removing mould. I tested positive to Covid today so I am in isolation for a week, which has cancelled several social engagements, including a long awaited visit by my daughter and family. My son and his wife also have it at present, though my wife is testing negative thus far.


It was interesting watching large flocks of Pelican flying in V formation, as do many flock birds, in particular, migrating waterbirds. It is assumed they are slip streaming to save energy and share the burden, occasionally changing position in the formation to relieve the leading birds which are working harder flying so the ones following close behind conserve energy and have an easier flight. By changing position and sharing the burden of extended flight, the flock are able to travel much further with a minimum of effort. This is of important value to the younger immature birds which have not yet grown to full strength.

the classic V

This sharing the burden concept is likewise practiced in caring families and communities. We sometimes are called in family, work and community activities to help out those more vulnerable, struggling to keep up or in training by helping them. We each have a daily load to bear in life which is ours and ours alone, but circumstances of grief and difficulty arise which cause us to be burdened for a time, where it is right for us loving for us to be supportive and show compassion and understanding to those who are struggling. We need to keep good boundaries which means to always keep in perspective the difference between what is a load and what is a burden. Sometimes we can fall into the unhealthy trap of being (feeling) responsible or guilty for the load of someone else. As someone has rightly said: We are each responsible to carry our own daily load in life and not the loads assigned to others. No one can change anyone, people must want to change.”

“Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.” – Galatians 6:2

We form unhealthy boundaries when we pander to those who bludge off and manipulate emotionally others to feel responsible for their lack of personal responsibility, which God has given them to bear. There are many who see no change or improvement in their life because they fail to take responsibility for it, and have learned to sponge off others, finding easy sops. I have experienced this in the past where irresponsible people have come to churches and caring Christians and bludged off several churches in an area, coining false stories. However, having compassion and empathy for those experiencing occasional difficult circumstances, such as illness, job loss, disaster etc (these are burdens over and above our daily load) is at the heart of the Christian message which is Jesus law of unconditional love, which gives freely expecting nothing in return, which is what he did for us on the Cross, which is being celebrated in the coming week.

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 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. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30

Jesus uses an analogy of his day where he describes himself as the lead oxen and us as the weaker one in training, yoked alongside him, as they use to do back then. The experienced one takes most of the load and burden. Surrendering to his leadership and authority is the first step to learning to stop worrying and start trusting for a better and happier life. To read more visit: Sarah Geringer – Finding Peace in God’s Word.

This is the free gift of life where God does all the giving, unlike all of the other religions of the world, where you have to attain to a level of holiness by your own actions, to a very distant god or gods. But the one true personal God knows our hearts, as we do ourselves, that do wrong by nature, it is in our genes, we are born selfish. This my generation highlight this as we move further away in this Post Christian age ever closer into the Last Days, where Jesus has predicted:

“Because of the increase of wickedness (sin = selfishness & disobedience) , the love of most will grow cold.” – Matthew 24:12

All through history it has been known and many times attested that:

“The Lord is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.” – Psalm 103:8

“The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear [love, honor and obey] him.” – Psalm 103:13

“But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. 13 They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.” – John 1: 12,13

If you are sincerely interested to find out more, and Jesus is not yet your personal savior and friend click below. This link is always available from my Home Page:

20 Comments »

  1. I very much enjoyed this and your previous posts highlighting you and your wife’s celebration adventure! So many stunning captures again in this post!! You’ve proven as well, birding by boat can be quite rewarding. 🙂 Really loved the immature Rufous Night-Heron in flight, the Eastern Great Egret full wingspan, all the raptors, the Pelicans in flight, geez, I keep scanning back and I really enjoyed seeing each and every species. I want to mention though the shots and video of the Great Crested Grebes, wow, what a gift outside your window!! Stunning bird. Glad to hear you gained many lifers too. 🤗💃😊 Great work, Ashley, so happy for you both to finally have this fabulous vacation. I’ve been so far behind on blogging, I’m catching up and caught you mentioning you have covid. How are you doing? Your family members? I will be praying for all of you.

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    • Sorry Donna to reply so late I found this comment in my spam folder, and do not know how it got there. I humbly apologize and thank you for your thoughtful comment on Part 3 of our holiday birding adventure. It was an amazing time for us both to finally get away after so long in lock-down. Also to escape the rain that was continuing for months, as it was hot and dry out west. We thank the Lord we are both now basically recovered from Covid, we had some bad nights, but are able to get out again. There has been a cough that lingers on having stirred up my asthma.

      Liked by 1 person

      • No worries, Ashley! For some reason I don’t understand, I’ve been told by others my comments are going to their spam folders. I’ve been having issues with my blog and WP for a couple months and have gotten very frustrated with with all. Close to quitting my blog I’m afraid. SOOOOO glad to hear you’re both over with Covid with not too much sickness. I hear the cough can be aggravating for many. 😦

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks Donna, sad to read of your problems with WP, your certainly one of many. They have some very poor ways of communicating any changes as so many of these young tech wizards forget that many mature aged people also use this platform. I have wasted much time in the past with them, but thankfully have had a good run for a while. Every so often something breaks down, and they fix it. I am just glad I am Premium and can get support. I have been learning to work the coding so as to fix some things myself. My grandies learn all this stuff at school before they are 14. Yes my wife and I are feeling much better, in fact today is the first day I feel normal again after 2.5 weeks, just have to watch the cool air at night. I do hope you continue blogging my friend. If I can ever be of help let me know. Blessings 🙂

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  2. Hello again Ash,
    We continue to be amazed by the variety of birds and nature in your beautiful country. Staying at an apartment within such close proximity to the water birds must have been delightful indeed. Viewing your images and videos remind us to keep faith that He continues to watch and provide for us all, just as how He does so for our avian friends. We have missed our conversations very much and seeing such lovely birds has been great therapy for the soul.

    Please give all our best to your wife, and have blessed week ahead!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Takami, It is good to hear from you again as we have been concerned for you both. Yes staying by the lake was a special treat, which we did not realize when we booked it how nice it would be. Blessings to you both.

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  3. A great roadtrip with plenty of wetlands birds to make the journey so much more enjoyable.

    It is interesting to see so many raptors, most of our usual suspects have departed north it seems.
    Once we’d have large numbers of Black in the air, but lately its been quite sparse.

    The hunting must be better where the waters have bought life to the drier areas.

    Fascinating and a great read.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks David, Of all the wetlands we visited, Narrabri Lake had the most and greatest variety, we were disappointed again with Leeton, which boasts of its flocks of thousands, must just be the wrong season. We seldom see raptors here, mostly Sea Eagles and Osprey here on the coast with occasional Kestrel, Swamp Harrier and Whistling Kite, but these are very rare. Enjoy the rest of the long weekend. All our plans and visits by family were cancelled as my wife and I have Covid. The last few days have been very challenging but praise God I have had a much better day today. It is the uncontrolled cough that gets you it is so deep and intense it bruises the chest muscles. My son and his wife have it also and the faulty Chinese RAT tests failed him and my wife with not detecting the positive test. So do not use them, only Aussie brands. We must have caught it off him. His company was making them test daily before coming to work, but they had to stop using them as many became sick and were actually positive for Covid by other brands and PCR, thus spreading it to family friends and co workers. Another thing we can thank China for.

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  4. Lots of good photos Ashley, several birds I have yet to see myself. It must have been amazing to watch those pelicans flying like that, what a sight that must have been! I’m glad you were able to finally get out and have a really good trip and see some lifers as well. Sorry to hear about your covid situation, that must have been very disappointing to have to put off seeing your daughter and her family. Hope you get through it okay. All the best!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Sue, yes we were both delighted to celebrate our anniversary and wife’s retirement with our time away. It was great to escape the weeks of rain and lack of sun, as most of our days out west were in the 30s. requiring a dip in a pool. The last three days, especially nights were challenging though feeling a little better today having been out in the sun, a beautiful day for show goers, which we will miss. Having three vaxes at my age has helped, I believe. It is the cough that gets you, which most speak about with covid, Now I know what they mean, otherwise it is like a head cold. Enjoy the weekend sunshine before the cold shorter days ahead. 🙂

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  5. I see that you covered a large area. Great captures,, Ashley. You did a great job with the camera. Large birds like waders and raptors give the photographer more opportunity to maneuver and get better shots. Thanks for the excellent post, my friend. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a wonderful trip you had, so many birds. I saw my first night heron as well this trio. I like how the herons do that, stretching their necks and tilting their heads up to look bigger, with those long skinny necks. We have been traveling along the south border of the states and it is so dry here. At every campground so far, the owners have a water source of some kind out for the birds and animals. That is good to see, they know how to find these spots and remember where they are. Animals are truly amazing. Thank you for your photos and encouraging words. We must lean on the Father and trust in Him. He is in charge of all.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Sandra,
      Yes the Heron all share similar trait of extending their necks, though the Striated tends to just leave quickly, which always makes this bird a challenge to photograph (it is our version of your Green Heron).
      Yes that is a wonderful truth that comforts is our loving Father knows best for us. Thanks again.

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